Mini Blank Journal - August 2023 Cards, Tags, & More Kit
Hey, y’all! I’m up on the blog today with a mini sketchbook/journal for you! I created the cover of this mini-book using the papers, notecards, ink, die set, and Tres Jolie Chipboard found in this month’s Cards, Tags, & More Kit. I don’t know why, but as soon as I saw the die in the kit this month I knew it needed to become the spine of a book – plus I thought the size of the notecards were perfect to create a cute little cover!
Overall this isn’t a difficult project, it was really a lot more “fiddly” work – measuring, cutting, and stitching. Make sure you check out the video to see how I put my mini-sketchbook together!
The first thing I needed to do to create my cover is to piece together some of the patterned paper so it would be large enough! Truth be told, the thought process looked a little like this:
Hmmm….six inch paper, six-ish inch notecards…that’ll be good! Oh…wait…I need it to be able to wrap around.
So, after coming to that realization, I cut my main cover papers down, using the wreath print as my guide because I wanted to keep the wreath centered on the front cover. Fortunately, the circle of the wreath is 3 inches, and that made my work a little easier because I had already planned on wrapping the spine paper over 1 inch to the front and back covers.
I cut along one edge of the circle – the edge that would go against the spine papers – and left about 4 inches – 3 inches to show on the cover, and 1 inch to wrap around the front edge. For the top and bottom paper piecing, I cut off as little as I thought was possible that would leave as much foliage intact, but also leave enough to make sure I could securely adhere the 1-1/2” strips I needed to wrap the top and bottom of the cover.
For the spine, because I would still need a little to wrap around the top and bottom, I used two sheets of the wood plank patterned paper and lined the plank print up a little, but didn’t cut down the height until the two pieces were glued together so I could work from the edge of the overlap – because I wanted to keep the seam centered along the spine.
Before I glued the main patterned paper for the cover to the extension pieces, I inked along the top and bottom edges to add some definition between the two layers. After the pieces were glued together, I added a couple of layers of matte varnish to help seal and protect the papers.
When it came time to add the cover papers to the notecards, I marked on the notecards where the edge closest to the spine would need to line up and where the edge of the main cover patterned paper needed to line up to be centered on the cover.
For my spine, after the glue had dried where I had pieced the papers together, I used the decorative die from the set in the kit to cut through the wood plank paper. I backed the wood plank paper with a 1-1/2” wide piece of patterned paper decorated at the top with some of the Dresden Trim and added a little glue to hold everything together before coming back with a matte varnish to help seal the edges of the die cut so it will (hopefully!) not get caught on anything.
I cut my spine paper to a total width of 3-3/4”, 1-1/2” for the spine, 1” to wrap around the front and back cover, and, since I had marked where the cover papers needed to line up with the spine paper 1” from the edge, that left me a 1/8” gap between the spine and notecards to allow the cover to open and close. Then I just made sure everything was glued down and wrapped the edges around creating the cover.
For my endpapers, I needed a total of 8” to cover the inner cover and create the first and last pages of the sketchbook. Since the patterned papers in the kit are 6”x6”, I once again did a little paper piecing. I kept one of the sheets at their full 6” width, then added the extra 2” I needed with cut-off from a second sheet of patterned paper – cut to 2-1/2” so I could glue the two pieces together.
I used the full six stands of some off-white embroidery floss and added a simple straight stitch along the seam for a little extra interest and texture – eyeballing how far from the seam I wanted the stitch line, and pre-poking my holes 1/4” apart so my stitches would be even. After the stitching was complete, I added some of the Dresden Trip to the back side of my stitching since that was the side that was rougher from the awl and needle going through.
For the blank pages in my mini sketchbook, I used 9”x12” mixed media paper. I was able to cut two 5-11/16”x8” pages from each sheet of mixed media paper, and in the end, I ended up with 16 signatures that had four pages each to get the 1-1/2” text block I needed for the spine. The size of my pages was determined by the size of my cover, so when I was determining the size needed I cut them to allow about 2mm from the top, bottom, and outer edges of the cover.
I created a 5-hole template for all of the hole poking, got all of my signatures ready, then started sewing my text block together using two strands of embroidery floss. I used a traditional method for stitching my signatures together, and if you are familiar with Coptic Stitching, it is a very similar technique. You can find a step-by-step pictorial tutorial from Nik the Booksmith here and a video tutorial from Sea Lemon here. If you don’t have a means to trim your text block together and you want to try and even the edges out a little, you can use a sanding block and some gentle sanding. It may not create “perfect” edges, but it can help some!
With the text block stitched together, I added my endpapers, clamped everything together, and added a thin layer of PVA glue, then my Super (traditional bookbinding cloth), followed by a couple more thin layers of PVA glue. I worked in thin layers of glue and allowed about 5 minutes of dry time in between so I wouldn’t saturate the text block or have glue leak between the signatures and accidentally glue everything together. Before getting it set in the cover, my final addition to the text block was some homemade headbands – mostly because I came across them while I was searching through all my book-making papers and decided that if I made them, I should use them sometime!
The final decorative touches to my cover were to add a piece of Tres Jolie Chipboard to the front spine edge and stamped Journal across the center of the front cover paper (I just used some artist masking tape to hold my alpha stamps together so I could keep them mostly straight!). I sealed the chipboard with some matte varnish, then used Glossy Accents to attach it. I sprayed my stamping with some Workable Fixatif, then added a final coat of matte varnish to the cover.
Thank you for joining me here today on the blog! I hope you enjoyed this mini sketchbook/journal and it gave you some ideas of what you can create using the items found in this month’s Cards, Tags, & More Kit!
Stay Crafty, Friends
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In addition to this month’s Cards, Tags, & More Kit, I used:
LineCo PVA Glue, LineCo Super, embroidery floss, Art Glitter Glue, Liquitex Matte Varnish, mixed media paper, Workable Fixatif, Hampton Art Alphabet Stamp Set