Mar 17, 2017

Tutorial for Chunky Mixed Media Journals with Simple Book Binding

The never ending perfect journal quest...  Are you on it too?  Pages not too small and not too big, thick enough for substantial mixed media projects, with spaces between the pages so you can add all the bulk junk you want without the book popping open.  Today's tutorial might not be the perfect journal for you, but for me it is pretty darn close!

I decided on the size of 9x7", a pretty in between size.  I cut my covers from chipboard, slightly larger.  I glued batting (actually fleece because my batting was downstairs) just on the front and back with Beacon 3-1 glue.  This glue is perfect for mixed media because it has a super hold, but a little flexibility with dry-time.  I cut off the excess batting.

I cut my spine to 3" wide and spaced out the holes for attaching my signatures 3/8"  My Crop-A-Dile will punch 3/4" inward, so I drew a line to mark this measurement, then dots for my hole spacing.

I applied glue to the back of my spine and adhered it to precut fabric.  I punched the holes at this point, which I thought would be easier than after I added the bulky covers.

I wedged a ruler between my spine and covers to create even spacing, because space is needed for the bend.  Next, I applied glue onto the perimeter of my covers and spine, taking care not to glue over the punched holes.

Then I folded the fabric over to the glue, trying to keep it taught and also folding my corners in.  Snipping off any excess in the corners helps eliminate bulk.  I cut off all of the excess fabric.

Next, I covered my insides with patterned paper.

I covered the spine first, with about 1" excess on each side.  I carefully used my bone folder to score a crease in the gaps between the covers and spine.  I lined my Crop-A-Dile up with the existing holes and repunched to create holes in the paper layer.

I cut 7 signatures from heavy Canson cold-press watercolor paper.  I buy huge pads of this and use it for everything.  Again, my signatures were 9x14", scored in half for a finished size of 9x7".  The pads of paper I buy are 12x18".  To cut such large signatures, I scored my whole sheet at 7" along the long side, then folded in half and carefully aligned my paper cutter over the 7" cut line to cut the back half.  Then I cut at 9" on the 12" side of the paper.  I made this little diagram to help.

To get the perfect placement for the holes in my spine I used an awl and pierced a hole at each end of my folds at 5/8".  The signatures are attached with twine.  This is not really a stitched signature book.  I am far too lazy for that.  Just one signature tied in place with one string pulled through two holes and tied through the book's spine.  

Here is the spine.  Unfortunately, I need to purchase a little longer brads to cover the holes.  But you get the idea.  My idea is to attach beads and charms to the dangling strings when the pages are complete.  The beauty of this book is that you can remove the signatures and work on a flat surface.

Stay tuned and I will share my first spread in this new journal.  I will be mailing it off for other artists to work inside.  It will return in early 2018 and I will do a video of the contributing artist's pages and do the assemblage I have planned for the cover.  How exciting, right?!  Actually, if you are looking for a round robin concept, this book would be great because you can just mail the pages out to each artist, then assemble when you get them all back.  This would be especially great for working with overseas artists.  I do hope you enjoyed this read and if you have any questions, please leave me a comment.  Crafty HUGS to you!!!  Don't forget to pin the graphic for reference later!  ;0


Valerie-Jael said...


Maxine D said...

What a great journal Autumn - and a very good idea to deconstruct if sending overseas in a round robin.
(Thank you for your prayers for my DH - he has a terminal cancer, and I may not be around all that much this year....)

Brenda Brown said...

Fabulous tutorial Autumn. I love bookmaking and this journal is brilliant. Pinning for future reference. Looking forward to seeing the assembly of it. xxx

Petra Swart said...

I do like to make mini-albums with lots of bulk, from time to time, so I really enjoyed seeing how you create your journal cover, Autumn!!!!! Can't wait to see what will be created to fill your journal!!!!!
Have a great day!!!!!

Redanne said...

A fantastic tutorial Autumn and your journal is such a great size to work in. I love the paper you used to cover it too. A very versatile journal! Hugs, Anne x

Lisa said...

What a fabulous tutorial, Autumn!! I love the paper you used to cover it and how you bound the spine!! I can't wait to see how you fill this baby up!! Have a great weekend!! Big hugs :)

A Mermaid's Crafts

Susan said...

Looks great! And I get to work in this!

Cec said...

Fabulous, thanks for sharing.

Sara Barker said...

Oh, pinning this for sure! Wow, Autumn! You really over achieved on this one! I cannot wait to get this, or perhaps you are sending just the pages? Excellent idea! Well, since our pages will be shared, I better start working on mine so they are extra special! Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! Hugs!

Sara Barker said...

So do I, Susan!

Astrid Maclean said...

Brilliant Autumn, and such an excellent tutorial!! Love the binding idea like that, I'm sure this would work perfectly with Eileen Hull's new journal die too. I so know about that quest for the perfect journal, - this is a great idea!

Helen Wallace said...

Yep, it looks like the perfect journal. I've tried and abandoned so many. Love the clear, concise instructions and also the round robin idea.

Marty Fishman said...

Awesome tutorial, Autumn, thank you for sharing! Can't wait to see the finished product next year - what a cool idea you have for the inside pages. Hugs!!

toni said...

Fantastic tutorial Autumn! Thanks for sharing, I 'm looking forward to seeing what's inside, hope you do a 'return to' post! Xx

Jackie P Neal said...

thanks for the tutorial Autumn!
Jackie xo

Karon said...

This looks fabulous - and what a wonderful idea to collect the pages from different artists!

Wanda Hentges said...

Fun and wonderful!!!

butterfly said...

A brilliantly designed bespoke journal - great that you now have exactly the format you want to work in. Thank you for sharing the design.
Alison x

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