These are the instructions for making a hard-bound journal out of standard copy paper, craft paper and chipboard. The journal pages will be sewn together with embroidery thread and glued to the cover with Elmer's glue.
These are instructions are adapted from a few sources as I made my first sewn journal.
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Tools
You will need the following materials:
- 24 sheets of copy paper
- 2 sheets of chipboard
- 2 sheets of card stock
- Glue stick
- 48 inches of embroidery thread
- Craft paper
You will need the following tools:
- Needle (large enough for embroidery thread)
- Bone Folder
- Self Healing Cutting Mat
Step 2: Fold & Crease Your Paper (Signatures)
In this step you will fold the copy paper into small books called signatures that you will later sew together.
Take 6 sheets of copy paper and stack them on top of each other. Fold them in half so the stack of paper (signature) is 8.5 x 5.5 inches. Use the bone folder to crease the fold so that it is flat.
Repeat this step so you have a total of 4 signatures. Label each signature with a number so that you have a 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Step 3: Measure, Mark, Punch, and Label the Holes in the Signatures
In this step you will measure and mark the holes in the center of the signatures. Then you will use an awl to punch holes into the signatures.
Take one signature and open it to the inside fold. Measure and mark points 1.5 inches, 3.5 inches, 5 inches, and 7 inches from the top. With a cutting mat underneath the signature, make holes at the marked points using the awl. To use the awl, press down on the top of the awl with the palm of your hand. You'll need to use some pressure to get the awl through the six sheets of paper but not so much that you go all the way through the cutting mat.
Repeat this step for all 4 signatures and label the top hole on each signature with a "1." You may also label the other holes in each signature as "2", "3", and "4" if you want. To make sure you have measured correctly, stack the signatures and check to see that all of the holes line up.
Step 4: Sewing Signature 1
In this step you will thread your needle with embroidery thread and sew signature 1.
Measure and cut a piece of embroidery thread 48 inches in length. Tie a double-knot 4-5 inches from one end of the embroidery thread and thread the other end through a needle leaving 2 inches of thread from the end.
Take signature 1 and sew your first stitch through hole 1 so that the knot is on the outside of the signature. Continue sewing through hole 2 making your way down the signature. The stitches on the inside of the signature should look like the picture.
Check to make sure that your thread is tight along the center of the signature.
Step 5: Sewing Signature 2
In this step you will sew signature 2 to signature 1.
Take the needle and thread that is attached to the bottom of signature 1 and continue sewing through hole 4 of signature 2. Check to make sure that this stitch from signature 1 to signature 2 is tight. Sew through hole 3 on signature 2 so your needle is now on the outside of your signatures. Next, do a kettle stitch and sew back through hole 3 so that your needle is now on the inside.
Repeat the process of sewing to the outside, doing a kettle stitch, and then sewing back to the inside for hole 2.
Sew through hole 1 so that your needle is on the outside and pull your thread tight (Careful not to pull too hard!). Then tie the embroidery thread to tail of the knot from signature 1.
Step 6: Sewing Signature 3
In this step you will sew signature 3 to signatures 1 and 2.
Take the needle and thread that is attached to the top of signature 2 and continue sewing through hole 1 of signature 3 so that your needle and thread is on the inside. Next, sew through hole 2 on signature 3 so your needle is now on the outside of your signatures. Do a kettle stitch and sew back through hole 2 so that your needle is now on the inside.
Repeat the process of sewing to the outside, doing a kettle stitch, and then sewing back to the inside for hole 3.
Sew through hole 4 so that your needle is on the outside, make a kettle stitch and pull your thread tight (Careful not to pull too hard!)
Step 7: Sewing Signature 4
At this point you should have signatures 1, 2, and 3 sewn together with your needle and thread on the outside of hole 4 on signature 3.
Sew through hole 4 to the inside of signature 4.
Next, sew through hole 3 to the outside of signature 4, do a kettle stitch, and sew back through to the inside through hole 3. Repeat this process for hole 2.
Sew to the outside of hole 1 and do a kettle stitch under the knot you tied earlier (the knot that connected signature 1 with signature 2). This will attach signature 4 to the rest of your signatures. Finally, tie a double knot to complete the sewing. Trim any extra thread at the end of the knot.
Step 8: Strengthen the Spine
In this step you will glue a strip of craft paper to the spine of your signatures.
Take a pre-cut strip of craft paper that is 6.5 inches by 2.5 inches.
Add a small amount of Elmer's glue to the craft paper, then use a small craft stick to spread the glue around evenly. Adhere the craft paper strip so that it's 1 inch from the top and the bottom of the signatures (the spine should be approximately in the middle of your signatures). Take the extra craft paper that is hanging off the sides and adhere it to the front and back covers of your signatures.
Set aside the signatures to dry.
Step 9: Make the Hard Cover
In this step you will make a cover to go over your signatures using chipboard, craft paper and a glue stick.
First, gather your chipboard materials. You need two pieces that are 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches and one piece that is 1/4 inch by 8.5 inches. Next, grab a piece of craft paper that is 13.5 inches by 12 inches. The chipboard and craft paper have been pre cut for you.
Position the chipboard pieces on top of the craft paper so that the 1/4 inch strip is in the middle with an 8.5 inch by 5.5 inch piece on each side. Leave about 1/8 of an inch on each side of the 1/4 inch strip. Try your best to position the pieces in the middle of the craft paper! When you complete this step there should be extra craft paper hanging over all sides of the chipboard.
Once it is positioned, use elmer's glue and a small craft stick to adhere the chipboard to the craft paper. Use a thin layer of glue evenly spread over the entire back of the chipboard.
Next you will glue the overhanging craft paper to the inside of the chipboard cover. Start by diagonally gluing the corners down as shown in the picture above. Once you finish gluing down all four corners, glue the edges down so they lay flat. At this point your cover should look similar to the picture above.
Set your cover aside to the dry for a few minutes.
Step 10: Finish Your Design Journal by Attaching Card Stock to the End Sheets
In this step you'll glue the card stock to the inside cover and the first page of your signature and the back cover to the last page. If you are having trouble understanding the directions, look at an example of a completed journal to help you visualize what to do.
Take your two sheets of card stock and fold them in half. Use the bone folder to get a flat crease.
Spread glue on the front cover of your signatures. Press the card stock on top of the glue and firmly press down making sure no glue comes out of the edges. Flip to the back of the book and repeat this step. Let the glue dry for a few minutes.
Next you will attach your signatures to your cover. You can do this by spreading a thin layer of elmer's glue on the outer layer of the card stock, and then adhering it to the inside of your cover. Repeat this step on the opposite side of your journal. At this point card stock should be adhered to both the front and back of your signatures, as well as the inside front and back cover.
Once you are done close your book and let it dry under some weight for a few minutes.
Congratulations, you're done! Now it's time to start collaging your front and back covers.