Friday, February 27, 2009

Making a Logbook From Old Gift Cards

I am one of 'those people' that doesn't throw anything away without looking to see if I can use it some how when crafting. This holds true with used gift cards and with all of the pesky plastic and cardboard fake credit cards that the credit companies keep sending me in the mail. I have been saving them up until I get a match and then I make them into logbooks. The plastic cards are great for the covers. As you can see in the photo above, I have reused my daughter's iTunes gift cards, Borders gift cards and the blue ones on the right I found in an outside ashtray at McMenamin's in Oregon. The covers are room keys that someone discarded and I scored with!

The inner pages of the logbooks are blank index cards. I used a package of 100 3 x 5 cards and cut them to the dimensions above. Like I said, I don't throw anything away so the other two sizes I used for smaller logbooks. When you get to the end of this post, I will show you what I got out of this one package of cards. The inner page size I used for the gift card logbooks are the 2" x 3 1/4" cut. Like I had mentioned before, I punched on the 2" end because the 3 1/4" side will give you an uneven punch row.

I am using the 1/2" coils for this logbook and 30 inner pages. One thing I should mention before you start any project is to do a prototype punch before you start punching a stack of pages. That way if you mess up, you only messed up one sheet and not a whole bunch of them. Really, that is a tip I use religiously when starting any kind of project that requires that I cut or produce multiple items.

After punching one inner page to make sure that my punches will line up the correct way, I put my logbook together the way I want it; front cover on top, 30 inner pages in the middle, and the back cover on the bottom, set it down and start punching from the top of the pile starting with the top cover.

When you are done with the punching your pile should look like this.

Pull the back cover from the bottom and place it on the top of your pile so that the right sides of your covers are facing each other.

Loop your coils through the inner pages first then through the front and back covers and cut your coil at the edge of the top of your logbook and place in the groove of your Bind It All and squeeze the coils by pulling down the handle.

When your coils are squeezed closed, flip the back cover over to conceal the coil in the back.
With some of the left over cuts from the 3 x 5 notecards, I will show you how I made a smaller logbook that will fit perfectly in a medicine bottle.

Again using those pesky plastic fake credit cards that I got in the mail, I cut one in half and trimmed it to fit the 1" x 2 1/2" cuts from the index cards. I put the logbook together the way I want it, top cover, middle pages, and back cover, and set the pile down.

Working from the top to the bottom, I punched the top cover first, then the inner pages, then the back cover. Remember that you can only punch about 5 sheets of the index cards at a time. If you try to punch more than that, it becomes strenuous to pull the handle down and punch through all of them at once.

This logbook is so narrow that it only requires two punch holes.

Pull the back cover from the bottom of the pile and place it on top of your pile so that the right sides of the covers are facing each other.

Loop your coil through the inner pages first, then the top cover, then the back cover and trim the coil with your wire cutters at the top end of your logbook.

Its not easy to show you up close what this looks like but there are lines on the base of your BIA that are labeled in inches. You can see some of the white lines to the far right of the BIA base. You want to set your size by the inside of the gap where I am placing the logbook. Since I am using the 1/2 inch size coils, I turned the knob on the end until the bar moved up to the 1/2 inch line. You can also measure the gap by placing the hard plastic cards that come with the BIA into the gap until it is flush with the size coil you are using that is pictured on the card.

Pull the handle down and squeeze the coils together. I have found that if I use too much pressure by pushing the logbook down into the gap, the coils will be out of shape after they are squeezed closed. The top of the coils will look flat and not rounded.

Flip the back cover over and to the back of the logbook to cover the coil in the back. Trim the ends of the coils so that there is no injury caused by the points on the coils.

And there you are! A perfect narrow logbook to fit in a medicine bottle for a hitchhiker or cootie.

So, I went from one simple package of 100 3 x 5 blank index cards that cost me anywhere from 49 to 99 cents a package and a few free plastic fake credit cards to..........

12 logbooks in three different sizes. And it only took me no more than two hours work to cut and assemble them all. What a deal!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bind It All- Step by Step

Whoever invented this little machine is my hero! I love making all kinds of logbooks and journals with this and it is surprisingly very easy to use. It is called the Bind It All and the website I got mine from is this site Be careful when perusing this site, you may find lots more stuff to spend your money on. It also has all sizes of coils to make very small logbooks all the way up to large journals. I buy my coils in bulk and share different sizes with my friends. This machine has become so popular that it is now available in some craft stores. There is also a tutorial video available here if you are having trouble understanding me or would like to see the latest upgrades and accessories for the Bind It All.

