I made my first handmade journal pretty spontaneously somewhere in the beginning on May 2008.
It looked ugly but I love it nonetheless. Main lesson learned - I CAN DO IT - under 2 hours and no special tools (OK - I have basic handyman equipment at home - like hummer and large ruler - and I also purchased a tapestry needle - (after poking myself while making a small trial journal - ouch!) :)
About 3/4 in the first journal I made another one - and this one turned very nice - stylish looks, even pages, stripes on the cover! I am still posting works from it though I am on the next journal and would like to summarize some things - to share, remember and to learn!
Part ONE. Lessons I learned moving from the first handmade journal (which was 18th since I started numbering them) to the second (19):
A) Making spine is not that hard and is worth it! Just another piece of cardboard and the book will look so much better!
B) Checking the book somewhere in between drying to add some glue between signatures pays off (then when the book is completely dry it's ready to go :)
Part TWO. Lessons learned while working with journal number 19:
A) The size is marvelous to work with but hard to scan with my current set-up as I either need to move scanner to my lap or fold the journal badly.
B) I enjoyed lighter paper very (90 lb) much and I think I prefer hot press Fabriano Artistico - at least for now. It allows me to have more pages in the journal, takes writing much better (and I write in my books more and more these days), does not spoil pens (nexus pen died as I was scribbling on some rough watercolor paper earlier) and is still capable of everything good watercolor paper can do: I can lift color with the brush to adjust things, I can work wet and very wet (it buckles a bit - but it has it's charm too:), I can work with different mediums- from watercolor pencils to gouache and some funky inks!
C) I should enforce somehow the corners - since I carry my journal with me in a backpack and it meets lots of hands, some feet and even occasional paw or two, I need to make sure that corners are not falling apart. Perhaps some clothpaper? I will experiment...
D) Old/unfinished/ paintings = sheets of watercolor paper work great as endpapers and even as decorative cover papers (I did it for journal number 20 - below is a sneak preview of it).
E) Remember to cut the wrapping paper about 1/2 inch away from the corner to make sure that you get a good coverage.
That's about it for now - I will keep adding as I remember/learn more :)
Here is how #19 looks before going on the shelf:
And here is #20 (current one): Some Raw Data:
Papers: Fabriano Artictoco 140 LB CP WC, Fabriano Artictoco 140 LB HP WC
Size: 7 1/2 x 7 1/2
Papers: Fabriano Artictoco 90 LB CP WC, Fabriano Artictoco 90 LB HP WC and one signature with an unknown paper (though now I have a suspicion that it might be lighter Fabriano...
Size: 11.25' x 8
Papers: Fabriano Artictoco 140 LB CP WC, Strathmore 140 LB CP WC, Fabriano Artictoco 140 LB HP WC
Size: 7 1/2 x 7 1/2
Please feel free to let mek now about any questions or comments!