Springy Travelers Notebook

Springy Travelers Notebook

Posted by DecoArt on Apr 11th 2018

Happy Spring Everyone! They say that April showers bring May flowers. But with Stampendous’ new 6x6 inch Sunny Sketch stamp, you can have flowers all year round!

This wonderful new stamp was my inspiration for a little travel journal. I will gladly share all the steps with you so that you can also create one of these handy dandy little journals for yourself or as a gift. So simple and easy to do!

But first, you will need to know all the supplies you will need. So let’s get started.

Items Needed:

  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Clear Matte Medium (DMM20-71)
  • Stampendous 6x6 Sunny Sketch Stamp
  • Score Pad
  • Permanent Black Ink
  • Spray Bottle
  • Tissue Paper
  • Brayer
  • Permanent Black Ink Pad Or Pen, Letter Stamps, Or Rub-ons To Create "Notes"
  • Black-patterned Washi Tape
  • Old Toothbrush (to Create Splatter Design)
  • Laminator And Laminator Paper
  • Black Elastic Cording
  • Awl Or Craft Pick
  • Black Button
  • Black Fibers (to Tie Onto The Spine Button)
  • Charms/Adornments (to Hang From The Spine)
  • Waxed Linen Thread (to Create Signatures)
  • Cardstock And/or Watercolor Paper
  • Crop-A-Dile Chomper (1/4 Inch Rounded Corner Cut)
  • Large Eye Book Needle


Now that you have gathered your supplies, let the fun begin! There are all sorts of videos on the internet about how to create these little journals. Here is the video I used as sort of my guide through the construction of my journal. Refer to this to see how the construction works but I will also give you the written instructions as they pertain to my book.

Step 1: Begin with an 8x10 inch sheet or heavy cardstock or in this case, watercolor paper.  Brush DecoArt Media Matte Medium over the surface of the cardstock or watercolor paper and cover it with a piece of lightly patterned tissue or whatever choice background paper you choose. Brayer to remove all air bubbles and wrinkles. Heat set or air dry. To soften the background and make the stamping really pop, brayer DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Translucent White over the entire cover and gently heat set or air dry. 

Instruction Image #1

Step 2: Brush DecoArt Media Matte Medium over the surface of the cover to seat it. Gently heat set or air dry.

Instruction Image #2

Step 3: Pour a little of the DecoArt Americana Decor Color Stain in Golden Honey into a spray bottle and mix with water to create a very fluid spray stain. Spray the stain onto the cover of the notebook. Wipe off excess and add more as desired. Continue layering the cover or creating blotches of stain by barely pressing on the sprayer. Gently heat set.

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Step 4: Lay the 8x10 cover onto a Score Pad and score down the center of the cover. Then score ½ inch to either side of the cover so that you will know where your center is when stamping and creating your cover design.

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Step 5: Using Permanent Black Ink, stamp your cover using the NEW Stampendous 6x6 Sunny Sketch stamp. I started in the lower right corner and then randomly repeated parts of the stamp to cover the front and back of the paper.  I also added a piece of patterned Washi Tape to the lower front cover.

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Here you see the front and back of the cover after stamping.

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Step 6: I chomped the corners of the cover using a Crop-A-Dile Chomper and a ¼ inch rounded corner cut. (You could also do this with scissors if you don’t have the Chomper or just leave the corners square). Then using my finger, I added edging using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black all around the edges of the cover to really define the design stamped onto the cover.

Instruction Image #7

Step 7: Make a wash using water and DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black. Use an old toothbrush to pick up the wash and then gently flick it onto the INTERIOR cover of the travel journal.  This is a quick and easy way to add interest and design to the inside and it also picks up the blotches that are a part of the stamp design on the outer cover.

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Step 8: Fill in the stamped design using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics. For the leaves, I used Viridian Green Hue and Green Gold. For the larger flower I used Titanium White blended with Primary Magenta and Cadmium Orange Hue to achieve various shades of the same basic colors.

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Step 9: I used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Raw Sienna for the center of the larger flower. For the smaller flower, I used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Primary Yellow, a touch of Yellow Oxide, Cobalt Teal Hue for the center of the flower and then painted over the Teal Hue with Interference Turquoise to create a nice sheen in the center of that flower. The bees were painted with Primary Yellow and Yellow Oxide.

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Here is the cover after completing the painting and decorating of it. I love it!

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Step 10: Center the journal and push the edge against the inside edge of the laminator sheets. Then using the directions on your laminator, run the cover through the machine. This will protect and give a lot of stability to your travel journal cover. Cut away all of the excess laminated pages, leaving about ¼ inch edging around the cover. Where you scored the cover earlier, gently bend and fold these scored lines (especially the two outer lines) so that you can clearly see your spine.

Instruction Image #12

Step 11: Measure ¼ inch down from the top center (from the paper cover edge; not from the laminated edge) of your cover along the center scored line. Punch a hole using an awl. Now measure ¼ inch down from the left scored line (next to the center scored line) and punch another hole that lines up with the center hole. Repeat this on the right scored line, lining up the punched hole. Now there should be three holes on the top of your journal. Repeat this for the bottom; measuring up ¼ inch from the bottom. Now you should have 3 holes at the top and 3 holes at the bottom the spine of your journal cover. Finally, find the center scored line of the spine and measure half way down the line. This should be at the 4 inch mark. Punch a hole there. You will use this hole to create the elastic cording that will wrap around your journal.

