Making an Art Journal

For a long time, I have kept my journal in a book of blank pages rather than lined pages. I like the freedom of being able to draw or write however I want, without lines to get in the way.

My last journal, however, is about 6 pages away from being full, and I have been wanting to get a new one, with watercolor paper. The rougher, thicker paper would be so much fun for drawing or even painting on, and I had my eye on several beautiful journals on Etsy that had watercolor paper and leather covers.

The problem?
They run about $80 apiece.
For the cheaper ones.

Soooo.... my husband, the ever-capable jack-of-all-trades told me that we could make one.
And since he can do pretty much anything, I believed him.
So we made one.
Here's how.

We found watercolor paper on sale at Office Depot, around $4.50 for 16 pages of 140lb paper.
We found leather in Morgan's ever-present piles of "useful scraps."
That he saves for Forever and a Half.
Projects like this are what he uses to prove that he shouldn't have to throw them away.

We cut the paper in half, and then folded each sheet in half. (We folded them one at a time because folding them all at once, or even in groups, was not working so well.)
We then stacked them into four groups of 8 sheets of paper apiece.

At the center crease of each stack of paper, we marked where we wanted the holes to sew the journal together. We then used a sharp little nail to pound each hole through the stack of paper. Morgan actually filed the nail to a sharper point, but I think you could just use a sharp nail.

We did the same thing with each stack of paper. Theron really thought he should be allowed to help.

I then sewed each stack together with heavy thread.

When the stacks were all sewn together, we held them folded and trimmed the edges. Because the paper is so thick, once the stack was folded, the middle pages stuck out a bit more than the outside pages. We trimmed the excess.

We then laid out the leather with the first set of paper in it, and marked how we wanted the front cover. We then marked where the holes in the paper fell, and pounded matching holes in the leather.

I sewed the first batch of paper into the leather, then marked and pounded the next set of holes about 1/4 inch over from the first set. I sewed the second set of paper into these holes. I repeated this for all four sets of paper. 

We then trimmed the leather to the size of cover I wanted. I made the back cover wrap around in a flap over to the front. 

I wanted a leather strap to tie the journal closed with, so Morgan (brilliant man that he is) cut a long strap by cutting the leather in a spiral. 

We cut three slits in the cover of my journal, and one slit in the leather strap, to attach it. Maybe the pictures will explain this better than I can. 

And.... journal! 
For less than $5. 
And a couple hours of work. 

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