Friday, June 18, 2010

Making Journals from Scratch

Black Journal Front
8 x 11

I spent a good part of yesterday binding a couple of new art journals and working in another. Both new journals are made of 140# watercolor paper, torn to size and assembled. For my black journal I first painted the paper on both sides with black gesso, just globbed on, and then tore it down to size. I sewed the 4 signatures, 20 pages, following Martha's directions on How to Rebind a Moleskine   Once I got the signatures stitched I realized that I'd rather have a soft book than one with stiff covers so I found an old acrylic painting on canvas and cut out a 4 x 11" piece to use as a spine and glued it to the front and back. So simple and easy and it looks nice, too.

Black Journal Back

Black Journal Spread
I used part of a watery acrylic painting for a page and sewed it to another piece of paper to make a 2 page spread. This is just the beginning.

For the other book I tore down two sheets of watercolors pours, stablized the folds with strips of fabric and lace, and smeared gesso over everything. The upholstery cloth spine was first sewn to a piece of canvas and  then I sewed each of the 5 signatures to the soft fabric spine with a simple Japanese stab binding.  (There's no decent photo of this one). I finished by gluing the canvas covers to the front and back pages of the signatures using Mod Podge. I know that I'll eventually want to paint the canvas covers but right now I don't know what I want so the painting will just have to wait. I'll show you when it's done.

2 page spread in canvas journal

Some days I much prefer making journals over working in them, but I'm hoping that these books keep me busy for the summer. I'm anxious to get out my acrylic paints and do lots of painting and collage in them.


  1. oh these look yummy!!
    you know, I think I would like working in a soft-covered journal too. I have some unstretched canvas I'll have to pull out!!

  2. I always love your journals. Inspiring!


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