Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Carol Ponsford - Creating a mini-journal and a multi-mini journal

Hi everyone! Carol Ponsford here today to share how I created a mini-journal and 
a multi-mini journal using StencilGirl® stencils L698 and L701 designed by 
Ann Butler. What is a multi-mini journal you ask? Well, I combined 6 mini-journals into 
one journal (I do love a challenge and hope you do too). I see a lot of mini journals 
online and I love the idea of working small so when I came across these stencils 
I knew they would be perfect to use in these projects. I will start with the single
mini-journal and I hope you will read to the end to see the steps for the multi-mini journal. 

The supplies I used for the mini black and white journal are as follows: Stencil L698, 
heavy chipboard (for the covers), sharp cutting blade, mixed media paper (9"x12" or larger),
glue stick, masking tape (I used black), embellishment for cover (optional). Archival Ink pad 
in a color of your choice (I used Jet Black), a sponge to apply ink, bone folder, 
ruler, scoring tool (optional), and some type of ribbon for the closure.  

The first step was to get the pattern on the chipboard so that you have a template to
use for your book cover. I used one of the hexagon shapes that had a more solid pattern
to the edge of the hexagon (you can choose any pattern you prefer). 
I pounced Archival Ink with a sponge through the stencil making sure to leave at least 
a 1/8" edge beyond the pattern so that the book pages nest nicely inside the book.

Next I used a ruler and cutting blade to cut the shape out again leaving a 1/8" border.
I needed to figure out what the size of the inside pages would be so I laid the hexagon
on a scrap piece of paper with the spine of the book on the 
left and measured the actual hexagon shape that was printed in 
black and came up with 3"w x 3 3/8"h. Since I am doing an accordion style book
I know that I needed to cut strips of paper that measured 3 3/8" tall and my fold will be every 3".

I cut 2 pieces of the mixed media paper lengthwise into 3 3/8" tall strips. using 3 of 
the strips I scored every 3" and folded on each scored line back and forth 
to create the accordion strips of paper. 

I then nested them together to create one long strip and glued them together.

I sponged the stencil shape onto a piece of white paper to make a pattern for 
cutting the inside pages. I folded the accordion pages together in a stack 
and with the folds on the left and right, marked my cut lines. Using a new cutting blade, 
I cut the tops and bottoms to get the pages to the hexagon shape. 

To finish the cover, I cut strips of black masking tape and centered the edge of the book
in the middle and folded each side of the tape over and used my bone folder to make 
sure it made good contact with the chip board. I repeated this process on all six sides
of the front cover as well as on the back cover.

Using all of the patterns on the stencil, I decorated each page (front and back)
 of the accordion strip with Archival ink using a sponge. (It is not necessary 
to decorate the sides that will be glued to the covers. I would decorate the
pages before you glue them onto the book covers.

Should you choose to add an embellishment to the cover then this is the time 
to do it. I had jumped the gun and already glued my accordion pages onto the covers
so I had a few extra steps I had to do to hide the prongs of the brads I used to
attach this little number plaque by Tim Holtz. Once your embellishment 
is in place, you can glue the inside accordion pages to the interior book ends. 

The final step for this book is to decide if you want to add a closure of some type
before gluing on the covers. I chose to add a piece of ribbon to the back that would wrap around
and tie in the front so I glued that in place on the back of the chipboard.
I decided on the pattern I wanted for the front and back cover and sponged Archival ink
onto two scraps of mixed media paper, cut them out and glued them in place.

I look forward to continue working on the inside pages of this mini art journal.

I hope you enjoyed this project and if you are up to it, lets ramp it up a level and
create the multi-mini journal. I wanted to use the triangular stencil L701 and
was going to just create a mini journal with it but when I started looking at it, I was
 intrigued with the idea of attaching several mini books together and this shape 
seemed to be calling me to do just that! This book is the end product of my thought.

