Monday, December 30, 2013

Turning my Life Book pages into a book.

{2017 Edit I have now adapted this technique to make it faster and easier to put together. You can find the post and video of this technique here: }

I really like book making so I am sharing how I made my completed book for the Life Book class. I used my version of the hidden hinge system that is used by scrapbookers. If you want to learn a simpler way to do this there are a lot of videos on Youtube, just search for the hidden hinge and they should appear.

I have adapted the technique to make it strong enough for an art journal. You could make a blank book with new paper if you want but I used the pages I had already completed for mine. I suggest you read all the instructions first before you attempt this method of bookmaking. I have used small photos here because there are so many but if you want a closer look click on the photo to make it bigger. I have used strong glue to put my book together but you can use tape if you prefer.

I put all my pages in order and then glued the pages back to back along the outer edge and halfway along the top and bottom of the pages. (You can see how much is glued in Photo 4 below) You can skip this step and glue them together after the hinges are on. I then selected some matching cardstock for each pair of pages. I chose a colour that was close to one of the facing pages. Only a small section of the paper shows in the finished book but I prefer it not to stand out. If I was making a blank book I would just use white. You can see in the final photo how much shows when the pages are open, about 6 mm or 1/4 of an inch. I cut one strip of cardstock  for each pair of facing pages. I don't measure but it is about 5cm (2 inches) wide and is the same length as the page. These are the hinges for the pages.

For the first and last pages I keep the page whole because it will become the inside cover of the book. You can see how this will look in the second last photo below.

I used a scoring board to make two close lines down the center of the strip. The gap between the score lines can be bigger if you want to make bulky pages in your journal.  It doesn't matter if it is in the exact middle or not. I fold the hinge along the two lines.

Photo 4
 Next I glue one side of the hinge to the matching page. I glue the page up to the fold line of the hinge. You can leave a tiny gap there if you want.  I do this to each of the pairs of pages, making sure that I don't glue the edge together yet because another hinge has to go in the gap later.

This photo shows how much glue I use. I try not to put it too close to the edge because I don't want it to seep out when I put it onto the page.

This photo shows the hinge glued to one side of the pairs of hinges.  Make sure the pages are not glued together yet.


Now that I have glued a strip of cardstock to each of the pages I have to join  them all together to make the book.

I use clips on the far edge of the pages to hold two pairs together. I apply glue to the exposed hinge and fold it into the gap, gluing it to the page that does not already have a paper hinge on it. This joins one pair of pages to the next one. I keep going adding one pair of pages on top of the stack of glued pages and gluing the hinge in place.  

I hope this photo makes it clearer. You can see the pages that are glued together on the outside. The unglued side has the hinge. It connects the pairs of pages to the next one.  The first and last pages have the large papers attached instead of a narrow strip to become the inside book cover. When the pages are all attached with hinges I glue the hinges to the next hinge, forming a solid book.You should now be able to open the pages like a book.

I like to add fabric over the completed spine to make it stronger. I fold the ends over and sometimes stitch them to hold it in place. It doesn't matter what colour you choose as only a tiny bit will be seen. It is the same length as the pages and a little wider to go around onto the inside covers. I apply a generous amount of glue to the hinged side of the pages and glue on the fabric.

I used rubber bands to hold the pages together.  I stand the book on the fabric hinge and let it dry overnight on a teflon craft sheet. This makes a very strong spine.

I cut the book covers out of strong cardboard. I used the backs of my art paper pads. I have made the covers the same size as my pages but you can do them a little larger if you want. The spine must be the same size as the completed pages. I used some gel medium to glue the covers to some fabric but you could use paper to cover the book if you wish. You need to leave a gap between the cover and spine to allow the book to open properly. The last photo shows how this works when the book is open. The spine folds back on itself. If you want to use paper to cover your book then a strip of tape on the inside of the paper gap will add strength to this area.

While I was waiting for the cover to dry I made a library pocket to add inside my book. I made it large enough to hold the whimsical bird page. I put washi tape along the pocket edge for added strength.