First make sure that you pull out the stablizer bar. It is pushed in for easy storage and you will need to have it pulled out in order for your machine to stabilize itself when you pull the handle down to punch your papers and covers.

In order for your pages to be punched correctly and evenly, your paper must be cut to inch or half inch lengths. For example, your punches will be even on pages that measure 1", 1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2", and so on. The punches will not be even if your paper measure 1 1/4", 1 3/4", and so on. Trust me, I found this out the hard way. I line my pages up using the groove in the end of the punch slot. Lining it up this way will make the first punch reach all the way to the end of the page leaving about 1/8". You can line the page up to the edge of the machine by moving the paper to the left and it will give you a gap on the end of about 1/2". Whatever you prefer is where you can place the end of your paper.

I will be making a logbook that is 3" x 5" using blank notecards as an example. This size fits perfectly in the punching groove with no overhang. Center your page in the punching slot and pull the handle down. The punching will go more smoothly if you only punch about 5 sheets at a time. Any more and it is difficult to pull the handle down and you will have to use more effort to punch your holes. As you punch all of your pages, check and make sure that the groove is free of punch scraps. If you have scraps in the groove, your paper will not sit flush and you will get a crooked punch.

This is what the page looks like when it is punched. See how the punched holes reach all the way to the end of the pages? This makes a sturdy logbook. I would recommend having your punch holes at the ends of your pages for smaller logbooks. The larger the logbook or journal, the better you can get away with not having the holes all the way to the ends because you will have more coils supporting your binding.

When all your pages and covers are punched, you will need to load them onto the coils a certain way so that when you pinch the coils together, you get a nice finished back to your book and to hide a portion of the coil. The easiest way to explain this is to put your pages and covers together the way you want it to look with one cover on the front and one cover on the back with the insides of the covers facing the pages. Pull the back cover out and place it on top of the front cover as shown above. When you lay your pages over your coils, you will have the pages on the bottom and both covers on top with the right sides facing each other.
Line up the bar with the size of the coil that you are using. The size of the coil will depend on how many pages you are using and the thickness of your covers. You can also use the hard plastic cards that come with the machine to measure. If you are wondering how many pages you can fit in the coils, here is a great chart to help you decide:

Loop the coils through the punch holes starting with the pages on the bottom, the front cover face up then the back cover face down. Cut the coil with your wire cutters in the middle of the loop at the end of your pages. I usually trim the ends of the coils so that there is no metal sticking out for someone to get injured.

Place your pages and coil down into the space and pull down the handle to squeeze the coils closed around your pages and covers.

Flip the back cover back and it will conceal the back of the coils for a nice finished look to your logbook.

This is what it will look like when you have completed the process. I will be posting more about using the Bind It All for more projects as I make them. In the meantime, anyone need any logbooks?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Making a Logbook Cover

Okay, twist my arm. I have gotten some requests to show how I use the Bind It All machine (I won't mention any names but you can send chocolate), but first I thought I would give you a tutorial on how to make very nice covers for your logbooks since that will be part of the Bind It All process. Yes, you can use a heavy paper for the front and back covers for your logbooks but taking the time to make a heavier cover looks so much nicer and will help your logbooks to last longer.
The supplies that you will need are some decorative paper, cardboard ( I am recycling my cereal and cookie boxes), and your inner pages. I chose 3 x 5 blank note cards so I don't have to cut all those pages. Your cardboard will be cut the same size as your inner pages but your decorative paper should be cut at least 2 inches longer in both directions to allow for overlap. These decorative papers are cut to 5 x 7 inches.

The first step is to adhere your cardboard to the wrong side of the decorative paper. I would recommend using a bookbinding glue, tacky glue, or what I like to use, my trusty booger gun.

Using scissors, trim the corners of the paper at an angle just shy of the corner of your cardboard. Do this on all four corners.

If you look closely you can see that I did not cut right up to the corner of the cardboard. This will allow for your corners to overlap slightly to give you a nice finished look without a gap in the paper to show the cardboard underneath.

Using your glue or tape, run it along the flap on the paper. You will be folding it over onto the cardboard for a nice finished edge.

This is what it will look like once you fold over the flaps of the paper onto the cardboard. As you can see the corners overlap slightly and don't show the cardboard on the edges.

Take a sheet of inner paper and cut the top and side 1/4 inch. You only need to cut one end each. You will need to do two of these, one for the front and one for the back cover of your logbook.

Adhere the inner page to the backside of the cover to conceal the cardboard. You are now finished with your covers for your logbook.

