A Handmade Journal – Done!

I’m very excited to announce that my handmade art journal I started on September 1st is complete!  You can see the first post – here, the second one – here and the third one – here.

I learned a ton creating this journal and I hope you have enjoyed my instructions.  🙂

One of the things I learned when putting my book together during this last part was I learn much better with a video than a book.  It really helped me to SEE it being done!  I know there are free YouTube videos on the subject such as from Sea Lemon but I discovered one through InterweaveStore.com from Paige Martin that was excellent!  The downloadable  video was about the price of a book – $20 but worth it!!! (IMHO)  I highly recommend her video called “Stitch This Book:  Long, link and Coptic binding for beginners and beyond.” If you are serious about creating your own art journals and sketchbooks, I found her instructions to be the most complete from start to finish.

Here are the supplies I used for this last “chapter” of my art journal:


I found the small curved needle was helpful when stitching the Coptic stitch with the waxed linen thread.  I have included two different awl sizes.

The larger handled awl was great for punching (screwing) holes into the journal cover and the smaller awl was better for punching holes into the paper “signatures.”  An old telephone book was great for protecting your table during the hole making.

I also found that using a scrap piece of paper – I used an old file folder – was excellent for marking my holes in my signatures so that they were accurate and would match up with my holes in my journal cover:


I put the creased watercolor paper (signature) in the middle of the phone book as you can see above.  I darkened my holes with a Sharpie pen so you can see them but I don’t recommend you do it because it can bleed to your nice paper.

I’m not going to show you how to do the Coptic stitch because I believe there are some excellent videos on the subject.  I recommend you go slow, keep your tension tight on the waxed thread and remember this is your first book!  It will become easier with practice!

I put my completed art journal under some heavy books so it will relax a little before I use it.

I hope to show you my first entry in my new art journal soon!

Cheers Friends!  🙂

P.S.  Would you like to see more art journal making instructions?  I’d love to hear from you!

32 responses to “A Handmade Journal – Done!

  1. Patricia G Bleecher

    Nice Jill!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you are fearless in your creativity. I love how you are willing to try new things. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your book is fabulous. I have bookmarked the video at Interweave. I recently purchased two journals from an artist. However the paper will only take pen and ink and not watercolor. Sigh! one day I will make one. Will you feel your book will be too precious to work in?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Carmel! 😄 If I start making them to sell, I will let you know! And I’m excited to start using my journal. I like how I can see my painting progress. Sometimes things don’t turn out exactly as planned and I can either cover them up or see it as a learning experience! I also like seeing what I was interesting to me at the time too. I believe images are a good way to document your life – like your sketches! 😊🎨💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All done?! It looks beautiful Jill, do you have special plans for this one? I’ll have to check out those videos at some point. I think since I have been struggling with carpal tunnel, this kind of handwork might not be a good idea, but maybe someday when all is well again. Oh, is it very hard on the hands to make a journal? that is what I do need to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Margaret! 😄 I’m happy it is finally done!! And no special plans, I just want to continue on with painting. It is a little hard on the hands as you have to keep the tension tight on the thread. I think there are easier methods than this one. I’m going to explore it further. If I decide to sell them, I will let you know. 💕🎨

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, your journal looks beautiful. How much space did you leave in the spine between signatures. The reason I am asking is because mine had a little larger gap than I would like. Also, do you feel that this video gives more information than the Sea Lemon video? You will have to post a photo of your first entry in your beautiful new journal! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Annie! 😃 When I open the book, there is about a 1/8th inch gap. I think using a 3-ply thread (I used a 6-ply) would make it tighter but I’m OK with it. And yes, Paige Martin’s video was really good! I have 4 books on bookmaking and I learned the most from her video. She was a professional bookbinder so she gives really great tips! 😍👍


  6. Wonderfull done .. looking forward to seeing them

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This looks absolutely beautiful Jill! And I will try the trick with the telephone book when I start to bind my next one. Really good idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So so lovely Jill! You are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ohh Wow! That’s awesome Jill! Lots of efforts! 👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  10. congrats – that’s a lot of work!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The Journey Within | Jill's Art Journal

  12. Yay! You made a book! I love it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Artful Aspirations

    I agree the 20$ instruction video is worth the purchase. Your art journal turned out spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

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