4 Book Making Ideas Using Patterned Paper

Book Making Using Patterned Paper by Kim Dellow

Do you have a problem? A problem with having too much patterned paper? I know, it isn’t much of a ‘problem’ is it? I mean let’s face it, if you are a papercrafter it kind of goes with the territory, having lots of lovely patterned paper hanging about! But still it is better to use it up than just have it to look at, honest it is.

Last week I posted a video all about a journal page I had made using patterned paper to make a flower cluster focal page and I suddenly thought that it might be fun to revisit some of my book-making projects. And I wanted to share these projects along with some ideas to either get you started in book making, if you have never tried it before, or rekindle your love of book making if you are a dab hand at it!

So let’s have a look at the projects and then I have some more ideas to inspire your next book-patterned paper book-making project.

1. The Travel-Themed Journal

The DIY Travel-Themed Journal by Kim Dellow

The cover for this journal was made from cardboard that I decorated with some mixed media work and you can see more about how I made that in my original Moroccan Travel Journal blog post if you are interested. But my focus today is the inside!

For the inside I used a mix of Khadi paper and old Seven Gypsies patterned papers that had a travel theme so perfect for a travel art journal. I used different sizes to add interest and to vary the pages, which can be quite a fun way to make a book.

inside the DIY Travel-Themed Journal by Kim Dellow

view from the side of the DIY Travel-Themed Journal by Kim Dellow

Khadi paper is a nice paper for using with watercolour as it has an interesting tooth to it to let the colours pool and bring out their granulation, that grainy look you get with some colours. The Seven Gypsies paper is heavy weight so great for using as scrapbook pages to stick travel ephemera to or you can add a layer of gesso over the top and sketch or paint on the page.

the binding on the DIY Travel-Themed Journal by Kim Dellow

This was perhaps a more complected binding as I used a French Link stitch to bind the signatures (which is just the name given to papers folded and grouped together into a pamphlet or booklet) together. But it is simple when you get the hang of it. I stuck the covers to the first and last pages which was actually harder than it would seem as you need to make sure they line up properly with each other and that the inside sheets are nicely central. I also added a little expandable pouch in the back page to hold tickets etc.

2. The Super Simple Pamphlet Notebook

The Super Simple Pamphlet Notebook by Kim Dellow

This has got to be one of my all time favouritest (is that a word?) books ever! They are so simple to make and I’ve used this technique with all sorts of papers from patterned paper to leftover painted papers from my art making.

The books I’m showing here were actually made with the Cricut Explore and if you want some more in-depth instruction on how to make them you will find them at my DIY Notebooks Tutorial With The Cricut Explore blog post.

[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

inside pages of the Super Simple Pamphlet Notebook by Kim Dellow

If you want the pages inside your booklets to have uniform edges then the trick is trimming, particularly if you are using heavy weight papers. I fold my papers and collect them together to make the inside of the pamphlet and then trim the closed pamphlet with a heavy duty paper trimmer, or in batches, so that the pages look even. Then I add a slightly larger page for the cover.

I will be honest, I have no idea if trimming is what you are meant to do for even pages but it works for me! The alternative is that you use fewer pages in your pamphlet and bind them together as signatures like in the Moroccan Travel Journal. I used a very light weight paper for these particular journals pictured, so I could get away without using trimming.

the binding of the Super Simple Pamphlet Notebook by Kim Dellow

All you have to do to bind these journals is to punch or pierce holes in the spine of the pamphlet and thread it, I used ordinary cotton embroidery thread, then tie it off either on the inside or the outside depending on what you prefer. You can add a drop of glue on the knot if you are worried that it will come undone or even leave the thread tails on which I quite like doing. And if you leave long tails on you can use them as bookmarks!

3. The Patterned Paper Sketchbook

the Patterned Paper Sketchbook by Kim Dellow

This is one of my oldest and it might even be one of my first book-making attempts. I have to admit I’m not that fond of the cover but as it is the use of patterned paper that we are focusing on today I can gloss over the cover and show you the inside instead!

