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CROSS-BOUND PLANNER JOURNAL - Imagination Crafts DT project

Here, I've altered a blank Planner/Journal by Imagination Crafts - which was spiral bound until I got my hands on it, lol.
The bare planner is A5 size, with black spiral binding. The covers are primed canvas board, the paper is perforated with a small margin, and is a plain off-white.
The covers

The first thing I did was to remove the binding from the covers. What I've done here is actually a form of Japanese Stab Stich binding, which is wonderful for any journal, album etc. (I have a very in-depth tutorial in my Etsy shop).

Next, I measured the width of the perforation section, and marked that onto the front cover. I then marked a second vertical line approximately 2mm away from this. I used a craft knife and a metal edged ruler to cut through at the first line, then again at the second line. Discard this. (If you have a strong guillotine, this step would be even easier).
Next, I used a scrap of waste rice paper to form a hinge where I removed that little section of board. Rice paper has fibres, which makes it extremely strong, and perfect for a hinge. You could also use Tyvek, Mulberry paper or even gauze bandage - you just need a strip wide enough to bridge both sides of the board. 

I used Magi Bond glue for this, but any good PVA would also work. Check the front cover is the same width as the back cover, and press the paper down slightly, into the gap, to form the hinge. Be gentle while it's wet as you don't want to tear it. Set aside to dry, then turn over and add a second strip to add more strength. The back cover you can leave as is, as the pages will turn freely - or you can repeat the above if you'd like your back cover to have a hinge as well.

Like I did for the Altered Book (see my previous post for instructions) cover with scrapbook paper, and press the paper gently into the hinge gap with a bone folder or the end of a paintbrush. Make sure the cover moves freely. 
Allow to dry, then decorate the inside covers with rice paper (I chose this rather beautiful Shabby Chic background design). Glue down with Decoupage Plus on the board, smooth the paper over, then add a second layer of glue on top of the rice paper as well. Note that you will have covered the holes - more about that, later....

Make sure this layer is thoroughly dry before you start work on the outsides of the covers, or you'll be working with a soggy mess which will take forever to dry out. If the rice paper is sticky, place a piece of clingfilm, waxed paper or freezer paper (waxed side towards the paper) and sandwich the whole lot between blotting paper or kitchen roll. Weigh down with some magazines, telephone directory or whatever, and leave for a couple of hours (I usually leave it overnight, and start fresh in the morning). Peel off the clingfilm or whatever, and your covers will be beautifully smooth, dry and hard, perfect for working on.

Front cover
First, I painted over the scrapbook paper (back and front covers )with Shabby Chic Paste in Ashy Rose, diluted with water, to act as a chalk paint. 

Taking one of the journal pages, I used this to mark the holes I wanted for my stitching. As this journal had an even number of holes (odd is better for this binding) I did it this way: pierce the top two holes then miss one, pierce one, miss one, etc, all the way down. Repeat for the back cover.
Using a damp paint brush and clean water, I drew around the woman to detach her from the rice paper. You might have noticed she's a black & white image - I tinted the dress, eyes, lips and cheeks with very diluted watercolour. You could also use Distress ink - but smoosh it onto a tile or palette first, then pick up with a paint brush or waterbrush, and test on a scrap of paper to make sure the colour is diluted enough. You just want a hint of a tint!

The next step was to stencil the text from the feather stencil, using my beloved Structure Paste (in my opinion, the best on the market). Once dry, I used a brayer to add Starlights paint in Bright Gold over the top, very lightly, to gild the lettering. 

The butterflies were glued to text weight paper with Decoupage Plus, then fussy cut when dry, and glued with glue gel for dimension. I also added gold down the bodies and on the edges of the wings of the pastel butterflies using the same Starlights paint and a fine paint brush. I added drop shadow to the other butterflies with diluted grey watercolour.

Back cover
Again using a damp paint brush, I drew around the clock face to cut it out, then painted the back of the rice paper with the same Starlights paint - you can see the gold shining through the black&white image and adding a lot of warmth.

The next step was a scrap of scrapbooking paper, overpainted with the same Shabby Chic paste, the edges distressed and torn a little, then edged with a dark brown ink pad. I decoupaged these and a piece of text rice paper directly onto the back cover (more Decoupage Plus) then stencilled over with Structure Paste as for the front cover. Next, I brayered with gold over the lettering, add a touch of gold around the clock face, and added more butterflies.
Finally, I added touches of the gold Starlights using a finger on the inside and outside of the cover edgess to add a little extra glitz.

The stitching
Check all your holes are where you want them, with no rough edges (poke with the handle of a paint brush if you need to) then place the covers in position with the text block sandwiched between.

Thread a tapestry needle with organza ribbon, and start at the outside of the book, going into the top hole of the front cover and out through the back. Bring the ribbon back over to the front and through, so you are wrapping around the spine every time. Keep going down to the bottom hole - as you see, the stitching is slightly diagonal. When you get to the bottom, go around the base of the spine and back through the same hole. You'll now be at the back of the journal, at the bottom.
Now all you have to do is keep going, round the spine and into the next hole, forming a cross stitch. When you reach the top, go over the top edge, and back around to the front again. Repeat with a thin satin ribbon if you want the same effect I've shown here.

Pull both ribbons round to the side, onto the spine, and tie off with a knot, then form a pretty decorative bow to finish. A journal to treasure!

All materials from Imagination Crafts

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