I never go anywhere without a sketchbook journal; it’s the best way to make sure you are working in it, no excuses, and using small bits of time here and there. While I usually use a most substantial journal there are times when it is too heavy to be practical, and then I want a smaller, lightweight book. But – I want it to be noteworthy, so I decorate them before taking them out. (We want compliments, don’t we?) Here is a video showing how I altered the softcover sketchbook above. Below this are some written instructions AND some high-res downloads that you can use to reproduce this book yourself.
You can usually find these soft cover journals in craft, stationery, or book stores. First I put down a messy layer of gauze. If you don’t have gauze you can use cheesecloth or other light fabric, or tissue paper, or skip this step. Over that I added a page from an old French army record book onto which I had stamped a bird’s nest. Now, you can use any page of your own that you fancy but here are some high-res scans that you can download or cut-and-paste and then print and use for your own sketchbook cover or other mixed-media. (Click on the scan to get a larger view.) I have included one with a stamped bird’s nest and one without so you can add your own stamp if you like.
Over this I added a tea bag. I love love layering with tea bags as they go on like shabby chic linen and are as pretty as they are haunting. (Should I make a video about tea bags?) If you have never used tea bags in your work, click here for a link to an earlier post that will get you started. Finally, I did some mark making with some of my homemade walnut ink and a tea cup and added a few scribbles. If you don’t have ink, use acrylics, watercolours, or simply pencil or markers. Improvise.
And there you go. You will get a lot of compliments on this and they make lovely, affordable handmade gifts, too. Please leave me a comment or question. It makes me happy to hear from you. If you like this post, please subscribe to my newsletter for free tutorials, downloads, and the odd pep talk coming straight into your inbox every other week.