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I’m not sure if I’ve shared much about the process of making journal covers. I do them all pretty much the same way, so I thought I should write a bit about it.
I start with cutting down some heavy weight card stock to the size I want. I don’t have specific measurements but it’s usually around 5 x 8″ with a spine of 1.5″.
After I cut the board, I cut a piece of tyvek paper that will cover the width of the spine and a half inch over to the front and back covers. Tyvek is a “paper” made with plastic fibers that help give the joints strength so the book covers don’t tear off over time. I use double sided tape to attach it.
Once the tyvek is in place I cut down the paper I want to decorate the cover with and glue it or attach it with double sided tape. I create 6 pieces: 3 for the front, spine, and back, and then 3 for the inside front, spine, and back. In this photo I’ve moved the pieces below the cardboard so you can see the layers. Normally the pieces of decorative paper would be flush, or very near the edge of the page.
The cover should be in one continuous piece by this point. Lay it flat on your work space with the side you want to be on the inside covers lying up and take 2 large pieces of white tissue paper, laying them on top of your cover. Cut the two pieces of tissue a quarter of an inch larger than your covers, on all sides.
With a paint brush and some matte medium or glue, attach the first piece of tissue paper over your cover. I usually start with the spine and move out to the covers. With the tissue paper glued on, there should be a bit of extra paper hanging off the edges.
Once it is dry (I usually use my hair dryer to quickly dry it), take your scissors and carefully trim off the extra tissue paper. Turn it over and lay your second piece of tissue paper down. Use your paint brush to glue down the second sheet. With the extra quarter inch, wrap it over the edge and use the medium to glue it down.
Dry everything again. Now the fun begins with paints, dyes, and whatever tools you’d like to use to decorate your covers. I like to use Distress Stain, acrylic paint, rubber stamps and permanent ink, and lately Gelato pigment crayons.
Here’s the cover I made with these:
This cover has a simple element from a rubber stamp and ink. Simple but effective, I think.
This one also has a rubber stamped impression.
After you have done enough to your covers, seal them with a varnish. I use Liquitex Satin Varnish but I think just about any varnish will do. If you have experience with Mod Podge that might work too. I ruined an important piece of art with Mod Podge (I couldn’t get rid of the tackiness, even after days of drying it, and it stuck to something else causing major damage to the cover and the other piece next to it) so I never touch the stuff anymore.
I sometimes attach metal pieces or other decorative elements. Some planning is needed for that, but they do get attached once the varnish is dry.
For 6 projects I will be making vintage junk journals using different collections from the designer Ephemera’s Vintage Garden, who makes digital paper kits for download.
The first two journals are done, and being that I am behind in posting, I’m going to post about both journals here. I can also note that I used the same paper kit for both journals; I’ll be switching to a new collection for the next two projects.
For these first two journals I used a collection called “Mabel’s Diary”, which consists of colors in red, black, cream, brown, and white. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts you’ll know that red is my favorite color, so it’s not surprising that I was drawn to this set. It’s very dramatic and elegant.
Since I have such a nice collection of vintage illustrations and photos I’ve been collecting over these last few years, I wanted to use up a lot more of it, as well as use vintage lace.
For my first project, I’ve called it “Dear diary”, and made a cover with a lock that hooks over knob. The cover is a book page layered with a single piece of tissue paper that was then inked in some brown stains until I had the right look. There’s also a bit of lace at the left side.
setting aside pieces and once I had my book assembled with my printed journal pages along with many tea-dyed pages, I went to work collaging and filling up the journal.
Here’s the flip through:
For the second journal, I’ve called it “Vintage lace” because it is meant to be a journal created entirely to hold samples of lace that I’ve collected from the Sunnyvale Lace Museum.
I had a Tim Holtz blank journal cover that I decoupaged with papers and tissue paper. I have to admit, it’s not a very exciting cover, but the inside makes up for that.
Every 6 months or so, the Lace Museum holds a vintage lace sale where they sell lace they’ve received as donations, or some of it is from their collection. I’ve also begun to volunteer at the museum, and so am learning more about the different types of lace that exist. I brought in my book and had some of the experts identify my pieces. Where I could find out more information about the pieces, I wrote a short description on some of the journal pages facing the lace.
