Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brown Paper Bag Journal-Tutorial

Tuesday's post had a sneak peek of this journal I made last week.  You can see by the pencil it isn't a large journal, but a size I can throw in my purse.  I had finished a journal for my Paper Traders Swap and my book making MOJO was still in full force, so I decided to make a sketch/drawing journal that I could carry with me.

I wanted a worn, leathery look for the cover and remembered watching a home designer show, on TV, years ago.  He made a wall with a faux leather look, and I decided to give it a try for a book cover.

I finally found a brown paper bag in the garage, they are almost extinct due to all the plastic bags the grocers use now.  There are still a few that offer the paper option, and I try to get a few when I see them (or when I have waaaaay to many plastic ones stored away....which I do recycle and up-cycle, just not for food items) Yes, I do take clean ones home empty :-O because I have a microwave popcorn recipe that requires brown paper bags and I want my popcorn in a clean, unused bag! I usually try to remember to take my fabric bags in, but there are THOSE times that it doesn't happen.  So anyway I found the bag, just a large grocer bag, but one of the heavier paper variety, 
I cut the bottom off and the cut it apart at the seam, then cut it into two pieces so it was easier to handle.
Next step is to wad it up tight in a ball and get it all wrinkled.  I usually do this three or four times, some times stepping on it to get some good deep wrinkles.

Next I laid it out on the bar and covered it with ink.  I used a distressed ink with a dauber top.
The next step is kind of messy and you may want to put on some rubber gloves.  I took the ink dyed paper over to the sink and got it soaking wet and wrinkled it up to wing it out as much as possible.  NOTE: I did not wear gloves and my hands looked like I had applied self tanning lotion and never washed my hands afterwards LOL!!

It was then laid out flat on paper towels, and I repeated the steps for the second piece.
Once they were dry I trimmed the pieces a bit more, and glued a piece of Tyvek to the back side of one piece.  Tyvek is made by Dupont, and they make large envelopes with it.  They are usually Express Mail envelopes.  You can buy them at most any office supply store, or you can pick them up at the post office.  I had picked this one up at the post office to mail my swap journal in, but unfortunately the journal wouldn't fit, along with some other goodies, so I had to use the cardboard kind.

I sandwiched the Tyvek between the two pieces.
Tyvek is VERY strong and fibrous and hard to tear, that is why they make envelopes with it.   I have used strips of this to make the binding of a journal strong enough so the stitching won't tear through.  Since this is going into my purse I needed the whole cover to be durable.
Once the glue was dry I trimmed the sandwich to the proper size.

From here I had forgotten all about the camera......LOL I was on a mission!!
 I used 3 sheets of white cardstock cut in half and then folded them in half and stacked them to make the signature.  The signature was sewn into the cover.  I did ink the edges of the cover to make them darker, and I sprayed some gold shimmer onto it for some depth.  I added brads to the corners and where the latch hoop is mounted to the book.  The what to where?????  The loop that holds the pencil is attached to the right side of the cover.  It slips through a loop on the left side of the cover, the pencil slides through the loop from the right cover, and provides me a place to keep my pencil and keeps the journal closed!!  I used strips of the brown paper bag and stamped the words with black Staz-On ink.  I tore the "Inspire" edges and distressed them with ink.  The "ART" was stamped then just trimmed out.  Everything was a little dark, so I took a white Gel pen and highlighted both.

This is my first try at this type of journal cover and what did I learn?
1. Wear rubber gloves when inking the paper and getting it wet.
2. Cut cover pieces to the correct size before adding Tyvek
3. Cut Tyvek a little smaller than cover so it doesn't show in the edge of the sandwich.

So that's it for today, so far anyway.  Hope it wasn't all too confusing.
Inky Hugs


  1. Super tutorial, we don't get given paper bags here only plastic x

  2. I have used Tyvek for years and just love it. Your cover is great.

  3. What a wonderful journal you have created.

    Regards diane

  4. Brilliant tutorial, Krisha
    Rosie x

  5. Hi Krisha, this is a great journal. It looks like one of those projects where the end result is worth the mess. The leather look is superb. Not heard of Tyvek but I think I get the jist of what it is from your description. I love the tips at the end to help if anyone wants to have a go. Thanks for sharing. Hugs Mo x

  6. Great tutorial with a wonderful finished project.