Saturday, March 28, 2009

Matchbook Logbook

For those of you that make your own logbooks but don't have a Bind It All yet (gasp!), here are some simple directions to make a sturdy logbook for your letterboxes. The directions are pretty lengthy because there are a lot of steps but all in all the logbooks are easy to make.

These are the supplies that you will need for this project: scissors, ruler, pencil, blank index cards, decorative paper, needle, embroidery floss, 1/8 " hole punch, and I forgot to add to the picture an awl and something to place under your paper to punch holes such as styrofoam.

For this size logbook we are using 3" x 5" blank index cards cut in half for a logbook page that measures 2 1/2" wide and 3" long. Cut 15 sheets in half to give yourself 30 logbook pages per logbook. With this size page you can get 6 logbooks from one package of index cards with 10 cards leftover that you could probably cut in half for a 20 page logbook.

30 pages will fit in a 1/4" length for the top and bottom edges of your logbook. Below I will show you where that measurement will be on your decorative paper for your cover.

Before we get to the cover of your logbook we need to prepare the logbook pages. Take one sheet of your 30 pages to use for the template. Draw a line across the 2 1/2" side, 1/2" from the top. We are using a 1" flap for the front so the holes will be punched half of that measurement. If you are making a smaller logbook with a 1/2" front flap, punch your holes half of that measurement from the top at 1/4".

Make a mark on this line at every 1/4". This is where you will punch the holes to bind your logbook with embroidery floss. Make sure that the width of your logbook has an even amount of 1/4" marks for an even amount of holes.

With your 1/8" hole punch, punch a hole on each one of the marks you just made along the line. This is now your template to punch the rest of the holes in your pages. Lay this template over 5 pages at a time and punch through all of your pages until you have done this to all 30 pages.
Now you need to prepare your decorative paper cover to wrap around your pages. For this size logbook I have cut a piece of decorative paper 2 1/2" wide and 8" long. With your pencil make a mark (do not draw a line) on the inside of your cover on both sides of the length at each one of these measurements:
1" for the top front flap
1/4" for the top edge of the logbook
3" for the length of your pages for the back cover
1/4" for the bottom edge of the logbook
2 1/2" for the bottom front flap
The reason I said not to draw a line is because the inside of your cover will look cleaner without the pencil lines drawn all the way across your paper. Lay your ruler across the cover at the marks and fold the paper over the ruler to give you a nice straight fold.

Do this at each one of the marks on the inside of the cover. The bottom line that was made at 2 1/2" you can draw a line across because you will be cutting this end of the paper off so it can be tucked under the front flap.

Cut off the 1/2" on the end of the cover. This will make the front flap slide under the top flap like a matchbook. You may still need to trim some more off this end to fit snug but you will not know this until you reach the end of the project.

Lay your page template on the inside of the cover, lining up the top of the template page with the second fold on your cover. This is where your pages will fit. When your pages are all inserted into the cover, they will be the width of the 1/4" fold with the front flap laying over the top of the pages. With your awl or something used to punch the fine holes, start punching a hole in the cover at each one of the holes that you punched with your 1/8" hole punch. You need to do this with the awl because the hole punch will not reach all the way across the paper.
(Tip- Use a hole punch for your pages rather than punching the holes with an awl because you need to be able to sew through these holes and they line up much better with a hole punch than a hole punched with a pointy object. It is okay to use the awl for the cover since that will be the entrance and exit of your needle when sewing.)
This is what the inside cover will look like when you get the holes punched with the awl. This is the inside of the back cover.

Now take the page template and turn it upside-down on the top front flap at the first fold on the top of your cover and punch the holes with the awl just like you did for the back cover.

This is what it will look like after you have the two rows of holes punched for the front flap and the back cover.

When you bring the front flap over the top of your pages, all the holes will line up on the front flap, the pages and the back of your cover.

Now you are ready to sew your logbook together to bind it. Use a needle that will take embroidery floss. A number 24 works well. Embroidery floss comes in 6 strands so you will need to split the floss so you are working with three strands of embroidery floss. Give yourself a length of about 18 inches of embroidery floss to bind your logbook.

Start your sewing on the back of the logbook. Put your needle into the middle hole on the back and push the needle all the way through. You may need to wiggle the needle a bit to get the pages all lined up. This is why we used the 1/8" hole punch to punch the holes because your needle will slide through much easier if your holes are all the same size.

Here the needle is pushed all the way through to the front.

Pull the needle and floss through the hole from the back and with a length of about 2", hang onto that length of floss with your thumb while you sew the rest of the logbook. You will need that length to tie off the floss when you finish.

Sew your logbook by putting your needle through the next hole at the front of the logbook and pull all the way through to the back. Your needle will come out the back side of the logbook.

From the back side of the logbook, place your needle into the next hole in the back and pull your needle all the way through to the front of your logbook.

And again, place your needle through the next hole in the front of the logbook and pull it all the way through to the back. You should be at the last hole at the one end of the logbook.

Bring your needle around the edge of the logbook from the back and put it in the first hole in the front. This should be the last hole that you previously put your needle through to the back.