Now you are ready to use your Bind It All to complete your logbook. Check out the next blog post for instructions and techniques.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stippling with Ink

There was so much interest in different ways to create your own background paper that I thought I would share with you another technique that I have used. It is called Stippling or 'pouncing' the ink on the paper. The supplies I used were dye based ink pads, stiffle brushes that look like a small shaving brush, and glossy paper. The glossy paper helps the ink to spread and gives the paper a blended look rather than a brush marked look. The LTC that I am using as the example is my American Pie Swap LTC. I was looking for a tie dyed look to accompany my Janis Joplin stamp.

I chose my colors and took the stiffle brush, tapped the brush in the ink, and tapped the brush onto the paper to get the coverage that I wanted. I did the different colors in rows to give the paper a tie dyed look.

I took a stencil of a flower and placed it over the glossy paper with the tie dyed effect and stippled the flower in two other colors of dye ink. You can do this technique pretty quickly because the ink will dry fast and you don't have to wait.

This glossy paper has a total of 6 different colors to it and gives it a brightly colored effect. The more you stipple the ink on the paper, the darker the colors will be.

I stamped my Janis Joplin stamp over the colors. I love the way you can see the colors through the area of the stamp that was gouged out. Stencils give your cards a great effect in addition to your carving and with so many stencils on the market, there are many options for different kinds of effects for your cards. You can also use a large paint brush instead of the stipple brushes. I found the stipple brushes at the craft store for around $5.00 for a package of three.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Image Transfer Using Acetone

There are a number of ways to transfer an image to PZCut but I will show you my favorite way to get a clean, crisp image especially if you are working with an image that has a lot of detail. The image I am using for this demonstration doesn't have alot of detail but it is an image that I need to get carved soon for an upcoming event.

The supplies that you will need are a piece of PZCut to fit your image, your image, a cotton ball, and some 100% pure acetone that can be found in the Health and Beauty section of your favorite department store. I found this acetone at Walmart next to the nail polish remover. You could use nail polish remover with acetone, but it doesn't work as well and you are not guaranteed to get a good image transfer so I just stick with the 100% pure stuff.

For this technique to work properly, your image must be copied on a copier that uses toner for ink and not a lazer printer. The acetone works to loosen the toner from the paper and will give you a clean image without any running ink. I copy as many images from my computer onto a sheet of copy paper and take it down to my local department store that has an older version copy machine that uses toner. My copies are 10 cents each and I usually make two copies of the sheet just in case.

I soak up some acetone onto the cotton ball and lightly clean off the PZCut before placing the image onto the material. Keep in mind that acetone will melt the PZCut so use it sparingly.
Tip- Do not use acetone to clean ink off of your carved stamps especially if you carve thin lines. I have melted a couple of my favorite stamps doing this and it did not make me very happy.
Place your image face down on the PZCut and with the wet cottonball, tap the paper until you have gone over the entire image. You do not need to get the paper soaked with the acetone, just enough so that you can see the image through the paper.
Next, press the image onto the PZCut. This will ensure that you have transfered the image as much as possible. Go over the entire image while pressing with your fingers. Do not rub the image. The paper may tear and smear the image. Let the paper dry a bit (just a few seconds) before lifting the image off the PZCut.

Starting at one end, slowly lift the paper off of the PZCut to see if the image transferred properly. If not, press the image again with your fingers first before applying more acetone as in the previous steps. The less acetone you use, the less chance you have of your PZCut melting away.
If everything worked correctly, you should have a clean, crisp image to carve. Your image will be more clean if you transfer it to the PZCut as quickly as possible after you copy it on the copier. It may be possible for the toner to fade over time.
If your image did not transfer the way you would like it, you can clean the image off by using the acetone cottonball and wiping down the PZCut and starting all over again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Velveeta Cheese, Pleeze!

My family and I don't eat huge amounts of Velveeta Cheese but I do use it occasionally for an Italian Mostaccioli recipe that my mother handed down to me and yummy homemade macaroni and cheese. I have found that the boxes are great for organizing my craft supplies.

The bottom half of the box is a heavy cardboard that can withstand alot of use and they along with the lids hold my embossing powders and glitters very nicely and fit perfectly in my four-drawer organizer.

The bottoms are also perfect for holding all of my colorful blank LTC's cards until I am ready to decorate with them...
and they are great for carting around my completed LTC's to gatherings for trading. See how many I have available for trade now? Anyone want to trade some of these off my hands so I can fill it up again?