This guest post was written by David Leon Morgan.
Create beautiful, handmade journals using old birthday cards, gift card holders or table cards. Any thick, folded card can be transformed into a journal!
Here’s what you will need:
- A card of any size
- A stack of blank and/or recycled paper. Of course, the number of sheets of paper depends on how thick you would like your journal, and how thick your paper is. In order for you to be able to easily sew the pages together, I would recommend using no more than 5 pages if using standard printer paper. When folded, you will have 10 pages in your journal, or 20 if counting the front and back sides.
- A small awl. If possible, choose one that is specifically made for bookbinding.
- Waxed bookbinding thread
- An embroidery needle
- A paper cutter
- A cutting board or mat
- A binder clip or paper clip (optional).
- A bone folder or plastic card (optional)
Step One: With your paper cutter, cut your sheets of paper according to the size of your card. I generally make my journal pages about ¼ of an inch smaller than the card size. For instance, if my card is 3 ½ inches wide by 5 inches tall (like the one in my example), the pages should be cut to 4 ¾” by 3 ¼”.
Note, however, that when you fold your stack of paper, the pages in the middle tend to move forward a little bit, which does not create a straight edge along your stack. If you prefer, you can cut the correct height first, then fold your pages (Step Two) and cut the correct width with your paper cutter. This will help to achieve a straight edge.
Step Two: Fold your pages in half, according to the size your card. You can also use a bone folder or plastic card to create a sharper crease on your folded pages.
Step Three: Check to make sure that your pages are the correct size you want by aligning it with your card. The fold along the pages should line as perfect as possible with the fold in your card. If you prefer, you can use a binder clip to keep the pages and card in place. Please note, however, that a new binder clip may leave a small indentation in your journal. You may be able to remedy this by opening and closing the binder clip a few times before clipping it to your paper, in order to loosen some of its tension. You can also try using a paper clip instead.
Step Four: Once the correct page size is achieved, you will now need to create three holes in both your journal pages and card cover. To create three even holes, grab a scrap piece of paper that is roughly the same dimensions as your card and paper. Then, fold the piece of paper once in half lengthwise, then in half again. Open the piece of paper.
The three folds created in the middle of the paper will be your guides for marking even holes in your journal.
Step Five: With a pencil and your scrap piece of paper, mark the three places where your sewing holes will be in your journal.
Step Six: Once the hole points are marked, use your awl to create three holes in your journal. Please note that awls are very sharp, so please be careful. Use a cutting mat to ensure that you do not mess up your table top when piercing your journal.
Make sure that your holes are as wide as at least the middle point of your awl. They should be wide enough for your embroidery needle to pass through easily.
Step Seven: Once your holes are created, thread your needle with the waxed embroidery thread.
Step Eight: Insert your needle in the middle, inside hole of your journal. Leave about four inches of thread as you pass the needle through.
Step Nine: Insert your needle through the hole to the right of your journal. It should be inserted from the outside going in.
Step Ten: Insert your needle through the hole to the left of your journal, skipping the middle hole. The needle should then come out to the outer left side of your journal.
Step Eleven: Insert your needle back through the middle hole.
Gently pull your stitches to ensure that it is tight around the pages.
Step Twelve: Cut your bookbinding thread, leaving about four inches left. Then, place the ends of your thread on either side of your sewn bookbinding thread.
Step Thirteen: Make at least two knots with your thread ends, then tightly push the thread ends to the center of of the knot. The wax should hold the ends together.
Step Fourteen: Enjoy your journal!