Repeat this process all the way across the other half of the logbook making sure to go up and down, into and out of the holes from the front to the back.

When you reach the last hole on the other end, bring the needle around the side of the logbook, from the back to the front, and pull your needle through the first hole on that end to the back of the logbook.

Continue until your embroidery floss has linked all of the holes in the front of the logbook. Your needle should end going from the front of the logbook to the back.

You should have two threads side by side on the back of your logbook like this.

Tie the two ends together in a tight knot. You may want to add a drop of glue to make sure that the knot holds.

Trim the threads for a nice, clean end to your binding.

Turn your logbook over and slide the front flap under the top front flap. You may need to trim the bottom flap so that it fits snugly under the top flap with no gap at the bottom of the pages. Now you are done!

These matchbook logbooks can be made in many different sizes and can be dressed up by adding beads or charms in the binding as you sew across. If you are making a smaller logbook, make sure that you have at least half a measurement for the front flap to tuck the bottom flap under to close the cover. Your top and bottom edges should always be 1/4" and the back of your cover is the length of your pages. The width of your cover is the same width as your pages.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Adding That Little Extra Touch

When creating LTC's, or any kind of card for that matter and you want the stamp image to be the main focus of your piece of artwork but you don't want a bunch of embellishments to take away from that image, try this very simple technique that will frame your image and keep your artwork simple and clean.

I like using the Color Box Cat's Eye ink pads for this technique because I get much better control over where and how much color I want to apply to my cards.

Take the ink pad and wipe or drag it along the edge of the card to give it a kind of blended frame around the edge. You can go over it as many times as you want to give the right amount of coverage that you will be happy with.

I have tried doing this technique with the larger, stiffer ink pads and it gives it a more lined effect to the card rather than a nice blended ink effect. I am not saying that it is bad, it is just different. You may prefer that kind of a look.

Here are a few examples of cards with just the image stamped onto the card. I did us a punch on the corners to give it that extra touch.

Here are the same cards with the ink blended around the edges. See how well it frames the stamp image and makes it stand out so much more? Scroll up and down to the pictures to see the difference.

Add a corresponding color card to the backing for that extra burst of color! Perdy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Alcohol Inks Part 1

Alcohol inks come in many luscious colors and are really very easy to use if you have the right supplies to use them with. They make some beautiful, vibrant colors for any project!

They even have gold and silver alcohol inks for adding a little bit of bling onto your projects. I will show examples of the bling colors in later tutorials but for now I will just show you the basics of using alcohol inks and how to use them as a background. Check back for more ideas and tips.

Alcohol inks can be found in most craft supply stores and will run you about $5.00 to $6.00 if you buy them in the packs of three which I would highly suggest doing since one bottle of this stuff cost me $3.99 when I could have paid $4.99 for the pack of three.

The Alcohol Blending Solution is a must have when doing anything with alcohol inks because it will help you to blend your colors together and keep your inks from drying to quickly. You have seen how rubbing alcohol will evaporate quickly, well alcohol inks will do the same.

There are couple of ways to apply your alcohol inks but right now I will just cover the technique of applying the inks to a pad to cover a large area. You can buy the pads and stamp block that are sold in the store just for the alcohol inks but why do that when you can make your own from what you already have in your crafting arsenal. I took an old stamp that was attached to a wooden block and stuck a square of velcro (the side with the little grips) on the wood side and cut small squares out of felt to stick to the velcro. You will need to cut many squares because you will go through alot of these when completing your projects.

Whenever you are using alcohol inks, you need to use them on a surface that is slick and shiny. Alcohol inks can be used on plastic, glass, ceramic tiles, acetate paper, and the glossy scrapbooking paper. I have used the alcohol inks on glossy photo paper but the alcohol interacts with the chemicals in the photo paper and makes the paper sticky and doesn't blend the colors very well. I am not saying that you can't use the glossy photo paper, it just doesn't work as well as the glossy scrapbook paper. I have found the glossy scrapbook paper at Craft Warehouse for about .33 cents a sheet and from what I understand, not all crafting stores carry it. If you do find it I would suggest buying alot of it.

The first step is to attach one of the felt squares to your block. Saturate the felt square with the blending solution making sure that you cover the entire surface of the felt square.

Next, take the colors of alcohol inks that you want to use and apply drops of the color randomly over the felt square. Try not to use too many different colors, usually 2-3 will work well.

Pat your glossy paper with the felt square all over in a random design. You can even pull the felt square across the paper to fill in the white areas.

This card was made using the Red Pepper and Butterscotch alcohol inks. Perdy huh?

This card was made using the Lettuce and Stream alcohol inks. Even perdier!

And this card was made using the Lettuce, Stream and Wild Plum Alcohol inks. As you can see, using three colors at once is about all you will need to make a really pretty background. More than that would make the card look too cluttered.

Clean up is a snap too! I filled a tiny spray bottle with the blending solution and sprayed in onto my work surface.

Used a tissue and the alcohol wiped right up!
As I stated at the beginning of this tutorial, there are many different ways to use the alcohol inks and I will go over those in future postings. Experiment and have fun with your alcohol inks. You may even invent your own technique and may need to share your experience with the rest of us!