Friday, October 18, 2019

Tiny Sketchbook with StencilGirl® Stencils

Some of you may remember previous sketchbooks I made for The Sketchbook Project, that were also featured as tutorials on this website. Just enter my name in the search bar and they’ll pop up. The Sketchbook also does other projects apart from their regular sketchbooks and one of these involves tiny sketchbooks, sized 2.5 x 2.1/4” (about 1/3 of the regular ones). You can see just how tiny that is on this photograph.
There are themes set by The Sketchbook Project to choose from and for mine I selected Around the World. Here is how it came to be:

1.      Start by undoing the staples, and removing the pages. You will have 15 sheets of paper sized 3 x 2.1/4”.
Put the cover aside for the time being.

2.      Put the pages down on your working surface and spray with water. Also spray your watercolor set (I’m using Jane Davenport’s Tropical set of colors). Then with a wet brush pick up colors from the palette and drip down over the pages. Continue using the water spray at times, and let the colors run into each other. I started by using warm colors only.
3.      Repeat step 2 using cool colors.
4.      Continue repeating step 2 and 3 till you’re happy with the results.
5.      Using StencilGirl® stencils Spider Flower, Grove Street, and Unconnected Circles and a permanent black marker (I used Stabilo Write-4-all) mark out patterns from the stencils onto the sheets.
6.      Color in the marked patterns with watercolor pens of your choice. I used Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers.
7.      Put sheets together back to back using either glue or double sided tape (that was my preferred option. You’ll have one sheet left over. Set this aside for the moment.

8.      Edge the pages with a permanent pink ink pad.

9.      Place the pages in an order you prefer and fold the pages well (using a bone folder if you have one.
10. Write appropriate texts on the pages. Mine all refer to the dictionary descriptions of around and round.  Set the pages aside for the moment.

11. Take out your cover. The bar-code for registering the sketchbook is on the back cover and mustn’t be covered up so I concentrated on the front cover and only parts of the back cover and covered with white gesso.

12. Mark the front cover and part of the back using a permanent black marker and stencil Central Avenue.
13. Fill in the shapes using the same watercolor pencils as per step 6.

14. Take the sheet left over in step 7, cut in half and using double sided tape or glue adhere the two halves to the inside front and back covers.

15. Glue on title to the front cover. Mine was cut from a vintage dictionary.

16. Make a plain paper template the same height as your sketchbook and fold in half. On the fold line mark 3 spots, one approx. ¾” from the top, one ¾” from the bottom and one halfway.  Use this to make holes in the center of all your sheets, using a big needle or awl.
17. Using a needle and a strong thread start in the middle of the book from the center hole and go to the outside, leaving a long tail. Go back inside through the top hole, back out to the bottom one, and back in through the center one. Tie the thread and the tail left at the start, around the middle thread, with a square knot. There are many videos available on YouTube showing you how to do this. It’s called a pamphlet stitch with 3 holes.
© Frieda Oxenham 2019. To see more of Frieda's work, please visit her BLOG.


  1. I love this colorful little notebook!

  2. Frieda, I love these and they are such a different style than your usual wonderfulness!

  3. Wonderful directions! Thank you for some great ideas, Frieda!

  4. I had to try it! I love the results. Thank you.


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