Make Your Own Journal, Page 2
Sewing the Signatures
Here is the guide that you will follow while sewing your signatures together. The letters A - F designate each signature, and the numbers indicate the order in which you will sew. Note that some holes have two numbers around them. This indicates that the same hole is both number 3 and number 7, for example.
Step 1: Push the needle into the first signature at point 1 from the outside.
Step 2: Push through point 2 from the inside out, then go over to point 3, and then under and out through point 4. The needle should be back on the outside (the side facing you) of the signature now.
Step 3: Pick up the second signature (B) and hold it below the first signature (A). Enter signature B from the outside at point 5. Go under and out through point 6.
Step 4: Now join signature B to signature A by entering signature A at point 7. Go under and out at point 8, then enter signature B at point 9, and go under and out at point 10. Be sure that you are pulling your thread through firmly at each step. Tie the thread to the tail of the beginning knot.
Step 5: Pick up the third signature (C) and hold it below the first two. Enter signature C from the outside at point 11. Go under and out through point 12. Go into signature B at point 13 and under and out at point 14. Enter signature C at point 15 and out at point 16. Pull thread tightly so that the signatures are firmly together. (If you used thick paper, you are probably feeling the first pangs of regret right about now.)
Step 6: Loop the thread around the thread between points 4 and 5. Pick up the fourth signature (D) and hold it below the others. Enter signature D at point 17. Go under and out through point 18. Go into signature C at point 19 and under and out at point 20. Enter signature D at point 21 and under and out at point 22.
Step 7: Loop the thread around the thread between points 10 and 11. Pick up the fifth signature (E) and hold it below the others. Enter signature E at point 23. Go under and out through point 24. Go into signature D at point 25 and under and out at point 26. Enter signature E at point 27 and under and out at point 28.
Step 8: Loop the thread around the thread between points 16 and 17. Pick up the sixth signature (F) and hold it below the others. Enter signature F at point 29. Go under and out through point 30. Go into signature E at point 31 and under and out at point 32. Enter signature F at point 33 and under and out at point 34.
Step 9: Loop the thread around the thread between points 22 and 23.
Step 10: Finish it off with a double half-hitch knot: Loop through the thread between points 23 and 34, and before you pull the thread tight, loop over your thread again. (See the images below, or go here for help.)
Congratulations! You've made it through the hard part. Everything from this point on is a piece of cake.
Finishing the Book
Step 1: Making sure that all edges are even, paint a light coat of glue on the back folds of the signatures. Hold them together firmly until the glue is set (use your clothespins or binder clips for this).
Step 2: Place your cover paper on the table wrong side up, and arrange the cardboard pieces for the cover and spine on top. You only need about ¼" of space on each side of the spine. You should have at least a 3/8" margin on all sides. Glue down the spine and then the covers, making sure that they are all even. You may need to thin your glue with a little water so that it will spread easily. Be careful not to use so much glue that it shows through the cover. Let it dry completely.
Step 3: Put a thin layer of glue on the face of the cover pieces of cardboard - not the spine. Lay your 5¾" x 9½" piece of cover facing paper on top; smooth. (It may be just slightly smaller than the area covered by the cardboards.) Let dry.
Step 4: Glue the top corners of the cover paper to the cardboard. Try your best to make neat, 45 degree angles, but don't sweat it if you don't. Hold the corners down until the glue dries a bit, then do the same for the bottom corners.
Step 5: Glue the top and bottom edges of the cover paper, fold them over, and press them down onto the cardboard. (You may want to pre-fold them before putting the glue on.) Get the corners as square as you can. Do the same for the sides. Let dry.
Step 6: Use an X-acto knife or other sharp knife to slit the top folds of the tied together signatures. Do not do what I did, which was to get so excited about finishing the book that I whipped that knife through the pages all willy-nilly. Take your time.
[Alternate Method]: If you cut your pages instead of folding them in Step 1 on the previous page, you can skip this step.
Step 7: Spread glue on the inside front cover. Glue the top page to the front cover, carefully lining it up evenly on all sides. Work slowly. Smooth the page into the groove created by the space between the spine and the cover. Carefully open your book so that it lays flat, smoothing that front page down the whole time. You want to be able to open your book and write in it without ripping the page from the cover. Glue the last page to the back cover the same way. Let dry.
Congratulations! You've just made your first journal! Feel free to tell me all about your experience or send me a picture of your book. For ideas on what to put in it, visit the Blank Book Ideas page or the Random Prompt Generator.
*A big thank you goes out to Melanie Cook, who was kind enough to send me her metric calculations!
© 2002 Dawn R. Vinson. All Rights Reserved.