The July/August 2017 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine is here, and I could not be more excited. The theme is travel and adventure, and the magazine is packed with ideas for travel journals and travel journal pages, paintings based on maps, watercolor postcards, studios on the go—I want to show it to everyone I meet.
Travel journals are a big part of the issue because many mixed-media artists love to create in these before, during, and after a trip. However, you don’t have to be bound for far-flung locations in order to work in a travel journal. I use mine for local and long-distance travel: day-long road trips and visits to a nearby museum or new coffee house, as well as travels across the country and around the world. Every trip has the potential for great new experiences, so why not document it all?
On page 53 of the July/August issue you’ll find my handmade travel journal, inspired by the compact traveler’s notebooks that are so popular now. In our Online Extras you can find out how to make one, and the project is great for rank beginners and those who have some bookbinding experience.
In the instructions you’ll also see a couple of ideas for creating pockets and a see-though envelope. In case you’d like a few more ideas, today I’m featuring projects that are perfect for travel journal pages, or any kind of journal pages.
Let’s start with washi tape. I love washi tape so much it hurts, and if you haven’t discovered the stuff yet, what are you waiting for? Seriously, what? Just go get some and thank me later. In the meantime, here are a few things you can use this thin, translucent tape for (this also includes similar types of peel-and-stick paper tapes and fabric peel-and-stick tapes):
- Tip in a page: Use washi tape as a hinge for a piece of paper or cardstock. Adhere half of the strip of tape to the paper or cardstock, and use the other half to adhere the paper to the page. Use another length of washi on the opposite side of the tip-in to reinforce the hinge.
- Border a page: Create a border on one, two, or all sides of a page. Use the full width of the tape, or fold it over the edge.
- Add a page: Attach an extra page to the edge of an existing page, using washi tape on both sides as a hinge. Leave a scant 1/16″ between the pages to allow the hinge to bend.
- Attach photos and ephemera.
- Create page tabs.
- Make flags and bunting.
- Use it for writing dates and titles with permanent pen.
On this page, I wanted to incorporate a promo card from a local café in my journal, but the card is so big it takes up most of the page. I turned it into a tip-in by adhering the right-hand edge with fabric tape on both sides of the card; this way I can flip it up and have space underneath, and on the back of the card. I used washi tape to create a tab on the left-hand side of the card to make it easier to lift.
When the card is flipped, it reveals a photo adhered with more washi tape.
I collect tons of ephemera when I travel–brochures, maps, bags, business cards, etc.–and much of it winds up on my travel journal pages. Sometimes the ephemera becomes the page, and if the pieces are large enough they can be used to make pocket journal pages. This grocery bag had great graphics that I wanted to showcase.
I opened the bag and cut it to the height of the pages of my journal, added ½”, and doubled the width. The paper was folded in half, and the outside edges were folded to the middle. I cut ½” from each edge to make it easier to slip items into the pockets. I also cut ¼” from the top and bottom of the two inside folds; this creates tabs for the two outside folds.
I put glue stick on the tabs, folded the outer pages in, and folded the tabs over the back. The left page has one pocket, and the right has two; I simply stitched across the page with embroidery thread to create two pockets. Finger tabs were created with a small hole punch.
Cutting windows is an easy way to add interest to travel journal pages. Use a craft knife for hand-cut windows, or a punch for a quick shaped window. This allows a view through to the next page, teasing what’s ahead. Here, I cut a small rectangle into a cardstock page that I stenciled with a map design. I created a frame around the window with a piece of decorative cardstock. A brightly colored map appears through the opening. For the “France” label, keep reading.
I often use labels on my pages for titles, notes, dates, etc. But sometimes I don’t want to stop what I’m doing and search for just the right label, so I draw them myself. You can use any pen or marker for this, but I like using a dip pen and ink. There’s something about the look of the ink on paper that makes even the wonkiest lines look charming. I had a leftover scrap of hand-dyed watercolor paper, and used that to make labels with black and sepia ink. No special skills are required for this—just dip the pen in the ink and make some lines.
In the Collage section of the July/August issue (pages 6-7) we asked artists what supplies they like to take while traveling. We got some fantastic responses that contain lots of useable tips. Here’s a bonus idea from Dorit Elisha: “Before I leave home I always do some research on where the flea markets or second-hand bookstores are where I’m going, and I make sure I visit them for some interesting ephemera for my journal.” I am a huge flea market fanatic, and this inspired me to create a pocket from a vintage patchwork block I found at a flea market.
I simply turned down and ironed ¼” of the block on three sides, and adhered it to the page with glue stick. To make sure it was attached, I stitched it with ‘Xs’, using perle cotton. If you don’t want the stitches to show on the back, cover the reverse side of the page with ephemera.
Here are a few more ideas for travel journal pages that I’ve compiled from previous blog posts: For an extra pocket, try sewing an envelope into a signature. I created an envelope using the We R Memory Keepers 1-2-3 Punch Board, but you can use any envelope template. Just make sure that, when closed, the envelope doesn’t extend beyond the pages.
Before closing up the envelope, line up and center the bottom fold into the middle of a signature. Place the punching template on top, and punch the holes through the signature. Sew the signature the same way as the others, keeping the envelope flaps open.
When the book is sewn, glue up the flaps and use the envelope to store ephemera, dried leaves, or other flat bits.
Maps are great to include in travel journals, especially ones you create yourself. But they’re often too large to fit on a page. One solution is to use a Turkish map fold that can be adhered to a page, or to the front or back cover. Directions for creating the fold are easily found online. You can also use this fold for a photo, menu, or magazine page; just make sure the paper is lightweight so it can be folded easily. Here is the map folded, adhered to the inside back cover of a small travel journal:
And here it is open.
I hope the summer includes some fun adventures perfect for capturing in your travel journal pages! If you need more techniques before heading off, here are a few terrific resources from the North Light Shop.