Personal Notes

DIY Journal Binding


Today I want to share the story of my journey through binding my own journal. Yes, I keep journals and I usually write on it daily. I used to have my journals bound by the copier centre, but that beloved shop of mine is located far away from my house and considering the traffic in Jakarta these days, I thought it would be a waste of time just to visit that shop and only get one book bound by them. On the other hand, I have all the ingredients I need to bind my own journal-to-be.

Since high school, I like cutting A4 papers into A5 sizes because I thought A5 is more friendly to my grip and easy to carry anywhere. I would usually cut the papers and have them bound at the copier centre, as I said. I also collect colourful A4 papers (available at ANY STATIONERY STORES, such as: Gramedia, Intermedia, and others) and I have plenty of them.

My first step was to list all the things I would like to have on my journal. Usually my journal also goes with me during my field trips (which I don’t have plenty anymore…). I decided that my journal must have:

  1. A title page
  2. A reminder for not peeking through my personal journal
  3. Several pages of zentangles (because I like colouring, and yes, I am an adult. LOL). Images of zentangles are available widely for download from Pinterest or other websites. Please pay attention to copyrights, too. I am not going to sell this journal, so I think I had not violate any clause on Creative Commons.
  4. Plenty of lined papers to write on. Although I also like blank pages, but I feel my writings would be more organized if I am using lined pages. I designed the page using InDesign, employed the Japanese dots feature to make the lines, and printed about 150-200 pages. I like my journals thick and long-termed, because I usually write A LOT of stuff.
  5. A bright coloured fabric for the cover
  6. Some contrasting coloured paper for the front and end flaps.

In my head, this would be awesome enough as a Journal.

Here’s where my frugal mind started to think. I had subscribed to Sea Lemon channel on Youtube, fell in love with Jennifer’s techniques, and now, I decided to make it come true. Here is the video tutorial to hardcover book binding:

Subscribe to the channel here.

I do have to modify and alter some of the ingredients, though:

  1. I do not make my fabric into a book cloth, as Jennifer suggested. Why? Because I simply can’t afford HeatNBond package here. It is expensive! For your notes, the HeatNBond is available online from the Craft By Mood shop for Indonesian crafter. Click on that and shop away. 🙂 It cost Rp. 46,000 which is still expensive for my frugal frugal mind. LOL.
  2. I remember I do have a particular PVC glue brand that I like when working with skeletal remains. What a turn of the sentence. LOL. I usually use the Fox glue, the white paste ones, and NOT THE YELLOW PASTE ONES!! This white glue works really well with skeletal remains and other stuff, and I figured it would be awesome too for fabrics. Yes, things will be wet and a bit messy, but patience is needed to get the best result. I only had to buy this glue, so I only spent Rp. 9,500 for this project. I already have the fabric in my old collection, I had the board, too.
  3. I do not have the book press as well. But I do have plenty of thick geology & prehistory books, which I can use as pressers. No cost! 🙂 My frugal mind LOVES NO COST.

Fox PVC glue

So, I skipped all the steps on making book cloth, and started with making the text block – which is sooo simple. Gathered my box-cutter, ruler, and I began to craft. Time was much spent on waiting for the glue to dry. We can certainly do other things while waiting for it to dry. I think I spent like half a day making this journal, because Fox glue is rather quick to dry and my fabric just stays in tact. I LOVE IT when first attempt shows good result. Don’t you?

It is so satisfying, BUT I did make minor mistake of misplacing the spine of the book in a bit larger gap than it should, so my end result is a little bit shifted towards the front flap. Shucks. A lesson learned. I have to be more precise on my next project. DIY journal binding is so much fun!

A HUGE thanks for Jennifer of Sea Lemon to share her wonderful techniques to the world, and now… I can bind my own journals!




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