I still have a few unidentified pieces, but I will get them recognized sooner or later. This one is still a bit of a work in progress, but it will be easy to complete.
Here’s the video on this one:
Red is my favorite color. Even from my earliest years, red was the first color out of the crayon box. I’ve wanted to make a little art journal with a red theme for some time now and decided the time was right after I found these index cards at a used book sale.
The cardstock is so dense and heavy — ideal for book covers. I took 4, cut off the tabs and then painted them in reds. After the paint was dry I used rubber stamps and black ink to cover the surfaces from corner to corner.
I used a little Tim Holtz grunge board over the spine. It didn’t need the extra reinforcement but I just liked how it looked, especially after I put the silver and gunmetal brads along the borders.
I used a watch piece that I attached to the cover as the fixed portion of the fastener. I glued a few “jewels” on the piece to give it a little more sparkle. On the bottom portion of the watch piece is stamped, “U.S.A. PAT. MAY. 24. 1904” It also says “7 jewels” in fancy lettering. So neat!
On the inside I have some of tea-dyed pages but also added papers from several different sources. Mostly it’s recycled book pages, and art scrap pages. In all there are 3 signatures that I stitched in using the 5-point pamphlet stitch.
I wanted to include a lot more art in this journal. Sometimes I created the art myself with ink or paints, or collaging. Other times, if I found beautiful images of art or pictures from magazines that work with the page layouts, I used those types as art.
I added small bits here and there from postage stamps, pieces of decoupaged napkin, vintage lace, ribbon, postcards, playing cards, rubber stamping, a few die-cuts, and washi tape.
It’s a very busy book, which is exactly what I wanted. I’m still adding to it and will be for a while.
This month I was invited by an artist of digital collage papers to make a vintage junk journal using one of her kits. The name of the artist is Ephemera’s Vintage Garden and I used the kit “Victorian Romance”.
When I started to think about how I wanted to put this journal together, I not only thought about how I would assemble my tea-dyed journal pages, I also thought about what I would use the book for. I didn’t want just a blank journal with a lot of space for writing — I hate writing in journals. I wanted the book to house a collection of something.
In addition to the kit, I went online and found old vintage photos that were scanned and uploaded on to Flikr. I looked for pictures of women who looked happy, like they were having a grand adventure, or looked like they were simply enjoying life. I printed about 25 pictures in all.
I made the covers from some old book pages, reinforced with heavy cardstock and then inked up. I used a single rubber stamp in black as the embellishment. I sewed the signatures in with a cross stitch.
Inside I did some rubber stamping on pages but mostly made pockets and places for my photos. The digital kit pages interspersed through tea-dyed pages worked pretty well.
On the first page when you open the book, I folded a little card with a note inside explaining why I called the book “Carpe Diem”, because the book was a collection of photos of women who look as if they are seizing the day. The lace I bought at the Sunnyvale Lace Museum. It goes perfectly in this book.
Here is the youtube video for the flip through:
I’m catching up posting the projects I’ve had complete for a little while already. This one is a pretty simple junk journal with not a lot of embellishments. I kept it simple because I want it to be actually used as some kind of notebook where you write things in it.
Last year when my family and I traveled to Slovakia to visit relatives, during our stay I was setting aside various papers I could use for decorating a junk journal. Things like sheets of a newspaper, TV programming schedule, maps, store flyers, crossword puzzles, receipts, etc. Then, I needed to find a perfect book for turning into a journal.
I visited with some former colleagues in Bratislava and ask them to recommend place where I could find old books. They directed me to the Antikvariat Grosslingova, an antique bookstore on Grosslingova Street.
It looks like this inside.
I did some hunting and managed to find a book that would work perfectly.
These are pictures of only the pages that I embellished. All the rest are essentially blank.
I sewed the pages in with a cross stitch on the book spine and decorated the cover with a lace sticker. That’s all the dressing up it gets. I like it simple.