What does a crafter do when the craft store and the thrift shops are no longer available? She digs through her stash! In mine, I found this tatty atlas and that roll of nautical themed wall paper. You may remember that from a previous thrift the look challenge where it featured as a lamp shade.
Also, not shown, I found a vintage children’s book with beautiful illustrations and a number of pages with racist content. Oh Robert Louis Stevenson, some of your words from the Victoria era did not age well! Some of the illustrations were dicey too. It made it easy for me to chop the book up and use the pretty parts because some of the content did not deserve to see the light of day any longer.
Learning to make books by hand has always tickled my fancy but I didn’t really pursue the idea because it seemed quite complicated. I won’t lie, it IS quite complicated. But complicated things are sometimes just the distraction we need because it’s hard to think of the world falling apart when you’re measuring and slicing and also trying to keep your fingertips.
In addition to the atlas, the book, and the wall paper; I also dug around to find suitable things for the insides. I had a thrifted sketchbook with all the papers gone yellow. I had a box of large yellow envelopes that – no word of a lie – we have had in 5 houses over the last 15 years and had only used maybe 3 of the 100 envelopes inside. I had some card stock, some printer paper and a few other bits and bobs.
Let’s have a look at the larger book. I made 4 signatures of pages, each with their own ‘cover.’ The book pages adorn them nicely and as there was a bit more structure on them, I took the opportunity to add pockets and tuck spots and hidey places.
I didn’t want to waste some of the less pretty paper from the atlas so I bound it inside where it can be collaged on top of or stapled to. I made tags, cards and envelopes for the pockets to give some interest.
The illustrations by Hilda Boswell in this 1963 edition of “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” are absolutely lovely. I picked out any that were about boats or travel or adventure and am so glad they have a place in the world again. I know that dismantling a book, especially a vintage or antique book, can be frowned on (believe me, I’ve done my share of frowning) but this book was no longer suitable for today’s children and it serves a much nicer purpose in this junky journal than it ever would have getting moldy in the bottom of a storage box.
Once I found a rhythm with this it came together quickly. Some other scavenged items I used were: A button from an old pair of pants, some faux leather scraps, some cotton canvas scraps and some string. New supplies I had on hand were glue, double sided tape and some metal book corners I ordered online to finish the project off.
Finding fun ways to include features into a handmade book was a welcome challenge. I wanted using this book to be an exploration. A small notepad was tied in so it can be replaced if it gets used up and most pockets have multiple layers of storage space available.
The book also includes practical features such as a pen holder and tie closure. I had so much fun and now I’m eyeing up the other rolls of wall paper in my stash. I have a roll of vintage strawberry paper and that lovely floral wallpaper we used in our previous home.
The other book I made is more of a folio and you can have a look through the photos below. I hope you’ll consider digging through your stash and looking at what you find in a new way. There’s no need to get as elaborate as I did – I realize it’s a bit extra. But excess paper goods can easily be made into cards and stationery, note pads, simple stapled books and more. Are you crafting through this? I’d love to hear what you’ve been making!
Nik the Booksmith on Youtube
SeaLemon on Youtube
What is a Junk Journal?
Turn an old book into a junk journal
My Handmade Books pinterest board
Supplies I used:
I used a number of supplies, not all of which are needed or required
- Mod Podge
- Aleen’s Tacky Glue
- LePage Glue Stick
- Craft knife and cutting mat
- double sided tape
- gathered papers and card stock
- Cricut Maker
- Eyelets and Eyelet setter
- paint brushes (for glue spreading)