Stories That Are Locked Within the Pages of Book Art

When I’m learning a new mixed-media technique, my work often looks a lot like the teacher’s at first. I’m okay with that because, as they say, imitation comes before innovation. But when it comes to book art, the results of those first efforts are guaranteed to be personal and unique because you have the opportunity to take little scraps of this and that from your daily life and creatively incorporate them into a handmade book. Kristen Robinson is here to tell you more about it. Her following article has been featured in Cloth Paper Scissors and, for a limited time, you can get this timeless 2014 collection CD on sale for only $5. That’s six issues of Cloth Paper Scissors, full of articles like this!

How to make book art | Kristen Robinson,
Book art by Kristen Robinson. Get the March/April 2015 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors for extra tips on making photo transfers and 2-hole binding.

My Story To Tell: A Mixed-Media Book by Kristen Robinson

As an artist, I find great joy in working with an array of media. However, it’s when I sit down to create a book or journal that I find the greatest pleasure. Perhaps one of the best things about creating and keeping journals is the stories that are locked within the pages. While there have been many occasions when I planned on creating a journal composed of an unadorned cover and blank pages, the process always takes a turn, and I’m soon painting, drawing, and writing on these lovely bare pages. I like to let my imagination run wild when creating book art, and I feel it’s important to think outside the box. I use anything from cardboard scraps and cereal bags to lunch sacks and gum wrappers in my journals. Above all, I think it’s important to create your journal in a way that helps to tell your story.

How to make book art | Kristen Robinson,
Figure 1

1. Cut your cover and pages to the desired sizes. If you plan to paint your pages, I recommend preparing the pages with a coat of gesso (Figure 1) When you choose materials that will become your pages, keep in mind what you will be applying to them (paper, paint, found objects, etc.), so the pages will stand up to those materials and techniques. Note that the pages of the book do not all need to be the same size. Experiment with wide and narrow layouts, as well as long and short.

How to make book art | Kristen Robinson,
Figure 2

2. Layer papers onto the pages with glue to allow your story to unfold further. Using papers that have meaning to you, like sheet music or text from a favorite poem, is the perfect way to personalize your book. Try text, (Figure 2) printed on cardstock, to add some depth to the page. For added interest, cut your papers to different lengths and sizes.

How to make book art | Kristen Robinson,
Figure 3

3. Add splashes of color and texture with washi tape, felt, doilies or lace, and more (Figure 3). Use your favorite retro gum or candy wrappers to add a fun bit of nostalgia to the pages. Add transfers to your pages for even more interest and texture.

How to make book art | Kristen Robinson,
Figure 4

4. Stamp with traditional rubber stamps and/or found objects for added interest (Figure 4). Do some stenciling with paint or inks. Don’t be afraid to add stamped images on top of stenciled and painted marks once they’re dry. I often add a monogram with sealing wax.

How to make book art | Kristen Robinson,
Figure 5

5. Insert paper pockets and tip-ins to add more space for journaling. Provide even more areas for writing by tucking notecards or papers into the pockets (Figure 5). A tip-in is created by adding a new page to an existing page using a hinge. Simply score the sheet you are tipping in with a craft knife, place adhesive on the spine of the scored strip, and adhere it to the existing page. This provides two additional pages to work on. Cut or punch shapes and add them to your pages. I cut a heart shape from cardstock and used both the positive and negative shapes in my book. I also cut heart shapes from felt. Don’t dispose of the negative shapes; they are perfect for tracing and/or painting around as I did on the cover of “My Story to Tell.”

6. Use a simple 2-hole binding to finish your book, or use your favorite binding method. Complete your book with journaling, quotes, and other meaningful words, using your favorite pens and markers. ~Kristen

How to make book art | Kristen Robinson,

Learn more from an entire year’s worth of Cloth Paper Scissors. Remember, this CD is on sale for only $5 for a limited time, so don’t delay. Follow Kristen’s lead and discover new ways to tell your story through book art and much more.


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