Friday, September 26, 2014

Stenciled and Shaped Handmade Books


Hi everyone! This is Gwen back today to share a new project for you to try with your stencils. Lately I've been in a bit of a book-making phase, and this month I wanted to try and step it up a bit and expand my repertoire by going outside of the box... literally! I decided to bypass the traditional rectangular books for something a bit more fun... shaped books made from stencil designs!

I started by gathering up some supplies... a piece of chipboard I'd saved from a package I got in the mail at some point (you can use bookboard or cardboard too,) stencils, gesso, paint, stamps, and ink.

Getting started on the book, I used my gesso, ink, stamps, and a few 4x4 stencils (Mini Tower Stairs Stencil by Mary Beth Shaw and Journal Texture #8 by Pam Carriker.) to create the background. Then I used the Dragon Stencil by Mary Beth Shaw to create the main "shape" for my book.


This stencil is great for this because it actually works as a mask, so you can see the layers underneath through the body of the dragon. I love the effect! Then I went through with my trusty Liquid Pearls to do a little outlining and detailing in preparation for the next step.

Next, time to turn this into a set of book covers. With a little measuring and some slightly tough cutting, it was finally starting to look like a bit more like book in the making!


Then I did the back side of both covers using some paint and the Flower Tiles stencil by Mary Beth Shaw.

For the binding, I challenged myself to learn coptic binding (or more accurately re-learn it, although it had been so many years since I did it last that I'm not sure it actually counts!) I found a coptic binding tutorial on Pinterest that I followed - it goes through creating the template and doing the stitching and I found that it worked pretty well (although, if you're a lefty like me, you'll probably have to flip some of the directions to do them the opposite way. But it's not too hard to figure out.)


And voila!  A stenciled, shaped, coptic-bound book. 



I really love how this turned out... so much that I've since made two more from different stencils with different themes. I love how this gives you the ability to turn stencils that at first glance might seem to have limited use into really unique handmade books... they work as notebooks, sketchbooks, mini scrapbooks, or art journals... whatever you want!

I hope you enjoyed today's project, and if you happen to be in the New England area, I'm going to be making this book (with two other options, all made from StencilGirl stencils) as one of three stencil classes I'm teaching in Westbrook, Connecticut October 17th-18th. If you're interested, keep an eye out on my blog for details!

Until next time,
Gwen Lafleur

26 comments:

  1. Fantastic posts. Love your rich layered cover and it's fab shape!

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    1. Oh Gwen! This is beautiful. I know just the person to male one got!

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  2. This is gorgeous and very creative use of a stencil.

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  3. What a great idea, to use the dragon stencil this way -- and your book is beautiful!

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  4. This is SOOOOOOOOO clever...and beautiful. Thank you.

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  5. Love, love, love, this!!
    The colors, shape, stitching...EVERYTHING!!!!!
    Fabulous, Gwen!

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  6. Your dragon book is AMAZING! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  7. Ditto to Mary!!! I LOVE this book and stencil! Wonderful!!!

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  8. Thank you so much everyone! I appreciate each and every comment, and I'm so glad you liked it!

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  9. Gorgeous Gwen! The stencilling is beautiful and the shape of the book is fantastic! Coptic stitch binding is on my list and you've just inspired me to bring it to the top! Sue C x

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  10. Love this! I enjoy making journals and am always looking for new ways to make them ... and to use stencils. Now must get that dragon stencil!!!

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  11. What an impressive book, Gwen! It's so beautifully made with bright, cheerful colors. I love the oriental style and you've captured it so well with this project, and without being cliché! Thanks for the Coptic binding link.

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  12. This is really amazing book Gwen. Really dynamic and unique. Such a clever use of a great stencil!

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  13. This is my favorite project on this Blog,so glad I bought this stencil from you a couple months ago!!

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  14. Gwen, this is so unbelievably gorgeous! WOW! My hubby (and grandkids) are all dragon obsessed, I don't know if I can pull hit off or not, but really designed an amazing project. Thank you.

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  15. Gwen, this is so unbelievably gorgeous! WOW! My hubby (and grandkids) are all dragon obsessed, I don't know if I can pull hit off or not, but really designed an amazing project. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Mary Beth! I love dragons myself, so this was especially fun! It works with most any shaped stencil too... I keep finding new ones you can make this way :)

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  16. Gwen, this is so gorgeous! All I can say is, "WOW!"

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  17. WOW! This book is so cool. Great design, execution and you shared it with us. You absolutely ROCK. Thank you.

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  18. Gwen, I have this dragon stencil and I love it. However, I found it somewhat difficult to work with it. After looking at your post I think I just figured out why. I haven't put enough layered imaging under the dragon. The pieces I worked on had most of the layers on top. As I love the image, I guess I unconsciously didn't want to distort him with other images. Don't know if my Ahhhh haaaa moment explanation makes sense but I'm looking forward to working with him again.

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  19. Gwen, I have this dragon stencil and I love it. However, I found it somewhat difficult to work with it. After looking at your post I think I just figured out why. I haven't put enough layered imaging under the dragon. The pieces I worked on had most of the layers on top. As I love the image, I guess I unconsciously didn't want to distort him with other images. Don't know if my Ahhhh haaaa moment explanation makes sense but I'm looking forward to working with him again.

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  20. I don't just love dragons, I AM a dragon according to the Chinese zodiac, and I LOVE this book!

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  21. I don't just love dragons, I AM a dragon according to the Chinese zodiac, and I LOVE this book!

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  22. That is stunning Gwen, love the idea of using the stencil to shape your book covers and the copic stitching allows your book to lie flat so you can still see the entire design of the stencil, brilliant idea! Deb xo

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  23. Love your book! Such a great use of the dragon stencil! Thanks for the inspiration.

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