It can be difficult to get rid of a beloved book, even when downsizing or cleaning up. But even books whose words once brought joy, tears, laughter, or anger tend to lose their purpose over time.
Through Upcycled Doodles, Jill Hatchett has found a way to repurpose old books by turning them into writing and drawing journals, so they don’t end up at thrift stores, gathering dust.
The Clay County, Illinois, native and veteran hairstylist saw a TikTok video converting books into journals around Christmas 2022. The avid thrifter researched how she could do something similar, gathering a paper cutter, a spiral punch machine, blank sheets of paper, and spirals to hold the journals together. She uses any type of paper she can find including bullet journaling paper, lined paper, and multi-colored paper.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, but I’ve had a lot of fun making them,” says Hatchett, who moved to Evansville in 2020. “It’s been a learning experience for sure.”
A challenge is some book covers are too big to fit in the spiral punch machines. “The spiral binding will only hold so much,” she says.
Hatchett adds a library card and cardholder with a custom Upcycled Doodles sticker on the inside cover of each book, which retains its original storybook pages. It takes Hatchett between 15 and 30 minutes to create each journal.
Hatchett’s journals began to appear in January on the shelves at Your Brothers Bookstore, 504 Main St. Co-owner Sam Morris says Hatchett’s journals are “pretty popular,” with a customer even requesting one be shipped to them.
“She is one of my favorite people to work with,” Morris says.
Hatchett also sells her journals at her in-home salon, The Emporium on West Franklin Street, Corkscrew Curiosities in Henderson, Kentucky, and Carey’s Magnificent Mercantile in Grayville, Illinois. She estimates she has created 150-200 journals from books like “Paddington at the Tower,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Lion King.” Still, she does not exclusively work with children’s books.
“I also work with quirky adult books, things with funny titles, whatever I can find that would work,” she says. “Any age can enjoy them.”