Saturday 30 July 2011

Process of Creating a Journal - Peekaboo Stylie

This week I have been rather ill which has meant I’ve not made a great deal of things except a few journals for my shop and thought I would share the process through photos (which may mean this become a very long post lol – but you know 1 picture v 1000 words and all that).  Every time I make a journal however the process is a little different as sometimes I start with a particular piece of broken jewellery I may want to use, other times fabric, or may be some vintage ephemera, this time however it was a cardboard box:

Told you, a cardboard box, I hate throwing anything away, even into the recycling when I know I can create something from it.  Due to the length of the box I had two choices, one really long skinny journal, or two smaller journals:

Needless to say which I went for, they ended up measuring 4 x5” with a 1” spine.  I then covered the journals, one in grey leather and the other in a scrap fabric swatch of a birdie tree:

Next I picked the technique I wanted to use for the binding, which I found in Alisa Golden’s Making Handmade Books (which is not the best book on bookbinding I have come across, as the majority of it is made up of cards and a huge amount of accordion card/books, that are NOT bookbinding techniques at all – but it’s good if you’re just starting making books and as I’ve got the book there are a couple of techniques I’m going to try):

I didn’t stick exactly to the book with the preparing over the covers or button closure they use, I just used the bookbinding technique itself.   So I cut holes in the covers, and lined them with paper:

Then I cut the paper to size (If you try using a cardboard box as the cover make sure you measure the spine to see how many signatures should be included):

Then I chose the vintage ephemera (as I always include for interest):

Prepared the signatures:

And bound them into the covers with waxed linen bookbinding thread:

Then I added embellishments & closure systems, I think the cut out spine looks really nice with the ephemera cover signatures peeking through:

Here are some other journals I have previously made using the ‘cardboard box for covers technique’ to give you some idea of different bindings:

Finally here's a peek of the other journals I have made over the last few days, all are/will be available in my shop:

See told you it would be a long post lol hope you enjoyed and have a good week :)


  1. Hi Jenny,

    those are beautiful! Loved seeing your work progress, I make my own sketchbooks (some of them), too and then I don't want to use them because they are too petty...
    I have seen in your profile that you repurpose stuff, just like me, that's awesome. I usually keep paper -even paper I get from banks, ads, anything and then I stack and store them until I have enough to make sketchbooks, photo albums or journals. They're great as gifts.

    Lovely post -nice to learn from you,

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

  2. Really beautiful books :) and I enjoyed your process and the fact you repurpose.

  3. Great post! I love your journals!

  4. I also repurpose and keep things from the mail or when I am out and about. I keep these items that I find in a special bag and pull items out to go with my different projects.
    I am in love with your open spine journals. I really like the idea of seeing the different pages peeking through and along with the color variations. Very nice!!!

    Thank you for posting the steps for this type of journal. I would like to try making a few soon.

    I am sorry you have not been feeling to well. I too have felt unwell....hard to get started when you feel under the weather!

    Big hugs dear,


  5. Lovely post. I hear you about Alissa's book, but it is MORE than plenty for me...not for you, definitely. You could write your own! xoxo

  6. Ah they look great! I have this exact box myself but i keep the product in it still so wont be making any journals anytime soon but if im stuck for card, i now know where to look.

  7. This is really clever. I watched your YouTube video on what got you in to all this too. I keep looking for something crafty and more productive to be doing.

  8. Your journals are just amazing! Wonderful work!

  9. Oh YEAH! Just the post I was looking for! I googled book binding peek a boo spine and looked at images and found a pintrest of one of yours Jennibellie! :) In the works of making a smash/junk journal (well maybe not 100% junk as I used scrapbook paper) for my sisters birthday. I just hope that I can figure out how to sew the signatures in. I have an idear but I'll manage I'm sure :) Thanks again jenny for being YOU, sharing the things you love and your knowledge. Much love to ya! :)))


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