Friday, August 28, 2015

Handmade Journals

©Michele Emerson-Roberts 2015

I love journals and handmade books. The ones that will fit in your purse or tote are especially nice to have and to create. I had some scraps of wallpaper that was perfect for the covers and the right size too! The two “stick bound” journals are the same size, but orientated differently. I like to use handmade paper for the pages as it makes them even more special. You can make these any size - mine are 4 ¾ x 6”. The covers are made of mat board scrap pieces that I had on hand. The pages are ¼ sheets of handmade paper..

FYI - the stick bound book is one of the easiest books to create in multiples, and they make marvelous gifts!


  • Any of the Arnold Grummer paper making kits
  • A sunny window, heat gun or microwave oven
  • Blender, small strainer, cello sponges and soft towels
  • Scraps of off white or cream paper (think junk mail, etc.)
  • Spellbinders Grand Calabur II cutting and embossing machine
  • Dies: CherryLyn: Leaves          Fran The Frantic Stamper: Shrine
  • Westcott™ paper trimmer
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Japanese screw punch & 1/8” bit
  • Beacon QuickGrip™ and ZipDry™ adhesive
  • Old credit card to use for spreading the ZipDry™ adhesive
  • Double sided foam tape or dots
  • Scrapes of wall paper for covers and die cuts
  • Matching paper for inside of covers (even better if it is handmade paper) two pieces 4 ¼ x 5 ½”
  • Mat board: Leaf journal (portrait orientation book): one piece 6 x 4 3/4” (back cover), one piece 6 x 1 1/8” (hinge), one piece 6 x 3 1/2”Shrine journal (landscape orientation): One piece 4 ¾ x 6 (back cover), one piece 4 ¾ x 1 1/8” (hinge), one piece 4 ¾ x 4 ¾”
  • Sticks for spines
  •  Heavy thread to match the wall paper for binding


  1. Follow the direction for paper making found in any of the Arnold Grummer paper making kits or books to make slurry from the off white or cream scraps.
  2. Create numerous sheets of medium weight handmade paper.
  3. When the paper is dry cut or tear it into quarter sheets. Repeat for as many sheets as you want in your journal. Remember to always save the scraps.

To create the journals:

  1. Cut the 2 pieces of wallpaper 1 ½” larger than the mat board.
  2. Spread a thin coat of ZipDry™ adhesive onto the back side of one piece of the wallpaper.
  3. Center the mat board piece for the back cover onto the wallpaper.
  4. Miter the corners, leaving a tiny bit more than the thickness of the mat board.
  5. Apply additional adhesive to the flaps if needed.
  6. Secure the flaps to the other side of the mat board.
  7. Apply the adhesive to the back side of the 2nd piece of wallpaper.
  8. Place the two front cover pieces of mat board onto the wallpaper, leaving 1/8” between the two pieces.
  9. Miter the corners and wrap the flaps to the back side.
  10. Apply a thin coat of adhesive to the matching papers and place on the back side of the covers.
  11. Measure one inch from the top and bottom hinge part of journal, use the Japanese screw Punch to create holes.
  12. Place the pages inside of the covers, mark and create holes in all of the pages. (Remember the pages are a bit smaller than the covers.)
  13. Bind the journal by attaching the sticks with the heavy duty thread.
  14. Die cut the leaves and shrine.
  15. Attach the die cuts with double side foam tape or dots.
Note: You can find a lot of videos on the internet showing how to create many different bindings.

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