Friday, March 2, 2012

Upcycled Book Journal

My husband and I are going on a two week trip to Europe in just a couple of weeks and I desperately wanted to make myself a travel journal to bring along with us. I have read a bunch of tutorials on putting one of these together, so I don't really know who to give credit to for this whole project. There were so many good options to follow!

While I was putting mine together, I didn't really follow a tutorial step-by-step. I just melded all of the ideas together in my mind and went with it. I also didn't want to make a cover out of fabric or cardboard, so I used a smaller hardcover book that I bought from Goodwill. So far I've made one out of a "Tuesdays with Morrie" book and in this post I made one from a James Herriot publishing of "Animal Stories." I chose books that had neutral cover colors and were very solidly made. So, here's how I did it:

1) Remove all of the ***printed*** pages from the book. I left in the colored first and last page that is attached to the actual cover of the book because I will attach that page to my pages later on. I also left in the binding left over from the book's pages. Not only doe sit make the book look more official since my binding isn't quite as professional) but it also gives the spine of the book a little more support than if you were to rip all of the glue out. My pages cover it up anyway, so it really doesn't matter that it's there.

2) Make yourself a bunch of "signatures" - or groupings of pages folded together. Mine are cut down to fit the book from 8.5x11 inch pages of copy paper. I grouped together 3 pages (so when you fold them in half the signature has 6 pages in it). You can always do more, but the smaller the signatures the smoother the pages look on the edge of the journal. So use more sheets if you want a rougher look. I used 10 signatures for this particular journal, so 60 pages.

3) Make the folded edges of the signatures all even up, press down the stack and mark it with a pencil where you'll be sewing them all together. I marked mine a little ways in from the edges (just eye-balled it), and in the middle. You will need an even number of marks so you start and finish on the outside of the pages.

4) Open up all of the signatures and poke a hole where you made each mark. I used a thumb tack and it worked marvelously. You can use a fancy crafting tool, but I just had the tacks lying around not doing anything useful.

5) Once they are all pierced, you'll start sewing them together. Tie a large knot in a very long piece of string (I did double my "wingspan" for length). Start in one corner of the stack of signatures, doesn't really matter where, and thread in the string through the first hole, out the second, in the third, out the fourth, in the fifth and out the sixth (and so on if you have more holes that I did). Once you get to the place where you'll add the next signature, put one on top (or on bottom depending on which corner you started on) and thread through the first hole and out the second. Here is where I doubled back to the first signature I worked on and threaded into the second hole and out of its first hole, then back to the second signature through the first hole, and out the second hole to continue on my way down that signature. When I got to the end of each signature, I secured it this way to the signature I had sewn just before in order to keep the pages taught together. If this is confusing and you want me to make a diagram or something, just ask. Keep sewing together until you get through the last signature, then tie off the string in a knot.

6) To give the pages a little more stability, I glued along the sewing as well. I clipped the pages together and then found a very large, heavy book (text books work marvelously) to weigh the pages down. Then I used regular Elmer's glue (white or clear - doesn't matter I've actually used both) with a small paint brush and brushed the glue along the "spine" of the sewn together signatures. I was also a little impatient, so I used a hair dryer to make the glue dry faster so I could finish the book.

7) Take your glue, and spreading on a thin layer over the colored pages you left inside the book, press the first and last page of the signatures onto the glue. I lined up the edges so I glued the entire page down. Since I also left in some of the glue and binding from the original pages of the book, the thread that is left at the top and bottom of the spine gave me a great guide for where my pages should be so I didn't really have to measure or line anything up. So easy!

8) Just let it dry for a few minutes, and now you're ready to use your journal!

I love mine. I'm using one for a crafty journal and the one I just made for our upcoming travels. I hope you all try doing this, if you like journals. It is so easy and sturdy and I just love it! Happy crafting!

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