Making a Canvas Book Cover

Working with postcards means you have to eventually figure out how to store them. Right now, I’m exploring using small 3-ring binders and creating interesting pages to hold them. The 3-ring binders come from a used book store. They were cookbooks first. For now, I’m keeping the pages so I can use them as templates for holders.

Front of slip cover, fit over binder.

To make the cover, I wanted to use a photographic print on canvas. Because I didn’t want to put the canvas through too much stress, I purchased a canvas remnant to practice.

Friend Rosaland Hannibal had found a slipcover video by Lyric Kinard, made a sample, and offered to teach me.

Rosaland is brave. She knows about my sewing history (failed three classes, can’t cut straight) and promised me this would be easy. What was wonderful about making the cover is that we could use the straight lines on the fabric as guides. Rosaland laughed at my fussy lining up of the print to make sure it was even.

Inside flap of slipcover fits close to rings to hide the original cover color that I didn't find appealing.

The slip cover demands sewing only two straight lines. I got the first one, but the second one, despite the fact that I measured and Rosaland approved, was off. The cover didn’t fit into the carefully measured pocket. Neither one of us knew why. I measured the seam a quarter of an inch larger, and it still didn’t fit. Rosaland showed me an excellent and easy way to rip open a sewn seam without tearing the fabric.

The important thing was not that I proved to Rosaland that I can’t sew, the important learning was that if you screw it up, it doesn’t matter. You rip it open and do it over until it works. I had to put down the story (“I can prove to you I cannot sew”) for the bigger accomplishment (“Let’s make this cool slipcover.”)

The third time was the charm. The slipcover fit. I still don’t understand why the

The stripes don't match, but the slipcover is a good fit.

stripes didn’t line up, as I had wanted that to happen, but over all, I am pleased with how it turned out. Now I can work on the photo canvas.

A new project sometimes requires beginner’s mind–the willingness to see what happens and deal with what shows up–everything from failure to success. That was one important slipcover. And I can’t wait to see how the postcard journal progresses.

–Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling, published by North Light Books. It is available from through Quinn’s website.