In The Craft Room 28th February 2015 – Blackened (or white) book covers – part 1

If you have read some of my recent posts you will be aware the I have been bitten by the art journalling bug this year and am experimenting with different types of media and styles etc, just so much fun.

But trying to find decent art journal books at a reasonable cost has not been so easy – until now. Because I have decided that I am going to make my own. This way they will not only be the size that I want but will also contain the types of paper I want in them too.

Now as I you know, I run a regular craft group and what I play with,the group (usually) get to play with too, so I need to source items for our projects in bulk. Ebay and Amazon, I must admit are pretty good for this and did not let me down this time either.

The main item I needed  to invest in, if I was going into journal book production (watch this space), was a binding machine. Yes, I am now the proud owner of A “Cinch” (“We are Memory Keepers) and have to admit to being pretty impressed with it so far. Very sturdy and does what it says on the box.

The other main item I needed to source was of course the book covers. These I found on Ebay

IMAG13762mm chip/grey board  in A4 and 8″x 8″

Thats the basics sorted now for the fun bit – decorating the covers.

After some serious research on pinterest and U tube ( where would we be without the internet?) I put together some of the ideas, found a box file  ( all I could find at the time) to have a practice on


Now, it was time to let the rest of the group have a go

Deep breath and away we go

Decide in the size of your covers, punch the holes and mark on the inside of each cover F for front and B for back.  There is a very good reason for this which will become more clear as we go on.

Give the front and back cover a coat of  matt medium, ( or matt modge or watered down pva ) to seal. Whilst wet scrunch up some tissue paper, unravel and stick down with another coat of the medium dont worry about creases folds etc , you want that in as texture anyway just make sure you keep the punched holes clear.

When dry add more texture by randomly dragging texture paste through stencils. You can do this on both the front and back covers.


Now, using what ever bits and bobs you can find, die cuts, string, lace, paper flowers, broken jewellery to name a few, start layering them up on your front cover. You dont need to worry about the colours as all will be covered in the next step.





Once you are happy with the layout, take everything back off and glue into place with a hot glue gun. If you dont think you can remember where everything goes take a picture on your phone first.

When everything is well stuck down its out with the Gesso

If using black Gesso there is no problem with the coverage. We just used a tub of black Gesso from The Works.








See , everything gets covered and becomes part of the background.  Just make sure you get into every nook and cranny. Once dry you can see any areas missed and touch up and dont forget to paint your back cover too.

If you want a white Gesso background you will need to use a Heavy white Gesso and will probably need a couple of coats. Also if going white, when sticking on your embellishments , dont use RED.


To get to this stage took 4 coats of ordinary white Gesso and can still see the RED.

I apologise as I  seem to have used the word “don’t” rather a lot this week, but we learn as we experiment, its all part of the fun. Maybe not at the time (the word frustrating comes to mind though)

This was as far as we got this week. Next week we will be adding colour with inks, sprays, mica powders, gilding wax etc and  I will of course let you know how we get on.

Thank you for visiting, hope you will call back again soon.



  1. lisa

    So much fun, can’t wait for next week, thanks Julie 😊

  2. your box file looks brill. if that’s where they are headed they are in for a treat xx

  3. Jacky A

    A great description of how to start a project like this. You have put a lot of time & effort into preparation & it shows. Thanks for sharing .

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