Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Nancy Curry: Create Piano Hinge Tag Books with StencilGirl Products

Hi, everyone! Nancy Curry here! I’m always about the opportunity to arrive on the doorstep of the StencilGirl® blog.  It is always scheduled well ahead of time and coincidentally when this was scheduled a few months ago, I had just been introduced to the Micro Art Journaling Facebook Group by friend and artist Karyl Howard.  It’s a fascinating group that I only audit, but looking at all the tiny books there reminded me of a tag book that I had put in the last chapter of my book, Texture Effects for Rubber Stamping. I quickly decided that I’d like to update the project with some favorite current processes. 
I started with the grunt work and cut out the template (4 3/4” x 2 3/8” size) and with an Xacto knife as well as the outlines of two pieces of Utopia Matte Coated Cover so they were ready. If you want to look for shipping tags, look for size 5. Then I chose some colors of  Blick Matte Acrylics and Titanium White Golden Heavy Body for both samples and found my 3” x 5” Gel Press Plate. I chose Traci Bautista’s Love Collage and placed it on the Gel Press plate.  Then I took a palette knife and added my colors, brayered the color out over the stencil and lifted the stencil to print.  
Once printed, I also pressed the other side of the paper into the plate to give it some color.  My thoughts turned to the inside of the book.  For this I chose a 2” x 10” piece of heavyweight vellum.  I used Traci’s Tropical Floral Stencil with the same process, but focused on the darker color and the neutral that was used sparingly on the cover of the book to add contrast. Once dry I took my word  (StencilClub  Oct 2018) and linear element stencils and pounced a cosmetic sponge through them with a blue/black mix of paint to add a final layer of  interest.  I set my components aside to finish drying.
I repeated the process with different colors and Nathalie Kalbach’s Art Deco Wallpaper stencil and again reused Traci’s Tropical Floral stencil for the word “wonder”. A squiggle line from my designs last October in StencilClub finished the piece off.  For those of you in StencilClub, remember that you can order past months if you weren’t in the club when they released.
Now that both sets of papers were finished, it was time to start constructing the book.  The first step was to cut the template and score the tag fronts.  I generally hole punch (1/4”) at this point or it can wait till later.
I laid out the tag horizontally with the punch hole to the right and folded to the left side to make  a valley fold and creased with my bone folder.  I then reopened the tag cover and folded at the score in the middle of the hinge holes.  I repeated this process on the other set of hinge holes, noting that both folds should be mountain folds.  I creased these as well and then checked  the hinges alignment.  I found some overlapping parts and snipped them with tiny scissors to neaten them. 
For the inside pages, I took  the 2” x 10” piece with art face up and folded into the center to create a valley fold.  I opened it up and took each side and folded into center valley fold.  The next step was to fold from the center to outside crease.  Finally, I turned the paper over and folded to the center mountain fold. You should have an accordion booklet with two center pages.  I chose to have a word on those pages, but you do whatever you want. To finish, I attached the ends to the covers (close to the spine) with heavy duty double stick tape. I’m a particular fan of ScorTape. 
To finish and stabilize, I added a hole protector to the tag and decide how I wanted to hold the spine together. From past construction, I remembered that a toothpick with beads and 20 gauge gold wire work well.  Its totally whatever aesthetic goes with your surface decoration.  TIP: I did use a toothpick to stabilize the spine while inserting the wire for that type of spine. It makes it much easier to do. During this part of the process I also added a stamped word from my line of stamps to the cover.
I really enjoyed making these tiny books.  It’s a great project to do in between larger ones for fun.  I’d love to fill them with some poetry or quotes.  Both are also loves of mine.  I hope you have enjoyed the process.

For more of my art, you can find me at or on Facebook and Instagram at Nancy Curry Art.  If you want to know about future classes or art sales, head to my low volume newsletter page. 


  1. Can’t wait to try making one of those little books! What a fun project ❤️

  2. I love these tiny books- what a gorgeous tutorial!!!

  3. Love these to bits! Never heard of Micro Art Journaling before, but love love love! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Claudia x

  4. These are intriguing. I love the books and the way they are constructed. Going to have to try making one.


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