Hi! My name is Linda Kittmer and I'm so excited to have been invited to join the StencilGirl Creative Team! Today I'm going to share a tutorial with you on how I make a fun journal cover that slips over a standard sized composition book.
I'll be featuring Margaret Applin's Heart Swirl stencil on the front of the cover, as well as using Trees by Mary Beth Shaw in the background. Don't you just love those wonderful swirls and spirals in that heart!
I start with a piece of muslin which I've coated with a mixture of PVA glue diluted 50/50 with water. I always make a big piece of this (about a metre or so at a time) by using a sponge brush and generously painting on the watered down glue. Hang that to dry and then you're ready to cut pieces the size you need for individual projects. The glue gives the fabric a nice stiff consistency and leaves it with a bit of a wrinkled texture.
For this journal cover, you need to cut a piece that's 10 1/4" X 25 ". Cover one side with white gesso and let dry. For the remainder of the tutorial, I'll refer to this as my canvas.
Now you're ready for the fun. Get out your acrylic paints. Any will do. I use everything from Golden to inexpensive craft paints. You don't have to break the bank for this project. Use what you can afford. As you can see, I use a plastic plate for a paint palette ($1.00 a dozen at the Dollar store, and I'm still on plate one which I've been using for over a year!).
I decide on about three paint colours I want to use, knowing that I'll get a few other colours as those paints mix. Using a fairly large brush, I get some random patches of colour (in this case yellow) on the canvas.
I filled in the rest using fushia, creating some orange areas where the wet paint blended. I love circles and will often stamp them using various lids dipped in paint, but in this case my yellow paint was almost empty (and I hate to waste paint) so I started to bump the open bottle onto the surface of the canvas. I love that the resulting circles aren't perfect.
I had to exercise some patience because I needed the paint to dry before I went on to the stencilling. You could use a heat gun to hurry up the process, but I took my dog for a walk instead. :o)
I wanted the Heart Swirl stencil centred on the front of my journal cover, so I had to determine where the centre of the front would be. A standard composition book is 9 3/4" X 7 1/2" so I folded the canvas in half and then measured across 8" (this gives you a little wiggle room to allow for the thickness of the journal). I folded the extra length under (this will create the little pocket that the cover tucks into in the finished journal cover).
Now that the canvas is folded to the dimensions of the finished cover, I centred the stencil on the front (I just eyeball it).
Using a make-up sponge I applied white paint through the stencil. Be careful not to load too much paint onto your sponge so that it doesn't leak under the stencil. I do this by dipping the sponge into the paint and then dabbing it off on a clear part of the palette. I find it better to put on two thin layers of paint than to try to do one thicker layer.
When that paint dried, I traced around the stencil pattern with a black Micron pen (waterproof pen) and then added little dots all over it.
I cleaned the stencil and then flipped it so that I could do the mirror image of the stencil on the back of the journal cover.
I again traced the stencil pattern with my black pen and then made some doodle flowers out of some of the yellow circles.
Still using the black pen, I added the words Journal Love in the bottom area of the Heart Swirls stencilled feature and highlighted the letters with a white Signo pen.
From here it's on to the sewing machine for a bit of simple stitching. Lay the journal cover painted side down on your work table. Put a composition book on top to determine how much to fold the edges over to create the 'pockets' that the covers tuck into. Crease well and then using a zig zag stitch, stitch all along the top and bottom to create those pockets. Tuck the composition book in and you're done!
My fibre art group, Group of Eight Fibre Artists, donates some of these journals to our local women's shelter each year, so that's where this one will be going. Each of use donates at least 3, so I'll be making more soon.