I folded over and glued the fabric cover to the inside. I forgot to mention that I added an extra piece of fabric to the inside of the spine for strength. I used a silk blend so I wanted to be sure it would be strong. I glued the inside cover to the book cover, one side at a time. After I glued each side I put some books on it to make sure it was glued down well. I didn't put glue along the spine.

 The book will open flatter if you can leave a gap at the spine.

 I used an awl to poke holes along the edge of the cover and stitched through the book to the inside cover. This will also go through the fabric spine that we applied holding it all together in a very strong bond. If I am using a thinner cardboard or a smaller book I will use a sewing machine to go along that edge of the cover hinge to hold the book together. I added some bead to the thread ends.

Here you can see the stitching on the inside cover. The library pocket is glued into place. I like how the inside cover goes all the way across to the first page.

I bent the spine into a curve so the book opens flat. I also coloured the edges of the pages to match the paintings. This is not necessary but I prefer that look to the white edges of the papers.

I hope this is clear but don't hesitate to ask questions if you get stuck. I will do a simpler version in a few days and blog that as well.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas

I have done a couple of little Christmas projects since I finished the big canvas. The first was a small painting to go in my kitchen. I really like vintage looking Santas. Okay I confess, I may have a bit of a collection of them, lol. This is mostly watercolour and a little coloured pencil for extra shading. I used a piece of canvas paper to paint on, I really like the texture of it.

 This next Santa is a sculpture I made. This one is from a magazine, Holiday Crafts 2009. The design is called Nicknack. The instructions are quite good, I just added some glitter to the snow area for sparkle. I used Crayola Model Magic for the clay.  It was really soft and easy to work with. It started to crack as it dried (after 1 day) so I painted it before it was fully dry to stop further cracking. I wasn't upset about it because I was going for a vintage look but you may want to try a different paper clay if you don't want cracks. The instructions said to use Creative paperclay.

Merry Christmas or happy holidays to all my readers. I will continue blogging, hopefully more often next year as I cut back on classes and create for fun.

EDIT: I was asked about how to make the figurine so I searched online and found the magazine article available at Better Homes and Gardens. The link is 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Another UFO completed.

My son bought a very large canvas to paint for his home but after a while he decided it was a bit harder to paint the image he wanted than he thought. He was trying to do a landscape of an area in the North West of Western Australia. He had visited the gorges up there and had some photos of his trip that he thought would be good paintings.  He asked me if I would take over the painting so I said yes.

I started by applying gesso over the paint he had already applied. I wasn't sure what he used so it was safer to start again and I wanted white as the first layer to show through the reds and browns. It makes the colours seem more intense later on (in my opinion).  I have not worked on such a large canvas before, it was 1.5m x 1m (5ft x 3.5 ft). I would not choose that size again unless I could do it in a larger room. It was very difficult to step back and look at the painting from a distance. I had to keep taking it out into another room and that was not an easy thing to do.

Difficulties aside I just went for it. I painted a scene using acrylics that I have not tried before and I was very happy with the finished picture. My son loves it and my husband wanted to keep it for ourselves.  I really enjoyed trying something different. This second photo shows the size of the canvas, very large!

Two and a half years ago when I first started this arty journey I would not have thought I could paint anything like this at all. All that practice in my art journal has given my the confidence to try anything. If you are hesitant to start painting or even journaling I say DON'T WAIT. Take any classes you can, even watch free videos on Youtube (there are loads of art lessons there). The ONLY way to improve your skills is to make art as often as you can. If you want to draw people you need to draw at least 100 faces. With each drawing you will see improvement. If it takes longer don't worry about it just keep on drawing and the skill will come. Nobody is born knowing how to draw but some people are given more encouragement when they are younger. The rest of us have somebody who says "What is that a picture of? It's not very good." and then we stop. Imagine if you had been drawing since you were little, you would have years of experience by now. Don't wait another minute....START