With an inexpensive composition notebook and a few supplies, you’re ready for Easy Journal Prep.
Let’s get ready for art journaling and worship!
The following instructions are basic to creating an inexpensive art journaling volume, but from there the possibilities are endless.
- composition notebook WITH STITCHED SPINE – 100 sheets (200 pages)
- sponge brush – or any brush you have – you can also scrape Mod Podge on with an old credit card…
- Mod Podge – I used glossy because that’s what I had and I wanted to use it up. – to stick pages together so the art doesn’t bleed through as much.
- **Glossy Mod Podge CAN BE STICKY EVEN WHEN DRY when it is on the top of your pages.
- glue stick – for attaching items to your pages
- **(I’ve stuck pages together with glue sticks before, but they didn’t seem to STAY stuck with all the wet stuff I use in the book.
- string or ribbon to strengthen the binding
- wax paper or foil to protect things you don’t want to get messy.
2. Determine your target # of pages and if you want 1-page or 2-page spreads.
(A 1-page journal entry uses either the left or the right page in the open book. A 2-page spread stretches across both.) See the following examples:
If you want 1-page entries and the total number of entries doesn’t matter to you, move on to Step 3.
If you want 2-page spreads and the total number of entries doesn’t matter to you, move on to Step 3.
If you want 2-page spreads for a 52-week project then you have to get a bit creative.
When you open the cover, you first see a single page on the right. We’ll call this your TITLE PAGE. Turn the page to view the first 2-page spread, PAGE 1. If you skip the next 2-page spread (by gluing it to the back of PAGE 1, then you are at PAGE 2.
If you continue like this, numbering a page and gluing/skipping the next spread, then you will end up with only 50 spreads. For 52 spreads, you’ll need to have SEVERAL PAGES THAT ARE NOT glued together. To support journaling, I collage junk mail onto the pages instead. Ok, it’s generic investment stuff, but it’s outdated, so I upcycle… I also upcycle old phone books, newspapers, sale flyers.
By adding heft to several pages in both halves of the notebook, you can end up with 52+ pages for your year-long project. SKIP STEP 3.
3. Pulling pages
Once you add all the yummy stuff to your journal pages (paint, watercolor, glued-on items, etc), your notebook is going to get fat and wonderful. Since you don’t need a specific number of pages, you should probably tear out some sheets before you start. This will let your notebook stay flatter and easier to work on. Here’s what I mean:
Middle – New comp notebook fresh from the store. No changes yet.
Bottom – 15 of the 100 have been removed
To tear out sheets:
a. find the center of your NB. LOOK FOR THE STITCHED SEAM.
We are going to save this for last – We’ll put one of our strings here.
b. Flip 2-3 pages toward the back. Rip out a page. Look under the binding to find the other half of the sheet you just ripped.
It will come out easily now.
c. Flip 2-3 more pages and repeat. I removed 15 SHEETS – this means I ended up with 30 PAGES free from my NB.
Composition Notebooks are cheap. This means they are wonderful, but the pages are VERY THIN. I don’t like when my writing or art bleeds through. So I glue 2 pages together.
a. cover your work surface with wax paper or foil or something to protect the surface. (I work on my kitchen table. Today I used a priority mail box I got from the post office as my surface protector.)
b. Start at the center of your NB. FLIP TWO PAGES to the back. Now you have a 2-page spread open that is NOT CONNECTED TO YOUR CENTER spread. Use your foam brush to apply Mod Podge (MP) on the top/bottom/outer edge of your right-hand page. DO NOT APPLY AT THE EXACT EDGE or you will squish MP out onto your other pages and have a HUGE MESS. The MP causes the ink from the lines to run.
Carefully turn the page and use your hand (or an old credit card if you’re avoiding wrinkles) to smooth down the page.
Now the glued pages are on your left. Turn 1 page. Apply MP on the right and repeat.
Find a rhythm and keep on going. Do this to the front of your NB, too. DON’T GLUE TO THE CENTER PAGES YET!
5. Reinforce the binding
One of the saddest things that can happen with a composition notebook is to spend hours creating and arting in it, and then it falls apart. Pages should stay IN the notebook! But, you get what you pay for, and the cost of our notebook sets us up for FAILURE.
So, let’s set up for SUCCESS!
a. cut 3 strings into lengths of 1 yard each.
b. lay string 1 in the center of your NB and tie on the top edge, pulling tight.
NOW, GLUE YOUR TWO SINGLE CENTER PAGES TOGETHER AROUND THE STRING.
And you are done!
Good luck with your project!