The Elements of Handmade Books

What others throw away, artists see as creative gold. In The Elemental Journal: Composing Artful Expressions From Items Cast Aside, author Tammy Kushnir takes old clothes, twigs, cardboard boxes, and more, and turns them into stunning handmade books that hold thoughts, secrets, desires, and dreams. In this excerpt, learn how to turn plain acrylic sheets into pages that form a unique, stunning journal, using transparency images and paint. Let this project inspire you to consider materials, their meaning, and ways to use them, in a new light.

Handmade book project from The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir
This journal with acrylic pages allows for layering with mixed media.

Child Within

By Tammy Kushnir

Hidden within all of us are the hopes and dreams we often forget or repress as we leave our childhoods and enter “reality.” If we look through the pain, problems and abandoned ideas we once had, we can find what we loved and embrace it, follow it and thrive in it. This journal is the link between childhood moments and the present Digital Age of recording it all.

1. With white acrylic paint and a foam brush, generously paint the inside of a hard plastic case. Print an image of vintage lined paper with the word journal in the corner onto transparency paper. Once the paint has dried, glue the image to the inside of the front of the case.

Handmade book project from The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir

2. Print a picture of a waterfall onto a piece of copy paper and glue it inside the back of the case. Once the glue has dried, paint around the edges of the image.

handmade books

3. Lay a sheet of acrylic on a cutting mat. Using an acrylic cutting knife and a straightedge, score a rectangle in the acrylic that will fit snugly within the hard plastic case. Snap the acrylic along the scored lines to make a rectangular acrylic card. Repeat this step to make 3 more cards.

Handmade book project from The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir

4. Create an image using Adobe Photoshop, combining personal photos and collage images. Add an appropriate journaling phrase to the page. Print the completed image onto transparency paper. Once the ink has dried (some inks might take 24−48 hours), glue the right side to the back of an acrylic card so the image shows through but cannot be smudged by fingerprints.

Handmade book project from The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir

5. Paint the edges and back of the card with white acrylic paint. When painting the back of the card, leave some spaces unpainted for the image on the next card to peek through.

Handmade book project from The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir

6. Repeat Steps 3−4 for the remaining acrylic cards. Once the cards are dry, stack them face up and place them in the painted plastic case.

Handmade book project from The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir

Excerpted from The Elemental Journal: Composing Artful Expressions From Items Cast Aside by Tammy Kushnir, North Light Books 20113. (c) Tammy Kushnir. Photography by Ric Deliantoni and Christine Polomsky.

Discover more about handmade journals with these great resources from The North Light Shop!

The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir
Discover how to turn castoffs into beautiful handmade books packed with meaning in The Elemental Journal by Tammy Kushnir.
Book + Art by Dorothy Simpson Krause
Make handmade books that are an expression of your artwork with the projects in the eBook Book + Art by Dorothy Simpson Krause.
Backgrounds to Bindings video with Kari McKnight Holbroo
Learn how to decorate artful pages and bind them together in the video Backgrounds to Bindings with Kari McKnight Holbrook.

Categories

Blog, Handmade Books, Mixed-Media Techniques

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