Bible Journaling has been rising in popularity, and for any of you who follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been bitten by the Bible Journaling bug!
I’ve always made little doodles around… well, pretty much any piece of paper that’s ever sat in front of me, including in past bibles, so taking that a step farther in an intentional direction sounded amazing for me. I’ve always found that sketching and drawing things helps me think and ponder on them, so what a better place to do this than in an actual Bible? (Read here about Bible Journaling as Lectio Divina)
Up to now, the only problem with Bible Journaling is that there’s no “notetaker’s bible” for Catholics. Or rather, there is one, but it’s out of print and costs $120-$200 used! This is the one I’ve been using (pics above) but I’ve been searching the internet and racking my brain to come up with an affordable solution for my readers, and finally it hit me- using the Catholic Study Bible!
Here’s the deal- The Catholic Study Bible has notes at the bottom of the pages. The amount of notes for each page varies, but the vast majority of the pages have at least a few inches of notes, and many of them have 1/3 to 1/2 of the page covered in notes- especially in the Gospels.
A lot of pages also have maps, charts, etc. All of this is space that you can use for bible journaling without covering up any of the Sacred Scripture! 🙂
How To Bible Journal With The Catholic Study Bible
Option Number 1: Cover the notes section with half-page label stickers
You can get label stickers here. Just cut them the right size for the page you’re working on, stick them on, and you’re ready to journal!
Cut your white label sticker the size of the footnotes…
Peel and stick over the notes. That’s it! You’re ready to journal 🙂
Option Number 2: Using paper over the notes- either paste it down or make a flap
This is a pretty straight-forward option. Glue white paper over the existing notes at the bottom of the page and then Bible Journal your little heart out. I recommend an Elmer’s brand glue stick for this- other glue sticks peel over time and liquid glue will wrinkle the page. This is the method I used on the Trinity page I have as an example here.
Here’s an example of making a flap over the notes- this way they’re still readable! 🙂 Just hold your flap on with washi tape. It’s not super sticky, so it’s repositionable and removable (if desired) or it totally stays in place if you don’t peel it up.
Pasting over the notes also creates new options, such as printing something existing to put on the page (like old artwork, something cute you found online, a prayer card, etc).
Pros and Cons of pasting paper over the existing notes:
- Gluing paper in your bible is going to make for extra bulk, eventually causing your bible to bulge. However, there are lots of bible journalers that utilize paper, tabs, stickers, etc in their bibles that also cause extra bulge. So this problem isn’t actually specific to this bible.
- For this method, you don’t even have to have your bible with you to journal! Just doodle on whatever you have lying around, and you can glue it in later. You can even use existing artwork that you may have already created.
- This is a pretty simple method, not requiring a lot of effort or extra supplies to accomplish.
- You can create your art either before or after gluing it into the bible.
- You can have your kids create art for the Bible by providing them the right size piece of paper, and letting them create. If it turns out really bad or has lots of mistakes, you don’t have to glue it in- you can start over! No stress for mess ups! 🙂
Option Number 3: Painting over the existing notes:
Your other option is to paint over the notes with white gesso or white paint, then journal over it. You can read about using gesso here. I did try this process using a cheap white acrylic paint from Wal-Mart (the Apple Barrel brand) and it worked just fine because that paint tends to have a somewhat chalky finish. It would not work to use a higher quality acrylic paint that has a glossy finish. I also tried a page with white gesso, and I honestly prefered the texture of the white paint. Also, the paint seemed to cover better.
I was initially concerned that using gesso felt cumbersome/overboard, but then I found out that many bible journalists prime their entire page with clear gesso before beginning anyway. This readies their paper and keeps their artwork from bleeding through to the next page. Once your gesso dries, you’re ready to journal with your favorite supplies. (You can see examples of different mediums used on top of gesso here)
How to paint over the bible notes:
Start by placing a clear page protector or a freezer bag behind the page.
Use a wide brush to apply the paint to the page. Do one thin coat with long even strokes. The first coat won’t cover completely, and that’s ok. Resist the urge to make 1 thick coat.
Dry with a hairdryer, then apply 1 more thin layer. This will cover the words completely, giving you a nice white surface to create on. If the page is wrinklier than you would like, you can iron it smooth before starting your art on it. Just place a scrap piece of paper on top of the page, and press flat with the iron. Do not use steam.
Pros and Cons of painting over the existing notes:
- This process is a little more time consuming, and requires more specialized supplies.
- This adds less bulk to your bible than pasting in another whole sheet of paper, and makes for a more natural, less stiff page.
- The gesso does keep your work from bleeding through to the next page.
- There is no “edge” around your work (like the one that happens when you glue another piece of paper in.)
- Overall, this method fells and looks more professional.
So there you have it- The Catholic Study Bible is great for Bible Journaling. I’m so happy for Catholics to finally have a serious option for this! In the picture below, you can see the expensive Notetaker’s RSV Bible on top, and the easily bought and found NAB Catholic Study Bible on the bottom.
I honestly wish I would have figured this out before purchasing the other one. 😛Pin It