Helping Hands Realty
Helping Hands Realty
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Binding Your Own Journal

by Helping Hands Realty 05/03/2020

Photo by Alina Vilchenko from Pexels

The stay-at-home and social distancing orders made during the coronavirus outbreak were undoubtedly hard for introverts as well as extroverts. But the good news is that this time staying inside has allowed many to reconnect with their creative side by unleashing their ideas is a journal. But if you don't have a journal, then what better way to get started than by binding your own?

Journal Binding 101

Journals start as simple books full of blank pages that you slowly fill. You may fill them with pencil sketches, watercolor drawings, or words scrawled out in your favorite felt pen. Or maybe you'll do all three. In any case, journaling is a wonderful hobby that allows a person to get out their thoughts for personal and cathartic benefits. Yet, making that journal has its own artistic merits.

Journal binding, or bookbinding, is a fantastic art form that you likely can do today with just the materials around your home. 

The Basic Instructions for Binding Your Own Journal

  • Choose your covers. The size of your pages will depend upon your covers so make this the first thing you do. You can either start from scratch with thick cardboard or you can tear off the front and back cover from an existing hardcover book you'd otherwise recycle. Decorate the covers as you desire, such as with acrylic painting or a Mod-Podge'd collage of magazine cut-outs. 
  • Grab your paper and cut to size. With the covers in hand, you'll know how small to cut your paper (this is where a paper cutter comes in real handy but scissors will also work). When cutting paper, remember that you will eventually fold each piece in half. So lay both covers side-by-side about an inch apart. Now, you'll want to cut paper so as to fit within this area. For your first journal with coptic binding (to be explained), we recommend having 40 to 80 pages. If you can't find enough of the same type of paper, don't worry! Mixed paper (such as including a portion of colored paper or yellow lined paper) will actually make your journal look more appealing and unique.
  • Fold the Pages into Signatures. Take four pieces of paper and, holding them together, fold in half and crease to create what is called a 'signature'. Repeat this until you're out of your designated paper. If you included mixed paper, intersperse them throughout the signatures instead of making them their own signature. 
  • Make Holes and Start Coptic Stitching. Now time for the binding part! Coptic binding is just one method of bookbinding, but it's one of the most ideal for journals as it requires no gluing and allows owners to open the book completely flat on the back. However, explaining the technique is better done visually, so check out this resourceful video that best explains where to make your holes and sew up your journal with Coptic stitching. 

  • Practice Makes Perfect

    Journal binding is an art process that anyone can master, but only with time. Your first journal will likely have loose stitches and uneven pages, but don't fret! The flaws just make the journal more yours and you will improve your technique with time.