Thursday, January 21, 2016

Made It: Recycled Mini Journals

Hello! Checked out some Greencraft magazines from the library recently. If you're not familiar with the magazine, it's dedicated to arts and crafts projects created with materials that typically would end up in the recycling bin or garbage can. There's a lot of cutting up of old t-shirts, jeans, packaging and so on to create decorative items, gift packaging, jewelry and more. 

I'm a sucker for journals, so I decided to give Vanessa Spencer's "Recycled Mini Journals" (Summer 2015 issue) a try. I had the materials called for on hand and it looked easy and quick as well.

The project begins with cutting the journal covers; Spencer used food box sections. For the pages, cut paper to a size that's approximately 1/4" smaller than the cover around the entire edge. 

Spencer used 8-10 sheets of paper per journal so that she could sew the pages and cover together on her sewing machine. Before sewing, she folded each sheet of paper in half (do the same with the cover), then sewed cover and pages together. The finished journal now had 16-20 pages. 

Spencer folded the food box section so that the printed side was inside and the blank cardboard side was out. She then embellished the cover with cloth tape along the spine and a rubber-stamped image. 

Easy and quick indeed! I dug out boxes from the recycling bin that had held tea or candy canes and got to work. I found the process to be fun and addictive. Here's how some of my recycled mini journals came out:

This journal is 4"x2 3/4". It has red duct tape along the spine and embellished with a scrap from an Italian tourism guide and a stamped heart.

3 1/4"x3 1/2". Decorative tape, stamped image of grid and dots, stamped eye image. The letter "A" is from a set of vintage file folder labels. 

The two previous journals didn't have the usual plain cardboard color but the last two do:

3 1/2"x5" Blue duct tape, paint chip piece, calendar page scrap, "sail" stamped in black ink. 

A close-up of the sailboat image:

I love that image, especially as a reminder of summer on a typical cloudy, wintry January day in these parts. 

Last journal:

This journal measures 3 1/4"x4 3/4". It's embellished with red duct tape, a heart image cut from serendipity paper (paper made by a friend in an art class we took together years ago), the word "YES" (cut from a vintage magazine mail-in offer) and rubber-stamped images. 

Although Spencer used a sewing machine to bind her mini journals, she suggested one can also use a stapler, twine or hand-stitching. I decided to try the sewing machine method. I wasn't sure how the cardboard/paper stitching would go, but I used a heavy-duty needle and all was well. 

Spencer mentioned using vintage graph paper for her journal pages. I dug through my supply of vintage papers (purchased at thrift stores for DIY journal usage), and here's some of what I used:

Some sort of ledger paper.

Vintage penmanship practice pages. 

Of course, you can use any sort of paper you want; it doesn't have to be vintage. And if you don't want to embellish the front cover, just use the printed side of the package for the outer covers. (and you don't even have to use packaging - the above journal's covers were made from a scrap of watercolor paper that I'd stamped and colored. 

These small journals are a good size to carry around in my purse or a pocket, and I'll enjoy using these simply-crafted items. I think I'll start with the "sail" one - so I can pretend it's a sunny summer day!

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