The journals I like to make best are ones with just a few pages. That way, I can fill them up quickly, and make another one. Like most people who make things, I often enjoy the design and creation more than using the actual finished piece. So I always leave room for the possibility of altering my work some more.
Materials: This tutorial uses simple things you already have: cardboard for the cover (I used mat board), number 10 size envelopes, masking tape, bookbinding tape (it’s expensive, you can substitute gaffers tape), cotton thread, a pointy awl and watercolors.
Purpose: This envelope journal has room to write in and room to keep a note, a concert ticket, or a photo along with the memory.
Assembly: 1. Cut black (or another solid color of mat board) into rectangles slightly larger (about one-fourth inch all the way around) than the envelope you will use. Put them next to each other, long sides together, but about one-quarter inch apart. Cut a piece of gaffers tape about 2 inches longer than the covers. Center the tape over the covers and place it down gently. Lift the covers, turn them over and smooth down the piece of tape at the top and bottom. Cut another piece of tape to cover the space in between the top and bottom overlaps. Cut it long enough so you have all the sticky part of the tape completely covered.
2. Lay two envelopes, flap side down, in front of you, side by side. They should be about one-eighth inch apart. Tape them together, the long way, using masking tape. Create three sets of these. If you want to have the envelopes face in different directions, take into account that these pairs of envelopes will nest.
4. Using the awl, or a self-centering screw punch (you get them from a hardware store) punch four evenly spaced holes in the tape between the envelopes and book covers.
5. Thread a tapestry needle with cotton thread. It should be thick enough not to tear. Starting from the back of the book, come up through the top hole. Go down into the next hole, come up through the third hole, and down through the fourth. If you want to make your book sturdier, come back up through the third and work your way to the top. The needle should exit out of hole # 1. Tie the thread off and trim the ends.
6. Decorate the cover. Paint geometric figures on the plain side of the envelopes. Leave enough space for writing.
–Quinn McDonald is an artist, writer and certified creativity coach. She teaches art classes throughout Arizona. Images: Quinn McDonald. (c) 2008. All rights reserved.