Friday, January 6, 2017

Canvas Travelers Notebook by Art and Whimsy!

Hi, everyone! Belen from Art and Whimsy here!

If you’re on social media you’ve likely seen that the planner craze is still going strong. There are many different styles & configurations to choose from. One popular style is the Travelers Notebook.
Because it's comprised of individual booklets, or inserts as they’re called, it's extremely customizable and has become a favorite with many artists who like to have a place to do some on the go watercolor or mixed media, along with their planning or fitness tracking.

What I'm going to show you today is how to create your own unique, single band style, Travelers Notebook using stencils, paint, canvas, and a few other supplies that you likely have laying around your studio or craft room.

First, take whichever size insert you want to use and measure out how much canvas you'll need to cover it.
I'm using adhesive backed canvas by Art-C but you can just as easily use regular canvas and iron-on fusible web.
You might want to use something like a binder clip to hold your canvas in place while you make sure that you have your edges lined up.
Trim to size.
If you plan to add several inserts, be sure to allow enough canvas so that all of your inserts are covered.
Side Note: To stop the canvas from fraying, run a bead of fray-check all around the edges. Allow to dry.
Next, prep your canvas with a generous coat of gesso and let dry.

Once your canvas is good and dry it's time to give your TN a base of color. Personally, I like brush on a heavy body paint using a stiff bristle brush, but you can use fabric paint if you like. Don't be afraid to play and experiment to see what works best for you. Allow your base to dry.
 Next comes my favorite part, playing with stencils! For this Travelers Notebook I use a couple of my most favorite StencilGirl stencils, Carolyn Dube's Scribble Scratch Handwriting stencil and Michelle Ward's Maltese Mix stencil.
Using cosmetic sponges, dab heavy body paint through the stencils onto your canvas. Have fun with it! Allow enough time for your canvas to dry completely.
Once dry, you can add some random marks to your canvas with pens or markers or you can trace around the stencil pattern to give your design a bit more visual interest, as I've done here.
When you’re happy with your cover, it's time to move on to the backing. This is what will be visible when you open your TN.
For this step you can use fabric or even designer paper, which is what I went with.
Since my canvas has an adhesive backing it was just a matter of lining up my edges, peeling away the backing and using a straight edge catalyst tool to smooth out any air pockets.
If you’re using iron-on fusible web, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use accordingly.
Once your backing is in place, use your trimmer to clean up the edge as needed.
Next comes the binding! As with the construction of the TN itself, you'll find different ways to accomplish this on the web. Below is what I found to be easiest for me.
First find the center at the top of your cover. You can eyeball it or use a ruler. Go in about a 1/2 inch from the edge and make a mark.
Next, go in about a 1/2 inch from that mark and make a second mark. Basically you'll end up with 2 marks... one that’s 1/2 inch from the edge and one that's 1 inch from the edge.
Repeat this process along the bottom edge of your cover.
Once that's done, find the very center of your cover and make a mark in line with the others. You should now have 5 marks lined up vertically on your cover.
Using an awl or a Japanese screw punch, punch holes where you've made your marks.

The advantage of using a good Japanese screw punch is that it makes nice clean holes with no fraying or puckering.

If you want to round your corners, now is a good time to do that. I used a Corner Chomper but if you don’t have one handy, you can place something round, like a pen cap, in each corner and trace around it with a sharp craft knife.
Take some elastic cord. How much will vary depending on the size of your TN, but for a standard size or a bit larger like mine, about a yard will do just fine. It'll give you a little wiggle room too.

Fold your cord in half and from the backside of your canvas, or in my case the paper side, thread the folded end through the center hole of your cover. Pull through enough to loop over your cover.
From the paper side, take one end of your cording and thread it through the next closest hole and then back through the hole closest to the edge.
Repeat this process with the other end of your elastic cording.

The easiest way to make sure that the inside band that’s going to hold your insert in place is sized correctly is to use the actual insert you plan to house in your TN.
Open it up to the middle and place it on your cover. Take the ends of your cording and tie a knot, securing your insert in place. Trim the edges.
Now just close your cover and pull the loop over your TN to keep it closed and that’s it, your very own Travelers Notebook!
If you'd like you can accessorize your TN with a pretty charm. You can find them at your local craft store or on Etsy, like this one here from Posh Pieces By Melissa.
Whether you use yours for planning, art on the go, or tracking healthier habits, like I plan to, it's ready to just toss in your bag and go.
Have fun & Happy Stenciling!

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  1. What a beautiful travel notebook I loved the process and of course your use of stencils is fab!! thank you for sharing !!!

  2. wow! Great tutorial, the steps are really easy to follow :-) I'm excited to try this myself.

    1. Thank you, Angel, can't wait to see what you create!

  3. Such a wonderful idea! Love this!

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  5. Belen thank you, very nice. Great easy instructions and the colors are magnificent as you always have.Linda

    1. Linda! Thank you so much for the feedback, it's much appreciated.

  6. Great project, thanks so much for the easy to follow steps!

  7. Thank you so much for this easy to follow tutorial. Your TN has turned out amazing.

    1. Thanks, Dianne. If you decide to craft your own, I'd love to see!

  8. This is such a great resource that you are providing travel enthusiasts and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine.


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