their work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websites
and more...

Friday, December 31, 2010

Super-simple handmade journals

A lot of people have mentioned to me over the years that they'd love to bind their own journals but it's just too complicated or time consuming--or intimidating!  I'll never be a "real" bookbinder, but I do enjoy making a variety of sketch journals so I can have the paper I want.

I'd love to take a bookbinding class, maybe one of Roz Stendahl's, but so far I use books and DVDs as my guide... this Dover book by Aldren Watson was my first and still my favorite. Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction.

But if you're not up for case-bound or other traditional methods, here are a couple of VERY easy journal types to start with, if you just want good paper to work on...


You may have seen this type available in the online catalogs...it's a simple accordion style.  You just cut a strip of paper the height you want, fold in the middle of the strip, fold again, and again, zigzag style, till you get to the size you want.

You can glue book boards, cardboard, matboard or whatever, to each end to protect the edges and make it more book-like.  I make these fairly small and have one in both of our vehicles in case I go off without a sketchbook!

They can be quite handsome, as you see above.  (I sometimes add a little bit of embellishment so I can tell which end is the "front."

I often do more traditional bound books, but because I like a square format there's always some waste of a full sheet of paper.  I use that to make these small folders.

Granted, these ARE a bit more difficult to use sometimes...they want to unfold unless you have a nice flat place to work!  I did the ocean part of the folder above balancing the paper on my knees and fighting the wind!  I like the way you can continue an image across the pages, though...

Of course when you get to the end you just flip it over and fill the other side.

Single page FOLDERS

These are a bit more difficult to describe, so I did this little YouTube video to explain how they work.  You can use a full sheet of watercolor paper if you like, that's what I did above!


* Nina Johannson, one of our correspondents, did a wonderful post on her blog on this folding technique, which she found and sent me, HERE.  It's clear and beautifully photographed, thank you Nina, I'll add it to our links!

There are lots of other options, of course--I covered these in more detail in the CD I did on Super-Simple bookbinding.  You can find it in the bookbinding links at right if you'd like more information.

And I just realized as I was looking for the Aldren Watson book above that you might like to see this, as well--Bookbinding resources and supplies on Amazon!  I hadn't even thought about being able to get needles, binding thread, bookcloth, glue and more there...


  1. Your journaling illustrations are extraordinary!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Always fascinating to find connections made online. Glad I found you.
    Have a blessed New Year!

  2. Thank you Renee, and have a wonderful New Year!


We'd love your feedback...please share your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...