Friday, January 3, 2014

Making an Art Journal

As promised I have simplified my method for making a journal. I have used blank paper for this one but you could still use pages you have already painted as I did for the previous journal.

 Collect all your supplies for your journal. I have 20 pages of 300 gsm (140lbs) watercolour paper but you can use however many you want and whatever type of paper that interests you. I am going to glue them back to back so they will make 10 thick leaves of the book. I also cut 10 pieces of cardstock or the same watercolour paper to use for the hinges. I don't measure width (about 2 ins) but I do make the height the same as the pages. I cut two pieces of card the same size as the pages to use as the covers. I have used the purple paper to demonstrate a different hinge later on. Normally I would have them all the same color unless I wanted to match the pages like I did for the Life Book.
 I have scored two lines down each hinge piece. I try not to put it exactly in the middle because I want the hinge to be longer on one side. You can see I have scored one piece with a larger gap so I can add something bulky to that journal page and the book will still close flat. You can choose how much room to leave between pages depending on the type of journaling you do.

 I line up all the pieces with the long side on the right so I can glue them together. The only one that is different is the first hinge. I put the long side on the outside to attach to the cover.

 I now start gluing the hinge pieces together, one long side attached to a short side. This means that the two pieces are not forming a ridge between the pages when the book goes together.

When all the pieces are glued together you have the spine of your journal complete. As you glue try to align the pieces where the score marks are so the spine is flat on the back.

 Now I glue the cover into the first hinge on the left. I also attach the first page to the right hand side of this first hinge. I try to line up the pages with each other as I go.

 I now glue the second page to the back of the first one. This means the hinge is hidden in between the pages. I keep going with the other pages and hinges until I glue the back cover into the hinge and the hard part is done.

 This photo shows how much of the hinge shows when the book is open. You could choose to have colored hinges if you want.

This photo shows a different option. Instead of hiding the hinge between the pages you could put the hinge on the outside of the page and leave it showing. This would look great if you wanted to add writing along the hinge for each page (if the hinge was light colored) or you wanted a decorative element to your pages.

This is the first part of the journal finished. Now we get to have fun adding covers and strengthening the spine. I like the cover to be the same size as the pages so when it stands upright on a shelf the middle of the book rests on the shelf as well as the covers. Most published book covers are slightly larger than the pages but it puts a strain on the binding when you stand the books up.

 I decided to use this self-adhesive material I had in my scrapbooking stash to cover my book but you can use any fabric or even paper that you like. I thought the original was a bit bright for me so I painted the fabric with copper and blue paint and let it dry. The material is no longer adhesive so I used gel medium to glue it to the covers.

 I folded the edges over to the inside and glued them down. On the back cover I trimmed too close to the corner so there is a gap that will be seen. I didn't want to redo it so I used the same paint to colour the card that shows. On the front cover I trimmed a bit further away from the corner so there is no gap.

 You can see I left a gap along the spine edge of the cover because my cover didn't quite fit and I knew the floral piece of material would cover it later. That was a little mistake and I should have covered up to the edge of the spine. I cut 2 pieces of scrapbook paper to cover the insides of the cover. The floral piece of material will cover the spine and a little of the covers as well.

 You can see there is no gap in the corners here because I cut away from the corner when I trimmed the cover.  I have ironed the spine fabric so all the edges will be hidden.

 Here I am making sure the spine will be covered by the fabric.  The arrow is showing the problem I have made because the cover didn't go to the edge of the spine. When I put the floral fabric on there will be a bit of raw card showing.
 This is my solution.  I ran a piece of fabric tape from my stash along the inside cover and over the exposed ends. That will look neater. I could have used washi tape instead or even a scrap of the cover fabric. I admit I am a bit of a perfectionist, lol.

 I used PVA glue to stick the floral fabric to the spine and around onto the covers. This is the strength of this type of binding. The fabric stops the hinge tearing apart with use. It also looks pretty.

This is a closeup of the spine with the fabric glued on. All the gaps between the score marks get glued to the fabric and that is the  strength.   I place the glued spine on a teflon craft sheet so it doesn't stick.  I leave it to dry overnight, standing on its edge so it sticks. The book is now finished if you want or you can add decorative stitching for added strength. 

 I am using an awl to punch holes for the stitching. I used a chalk pencil to make lines so the holes would be straight. I can rub the chalk off later.  I made two rows of holes so I could sew either crosses like the previous book or straight lines. Using the awl to make holes before you stitch is easier than trying to go through the card with a needle.

 I decided to use straight stitches this time. You can use any thread you have for the stitching. I like it along the edge of the floral fabric so it holds the edges down permanently. The PVA glue also makes the spine a lot stiffer so it seems very strong. You can add beads or other decorations to the cover as well. I am going to leave this one as it is.
 This type of hinge without card along the spine means your book will open flat no matter where the page is in the book. Have fun with this and use whatever supplies you have on hand. If you make a book leave a link in the comment section so we can all see your wonderful work.