Two finished flat-back journals

Two flatback journals

I got to work on these two lovely books! I used the same technique for both text blocks and covers.

The text blocks were already made; one was sewn onto tapes, and the other was the same stitch but minus the tapes. So, the next step was to cut the book board, get it covered and lined up and glued together.

It sounds simple, but it turned out to be a messier procedure than it should have been. Although, knowing myself, I shouldn’t have been at all surprised.

Handmade journals.

I was a little worried with the floral one, because I forgot to double-check and ended up cutting the book board with the grain going in the wrong direction (yikes!). It looked like the covers might end up being curved, but I let is sit under some weights for a while and the covers straightened out nicely.

Overall, I was pleased with how these both turned out. They lay flat when opened and are the perfects journal size.

fabric covered handmade journal
The gray is just a simple fabric I had lying around. It is thick, which is ideal for covering books, and I loved the clean, simple lines. It reminds me of tire scuffs on a sidewalk. I also alternated light gray and white pages in the signatures.

leather and floral handmade journal

For the other, I covered the boards in a floral print and the spine in dark chocolate goat leather. The endpapers are a creamy orange color. I’m gifting this to my lovely friend Tess, and I think it’s very her.

Dreamy new materials & social media

Book making cover papers, book cloth, and book board; book making supplies

I got me some bookmaking supplies!

So, that order I was talking about finally came in, and I am pleased as punch about it!

Bookmaking supplies, book boards and decorative papers

Book papers (r) and book board (l).

I ordered book board, text papers, cover papers, and book cloth, which I ordered from

Patterned decorative paper for book making.
The papers are beautiful and high quality, and range from fun to nerdy and pretty. Nothing like some lovely new materials to get the creative juices flowing!

Also, please take note to your left of the social media buttons I’ve put up. These are links to where you can find me on social media sites, from Twitter to Formspring, facebook, YouTube, etc. Please feel free to take a look at these and to use them to contact me!

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Textblocks Ahoy!

Sewing books by hand

I've been busy with textblocks!

I just ordered some paper and book cloths to make some covers with, but they’ll be shipping all the way from the East Coast so I knew they wouldn’t arrive for at least a week, so I got busy sewing text blocks!

I mostly did a flat-back variation of a long stitch book, sort of a version of sewn onto tapes without the tapes. I’m sure it has a proper name, but I don’t know it. If you do, let me know. I also did a sewn onto cords binding. I braided some jute (it tends to look scrawny on its own), securing the ends with small bits of slip-knotted string, and then went to town.

making books by hand

The finished textblocks, ready to be covered.

All in all, I made 10 textblocks. I finished them off with some mull on the spine to increase strength and durability, and now they are ready to go. Now I just have a lot of casings to make!

sewing a book

I’m looking forward to getting my new materials. A lot. I’ll post some pictures of the final products. Now, if only UPS would hurry up…

Paper Grain: What is it?

What is paper grain?

Image courtesy of Collin Erickson

Once you start doing paper crafts, whether it’s scrapbooking, cardmaking or bookmaking, you’ll hear about grain. But what is it?

The What:

Paper is made of organic fibers, such as cotton, hemp, and even silk. When paper is machine-made (as most paper you work with will be), the fibers are laid down running all in the same direction, usually parallel to the length of the sheet. This creates the grain of the paper. Book boards also have a grain.

Handmade paper, on the other hand, will have not grain because the fibers lay in an organic pattern, not in any one direction. So don’t sweat it with those bad boys.

The Why:

But why is grain important?

Paper’s grain comes into play when folding. It helps to think of grains as the corrugation in cardboard; whatever direction the corrugation runs, it will be easiest to fold with it. When you fold against (perpendicular to) the grain, the paper will be more resistant to the fold. When you fold with (parallel to) the grain, the paper will fold more neatly and flatly.

Not only should the paper grain run parallel to the spine, but also any cover papers, book cloth or boards that you use to make the casing. This will improve the strength and integrity of your product.

So what if you don’t have the right kind of paper? You can still make a book with your papers or whatever materials, BUT the following undesirable results may occur:

-Folded-over text pages may not lay flat, but might “pop open instead
-Folds may have a split or “torn” appearance
-When gluing two things together, the grains may fight against each other and cause the page or board to warp
-There may be a “wave” in the final product
-Your book may not stand the test of time!

I hope I’ve adequately described what paper grain is. I’m going to spend the weekend making a video that explains paper grain and how you can determine it. When it’s done, I’ll post it here!

Happy bookmaking!

Modified Journal

Re-covered Journal

A friend gave me this journal, and I loved the text block—lined on one side, blank on the other, perfect for a mix of writing and sketching. But the cover was textured paper that I wasn’t crazy about it at all. So, of course, I pulled off the cover and made a new one. I think it turned out pretty cute.

Modified Journal

Journal, re-covered text block with a leather latch.

I covered the spine in fabric and used some paper glued over book board to make the hinge covers. I attached the block to the covers by gluing in some endpapers. I cut a strip of leather to make the latch.