Thursday, August 9, 2012

Handmade Journals

One of my favorite things to do is create painted papers for backgrounds and other uses.  Over the past week, I've been adding acrylic paint layers to a 12x12 piece of watercolor paper.  In addition to making marks in the base coat of gesso, I created texture on this piece with molding paste through a stencil.  Both sides of the paper are painted because it was my intent to use the finished paper to make covers for a journal.

Planning ahead for an art trip this Fall, I wanted a fresh watercolor journal ready to go.  I have made several handmade journals in the past and prefer them to the "boughten" kind.  I can use my favorite papers, choose any size I want, and have fun with the process!!

In this new journal, I put a mix of papers -  Arches cold press #140 lb., some Rives BFK, and some Stonehenge sketching paper.  One 22x30 sheet can be torn into 16 sheets that are approximately 5 x 7.5 inches, which about the usual size of a purchased journal.  This journal has a total of 36 sheets.

I like spiral binding because it allows the journal to lie flat, so I use the "Bind-it-all" machine. Although the purchase of that gadget seemed rather expensive at the time, even with a discount coupon, it has nearly paid for itself.  I've made several journals and notebooks for myself and as gifts and have even sold a couple of them.  At right are the ones I'm currently using - a large (8x10) nature journal, a small pocket notebook, and two watercolor journals.

Another plus to binding your own journals is that you can take them apart, take pages out, change the order, or put more pages in and then re-bind them.  No more anxiety about messing up an art journal!  Yay!


  1. You should be selling those on Etsy!

  2. Oh nice, love that texture and the 3D effect. xox

  3. These are great!!! Your post is helping me rekindle my desire to make my own journals with a binding machine I got a couple years ago and has hardly been used (shame on me). I sit and look at the hand stitched journals wishing I had the patience to do that but you've made a special point I never considered with binding.........taking them apart and putting pages in different order, etc. What a fantastic idea!!!

  4. Great idea ...I love the detail in the top photo. Fabulous!