I have been wanting to make an art journal using a soft spine technique I recentl discovered. Therefore, I created this soft spine travel journal from that idea and it was turned into a creative retirement gift for a friend.
Mixed media, junk journals, art journaling, and bullet journaling have been an interest for many years. I use a bullet journal as my planning system and it works great for me and serves as a daily creative outlet. More on my basic bullet journal set up can be found on this post: Simple Bullet Journal Set-up
So, the idea of incorporating art, paper, books, and other materials is nothing new for me, but this particular bookmaking technique includes lots of new concepts.
Soft Spine Bookmaking Technique
I’ve most recently been consumed learning about bookbinding. After coming across an artist on YouTube, Melanie Sullivan seeing her creative technique to make a soft spine from canvas . It was so different than anything else I had seen, I knew I had to try it.
So far, I’ve made two of these soft spine books. This post includes one I created as a travel journal for my friend who recently retired and is planning lots of travel in her new found time. I knew it would be a perfect retirement gift for my journaling/writing/memory keeping friend!
Before I gave it to her, I wanted to document the journal so I made a flip through video and posted it on my own YouTube channel.
Actually this is the inaugural video over there and I enjoyed making it so much, I plan to do more. (Feel free to click over, subscribe and comment if you are so inclined. I would greatly appreciate it!)
Although I didn’t film an actual how-to process, I am thinking a tutorial might be in order. In the meantime, you can check out Melanie’s video for a great tutorial.
I left this particular journal fairly plain with little interior embellishments and more space for journaling and travel ephemera. Each of the three signatures has an envelope and plenty of pockets and tuck spots to keep more travel memorabilia and photos.
I’m pleased with the way this journal turned out and I especially love the soft spine to allow for the journal to be folded around on itself. It is so much easier to use in my opinion.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
Journal Supplies and Description
The travel journal cover is actually a front and back cover from an old book that I cut the paper and spine from and painted with gesso, black, white, and gold paint, as well as black ink.
The word “travel” is made from some old scrapbooking chipboard letters that I painted black and adhered to the cover.
The spine is from a pad of canvas paper I picked up at my local craft store. It is painted with acrylics and a Dina Wakley stencil pattern in black added on top. It is folded in half and sewed with a sewing machine straight stitch.
Attaching the soft spine onto the covers, I used my Crop-a-Dile to punch holes down the sides of both covers. Then a chain stitched was used to attach it with a heavy thread. Inside cover pages of recycled scrapbook paper is used on the front and back covers with ribbons added to keep the journal closed; anticipating the addition of lots of memories inside this journal!
This book has three signatures of about 10-12 pages each – which makes this particular journal have approximately 70 pages. I sewed in the signatures to the spine using a 5 stitch pamphlet stitch.
The art of bookmaking gives me such joy. To see a one-of-a-kind journal or book come together using recycled papers, discarded junk mail, and other found packaging and art supplies is a wonderful creative outlet.
I’m excited to try some other bookmaking techniques and incorporate more watercolor, mixed media and art.