I enjoy making my own journals. Here are my last three journals. The one on the left, I used gel medium to cover a magazine page of the Sistine Chapel. I probably did at least three coats. I used a scrap of leather to cover the binding. The second one is all leather. I decorated it with brads (designed for scrapbooking). I wanted my last journal to be lighter, so I used hard covers but did a coptic stitch binding and reduced how many signatures were in it.
Here is my coptic stitched journal. I disliked that the book form did not stay very rigid, so I will try something different this time. Also, the paper on the covers shows a lot of wear at the edges.
Here is a view of the inside of one of the earlier ones (2003). I did a lot more journaling back then.
I also include postcards and magazine pages that catch my eye.
This is a view of my most recent journal. Lately I have been doing notes and sketches in ball point pen, and still attaching images of things that catch my eye. I have these short scrapbook pieces in it that I can attach a postcard or magazine page to. I did include some full page scrapbook paper pages in this book, but found them to be distracting. They were too busy to sketch or write on and I ended up just covering them with other images.
Another page from my current journal. This shows some ideas that I used for this piece.
I am going to use heavy copy paper and the short scrapbook pieces in the new one. I have included some watercolor paper in previous books but find I typically don't use wet media so isn't worth the cost and effort. I decided to try to go even lighter as well. I am going to use leather as my covers without any backer. I have some leather in my stash. I am basically making the new one the same size as the last one. In fact, all of these are roughly the same size, just some are vertical and some are horizontal.
When making books, paper needs to be folded in the "correct" direction. For example, with a sheet of standard 8 1/2" x 11" copy paper, there is less resistance folding it the long way, than folding it the short way. It should be folded in the direction of least resistance when book making.
Years ago, I bought this ream of 11" x 17" heavy copy paper at Xpedx. I think I've used it for all my journals and still have quite a bit left. It can be folded the short way so it works great. I want my pages to be 6 1/2" High by 8 1/2" long. (8 1/2" times two for the length of the paper prior to folding is 17", so I only have to cut one edge of my paper, since the paper is 17" long).
I stack my paper (30 sheets) and put a metal ruler on the top of the stack. I use an industrial Xacto knife to cut thru the pages. It will take quite a few strokes of the knife, but I find this is exact enough for my needs. I then fold each page in half individually.
I want five pages of paper and two short scrapbook pieces for each signature. I plan to have six signatures in the book. (Oops, I am going to make another one later on that is horizontal and this shows the folded paper and the scrapbook pieces for the horizontal one.)
I put one short scrapbook page on the outside of each signature, and one between the third and fourth pages. I measure the thickness of my signature stack.
I then make a template using the thickness of my signature stack and figure out my hole placement for the leather exterior. I am using a two needle binding that requires four holes. (My template shows placement for five signatures, but there are actually six. I corrected this later).
I center this template on my leather and poke all the holes.
I created a second template using the same hole spacing and folded it into the signatures to poke their holes. I note "Top" on this template because my hole placement my be slightly off and if I keep all the signatures together with the tops aligned this will prevent hole alignment issues later.
Here is my purple plastic case with my binding needles and waxed thread. I like to use the curved needles for book binding.
I chose an orange thread for my binding. Here is my start of the two needle binding.
Since I didn't like how my last journal's signatures moved around a lot, I am pasting them together at the short scrapbook pages at the ends of each signature. I have never heard of this before, but read it on the internet last week and I figure it won't hurt.
I then clamped the edge so that the signatures would be fairly straight while it dried. I used some craft foam to prevent the clamps from indenting the leather.
I wanted to add these decorative "brads" to the cover. I have these in my stash but probably got them at a scrapbooking store.
I made a pattern on paper and cut the holes out. I want the holes to be slightly bigger than the hole on the brad.
I turned the template over and put it on the backside of the cover to transfer the hole pattern. I cut the holes with a very pointy Xacto knife.
The brads have tabs that fold to the backside, but I also used Goop glue to glue them to the cover. (Goop glue is very stinky and needs a well ventilated room). And here is my finished journal. I added a piece of scrapbook paper to the first page, so it would be seen through the holes. The elastic band I got at Target (2 for $2). I am going to put it under a weight to help flatten the leather, but I want the Goop glue to be totally dry first.
Eventually I will get around to doing the other journal with vertical pages. I found a lovely piece of sage/mint green leather in my stash so I will make a hardcover leather journal with it.