Friday, April 30, 2021

CLOSED May 1 & 8

Hi Reusers! Unfortunately we are going to have to remain closed for an additional two weeks. Sorry for any inconvenience and for those that have been waiting for us to reopen.

As a reminder we are volunteer run. Any help you can provide during this unprecedented time would be greatly appreciated. Learn more about Monetary Donations or Buying a Membership.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

My Junk Journal Attempt

Let me start off by saying this *almost* worked LOL

I have a lot of paper. I started saving it after I became interested in mixed media. Paper shopping bags, wrapping paper, packing paper, even the innermost two layers from bags of flour. I have accumulated quite a pile. It's a little ridiculous, actually 😅

I've been wanting to try my hand at making a practice journal to work in. I like the idea of using random papers; it feels less intimidating to me than all that pristine white paper in a regular art journal. In a "real" art journal I always feel like I need to create a masterpiece (which doesn't often happen LOL)

I had quite a lot of good, heavy packing paper from all the online ordering I've been doing this year (maybe some of you can relate?). The pieces often come all balled up, but when flattened are fairly large:

So the other day I took my pile of packing paper and cut each one into equal(ish) pieces. I left the raw edges as they were. I also have a partial roll of textured wallpaper which I thought would be interesting to paint on, so I added a few pieces of that.

I folded each piece of paper in half to create a folio, then put one folio inside another to create my signatures. I ended up with nine signatures.

According to the tutorial I found online (at, now was the time to create my cover. In the recycling bin I found a box from a family-sized box of Rice Krispies. After removing the flaps and one side, I had a cover. The top and bottom were a bit smaller than my signatures, but the spine was the right height so I decided to run with it.

Now I wanted to cover it with fabric. I used a piece of upholstery fabric left over from another project. I found some great tutorials online on how to make beautiful, fully lined journal covers, but I wanted something simple. So I just cut the fabric a couple of inches wider than my cover, folded the edges over, and glued them down on the inside. I then tucked my signatures inside so I could admire my work :D

I liked the idea of sewing my signatures to the cover, as per the tutorial above. I marked the inside of my spine accordingly and prepared to start sewing. Here's where I ran into trouble.

My spine is nearly three inches high. I was quite sure that if I was to sew the signatures to the cover, the pages wouldn't lay flat when the journal was open. Even in the middle of the journal the crease in the spine would be over an inch deep.

So it was back to Google, where I found this tutorial (by the oh-so-talented Laly Mille - do check out her beautiful work!) on how to sew signatures together so they lie flat. I grabbed a ball of crochet cotton I had laying around and got to work. Things were going well until I realized she was only sewing together three signatures. I didn't think the method she was using would work well for any more than five.

At this point I had sewn together three signatures, and I had six left. So it seemed easiest to sew two more sets of three. I then joined the three sets by running some thread perpendicular to the spine, through the stitches along the signatures (completely winging it, not gonna lie). I ended up with this:

When I open my now bound journal, the pages lie fairly flat, so even though the stitches are a bit loose I count this as a win. There is, however, one problem... 

My cover is now too tall LOL 

Which is fine. I don't see a way to attach this many pages to a cover and have it lie flat, so I won't be using this cover anyway. Laly Mille simply glues a piece of cardstock to the front and back pages of her journal, leaving the spine uncovered, so I may do that. Or I might not use a cover at all. And I can always tuck the journal inside this too-big one when I'm done painting.

Lesson learned: in the future, I will either use thinner paper, or make fewer signatures.

If you have made your own journal, please let us know below! Even if it wasn't a success. We all learn from others' mistakes as well :D

Thursday, April 8, 2021

CLOSED for April

Due to continued risks being presented by new COVID-19 variants of concern in our city, we have made the decision to remain closed for the month of April for the protection of our volunteers and customers. Thanks for your understanding.