Art Journaling is pretty popular right now. It’s a way of making sure you create some type of art – and it’s also about working through problems – and it doesn’t matter what type of problems. You could journal about what a bad day you had – and then cover it up with pretty art – or you could use your art journal to work out a design or technique idea that you want to experiment with before committing it to canvas.
I’ll admit, I’m a junkie for making my own journals. I’m also guilty of making lots of journals and not using them much. But lately, something has changed. I’ve been journaling more. But, it’s about making more art. Playing more – even if it’s just a doodle every night in my wire bound notebook – something -- anything to promote creativity and artistic growth.
You could go out and buy expensive art journals – or spend lots of money on art papers and make your own covers; but you don’t have to. You don’t even have to know any fancy book making techniques to make a down and dirty journal in a half hour or so.
Before I get started with a quick step-by-step journal, here are a few of my favorite journals that I’ve been working in a lot lately.
- The top two in the photo are machine stitched journals like I've made in this tutorial
- The next one is a hand-stitched journal made from a vintage book
- Second from the bottom is a simple bound Fabric Art Journal
- The bottom one on the pile is a Copic bound journal with 8” x 10” canvas panels for the front and back covers
If you don’t want to bother to make your own hand-bound journal, you could also use:
- A composition notebook
- A moleskin journal
- A Ring Bound journal with custom sized pages
- A wire-bound watercolor or drawing paper pad
Let's Make a simple Art Journal: in less than an hour!!
- To get started with your journal, decide how many pages and what size paper you want to use and use a scoring tool to score them down the center and fold them in half. Use a bone folder to fold each page in half on the scored line. For this journal I started with 8½” x 11” paper and scored/folded each page in half for a finished size of 5 ½” x 8 ½”. To get a journal with 32 pages I created 4 signatures with 2 pieces of paper per signature.
- For the cover, search through your recyclables and find a cereal box, cut it down one of the sides to lay it flat. Trim across the top and bottom to remove the flaps. Make sure the chipboard is large enough to cover the front and back of the journal.
- Place the folded paper (2 pages nestled together create 1 signature -- you should have 4 signatures) in the center of the chipboard, be careful to line up the fold of the pages with the fold of the box. Mark the box with a dark marker if you need to make it easier to see.
- Use a sewing machine to stitch along the fold from the top to bottom of the page. Make sure the folds are lined up down the entire length of the page.
- Your journal, with one signature stitched in, should look like this.
- To line up the next signature for stitching, use a marker or pencil to make a mark about 1/8” from the first signature. Line up the fold of the next signature with the line and use your sewing machine to stitch the pages to the chipboard.
- Finish adding the last two signatures in the same manner. Your art journal should look something like this.
- Use duck tape, masking tape or adhesive canvas to reinforce the inside of the front and back of the book.
- Also reinforce the binding on the outside. That's it -- the meat and potatoes of your art journal is complete -- that was easy wasn't it??!! You can cover the chipboard on the inside and outside with scrap papers from your scrap bin and add decorative tapes to help reinforce the binding.
I have two journals just like this, they are pretty easy to stick in my purse to take with me on a trip to the bookstore, beach or wherever I need a journal to create in!
Here a few of my favorite pages:
This type of art doesn’t need to be organized or even pretty. Do your own thing – create collages and use lots of mixed media. Pour your heart out and cover it up with paint and paper. Not only will it cleanse your soul, it will make you happy to get your fingers messy with paint and ink!
Thanks for stopping by - and take some time to make yourself an art journal to play around in!