Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Altered Journal Tutorial- Pick and Prepare

I am always amazed that inspiration and motivation can come from very unexpected places. This past Sunday- Tuesday, my hubby and I finally took what I would call a real vacation. We didn't go anywhere to visit anyone. The sole purpose of the trip was for the hubby to get some mountain bike riding in, and for me to get some quiet crafting time in.

We stayed at this WONDERFUL B&B called Whiteley Creek Homestead B&B, in Brainerd, MN. I chose this B&B for many reasons, but the biggest was that Adrienne, the owner, has a lot of fun craftiness posted on her blog. What better place to craft than a B&B run by a crafty woman?

Anyway, our wonderful trip is a topic for another day. The reason I bring it up at all is that Adrienne was very interested in my crafting, and once I showed her the journals I was working in, she made me glow with how much she loved and was inspired by my work. She really wanted to make a journal, but while the B&B is open (May-October) she really doesn't have a lot of time for being creative (though I can assure you, her breakfasts are a work of art!).

So I promised her I would post a tutorial on how to get an altered journal started. I have decided to do this as a series because I tend to write long winded posts- especially tutorials. That being said, here we go!

Picking a Book
#1- The first thing to think about after deciding to make an altered journal is the size. I usually have two journals going at the same time. I use a smaller journal for journaling everyday, and a larger journal for making a bigger mess.



My smaller journals is about 4"X6", so that gives me about an 8" spread (both the left and right hand pages together).
My larger journal is anywhere from 8"X10" on up. That gives me at least a 16" spread.

Once you know what size you want, run out to the thrift stores, garage sales, library sale shelf and buy a book! (or 9) We have a thrift depot place that I love where the books are $0.25. Perfect.


#2- Check the binding. Working with a book that has stitched signatures (groupings of pages) is SO much easier. This tutorial will talk about working with stitched books. I will try to write another post about different bindings (glued, spiral, etc) but no promises as the stitched is my favorite.

These two photos show you what a stitched book looks like. Sometimes the stitches can be hard to find, but it's worth the extra time it takes.


Stitching is broken= extra work.

Avoid books that look like this (although I will be writing a post on how to fix this if necessary during this series).

Once you have the book(s) you want, now its time to get the book ready!

Prepping a Book
#1- Grab your book and a comfy seat- we are going to start removing pages (note: a cement slab is NOT a comfy place to sit for this process).

Why remove pages? To give us more room for all the awesomeness we will put into the book! Every piece of paper or layer of paint that gets added to the book adds to the books thickness. Without removing any pages, your book wouldn't shut and the spine would bust. Believe me, removing pages is important.

Find the center of your first signature (picture 2a shows the center stitching)


Count how many pages are in each signature. This book had 14 (7 pages on each side of the center stitching). This will help with deciding the number of pages to remove. Page thickness plays a part as well.

For thin pages, remove less as you will need to glue more pages together in order to make a sturdy surfaces for all the awesomeness mentioned above. Books with thicker pages can stand to have more removed.

This book has pretty thick pages so I decided to pull 4 pages from each side (or 4 spreads).




With the book open so the center of the signature is visible, take the first page on each side of the stitching and close them, but keep your fingers between those two pages and the rest.



Starting at the top of the book, s-l-o-w-l-y rip the pages (or spread) from the book. There will be a slight resistance when you get to the stitching, but keep going slowly and the page will come out.

This is what your spread should look like once removed.



Not all of your pages will come out cleanly. If this happens...


...don't worry about it. Seriously it isn't a big deal.



Remove the rest of the desired pages from your first signature. Close the book and see how it looks. You will see a noticeable difference between the first signature and the rest. If for some reason you don't, maybe think about removing more pages, one spread at a time.

Repeat the process with the remaining signatures in the book.




Your book might now look like this. Keep that pile of removed pages!

After removing 4 spreads from each signature, this is about what my book looks like. I could probably go back and take one more spread from each signature, but I decided not too.


Now comes more fun!

#2- Gluing your pages together. This step gives us nice sturdy pages to work on. If the book you chose has nice thick pages you may be able to get away without gluing, but in most cases, you are better off gluing at least 2 pages together. For thinner pages, 3-5 pages together isn't a bad idea.


Gather your glue stick (or 2) and the pages you already removed from the book. I am still working out the best way to stick the pages together. Right now I like the Prang brand glue stick. Double sided tape will work, but if you draw on your pages, the tape will cause marks.

(four pages glued together- frayed edges)

I used to just glue pages together and call it good, but now I get bugged by the "frayed" edges and I always worry I am going to try to turn a page and rip some glued pages apart.

Enter the previously removed pages.



At the end of my last journal, I started using the removed pages as a wrap to finish off the edge of the glued pages.

Deciding how many pages to glue together can be tricky. If the paper is thin, start with 3 pages or more. If the paper is thicker, start with 2. Count out the number of pages you plan to glue together and wrap one of the removed spreads around them like the picture above implies. Go through the entire book.


You may be tempted to skip this step, but we warned- You could realize halfway through the book or farther that you miscalculated and you end up adding all the pages you removed, back into the book. When I went through this book with 2 pages wrapped in a spread (basically 2 pages), I had one spread left. There would have been little room left to add anything creative to the book.


So, I still went through and glued 2 pages together (sometimes 3 if I wasn't paying attention), and occasionally added one of the removed spreads as a wrap.


To glue- run your glue stick around all 4 edges of one page and an X from corner to corner. Press the other page against the page with glue and smooth it out with your hand.

If you want to add the removed pages as a wrap, simply repeat the glue process on the outside of the pages glued together and smooth the removed page, crease side out, over the page. Flip the glued pages over, lay some glue down again, fold the page over, and smooth it down. Below is a picture of what you will end up with.


Here is what the edge will look like.

Now all you need to do is repeat until you get through the book! Here is what my book looked like when I was finished.



That's it! You now have an altered journal to work in! My next post will explain my process for getting started with the actual creating/journaling. Check back soon!

If there are any questions or anything that is unclear, please don't hesitate to post a comment or e-mail me at kaotickrafter (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!

1 comment:

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