WIP: DIY Re-Binding Project

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my notebooks and sketchbooks. I also keep a calendar-style scrapbook, using a 9” x 12” wirebound mixed media Strathmore Visual Journal as the substrate. Each two-page spread covers a single month. I glue in decorative paper, photographs, ticket stubs, and ephemera I’ve found along the way.

By the end of 2013, my scrapbook documented two years of my life. It had grown fatter than its spiral binding could accommodate, even after I removed six months’ worth of unused pages from the back of the book. It clearly needed to be re-bound with a larger spine to allow the pages to turn freely.

I decided to re-bind it by hand. I could have taken it to the office supply store and paid them to rebind it for me, but I decided to re-bind it myself. I purchased a pack of wire binding spines and a pack of spiral binding spines from the craft store, pulled out my pliers, and got down to business.

After prying open the existing wire binding, I removed it and inserted the new wire spine into the holes. That was the easy part. Closing the wire was more of a challenge. Machines that can do the job more quickly and with more grace, but I was doing it by hand. I struggled with the first few teeth, but it got easier after I inserted two wooden dowels to use as leverage. (One larger dowel would have worked, but I used what I had on hand.) The result is a little messy and uneven, but the new spine gives my scrapbook pages room to breathe.

I decided to rebind my current scrapbook using the spiral binding and limiting the number of pages to just cover the current year. Spiral binding is much easier than wire to insert by hand — you just keep threading it through the holes as you twist it in, then finish by bending a little tail on each end to prevent it from working itself out. The result is cleaner and looks more professional.

When I do this again (because you know I will), I will definitely use the spiral binding spines.

Notebook binding

Notebook binding

Notebook binding

Notebook binding

Notebook binding

Notebook binding/

Notebook binding

Notebook binding

WIP: Word Stamps

I saw some cute little word stamps in a catalog, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually pay that much plus shipping to get them. So I made my own using inexpensive wooden alpha stamps from the craft store and a couple dabs of glue. My intention was to use them in my art journal, but I’ve also made some to use as a checklist in my daily notebook.

05-28-2014 13984789266_c9466c9968_o

Why rant?

Why rant?

Words

Words

Excuse

Excuse

A dab of glue.

A dab of glue.

WIP: My Notebooks

I keep two notebooks consistently: my sketchbook and my daily notebook.

My sketchbook captures ephemeral content from my right brain: sketches, doodles, scribbles, random creative inspiration, and color combinations. This is the notebook I also take to meetings and workshops, where I can let my right brain run loose while the left brain pays attention.

My daily notebook stays with me all day to capture the mundane contents of my left brain before they leak out: lists of things to do and things I did, telephone messages, observations, dates, and deadlines. Sometimes I paste in receipts or ticket stubs or the label from something tasty that I’d like to try again.

I prefer a wirebound Canson Universal Sketch in 9″x12″ for the sketchbook and 6″x9″ for the daily notebook. On the outside, I personalize the covers with decorative paper, washi tape, rubber stamps, and stickers. On the inside, I make marks with whatever happens to be handy: pens, pencils, markers, spray ink, etc.

For a brief moment when my notebooks are new, they are crisp and clean and symmetrical. Soon enough, however, they become rumpled and bumpled with water wrinkles, their edges darkened by spilled coffee and ink over-spray, and their bellies fat with pasted-in ephemera and tabs made from washi tape — all of the things that make them MINE.

My notebooks

My notebooks

 

My notebooks

My notebooks

 

My notebooks

My notebooks

 

My notebooks

My notebooks

 

My notebooks

My notebooks

Tools: Paste and a Palette Knife

Paste

I recently opened my second jar of YES paste. It took me nearly two years (maybe longer) to use up my first jar of paste. A little paste goes a long long way, and it took me a while to learn to love it.

I bought my first jar to use in cardmaking to glue decorative paper to the generic white cards I bought in a value pack. Glue stick was inexpensive and easy to apply, but it just wasn’t working for me; parts didn’t stay stuck, or the stick was globby, or the stick dried out long before I had used it all up.

My go-to girl at the art supply store told me to thin YES the paste with water and apply it with a brush. She even picked out a long-handled, half-inch wide hog bristle brush for me to use. It was not her best suggestion. The half-inch brush was too small a tool for the 5”x7” surface I was covering, and thinning the paste with water caused the pretty paper to buckle … and the cat kept stealing the hog-bristle brush.

As a result, I developed a love-hate relationship with that first jar of paste and only used it now and then …until I discovered the palette knife and an application technique that works for me.

To be specific, the Richeson plastic “Scotty” knife won me over. Now I’m using paste on greeting cards and 9×12 journal pages.

I use the knife like a spatula to scoop a glob of paste out of the jar and spread it on the journal page, scraping and removing globs until I have a very thin, very smooth layer of paste. Then I can apply the decorative paper, roll it down with a dry brayer, and close the book to let it dry flat. The plastic knife is inexpensive, flat, and wide. It’s also easy to clean. The dried paste just peels right off.

New(ish) Blog!

New Sketchbook

When I start a new sketchbook, I open the front cover and write my name and the date on the first page. Sometimes I’ll write “NEW SKETCHBOOK!” or add a random color. It’s my way of overcoming first-page paranoia, in which the artist obsesses over what to draw on the first page of a new sketchbook and what to do if the drawing “isn’t good enough”.

So now, as I open the front cover of my brand-new consolidated website and blog, I’ll write my name and the date:

Allison Stein
February 10, 2013

Older posts from this point back are cobbled together from my old Blogspot art blog, my old Live Journal personal blog, and some tweets that were cross-posted to one or the other. I’ve also salvaged and updated some biographical info and other items from my old website. Unfortunately, some of the old art and photos are not making the move. I may upload some of them to Flickr at some point in the future.