Background on Making Journals

Fairly regularly I get questions about how my journals work, so I thought I would do a post on it.

I've keep a journal in one form or another for over 20 years. I've used many types [notebooks/binders/spiral bound/hardcover/coptic]-- but none of them were quite what I needed... so eventually I set out to design a journal that would meet all my needs. I use my journal as a sketchbook, art journal, notebook, daytimer & place to write poetry so I wanted one journal to accommodate all these things instead of carrying around 4-5 separate journals, so I determined it needed to have distinct sections. I also wanted it to be refillable because sometimes one section fills up faster than others & I wanted to be able to add new paper to that section or just move pages around if I needed to. My journal goes everywhere with me and spends alot of time banging around in my backpack, so it also needed to be very sturdy.
I use canvas panels for the covers and make my own cotton bookcloth for the spine. After several years of trial and error, I have developed a pulley system for the binding so it can be refilled. It takes about 10 seconds to change the paper, so it is very fast and easy. I include refilling instructions with each journal. You cut the paper to size and fold it in half then slide it into the journal. You can use any kind of paper you like [I use plain paper for most of my sections but like watercolour or printmaking paper for my art journal section] -- depending on the paper thickness-- each section holds 6-10 papers folded which means 12-20 pages per section or 24-40 sides per section. Compact journal sizes from 4x4-up to 4x6 hold 2 sections. 5x7/ 6x6 and 8x6 hold 4 sections. Journal sizes 8x8 up to 12x9 hold 6 sections of paper.

One of the other advantages of my refill system is if you were painting or using wet media, you can slip out the paper you are working on--- paint and let it dry and reinsert it into the journal without having to worry about getting paint/glue or moisture on your other pages. This is another one of the reasons I designed this journal as I tend to be a bit messy when I am art journaling lol!

Oddly enough, the journal I designed for myself has turned out to also be useful to other journal keepers!

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