02 July 2015

Build Your Own Scrap Book

Today’s adventure was reworking some old hardcover books into multi purpose journal and scrap books.

The Reluctant Farmer and I have some travel plans for the fall (more on that later), and I wanted a travel journal that could contain things like ticket stubs and postcards and notes about what we saw and did, something more creative and personalized than a photo book created after the fact … I wanted something that would help me to be mindful *during* the trip, not focused just on “getting a good picture” but on having a good time and enjoying the moments as they come, then taking some time in the evenings to digest and document the adventure.

So I pondered the ideal travel journal.

I decided it needed to be expandable along the spine, because when you start pasting in bits of paper and ephemera, it gets thicker than just plain paper. It needs some pockets for little bits and bobs that you don’t want to glue down, but want to keep with everything else. It needs a good sturdy cover, as it’ll be hauled about. It needs to call to me, to feel like my words and additions to the page are essential to it’s purpose.

I looked at a lot of neat images on Google: try searching for “art journal” or “upcycled book journal”, lots of clever ideas are out there. Then I decided to just get out my materials and see what happened.IMG_1382

I have a big box of assorted papers downstairs, lots of different coloured pages, fancy printer paper, card stock, all kinds of things. I found some old children’s books that have been outgrown at this house and were in fairly sad shape. I dug up some white glue, a paintbrush, some adhesive dot things (which are amazingly cool!), some ribbon, some beads, and some brown paper bags.

Then I got to playing.

I removed the pages from the books, then used white glue and assorted bits of paper to decoupage over the covers, which were quite sorry looking.

IMG_1384As those dried, I folded paper: with a bit of experimentation I found that I could create little ‘booklets’ that would fit inside the book covers, and with a hole punch and ribbon, I could thread them together to make a sort of codex. I intentionally used a variety of paper sizes, weights, and styles so that the book encourages “non-linear composition” … you might make a sort of title page on the little narrow piece, or attach something to the larger portion at the back of a section. Every few pages there’s an envelope glued to the page, to hold assorted little things.

The whole assembly was then put together: one book had the spine removed, so I created a sort of spine from reinforced card stock and covered the entire thing with clear packing tape to both reinforce and protect the paper design. The other book had the spine still, though it needed some Gorilla Tape to reinforce it: I poked holes through the spine and threaded the ribbons through them, using beads to secure the knots on the outside of the book.IMG_1385


I’ve started practicing with the brightly coloured one – I began by writing about the yard redesign I’ve been working on so much this summer. What an enjoyable way to write about things! You don’t feel like you have to tell a story in any particular order, you can just write things down as they come to you, in whatever direction you feel like writing!

I think I’m really going to enjoy this. What a fun project!

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