Before I learned how to properly bind a book I wasn’t brave enough to even try bookbinding at home. But as I learned more about bookbinding I also found confidence in making books. I found that it is not very difficult or scary, though mine still come out a bit bent, crooked and “special”, hehe. But I enjoy the process of making books even when it’s slow and doesn’t always end up the way I imagined…


Handbound Art Journal Book - photo by @ihanna - copyright Hanna Andersson This is how I started my first handmade Art Journal made at home (and not in class with my teacher to ask stuff).

First you have a lot of small pieces of paper, then you put them together in one way or another.

Voila! A book.

For the cover I used two pieces of stiff cardboard that I collaged with text, some postal stamps and a map.

The pages are yummy watercolor papers, five sewn together in three sections.

Book binding at home

I sewed the book together with extra strong sewing thread, long stitch bookbinding-style, through a piece of linen that I glued to the cover together with. I love linen and I have a few pieces laying around that I want to sew something zakka style with, but I haven’t made up my mind about where to start with that yet.

Handbound at home Art Journal Book by iHanna
The bottom of the spine has one metallic bead…

…and, the top is decorated even more with a dangle made of different beads. Like this:

Bead ornament for bookbinding at home by iHanna #artjournal

At the top of the spine where all the threads come together in a knot I made strings of black and green beads. I love how the dangle when I handle the book and how the black beads shimmer in metallic and green!

This is how the finished book looks:

Handmade Art Journal

I’ve varnished the cover a few times, drilled holes for the button closure and added one of my favorite images to the front cover. I’ve also made a couple of pages inside and let me tell you, I love love love working in this book. My last few journals have been altered books in big size. It’s a very different experience to play on watercolor paper than it is working in altered books. No gesso needed in this one. And I don’t have to take imagery already on the page into consideration before I start.

If you want to make something similar there are a lot of tutorials for bookbinding online. I’ve used Teesha Moore’s tutorial How to make a journal here. Try it out, and let me know what you think! I’ve also written about this book in Swedish in the article Visuell dagbok för alla!