Easy DIY Art Journal Out of a Composition Book

Saturday, February 25, 2017

In this easy and cheap tutorial, I tell how I make an art journal out of a composition book.  There is little cost and as little as two materials needed.  It's a great way to get into art journaling without breaking the bank or having to worry about finding fancy art materials.

This is the type of art journal in which I began my art journal.  So, it's near and dear to my heart.  There's just something about a composition book, or an old notebook, that evokes my creativity without adding any pressure to doing an art page.  It's just pure fun and you can make it completely your own.

Video (With Steps and Instructions)

Or watch on youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BblpTSzqj-4



Composition Book

Optional Materials:

Strong Tape (ex. duct tape)
Deli or Wax Paper
Materials to Decorate Cover


Optional Preliminary Step: Reinforce the Stitching and Spine

 - Find the middle of the interior of the composition notebook. Locate the stitches which bind the paper, or signature, into the notebook.  Then, reinforce them with strong tape or glue.

In this project, I used duct tape. I've have seen others do this with a bead of glue, but that will require added drying time.


Step 1: Thinning Out The Pages

 - When using certain art journal materials, like collage pieces, card stock, or die cuts, a lot of bulk gets added to the journal over time. So, unless you want a massively thick completed journal, pages need to be thinned out in the beginning.

 - I tend to do mostly collage art or mixed media journal pages.  So, I thinned my pages quite aggressively in this project.  I used the following pattern for tearing the pages out: skip two, tear three, skip two, etc throughout the entire journal.

 - You may not need to thin as many pages if you do not use really thick products.  Regardless of how many you decide to tear out, leave or skip two in between.  This will give your journal a cleaner finished look after finishing the final step.

 - The only time this pattern may be off is when you get to the middle if you reinforced the stitches.   The pages that make up the middle need to stay attached.

 - Tear the pages as close to the spine as possible without tearing them out of the stitches.  This could loosen the binding.


Step 2:  Gluing or Reinforcing the Pages

 - This step takes the longest of any other step by far.  I usually do this while watching a show or over a couple days as I get a free minute.

 - Since the notebook paper inside of composition books is usually thin and flimsy, I double my pages up.  I do this by gluing the pages together, with a glue stick, two pages at a time.  This gives a sturdier surface for collage to adhere to and for paint not to complete soak through.

 - (Some additional surface primer, such as gesso, may be needed on the pages for certain materials--especially very wet mediums I don't do this until I begin a project as such materials are usually quite expensive. I've found that I've not needed this extra step with collage or when just using paint as an added accent.)

- Remember how you skipped 2 pages between the pages that you tore out? This is to give the journal a cleaner look.  Glue the pages together to hide the rough edges from the torn out paper.  In other words, "sandwich" the rough edges from papers being torn out close to the spine inside the pages you are gluing together.

 - If you wish to hide the inner stitches, whether reinforced or not, glue the absolute center pages together.

 - I use deli or wax paper in between the new double pages as I'm gluing.  This way I don't have to wait until a page dries together to move on to the next for fear of gluing the entire book shut. This cuts down a lot of time.

Once the glue dries, you are ready to journal your heart out!


Want to see how I did the cover? Check out my post with video HERE.

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