A Handmade Journal – Part 2

Today I will show you how to make a book cover for your handmade journal.  This post is a continuation of Part 1.

Below is a photo of my completed journal covers using Gelli-printed papers:


I discovered from my research online and several books on book making that journal covers can be anything you can punch or drill a hole into – as long as it won’t cut your thread!  Glass wouldn’t be a good cover in my opinion.  😉  Another thing to consider is strength and durability of your cover if you will be hauling it around.

You can add a decoration to the front such as a found object or some other ornamentation but you may want to keep it flat if you will be painting in it.

I found that Dick Blick and Amazon both sell bookmaking supplies.  I know there are other companies that specialize in bookmaking materials also.

Recycling old book covers like this one are also an option:


One of my books suggested cutting up old paintings done on canvas or illustration board which I think would be a great repurposing idea!

Davey board, also known as Book board is popular with bookmakers because it is archival and inexpensive.  Mine did not arrive in time for this post so I improvised by using the cardboard backing on a pad of Fabriano watercolor paper:


Be sure to use a box cutter when cutting your book board on a protected surface.  An Exacto knife is not strong enough.

You can cut your cover board the same size as your signatures or allow 1/8 to 1/4 extra around your paper.  I chose to have a little extra space:


My Gelli-printed papers were 9 x 12 inches in size so they covered the outside of my boards.  I used other paper to cover the board on the inside of my book.


I drew a pencil line around my board on the back of my papers so I knew where to cut my corners of my paper.  It also helped with gluing to keep my board centered:

I discovered after I cut my corners that I didn’t leave enough allowance for the thickness of my board in my corners so they didn’t fit as snuggly as I would have liked.  Next time I think I will fold my edges first before I clip the corners.

Folding ALL my paper edges with a bone folder BEFORE I added glue was extremely helpful because the glue dries very quickly.

PVA glue was recommended by bookmakers.  I purchased this recommended brand from Amazon along with this glue brush:


I started by gluing the back of the board to the paper and found the glue brush helpful in spreading the glue evenly.  (I kept the brush soaking in water in between uses so that it didn’t dry on the brush.  I removed most of the water on a paper towel before I used it again.)

After I glued the back, I applied the glue to each fold directly – one fold at time – and used the bone folder to press the fold evenly to the board.  It helped to have some paper towels to mop up the excess glue.

Once the edges were glued, I finished my cover by gluing a solid piece of paper to the inside board:


In my next post, I will show you how to attach the book covers to the signature pages using Coptic binding.  This binding is wonderful because it allows your book to stay open and flat when drawing or painting in it.

Please check out Annie Glacken’s blog – she was Charlie’s Guest Doodlewasher on September 16:    https://doodlewash.com/2016/09/16/guest-doodlewash-unwrapping-gifts-with-sketchbook-journaling/

Annie has some lovely sketchbook journals and also shares her tips on making a handmade journal along with 2 excellent YouTube videos from Sea Lemon.

I hope you enjoyed my instructions and I look forward to hearing about your handmade book covers!

I plan to post Part 3 of my bookmaking series next Thursday, September 29th.

Cheers Friends!  🙂


23 responses to “A Handmade Journal – Part 2

  1. Great instructions Jill, and what lovely creations. Can you even imagine what an awesome gift that would be for artists???!!!! Have you considered selling them?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for the “share” Jill! I will be mentioning this post in my blog also!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great stuff and I love your header, Jill.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jill. This is going to be great fun! I’m excited! Thanks for the instructions. I loved your book and I think this could be an annual project, sort of an art diary. Much love to you glenmar

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Why I Prefer to Bind My Own Sketchbook Journals – Sketching and Painting the Moments

  6. Nice to see your bookbinding process, Jill. These will be great- looking, I’m sure. And yes, using old canvases (or new for that matter) makes for wonderful journal covers, I can tell you. You can repaint them or use as is. I may show a few I did on my blog sometimes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Artful Aspirations

    Wow, very beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: A Handmade Journal – Done! | Jill's Art Journal

  9. Thanks for taking us through the process its way cool Jill.

    Liked by 1 person

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