Monday, November 10, 2014

3 easy handmade art journals

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I shared a handful of my favorite watercolor techniques for any age? Well today I am sharing with you one of my favorite ways to put all that hand painted paper to use- making art journals. 

When you teach for a living you end up with a CRAZY amount of samples, demos and paper (even canvas and fabric) full of techniques. Since I have a hard time throwing away any type of creative project, I have boxes and drawers filled with all kinds of colorful hand painted paper and surfaces. One of my favorite ways to put these papers to use is to transform them into art journals.  And today I am sharing three of my favorite ways to make three really fast art journals that don't require a lot of technical or complicated steps.


Using a sewing machine to bind paper, fabric and even canvas into simple little journals is actually my favorite method because it is so fast and easy, WAY easier than sewing by hand. The only obstacle is binding a really thick stack of papers- using a sewing machine lends itself to creating small(er) sized journals.

I start by gathering my paper. Sometimes I will trim it to size, while other times I make use of all the different sizes.

Then I create a front and back cover. Typically I will use heavier paper- watercolor paper, card stock or even cardboard. I love sewing with paper and will often make use of tiny scraps to create embellishments with my machine

Next, I create little stacks of paper. I've been sewing journals for years so I have a good idea of how thick of a stack my machine can handle but for beginners I like to recommend sewing a test stack of scrap paper.  TIP: I know many people people get nervous about sewing anything except fabric but I am here to tell you that sewing through a stack of heavy paper is not that scary. The worst that will happen is a bent or broken needle :)

Last, I simply sew a zig zag stitch across the top or side of my stack and just like that I have a simple little journal all ready to be altered!


I'm gonna be honest- sometimes I am lazy when I am crafting and I just want things to be fast and easy. And that is why I LOVE using hot glue to bind paper into journals. It is fast and it gives me that instant gratification that I crave in a project!

Again, I start by gathering my paper into a stack. For this technique it is handy to make sure all the paper is tightly lined up (clipping it all together with a binder clip will keep things in place). 

Then I spread hot glue all over what I want to make the binding- I use a scrap piece of cardboard to really smooth and spread out the gluet. The hot glue amazingly binds all the papers together!

Last, I will glue another piece of paper over the top of the binding to cover up the glue. 

The result is a really fast little journal- I like using these journals to throw in my purse for on the go doodling, to give to Lucy or even for my grocery and to do lists.


I have WAY MORE leftover handmade paper than the average person so I have been looking for ways to turn all my paper into art journals that I can offer for sale in my shop. Since I have no patience for traditional book binding, I finally splurged on a punch and binding machine called the Bind-It-All (no I was not paid for this mention! I did my research and this product fit my budget and my needs). At $45.00 this was one of the best supply purchases I've made in a while!

The Bind-It-All makes it SUPER easy to measure, punch and bind all kinds of paper.

I start by gathering my paper and then using the Bind-It-All to punch through the paper. It will punch through just about anything and I've found that it will punch through about 3-4 heavy duty pieces of watercolor paper that has been painted.

After all the paper has holes, I create a front back cover from chip board then insert a spiral Owire and clamp it shut. 

This binding method has enabled me to create a lot heavier duty art journals with lots and lots of paper! 

And I've got a batch of these journals over in the shop HERE (it's been a great way to clear out all those sample papers and make room for new ones)!


Michelle P said...

Great ideas for all those pretty painted leftovers!

cjsrq said...

These are awesome!

jackie said...

I love the Zutter binder it all........I teach classes and I have already worn one out! The best tool for teaching and finishing all those journals! Glad to know you use one too!

studioGypsy said...

these are awesome!! and especially the decided to do this for dd's bday party project! thankyouthankyou for all your inspiration and joy!! xoxo

Jana Johnson said...

Curious if it cuts through foam core? I wanted to make some watercolor sketchbooks, but had to switch out the foam core covers to mat board instead so the print shop could cut and bind. Might have to think about investing in a machine like this... - LOVE what you've created with your extra papers - such a great idea!

Jo Murray said...

Clever little machine!....and beautiful books.

Unknown said...

Great idea with sewing mashine.

Anonymous said...

So cool!

dawn said...

LOVE LOVE THESE!!! So nice to see your adding some pictures to yours. I always wonder if you do anything like that with the gorgeous pictures you take. Would love to see a family book or a Lucy book from all the pictures you take.

S said...

I love your idea, I hoping to create a handmade journal for my friend's birthday.
I just wanted to say that I used Andy's work as inspiration for my school art project, I wrote about it here

Gennie said...

It' amazing,.
wonderful,really nice work
handmade table runner


Related Posts with Thumbnails