hardcover journal

Handmade journal

The earliest present I remember receiving was on my fifth birthday. A neighbor girl—who was about ten—gave me a notebook and pen (or perhaps it was a pencil). I was so ecstatic to have my own blank notebook that I didn’t even care some of the pages had been torn out. I knew then that I would be a writer!
I still get that feeling of hope for the future; of infinite possibility whenever I pick up a blank journal today. Some of us are just wired that way, and a gift of a journal for such a person is a deeply encouraging gesture.
If you have someone like that on your gift list, let me suggest you make a hardcover journal from scratch (well, not all the way back to the tree), and give a piece of yourself along with the gift. The video below is a step-by-step tutorial for making a hardcover book. And here are the written steps for this tutorial:
1. Sew 6 to 8 sheets of printer paper together in the middle. Use the largest stitch on your sewing machine or stitch by hand.
2. Repeat step one for however many pages you want in the book.
3. Cut two 8 1/2 inch X 3 inch pieces of heavy-duty fabric (I used blackout fabric). Measure the width of all the pages put together and sew two seems down the middle of the two strips (together) as wide as the book will be. This is the spine of your hardcover book.
4. Cut two 8 1/2 inch X 6 inch pieces of cardboard.
5. Cover the inside of one of the outer flaps of the spine with contact cement. Hold it open until it dries. Cover a strip on the front and back of one of the cardboard pieces with contact cement and let it dry completely. Press the cardboard cover inside the flap on the spine and press firmly, smoothing out any wrinkles.
6. Repeat step 5 with the other cardboard cover.
7. Cover the middle of the spine on the inside of the book with contact cement (not rubber cement). Stay inside the two seams! Allow the glue to dry.
8. Hold all the pages together and tamp them down to make sure they are perfectly even. Brush contact cement over the sewn edges of the pages. Allow the glue to dry completely, then press them onto the spine and tamp firmly.
9. Cover the book with any paper you like. Use rubber cement for this. You can easily rub off any rubber cement that doesn’t get covered.
10. Decorate the front cover with something personal for the person who will get the book.

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