The one with the recycled coptic bound journal

12 Jan

Good morning!

This week, I’m going to share a gift I made for one of my favorite people in my world (you know who you are!) I will warn you, however, this is the first time I’ve attempted this and it’s a bit less than perfect. But then, I’m no where near perfect, so, it’s a true reflection of me.

Anyhow, this idea came to me a while back. In real life, I work on a University campus. We get a fair amount of mail, and I started collecting the envelopes. Sometimes it was because  there was a cool stamp, other times I  couldn’t bare to keep throwing them away. Somewhere along the way, the idea of using the envelopes for journal pages was born. And then I thought, I’ve always wanted to learn coptic binding, so I’ll use these envelope pages to build the  journal.

This is where I began:

journal pages

All different size envelopes, different colors. Some with the cool windows (I love the crinkly sound they make!). After matching up all the like sizes, I cut them all open to create “pages”. I then put together 5 signatures of 4 envelopes each (which ends up being 8 pages and 16 sides per signature). I set the signatures aside and began on the cover.

journal cover

Yep, the base of the journal cover is a cereal box (told you this was a recycled journal!). I cut out two same size pieces and covered the shiny side with gesso.

journal cover 2

After the gesso, I added a layer of scrap papers. Which in turn got got covered in a layer of gesso.

journal cover 3

I used scrap book paper on the inside of the cover and did a masking tape boarder to give the edges a finished look.

Now came the really fun part. I started mixing colors and just started adding layers of paint. I used a circle stencil, bubble wrap, a creamer lid, a leave stencil, my fingers, all my usual tools and this is one cover:

journal cover 6

And this is the other:

journal cover 7

I went for bright cheery colors (maybe cause it’s been so gloomy and overcast here lately).

Now comes the not so perfect part. I’ve never done coptic binding before but I love it. It’s elegant and sharp looking when done right. Mine, well, it’s not terrible for a first attempt. The biggest problem was I used waxed linen thread that was too thick for the envelopes. If I had found thiner thread (say that 5 times fast), I think it would have worked out a lot better. If you are interested in learning coptic binding, I highly recommend SeaLemon’s video . Her instructions are clear, concise and  easy to follow.


And here is the completed journal:

journal 4

journal 5

journal 3

journal 2

I think I’m going to try it again sometime with the right thread. We’ll see!

So, tell me, have you ever tried coptic binding? How did your journal turn out?

Till next week,

5 Responses to “The one with the recycled coptic bound journal”

  1. Danielle Leonetti Taylor January 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Wow great book Michelle! I love seeing your projects!

  2. ephemeral gecko January 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    I LOVE this!! I’m a big recycler, but had never thought of creating something like this – you’ve filled my head with new ideas – biggest thank you! 😀 I’ve never tried binding, but am off to check it out now!! X

    • studiobukowski January 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      Thank you! It warms my heart to know my journal has inspired you! And good luck with the binding. I really believe the right size thread makes all the difference!

  3. jimmiesworld January 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    This is so cool. I love this one.

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