I love making journals, and I always come up with new ideas for them. I decided to try to sell some of them, moslty because I made more than I can use. But how to price a handbound, painted, sewn and decorated journal? It takes for ever to create one of these beauties. I get caught up in the details of it…
Making a hand bound journal
To make a journal I save and collect envelopes, papers and images for a few months (and years). Then I assemble the pages, cut & fold them, sort through them, punch holes and sew all of the signatures together. I’m using red bookbinder’s thread for sewing (because it’s important to me that they keep together and don’t break), but other than that there are no fancy material in them. But lots of loved papers – and a whole lotta prettiness!
I also need to cut cardboard for the cover and spine, create a pretty cover fabric, glue it all together, press it and line the inside of the covers. It’s a few hours of work, except that I’ve also kind of decorate and play on all the pages. They are not as “almost finished” as the ones I make for myself, but instead they provide a starting point for the person who will work on them. At least that’s my hope. I think of them as prompts or a way to spark your imagination, and to prevent “blank page syndrome”.
I like my journals to be bound books. They should be 1) sturdy, 2) rather thick, and 3) have lots of room to play on. Many handmade journals for sale on Etsy are quite expensive even though they are a few pages (20) stapled together with flimsy and thin fabric or paper covers. To me, they are not books but booklets. Yes they are super cute too, I know and I love making those. But to me an art journal is different. It’s something to throw in your bag and bring places. A journal should have room for writing long stories in or to experiment with sketching and painting.
A journal is something you work in for at months or at least a few weeks. I love when a journal is thick enough to become a part of my life for a while. I hope the pictured Journal of Scraps no 1-journal will make someone happy.
Pricing a handmade journal
You see a lot of journals for sale, but not many that are similar to this one: sturdy, thick and with lots of pages. Natalie Uhing wrote about this a while back:
Why anyone would underprice their work when they make special, laborious, one-of-a-kind items is beyond me. Is it just to get shop ratings up? Is it to become popular, at any price? Shouldn’t we help raise the standards and public awareness of how time-consuming a handmade item is by setting a realistic price that takes some of our time into account? We all stand to gain from increased value, I think.
She herself makes beautiful writing journals with patchwork covers, & charges 52 dollars for them in her Etsy Shop Smallest Forest (shipping from Australia to Europe is 28). I think it’s cheap if you consider the amount of work + time that goes into making a handmade journal. But pricing is hard. How do people do it?
I showed you how I made a stitched and painted cover for a journal way back when (so if you don’t remember it take a look at it now). The cover has acrylic paint, applique and awesome yummy free motion sewing (love free motion sewing!). I’m calling it Journal of Scraps no 1 in the hope there will be a #2 someday soon.
I promised to follow up that post with a post showing the many inside pages, and to list it on Etsy (my Etsy shop has been empty during the summer). It took until now to do this, and I still don’t know if it’s priced “correctly”, what ever that means… It’s a journal made out of paper, but also a work of art with many many hours in the making presenting a potential buyer with many many pages to play on!
You can read more about this journal in the Etsy listing, and in tomorrow’s post I will show images of almost all the inside pages to inspire and make your mouth water! ;-)
Want it? Grab it quickly – it’s a one of a kind never to be reproduced again.