Handmade Art Journal

I started making handmade books in collage many moons ago. I bought books by Shereen LaPlantz, Alisa Golden and Keith Smith. After college I joined a local paper arts group and happily created more books with other like minded individuals. It was heaven. A few times over the years I have taught simple bookmaking classes and it was so fulfilling to watch my students create something that brought them so much joy and satisfaction. A book has endless possibilities and so does its creator.

I followed a tutorial from Pam Carriker's book, Creating Art at the Speed of Light, to made a book block from a few sheets of 22x30 140 lb. watercolor paper. I used Strathmore brand paper I found in the depths of my paper stash.  If I had my druthers I would have used Fabriano Artistico paper but, whatevs, I need to use up my hoard of beautiful papers (sniff, sniff). I tore the pages so all the edges are deckled. Love me some deckled edges!

Next, making the cover. For this book structure this is where things get fun. The cover is the first thing you encounter when you pick up a book so let's make it interesting to see and to feel. Oh yeah, texture baby.

Have you tried out Kraft-tex? It's made of paper but is washable and can be treated like fabric. In a word - FABULOUS. If you wash it in the washing machine it gets a lovely texture on it like leather. I took a piece of washed kraft-tex from my stash, ironed it to help flatten it a bit and then dry brushed a few layers of acrylic paint. Next I used a stamp I made from fun foam and made a pattern with white paint. A final layer of matte medium mixed with a smidge of raw umber brings out the texture and gives it an antique patina.

To add even more texture I grabbed some embroidery floss and made some random stitches all over the area that will cover the spine of my book block. I gently brushed matte medium over the stitches to protect from wear and tear.

To attach the cover to the book I used gel medium to glue the front and back pages of the book block to the cover. As an extra detail I made the cover a bit longer in width so I could wrap the cover around the edge of first and last pages of the book block and glue them down. That 1.5 inches of overlap makes the cover even more interesting and durable. Little details like that make me happy. 

I think there is really only one more thing to do before I start using it...

I need to decide which side is the front of the book!

I hope this inspires you to delve into bookmaking. The possibilities are endless!

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