- Cardboard--You can unfold a cardboard box and cut yours out of it.
- Duct Tape--I've found that if you want a high quality art journal, use Platypus Designer Duct Tape. You can find it online.
- Origami paper, scrapbook paper, colored paper...get creative!
- Embroidery floss--Think rainbow!!
- Embroidery needle
- Paper for the inside--Printer paper works just fine.
- X-acto knife
- Cutting mat
- Closure system (Velcro, Elastic, Magnet)
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Step 1: The Cardboard Cover
Find some cardboard! I used a regular cardboard box and unfolded it. Then I used an X-acto knife to cut one edge of it, resulting in a long piece of cardboard. Decide what size you want your journal to be and mark the rectangular shape onto the cardboard using a pencil and ruler. Depending on how much paper you are using, draw two lines in the middle of the rectangle for the spine. Once you are done drawing the outline, use a X-acto knife to cut out your rectangle.
Then, take your ruler and press it against one of the two spine lines. Bend your cardboard. Then, place your ruler on the other line of the spine, and bend the cardboard again. Close the cover as you would a book, seeing the form of the journal starting to take shape.
Step 2: Paper
Next is the paper! Choose whatever kind of paper you want for the inside. You could use drawing paper if you want, but otherwise printer paper works just fine. Fold your stack of paper in half, then use your ruler to crease it on the side. If your paper is too tall for your journal, mark along the top how much to cut off, and then snip it away!
Step 3: The Binding
Now take a large needle and poke 3 holes in the middle of your paper. This is really hard to do and requires a lot of force. If you have a book-binding awl, use that! Otherwise, wiggle the needle back and forth through the layers of paper, then flip the paper upside down and push down on it, allowing the needle to poke up through the paper.
Now single-thread your needle with embroidery floss. Knot it at the end. Keep in mind that it will look nicer if you use an embroidery floss that matches your duct tape. Stick your needle through your first hole coming from the back so the knot will be hidden later. You can stitch through the holes however you like and however many times you like, but you can look at my photographs to see how I did mine. After you have finished stitching, knot at the back so it will not show.
Step 4: DUCT TAPE!
I very highly recommend Platypus Designer Duct Tape for this project. It has a nice texture that is unlike ordinary duct tape, and makes your journal feel high quality.
With your journal bent a little bit, take the first and last pages of the paper booklet and tape them to the cardboard cover. Some adjusting may be required. Then, turn your journal upside down and start ripping pieces of tape a little longer than the journal. Tape the first piece with about an inch over-hanging the top. Do not stick the top down yet. Continue taping, lining up each strip of tape with the bottom of the last. Once you get to the bottom of your journal, do the same as you did for the top. Fold over all of the sides of the tape except for the top and bottom. For the top and bottom pieces, flip over the journal to the open side, and cut the tape at the corners so that both pieces will fold over nicely. Also cut on each side of the spine, and stick the spine's section of tape down last. See the photos for a visual explanation.
Step 5: Interior Paper Design
Now it's time to break out that beloved scrapbook paper, origami paper, or other fashionable, intriguingly-designed materials made from trees. Cut the paper (hopefully you are not emotionally attached to it) so that there is at least a border of one inch of cardboard around it. Rip one piece of duct tape as tall as your journal. Then rip it in half lengthwise. Do the same for the width, and rip it in half also. Use those pieces to tape the paper to the inside of your journal. You may choose to put paper on the back cover as well.
Step 6: Closure System
I find that elastic makes a nice way of closing your art journal, but my first version used velcro and worked efficiently as well. You may try to do something with magnets similar to my velcro method, although I have not ventured that far into the forest yet.
To make an elastic closure, cut a strip of elastic about the size of the length of your journal. Check to make sure the length you choose will work before cutting. Then, position the elastic where you would like to have it on the front, and flip your journal over and temporarily tape it down with small, extra tape pieces. After you know you want it there for sure, take off the emergency tape strips one at a time and stick a full strip of duct tape the length of the journal on top of the elastic at the back. Press down firmly until in place.
For a Velcro closure, rip a piece of duct tape and fold it lengthwise. Cut it accordingly and tape one end to the back of the journal. Then stick a square of sticky-sided Velcro to the other end, and place another on the front of the journal. Voila!
Step 7: You Are Done!
Good job, you have made your own duct tape art journal! You will continue to get better and better as you make these. The first drawing I make is designing the first page--I write my contact information on the page in case I somehow lose my journal, and I draw a lot of fun doodles around it! Then you can start covering the blank pages with color and feeding your never-ending imagination through creativity!
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