Friday, January 11, 2019

My Year Book.

Making a journal for every year.

To my dearest friends and followers,

I hope each and every one of you has had a great week. Mine was pretty decent. I can't remember much, so I'm taking that as a good thing. Look at it like this: if anything too bad or super duper awesome had happened, I would remember, right..?

Today I thought I'd share with you something that I've been doing nearly every year since about 2009: making a journal. Some people journal a lot. Some people don't journal at all. I don't do an entry day by day, but I like to doodle, make notes of interesting things, write down the books I've read, or ideas I have, etc. I need a new one for every year. Maybe I didn't fill every page in the previous year's book, but a new year calls for new ideas, and thus, a new book. Ooh! It just came to me. That's what I did this week; I made a journal. Nearly forgot why I was here writing about this...

So I made a journal for 2019 and I made notes of everything in case someone would like to follow what I did and make a journal too. Here's what I did:

First, I needed my personal necessities: 

Water bottle
Large comfy hoodie

Next, I needed my essential tools and supplies as shown in this photo:

Paper Cutter a.k.a. Paper Guillotine
Cover Paper
Needle & Thread
Glue Stick
Spray Varnish
Folding Bone (mine is plastic) XD

Step 1. Measure, cut, & glue the pages.
So the paper I used for the pages are white cardstock paper, 80lb, measuring 8.5" x 11". I chose to use 14 pieces of paper, but if you're making this, you can use as many or as few as you would like. I cut each paper in half using the paper cutter, and then cut them down to measure 4.75" x 8". In total, this now gives me 28 pieces of paper, 56 pages. I want to note that I measured everything with the ruler and marked it with the pencil before I used the paper cutter, as it's not always accurate.
I don't know how to make a binding signature, but I'm learning. For now, I have my own way to bind the pages together. Keeping the paper standing on its side, I clamped it together near the top on the 4.75" side. I used binder clips. With the pages secure, I put a thin layer of glue along the edge of the paper. I smoothed it with my finger, putting an even layer across all the pages. When it's nearly dry, I put on a second coat of glue. I let this coat dry completely before applying a third and final coat. If I had made a thicker book with more pages, 4-5 coats may be necessary.

Step 2. Measure and cut the cardboard.
Next I took cardboard, about the width of a visa card, and cut 2 pieces 1/2" longer than the paper, and 1/4" wider, making the total measurements 5" x 8.5" for each piece of cardboard. These are going to be used for the cover. I then measured out the thickness of the stack of pages used and cut out cardboard according to that measurement, giving me a piece 1/4" x 8.5".

Step 3. Design the cover.
So the paper needed for the cover is larger than average copy paper. I took the paper from a sketch pad I have, made of ivory cardstock paper, weighing 110lb. It needs to measure 9.5" x 11.25" (I accidentally cut mine to 9" x 11". Oops... We learn as we go.). 
Now time to get creative: designing the cover. I drew a fairy on mine, using only the pen. Make sure the drawing is on the right half of the paper. Be sure to keep a 1/2" margin on all sides. Once the drawing is done, spray varnish over it. This is to protect the art on the page from smudges over time. I did 2-3 coats. Let dry completely in between each coat.

Step 4. Attach cover to cardboard.
I placed the cover down, back side facing out. Using the glue stick, I glued the cardboard to the paper, applying the glue to the cardboard, NOT the paper, leave 1/2" margins on all sides. 
(This is where I messed up on my measurements. It should have a 1/2" margin on the outer edge, with 1/4" on each side of the cardboard in the spine.This picture shows a general idea of what it should look like, but I had to discard the spine cardboard completely because it prevented my book from opening and closing properly.)
Once all of the cardboard was in place, I put heavy books on top to ensure it holds. Wait until completely dry.

Step 5. Making the corners and edges.
Next, I cut off each of the 4 corners on the cover, as shown in the photo. Using the  folding bone, I folded over what was meant to be the 1/2" margins on all sides. Boom! I made mitered corners. I put a thin layer of tacky glue on the paper, gluing it to the cardboard. I had to hold it for a few minutes until it was dry enough to hold on its own.

Step 6. Stitches.
Here's where the needle and thread come in. I made decorative stitches along the edges of the cover. Keep in mind, it serves no purpose. It's not holding anything, it's just for looks. I started near the spine, worked outward around the book, and finished at the spine again. I only added the stitch on the front side of the book, but I think it should be noted that if you were to stitch the front and back, make sure you do one side and then the other separately, so the stitch is not going over the spine.
I used the thimble to push the needle through the cardboard. Don't use your fingers, it'll hurt. Also, my needle got pretty bent out of shape during the process.

Step 7. Finishing up.

It's finally time for the final step: gluing the pages to the cover. I applied a thin layer of glue to the entire first page of the book (book here meaning the stack of pages not attached to the cover). Next, I applied this to the cardboard side of the cover, leaving 1/4" margins on 3 sides, not the side near the spine. I closed the book and weighed it down with heavy books. I let it dry completely before I did the same for the inside back cover, closing the book once the glue was applied. Let dry. Done!

I hope this makes sense and maybe inspires some of you. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or the contact form.
I've been making books and journals for a while and I am always learning better ways to make them. If you make a journal how I explained, let me know!! I'd love to see it. Or maybe you've already made something like this. Please share, I like to learn new ways to be creative! Thank you so much for reading!

Yours truly,

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