I'll admit, I've been a bit of a cheapskate lately. Over the past few months, I've done anything to get by on craft supplies and stash fabrics that I already have in the house, and to be honest, it's rather liberating. It was hard at first to get into a rigid "no spend" mentality, but now it feels like cheating when I actually do have to go out and buy a supply or two. So when I recently got into art journalling, of course I didn't go out and buy one of those fancy little watercolor sketchbooks. Naw. I upcycled one of my old ones!
(By the by, the impetus for this upcyling came from the lovely Shealynn and her wonderful talents at, like, everything.)
I had an obsession with Canson XL Mix Media sketchbooks while I was into graphite sketching years ago, so I had one hardly used one on hand. Of course it's not the greatest quality paper and I know I could be using something well above student grade, but you know, I'm just learning and I'd rather mess up on cheap paper than on "the good stuff".
Now, on to the tutorial!
-Spiral bound sketchbook or journal
-Solid colored paper
-Scissors or razor-blade
-Preferred paper glue
-Book plate sticker
First things first, gently pull up the spiral coil and take the covers off. Careful, you don't want the rest of the sketchbook coming with them.
Next, line up one of the covers on your patterned paper so that all but the coil holes will be covered by the paper. Cut a 1 1/2" border around the cover edge.
Next, cut a square into the bottom two corners of the paper to make the next step easier (and more elegant looking).
Use your preferred paper glue and wet the entirety of the paper, affixing it to the cover board. Fold the border flaps and smooth to get rid of bubbles.
Next, trim your solid-colored paper so that about 1/4" of the patterned paper is still visible around the border. Affix to the inside of the cover.
Repeat for the back cover, and you're finished! The following steps are optional for over-achievers who wish to further customize their new upcycled journal.
Optional: I used my Pitt artist pen (best thing EVER) and filled in the area around the spiral holes on the outer cover. (You'll notice I covered the board so that the ugly blue Canson cover was facing the inside of the journal.)
Optional: I also glued a white ribbon to the join between the paper and the spiral holes to make the transition much smoother.
Optional: I affixed one of my favorite book plate stickers to the inside front cover for further personalization.
And there you have it, start to finish!
Post Script on My Patterned Paper
I just wanted to add a postscript to comment on my paper- I bought it at a marvelous little Roman journal/paper shop called Cartoleria Pantheon. They have a website, but it's very limited. One must visit their shops in Rome in order to fully appreciate the worth of this paper!
Here's a sneak peek:
Oh, believe me. It's heavenly. The place smells of journal leather and old ink.
Disclaimer: I did NOT receive any of the products featured in this tutorial for free in exchange for an honest review. My promotions are personal recommendations!