Step 12:  Binding the journal: thread the black elastic cording onto a large eye book needle. Start at the OUTSIDE of the bottom right hole of the book and go INWARD toward the inside of the book. Pull a couple of feet of cording through the hole (You will use this to tie off the cording at the end). Then go through the top right hole from the INSIDE poking to the OUTSIDE. Do not pull this super tight because you are going to add paper signatures. But don’t have it super loose either.

Next, working on the OUTSIDE of the book again, take the needle in through the CENTER hole and pull through to the INSIDE. Pull tightly. Go down to the bottom center hole on the INSIDE of the book and pull the needle through the hole from INSIDE TO OUTSIDE.

Go to the next hole on the OUTSIDE bottom of the book and pull the needle from the OUTSIDE to the INSIDE on the last line. Go down to the other end (top) of the book and pull the needle from the INSIDE to the OUTSIDE of the book.

On the outside of the book spine, run the needle back through the middle hole and pull the elastic cording tightly. Adjust the elastic or cording so that you have enough left over to tie it in the middle (a little shorter than the length of the center piece).

Now take the remaining cording that is still on the spool (and where you originally pulled the cording through the book) and pull it in toward the inside of the book spine. Measure some length just over the center hole and cut the cording. Then run that piece of cording from OUTSIDE to INSIDE through the middle hole that is still open with no cording running through it.

Now you have completely run the cording through all the holes and have two pieces of cording left on the INSIDE of the book spine, in the center holes. Tie off the cord ends in a double knot or square knot and clip off the excess edges. This makes places for four signatures to be added. THE CENTER HOLE OF THE SPINE SHOULD STILL BE OPEN WITH NO CORDING RUNNING THROUGH IT.

Instruction Image #14

Step 13: The elastic piece that goes around the book … measure off a piece of the cording around the outside of the book and allow for the book to become thicker and thicker. Cut your cording. Fold the elastic in half creating a loop in the center. Separate the two middle elastic bands of the spine. Place the center of the loop right over the center hole on the INSIDE of the book spine and gently poke it through to the outside of the spine using an awl.

Pull the elastic cording through the center hole leaving a long tail still on the inside of the book. Loop the elastic cording around the outside of the book to see how much of the elastic cording needs to comfortably be pulled through the center hole. When you are happy with the tension on the outside of the cording, pinch the cording where you want to tie a knot. Then pull the cording back into the inside a little bit so that you have more cording to work with when you tie it off. Tie a secure knot in the ends of the cording then pull it back through the spine towards the outside. The knot will hold the elastic banding in place. Cut off the excess ends.

Instruction Image #15

Step 14: I added a cute little button and embellished it on the outside of the spine center where the elastic cording wraps around the journal. To do this, simply tie the button on using fabric, yarn or whatever fibers you choose. Add charms and dangles for interest.

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Here is the finished spine with embellishments.

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Step 15: To create paper signatures to add to the inside of your travel journal, simply gather and cut various black papers to fit inside of your travel journal.  In this case, I cut my papers 7 ¾” x 8 ½”. Fold in half or score in half. Use as many or as few papers as you choose. I used 13 papers in each signature, making a total of 26 pages (since I am not embellishing the inside papers). I also added a tabbed cardstock cover to each of my three signatures. I used the pamphlet stitch to bind my signatures together. For a video showing an easy 3 hole pamphlet stitch like I used, you can go here

Simply stack your papers along the fold line and press them together as much as possible. Then using a template, punch three holes; one in the center and one on either side that you will sew through using the waxed linen thread. I measured in 2 inches from each outer edge but that is entirely up to you.  

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Start with waxed linen thread and a needle. Measure enough thread to completely wrap the length of your signature one time. Begin with the center hole and poke the threaded needle from the inside to the outside of the journal. Next go to either the top or bottom hole (it doesn’t matter) and poke the needle from the outside of the journal to the inside of the journal. Now you are on the inside of the journal again. Take the needle down to the other hole that you have not gone through (be it top or bottom) and run the needle and thread through that hole going from the inside to the outside of the journal. Finally, pull the thread tightly and run the needle back into the center hole of the spine working from the outside of the journal to the inside. Tie off the thread using a square knot and cut off the excess thread. Repeat that for the other two paper signatures. It’s that simple!

Step 16: Once your signatures have been created, you find the center of each signature and slide it into place inside of the elastic cording on the spine.

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Here is what the inside of your spine should look like once the signatures are all in place. As I said, I covered each of my paper signatures with a piece of cardstock.

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Here is a photo of the finished cover from the outside once the spine and binding has been completed. Very clean and sturdy.

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope that you have learned a little about book/journal making. Let me warn you, it’s addictive and fun! These little books make great gifts. The pages can be embellished or left plain. It’s all up to you.