Letter Journal Love – 2. Making your journal

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 sheets of A4 or foolscap paper (roughly the same weight as regular printer or copy paper is great)
  • one sheet of thicker paper or card
  • a ruler and pencil to measure and mark where to cut your pages
  • needle and thread
  • scissors
  • various art making supplies like: paint, coloured pencils, stamps, pens and coloured markers, collage materials, glue.

HOW MANY SHEETS OF PAPER?

  • one sheet of paper or thin card to become the cover
  • 4 sheets of paper to become the insides

WHAT KIND OF PAPER?

You can use a range of papers including ones you have printed, stamped or painted on, as well as reused papers. Please keep the journal as light as you can. Thin and light paper the same weight you would normally put through a photocopier or printer. Try: old envelopes cut open, old brochures, “to do” lists, pages from magazines or books, sheet music, paper doilies, old letters, tracing/architects paper, scrapbooking paper with patterns on it, plain coloured paper, hand made paper, origami paper, plain paper that you’ve painted on, old gift wrapping paper that is still flat not crinkly… etc.

WHAT SIZE?

  • each sheet of paper should be 8 inches by 8 inches square once you’ve finished cutting it

HOW DO I MAKE THE JOURNAL?

Cut each sheet of paper to exactly 8 inches by 8 inches (that’s 20.3cm by 20.3 cm, but hey what’s 3mm between friends?)

Fold all the sheets of paper in halves

Put the cover on the outside

Stitch down the centre to join all the pages

HOW DO I SEW IT?

You can sew it down the centre along the crease line when the pages are flat. Stitch it however you like just so the pages stay together and the thread you are using is not too bulky (postage services like flat letters so avoid very thick embroidery cotton or wool for stitching – just regular cotton is fine).

Try: running stitch, pamphlet stitch, or even running it through your sewing machine if it is big and chunky and you think it can handle it. This isn’t a sewing or embroidery class so no one is checking your stitching for neatness – I promise! Just give it enough stitches so it holds together securely and will withstand a few months of worldy travel and art making.

Check out my YouTube Video HERE to see all kinds of paper and that wonky is absolutely OK.

HOW CAN I CHECK THAT IT IS THE RIGHT SIZE?

Your journal when made should be 8 inches tall by 4 inches wide (20.3 cm tall by 10cm wide). Get yourself a standard long rectangular letter envelope (DL is the official name for the size we use,  in international mail language) and check that your journal fits in there.

WHAT IF MINE IS A BIT WONKY OR NOT QUITE EXACTLY SQUARE?

Join the club! Many of mine are a bit wonky. Sometimes I even cut wiggly edges or deliberately make a teensy tiny page in the middle of the journal just for fun. You can! It’s yours. Or you can be extremely precise. That’s also OK! What I would say though if you aren’t big on measuring is it needs to fit inside the envelope!!! And… please don’t use an envelope dimensions as a guide – use the 8 inches by 4 inches measurements I’ve given above. Because (imagine lots of boring details here about US envelopes vs the rest of the world – etc ) just trust me on this one – you don’t want your journal popping out of its envelope and getting damaged. So. Always make your journals to the dimensions above. A bit wonky is OK, and slightly smaller than the suggested dimensions is OK but please don’t make it any bigger or it might pop its seams on its travels. And that would be awkward!

HOW MANY DO I MAKE?

You will need to make just one journal for each swap you are in. You will receive this journal back at the end of the swap.

 


 

CHECKLIST

♥ Do you understand that the paper we use needs to be light – not heavy watercolour or cartridge paper?

♥ Do you get that each piece of paper is 8 inches by 8 inches before it is folded in half?

♥ Have you done some painting or printing on the pages you are going to use (optional)?

♥ Are you giving yourself a break about your stitching and not too worried about getting it perfect?

♥ Do you understand that once you join a swap you will need a journal ready to start working in, and that you only need ONE even though the swap will be with 4 people?

 

If so my friend you are ready to make your journal!! Have fun! Share a photo with us when you make your first blank journal! We will cheer you on.

Next step in your induction and training is to read about Module 3 – what materials to use. Please don’t join your first swap before you’ve completed every module.

Looking forward to seeing your lovely work, swapping with you and having fun.