For the pages in this sketchbook I used a heavy weight, one-sided patterned paper which even had some glitter incorporated in the design so don’t think that you can’t use papers with added extras like glitters because you can. I started using this book as a sketchbook as it is a very handy size but it is probably better suited as a mixed media art journal because of the texture of the paper.

inside the Patterned Paper Sketchbook by Kim Dellow

another sketch from inside the Patterned Paper Sketchbook by Kim Dellow

If you want to decrease the texture try adding paper panels over the patterned pages and layers of gesso. It all adds to the interest and texture of the whole piece. Of course the white back of the paper was great for drawing on and all I did for that side was to add a layer of watercolour paint to get rid of the white.

If you want to see some more of my sketches from this book then visit my art journal sharing post where I have shared more from the inside of this journal.

The binding for the Patterned Paper Sketchbook by Kim Dellow

I made up the binding for this one but used a similar method as the technique used in the Super Simple Pamphlet Notebook above. For this one I used waxed beading thread and ‘weaved’ the signatures together and added the ribbon strips to the spine for further support.

4. The Altered Patterned Paper Cover Journal

The altered patterned paper cover by Kim Dellow

The covers on this book are all made from pattern paper. And this is another great way to use your papers – as substrates and surfaces to do your mixed media art on! To make these covers I added layers of paint and stamping to a few pieces of 12 by 12 patterned paper then cut them up and mixed and matched them as a patchwork collage onto a piece of plan paper trimmed to the size I wanted my cover.

First step for making the  altered patterned paper cover by Kim Dellow

stamping the patterned paper cover by Kim Dellow

making the patchwork of patterned paper by Kim Dellow

I then glued them in place and trimmed off any overhanging paper. To bind this book I used the same binding technique as I used for the Super Simple Pamphlet Notebook, I told you it was a particular favourite of mine! But this time instead of tying off the threads on the outside I tied them inside the pamphlet.

Inspiration To Turn Your Patterned Paper Into DIY Journals And Books:

a. Theme It – Use paper from your stash that is themed to what you want to use your book for, e.g. travel paper for travel books.

b. Change It Up – Do change up the sizes of the pages, they don’t have to be perfectly regulated and book like, a bit of variety can be fun especially for journals and art journals.

c. Simplify – Book binding doesn’t have to be complicated! Simple is best in lots of cases!

d. Mix It Up – Mix and match your papers! Or even use collaged, left over paper bits and painting papers.

e. Layer It – Want to tone it down to use for your art? Add a layer of gesso or stick a piece of plain or layout paper over it.

f. Use It All – Double-sided patterned paper is perfect for book making but so is single-sided as you can use both the plain side and the patterned side.

g. Break The Rules!  Book making with patterned paper doesn’t have to be about the best binding techniques or being a book-binding expert. You can hold pages together with the simplest of binding, even an elastic band, so just do it!

Do you use patterned paper to make books and what are you favourite tried and tested tips?



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Kim Dellow

Kim Dellow is an artist–designer–film-maker living the creative life in London, UK. She's a freelance creative for the craft industry and others, and she loves to share her art-ventures on her blog.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. handmade mosaic tiles

    I love your work, really nice books you`ve made. It`s always a pleasure to see enthusiastic person

    1. Kim Dellow

      Ah thanks! 🙂 I am glad you liked the post!

  2. Theresa

    I have been a bookmaker for about ten years now. I love making them and trying new binding techniques. Yes I use patterned paper in them. I have a bookcase full of my books and journals and that doesn't count all of them that I have given away. There is such satisfaction in putting paper together for whatever task is at hand. I pin my completed books, but I think I will have to take a photo of my bookcase with all the books/journals/mini albums living together in harmony and post that too. thanks for the inspiration and as always for sharing.

    1. Kim Dellow

      Fab Theresa! I would love to see them, do come back and leave me a link to your photos when you have a moment!

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