Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A New Art Journal=March's Creativity Invitation

After 30 days of journaling my journal is getting close to being full.  I decided to make a new one and I thought I would share with you how I make them.  The last journal I was working in was 8 x 10 inches, but I wanted a new challenge, so I decided to try out a smaller size of 5 x 7 inches.  I start out with large sheets of 140 lb hot press watercolor paper.  I like this paper because it's nice and thick for collage or painting but the surface is smooth for writing or drawing.  Since my journal covers will be 5 x 7 I will be making my inside pages 8 x 6 for pages resulting in 4 x 6 after the sheets are folded into signatures.  After cutting the paper into the smaller size I fold each sheet in half.  I then nestle 5 of those folded sheets inside each other for one group of 5 folded pages.  This is one signature.  This journal will have 6 signatures of 5 folded pages each. 

Now I'll need a cover.  I used the actual cover of an old book that I cut the cover off of- but I've also used canvas board and once I even used plexiglass.  Cut your covers to the correct size.  I am going to sew the signatures into the journal, so I use muslin for the spine of the book.  Glue one side of a strip of muslin to the front cover of the journal.

Now you will take the group of signatures you made and measure the thickness.  That measurement is the space you want between the two covers.  Glue the muslin to the edge of the second cover, making sure you match up  with the bottom of the first cover.  Flip the journal over and glue the top and bottom of the muslin over so that it is even with the bottom of your journal covers.

I decorate my cover before I sew the signatures in- so now I did some collage on the covers and I painted the muslin with a wash of green paint.  I also glued a piece of pink paper on the inside of the covers so the inside looks nice too.

Finally it's time to add those pages!  There are many different ways you can sew your pages in- this is usually how I do mine.  I measure spaces for 8 holes on the edge of one of the folded pages.  I like to make them a little uneven, but you can space them all out exactly the same measurement from each other- just make sure to go about a half inch or inch in from the bottom and top of the page.
Take an awl and make a hole at each of these measurements so you have 8 holes.  Now, using this as a template poke holes in all of the signatures.  I take this same template and make a small mark on the outside spine  where the page should sit inside the journal.  This will help with putting the first signature in so you don't have to guess where the holes are.

I'm going to sew this journal with a linen bookbinding thread, but I've also used cording and twine and the journal didn't fall apart.  Starting on the outside of the journal I am going to go into the bottom mark on the outside of the journal and into the first hole of the bottom of the first signature.

Be sure to leave a tail of thread still hanging out of the spine.  After coming up through the hole of the first signature go back down through the next hole and into the spine with the needle coming back out to the outside of the spine. I tie a knot here with the tail we still have hanging out of the first hole.

Now we keep going back and forth this way until we come to the end hole where we should end up back on the outside of the spine.  Moving over a small space we go back into the spine and into the first hole of the next signature.  Keep the thread nice and snug in between each hole so that the pages are firmly attached to the muslin spine.

Keep sewing this way, moving over a small space at the end of each signature before starting the next one.  At the end of the last signature I make sure everything is nice and taut and then I sew under the threads to get over to the tail we started with and I tie another knot and put a drop of super glue on the knot.

We have a journal!  I painted my thread the same color as the spine, but you could leave the thread color as an accent too.   Now I better get to work filling it!  (sorry about the glare- the girl is a packing tape transfer and I couldn't get a good photo)  This is my entry for March's Creativity Invitation held each month by June from http://acreativedreamer.blogspot.com  - if you'd like to play too please visit June's blog to find out more!


Cinderella Moments said...

That's a great tutorial! The journal looks fantastic.


Julia said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! This is awesome. It reminds me of when I was teaching. I required my 6th graders to write a story, illustrate it, and bind it so that it had a hardback cover. I was always impressed with the creativity that they used in putting these books together!!

Sans! said...

Thank you, Kim! I was a little daunted when you said "sew" but I see now that with an awl, it is not so hard?

I love that even the journal is handmade. When I start mine, I will want to do that too :) Thanks for showing me how :)

Fabiola said...

Fantastic handmade journal!
Bye Faby

Lucille said...

Fantastic tutorial, Kim. Thank you!

Wendy Luane Barber said...

Way cool. I can't wait 'til April and the dolls for the movie are done. Way too many cool projects going on and to try. Thanks for showing how you make your journals. I still haven't done anything with mine. I think I have an idea of what to put in it.

Eileen Bergen said...

Boy, this was hard for me to follow the first time through. But that's what makes it such a terrific tutorial.

I'm bookmarking it to come back to when I have gathered all the materials. I really want to give this a try.

You did a beautiful job, Kim! I love the cover especially.

Kim said...

Caroline- thank you :)

Julia- thank you so much!

Sans- It's really not as hard as I make it seem. I'm not the best at tutorials- but there are lots of bookbinding books out there if you ever give it a try that range from simple to complicated. It's really a lot easier than mini basket making :) It's very nice if you want a certain type of paper or mixed papers since you have control over what you are using. If you ever try and need help I would be happy to try to help you out :)

Faby- thank you ♥

Lucille- thank you!!

Wendy- I don't think this is the binding I used on your journal- but I think this one is easier. If you get caught up and want to try it out and need help let me know :)

Eileen- I was afraid of that! I am not so great at tutorials- I kept re-doing this post about 20 times. If you try it out and you need help please email me and I'll see if I can draw something out to explain it better. It really is easier than I make it seem- I do almost all my journals this way because it is so easy.