Two journals and a new book: Canva & CreateSpace magic

November 20, 2016 new Canva book post Sarah Lentz
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Looking for a gift for your writing friends? Or have you ever wanted to design your own journal or planner — and even publish it (because how can it hurt to earn a little extra money for creating something that makes your life — and could make other people’s lives — better?)

My second journal (same interior, different cover) arrived in the mail today, and it has the corrections I made to the interior file, which have fixed the small but noticeable problem I spotted with the first journal. So, I’m happy. I didn’t go the selfie route with the pictures that follow, but I hope they at least show how nicely the journals turned out. 


It’s not easy to tell in this lighting, but the first journal’s cover is more of a pale butter yellow, while the second journal’s cover has a pale pink cast to it (or at least part of it). 

The nice thing about doing these with CreateSpace is the ease of changing either the cover or the interior file to update or otherwise improve the book.

My second book will be much shorter than my first, but it will include the easy step-by-step method I used to create my own journals using Canva and CreateSpace.

Of course, it’s also possible to create the interior of your book using Canva. I just found it easier and quicker to use one of the interior templates (for Word) that I downloaded from CreateSpace. 

But I did learn — from my first journal — that I needed to make the outer margins a tick larger than before, because my numbered lists (the ones with the numbers on an outside left-hand edge) were losing their numbers. I also learned to keep page numbering at the center of the page rather than at outside edges — for the same reason. 

I’m sharing this with you now, so that if you’re eager to get started making your own journals or workbooks or planners, you know to make the margins a bit larger. CreateSpace recommends making the outside margins at least 0.5 inches. 

What I did to fix mine was to use the ruler at the top of the page as a guide and, after selecting all with Ctrl-A, I budged the left margin marker inside by one tick mark. I then had to adjust the length of the empty lines, but that didn’t take too long, and doing a copy-paste saved some time with that (copying a corrected stack of lines and pasting it over the too-long line stacks).

When I looked through the second journal, which had the corrected interior file, everything looked good. 

I’m writing the Canva/CreateSpace book right now and am in the middle of the chapters for designing the interior pages, so I’ll have to make sure to mention that.

CreateSpace templates don’t include bleed, and they don’t take the variable margins (the gutter margin depends on a book’s total number of pages) into account. The template margins will work fine for a book of a certain number of pages (I don’t know how many), but it doesn’t know how many pages your specific book will have, so it has to guess based on averages.

Fortunately, they have a helpful chart on their website — and in their PDF Submissions Specifications download — that provides more accurate margin guidelines, based on page count.

So, they’re not perfect, but they do save you some time. I’ll be sure to include a link to CreateSpace’s own guidelines for formatting your interior pages — and to provide a quick, memorable summary of the highlights.

* UPDATE (10/11/2017): The book — Create Stunning Journals & Workbooks Using Canva & CreateSpace — is available on Amazon for only $2.99, if you’d like to check it out. 

Take care, and have a great week! 



By Sarah Lentz

Writing and designing book covers are two of Sarah Lentz's favorite things. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, their four kids, and two messy but adorable guinea pigs.


  1. Reply

    Marie-Eve Boudreault


    Just wanted to say thanks for your tips, they are really useful. I’m reading your book on using Canva and I’m working on a planner at the same time. I started the interior in Canva, I’ll have to figure out a way to make it work into one PDF or I’ll switch to Word – you have to love learning lol.


    Marie-Eve Boudreault recently posted…Holiday Gift Guide 2016: 11 Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Kids This YearMy Profile

    1. Reply

      Sarah Lentz

      Thank you so much, Marie! I’m glad you’ve found the tips and the book useful. I hope you’re enjoying your planner project, too! I’ve yet to design one of my own, but I’d like to. Take care, and thank you for taking the time to comment and brighten my day. 🙂

  2. Reply

    Lisa Smith

    Hi Sarah,
    Okay, I know that CreateSpace is the ease of changing either the cover or the interior file to update. I liked all the ideas and thanks for explaining in detail. You kind of went above and beyond to make your points more meaningful and it was easy to understand.
    Check out some of the nice designs I curated here. Thanks!

    1. Reply

      Sarah Lentz

      Thank you, Lisa! Your logo designs are beautiful!! Thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment. 🙂

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