Hello! One thing I love to do is give sentimental gifts to people. Probably because they’re my favourite gift to receive! I love the thoughtfulness that goes in to planning something specific for somebody special, and taking the time to make it. This week was one of my best friend’s 21st birthday. We’ve been friends since we were little, and she’s one of the most caring people I know. She’s also going travelling around Asia and Africa for 6 months! This is quite the special year for her! So, my friend, helpful assistant and fellow creative, Yaz suggested a travel journal, and we got straight to work.
- Shoe box, or cardboard for cover
- roll of brown paper
- An old thrifted book
- Old map
- Mod Podge or PVA glue.
- Another pair of hands! Or clips.
- Sewing thread and needle
First, put that Toms box to good use. The possibilities are endless, so why not a journal cover? Now a child in Africa has a pair or shoes, AND my friend has a book to take around Africa and Asia! Maybe she’ll meet the very child wearing the Toms!
I used the lid, simply cut off those extra foldy bits, and it came to 30 cm x 9cm
Then, create a soft bind by bending the card along the 5 central ridges.
I like Mod Podge, but if you’re British and don’t regularly pop over to America for shopping (although the exchange rates are awesome), PVA glue works great.
Spread the glue both on the cover, and one side of each book page sheet that you use.
Keep it up til it’s all covered, and make sure those edges are stuck. Let it sit under something heavy to take bubbles away, but NOT when the glue is wet. I made that mistake once… 😦
Use your measurement of the cover (30 x 16),
And while the cover dries, make the pages. Brown paper is cool, and also inexpensive, which is always a plus when you want to be cool. What isn’t cool about brown paper, is its excessive need to roll up on you, hence the props for the corners!
Measure 30cm across several times down the sheet. (This will give you dots to line up, and make a straight line)
Then, measure 16cm down from the top length several times, draw a straight line, repeat til you fill the width of the sheet.
Use seventeen pairs of hands to hold all four edges of the roll as, another pair of hands cuts neatly. This is why crafting is so much more fun with friends!
ONLY cut the length, which is the first line you drew (not the small rectangle pages).
Crafty shortcut: Roll out more paper, and use the first sheet as a template. We did the maths for you: we made 30 pages (so we needed 15 rectangles, because they fold in half). We fit 3 rectangles on to the template, so we needed a total of 5 “templates”.
THEN, gather all 5 sheets, and cut through all of them down your neat lines from the first template! Easy.
We left the pages to flatten out under something heavy and came back to the cover.
We found this gorgeous map and cut it to size -30 x 9, and glued it on the inside of the cover.
Then idea hit! This is my face when I get an idea… and it works.
It’s her 21st birthday! That’s a new “chapter” in her life, (definitely pun intended), and I found a chapter 21 in the book! Wicked.
This page is extra special so I used a gold ink stamp and dabbed round the edges, to make it “pop”
We glued it so that the heading would be centralised on the cover.
This bit of maths took us ages….
But we got there in the end, so: happy face!!
Fold the rectangles in to 3 sets of 10 pages. These are called signatures.
Open the signature and on the outside, mark points at 2cm, 4cm, 7cm, 10cm, 12cm, 14cm and 16cm.
Cut a long piece of thread (we chose white) Thread your needle, pull one end all the way to the other and knot it. Here, Yaz and I laughed alot, because I had a trick for knotting my thread and would proudly say “Hmm!” while she tried doing the trick, pulling the thread and no knot appeared.
The knotting trick: Hold the ends of the threads between finger and thumb on one hand. Use the other hand to wrap it over your finger and pinch it next to the other thread. Roll your finger back across your thumb towards your palm and the thread should just knot itself!
The threading of the pages I learnt here: http://michaelshannon.us/makeabook/
and he explains it best. The sewing bit is on page two.
Note: he sews the signatures, then binds them, then binds that to the cover. Our book isn’t that big, so I sewed right in to the cover.
Now cut off the messy edges, that were just bound to happen, no matter how neat you cut through the crazy rolling paper earlier.
We attatched lace as a finishing touch to the bind edge with glue.
We attatched our cards, which were handmade tags (just cut rectangles, cut off the corners on top edge, and hole punch the middle), and thread them through twine which we double wrapped and then bowed.
Ta-Da! all done!! Go bless your friend who is going travelling; go travel and document it; go journal about where you want to travel; go write prayers over specific nations; or just display it because it’s too pretty to use 😉