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Creating a Mixed Media Book of Letters

This summer has been a busy one!  I’m so excited to share my latest project with you.  It’s taken me months to complete this mixed media book!  But it has turned out so beautifully that I can’t help but share some of my excitement and talk about my process a bit.

Completely DIY Mixed Media Book

This book is a gift for my husband, so I wanted to make it more masculine.  But, I also knew it was going to be a long process to finish it, and I had a tight deadline.  Originally I was going to alter a book and I began creating pages, but I fell into the trap of trying to make each page unique and very different from the next.  It was taking way too long and wasn’t coming together the way I hoped, so I scrapped the entire thing and started fresh.

This time I began with kraft colored cardstock.  I decided I was going to use fabric and stitch on each page to create the backgrounds.  I ripped white muslin into different sizes of squares and rectangles, and used Tim Holtz’ distress stain to color the fabric.  Once I glued the fabric down, I ran each page through my sewing machine several times.  I used several different types of stitches to add interest.

Does this book look cool enough for an online workshop?  Click here for a one question survey that will help me as I develop my online courses.  I need your help to make great content!

After the first round of stitching, each page got several strips of neutral colored washi tape.   Of course, then I realized they also needed another round of stitching to secure the tape in place.

These steps sound pretty simple, but they took a looooong time to complete.  Mostly because the bobbin threader on my sewing machine is broken and I had to thread my bobbins by hand every time they ran out of thread.  Man, that got old fast, let me tell ya.  But, the end result was worth the headache.

Once each of my pages was sewn the way I wanted, I glued two pages at a time together back to back.  This created one page, with stitching on both sides.  That’s when I began creating paper collages as beds for my notes (written on vellum).  The notes were attached to the paper groups with more stitching.

Japanese Book Binding

Next up, the binding!  I knew from the beginning I was going to use Japanese binding because of the single pages I was creating.  I used this tutorial to create the covers, and then cut strips of chipboard to place between each page in the spine.  This was important because each page needed extra space because of all the paper and embellishments I had added to each side.  I used a glue stick to glue the pages and chipboard strips together, bound the covers to the pages with binder clips, then drilled holes for the thread.  If you look closely in the video, you’ll see how crooked the holes are on the back.  Drilling holes straight through 1 1/2 inches of paper is pretty tough.  Oh well… it’s still holding together, and as long as you don’t look at the back, it looks perfect!

So, that’s my book!  My first one completely finished and created by me, cover to cover.  Yay!

Don’t forget to respond to my question about making this project an online workshop.  I really need your feedback!

Handmade Vellum Art Book with Stitching

Vellum Art Book

I’m so excited about this art book because it’s so different from anything else that I’ve ever made, and I think it’s pretty awesome.  There are some things I would change- in fact before I get into telling you about this project, I was hoping to get your input- I’m going to be working on a few more projects just like this, but with some modifications.  I was hoping to turn it into a full workshop with videos, tutorials, and maybe even some live sessions.  Is this the type of workshop any of you would be interested in taking?  Is this a project you would like to do?  Please leave me your comments and suggestions- I’m really anxious to hear what you all think!!

vellum art book with stiching

I’m not sure when the idea to create a vellum art book first occurred to me, but I was captivated by the thought and my mind started thinking of ways I could make it work.  I knew I wanted to include portions of old book pages and that I wanted to include a lot of stitching.  The old book I used was a worn copy of “The Ordinary Princess” by M.M. Kaye.  It’s a family favorite, and I have a newer copy, so I wasn’t concerned about ripping pages out of the old one that was missing it’s cover.  I think it’s so neat the way the text and illustrations show through the vellum.

art with holes and stitching

The idea of the holes came a little later- I wanted this book to have a unique, more artsy finish.  Adding the stitching and ripping portions of the pages, then distressing all the edges really added a new level to this project.  I also stitched the cover, long enough to wrap all the way around and overlap the front, so I can tie it shut if I choose to.

I can’t decide if I want to leave it as is, or start writing in it- I think I’ll leave it the way it is for now, and just enjoy it.  Perhaps I’ll display it under a cloche in the living room… it would look perfect in that type of vintage setting!

vellum art book with stitching around holes distressed edges of vellum art book

So, what do you think?  Leave me a comment with your thoughts on this project and if you would ever consider participating in a workshop where this was the subject.  What changes would you make?  What else would you include?  Would you make the cover different?  The pages?  Let me know!