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Creativity Prompt #24 – Recycled Stitched-Spine Journal

November 7th, 2008 by Avital

Stitched Spine Journal Next time you receive a package, don’t throw the box and the padding material away. Instead, turn them into a gorgeous hardbound journal, you can carry in your pocket.

This tutorial is a recycled version of the extremely popular Hardbound Journal tutorial. You can find another variation here.

Supply –

  • Two 2¾” by 3¾ “ cardboard pieces, cut from the box.
  • 50 pieces of newsprint paper (used for padding packages) measured 5” by 3½ “.
  • 4 scraps of patterned paper. Two measured 3¼” by 4¼” and two measured 2 5/8” by 3 5/8”.
  • Glue stick + double sided tape.
  • Ribbon
  • Embroidery floss

Tools –

Instructions –

  1. Flatten the box and cut 2 pieces, measured 2¾” by 3¾ “.
    Cutting the covers from the  box
  2. Adhere the cardboard pieces to the larger scraps of patterned paper (3¼” by 4¼”) with the glue stick. Position the cardboard pieces in the middle of each paper scrap (you can also use fabric scraps which are slightly larger). Cut the corners of the patterned paper flaps and allow an 1/8” gap between the edge of the cardboard to the base of the cut. Fold each flap and adhere it to the cardboard, using a bone folder.
    wrapping the covers

    wrapping the covers

  3. Cut the newsprint paper to size (5” by 3½“) and fold each piece in half (creating 2½” by 3½” pages) – use a bone folder to insure a crisp fold. Stack every 5 pieces into one signature (altogether 10 signatures of 5 pages each).
    Folding the newsprint inserts
  4. Measure the height of the stack of signatures to determine the width of the spine.
    measuring the signatures
  5. Position the two covers apart from each other allowing the gap between them to equal the signatures’ height, as you have measured before. Using a double sided tape, adhere a strip of ribbon to both sides of the covers.
    attaching the ribbon to the covers

    Mark the width of the ribbon on the signatures to figure out where to pierce them afterward.
    marking the signatures for piercing

    Repeat with a second strip of ribbon. The second strip will reinforce the journal and increase its stability.

  6. Secure the embroidery floss to the cover with a piece of tape and start sewing the signatures to the ribbon. Start from the outside of the ribbon, into the signatures and through the ribbon.
    Preparing the stitched spine

    Preparing the stitched spine

    Take a peek at the finished spine –
    The journal's spine

  7. Cover the inside of the journal with the 2 5/8” by 3 5/8” pieces of patterned paper to conceal the embroidery floss and give the journal a finished look. This is the time to trim the ribbon’s ends and cover them, if you don’t wish the ribbon’s ends to show.
    Finishing touches

    Here is how the journal looks without the ribbon’s ends –

    The journal without ribbon


If you have any question, suggestion or remark – don’t hesitate to contact me – either leave a comment, use the contact form or start a new thread on the Creativity Prompt Flickr Group!!!

I would also be very happy to see your own creations, so don’t be shy and share 🙂

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13 Comments to “Creativity Prompt #24 – Recycled Stitched-Spine Journal”

  1. Rachel says:

    This is awesome! I’ll be linking to this!

  2. Sharmaine says:

    I just hopped over from One Pretty Thing and agree with Rachel, AWESOME!!
    Hope to get back here so I can walk through the steps and make one, in the meantime I have add your link to my blog 🙂

    • Avital says:

      Thank you! After you make your very own stitched spine journal, I’d love for you to share your results 🙂

  3. […] plan my return to paper journaling soon. I have made several of the creative projects. I made three hand-sewn recycled journals for family members for Christmas (that I forgot to take photos of — Ugh!) and this altered […]

  4. Samantha says:

    Im stuck on number 6. Can you break this down just a touch more thank you .

    • Avital says:

      1. Your first stitch will go into the upper hole in your spine down through the second hole and through your connecting ribbon, then repeat with the second stitch.

      2. After you have threaded the floss through all the signatures, repeat with a second string of floss and attach the lower part of the signatures together, through the lower connecting ribbon.

      The floss is basically looped through the respective holes on the ribbon and on the signature’s spine.

  5. Lola says:

    when I fold the papers to the signatures, it looks all wonky, because none of the papers end together. I am folding stacking them in five. Do I need to trim the signatures so they look okay?

    • Avital says:

      The thickness of the spine changes from the inner pages to the outer ones, which is why they do not align once they are folded. If it really bothers you, all you have to do is take a ruler and a craft knife and trim off the edges after you fold the signatures.

      To keep the measurements, cut the pages about a 1/4″ wider.

      • Lola says:

        Thank you.
        I thought I was doing something wrong.
        As this is my first I am using paper that have already been cut to A4 size. Next time I’ll cut them myself.
        Thanks again. 😀

  6. azteclady says:

    This is a most excellent idea–thank you so much for sharing it!