Other supplies you will need for this project is a gel plate, brayer, (you do not have 
a gel plate, you can easily just sponge paint through the stencil to make your 
designs and pattern pieces), binding tape, waxed linen thread, a needle large enough 
for the waxed linen thread, double stick tape, an awl or tool to punch a hole 
for the signatures, some type of tool to punch holes into the covers for the ribbon 
closure (I used a Japanese punch but a Crop-a-dile tool would work also). 

To start, I needed to make pattern pieces the exact size of the shapes I would be using, 
so using my brayer and acrylic paint (any color) I put a layer on my gel plate and laid the stencil 
down. Placing card stock, I pressed the patterns onto the paper firmly to get a good print.

I cut each of these shapes out as exact as possible to use as a pattern.

I arranged these onto a piece of heavy chipboard or book board, It took a bit of time to
get the shapes to meet the way I wanted but after turning them different ways I
got the hexagon shape. I taped each triangle down lightly with double 
stick tape being sure to leave a small space between each triangle and 
I traced the hexagon shape on to the chipboard and cut it out using a ruler and 
very sharp cutting blade. Before removing, I marked each pattern piece with a number on the 
tip of the triangle that faced the center of the book. I also lifted up the tip and marked the
 hexagon chipboard piece with each number. By doing this it helped later in 
knowing where to stencil the patterns for each section of the book. One variation 
you could do if you wanted would be to make six individual books and
adhere them on to this base at the end. This would make some of the steps
a little easier to do without having to work with the larger base attached. If you chose 
that method you would need to cut 2 chipboard triangles for you 
book section. The outcome would be very similar. Just a thought!

Next I gently removed each triangle and traced them on to chipboard being careful to 
also mark each piece on the same point with the assigned number. On the long straight 
 edge opposite the point with the number, I measured in from the edge 1/8" and drew a
line across the width of that side. This will be the edge you will use when cutting the pages.

Next I gathered about 5-6 sheets of various papers that I wanted for the signatures (pages)
of my book. I stacked and folded them in half using a bone folder to get a very firm 
crease in the papers. Lining up the cutting line of each triangle on the fold 
line of the paper stack, I used a pencil to mark the cut lines, removed the chipboard and 
with a straight edge and sharp cutting blade, I carefully cut through the papers.
(You will notice in the picture the edge of the triangle will hang off of the fold of the paper 1/8")

Make sure you keep each stack with the corresponding triangle as each one is
a little different in size and shape.

In the three pictures above I cut a piece of black copy paper to cover the back 
side of the book, cutting the paper large enough (about an inch overhang) 
to wrap over the edges and in towards the center of the book.
 I also created another hexagon, smaller in size that would be used on the inside of the cover.

Above is a diagram of how I cut my binding tape. (it will make more sense below)
The long edge of the triangle where it will be attached to the book is 3 1/8" so
that is how long each piece would be. I cut 2 pieces per triangle one for the front side
and one for the back side. I wanted them to be equally spaced leaving a 1/2" gap
in order to attached the signature. Having one on the front and one on the back would
leave the gap needed and it would be strong enough to stitch though.

Sticky side up I cut the first piece of tape and adhered the triangle 1" from the upper edge 
of the tape. I laid the hexagon book backside down 1/2" below the triangle. Since 
the book tape I used was 2 1/2" wide that put 1" of tape on both the triangle and the hexagon. 

I cut a second pice of tape the same size as the first and lined it up on the top 
of the two pieces with the 1/2" gap in the center. Using a bone folder I rubbed
 the gap area to get good contact and then on top of each chipboard piece as well. 
I repeated this process until all of the triangle pieces were attached to the hexagon back.

Make sure that you place each triangle on the corresponding side it is
 to go on based on how you numbered your triangles.

Trim off excess tape and you are ready to sew your signatures into the book.

To attach the signatures, I place my pages in place and opened to the center page,
I measured two spots in 1" from each side. Using my awl, I pushed the awl through
all of the pages as well as the 1/2" of tape that is between the triangle and book back
(I just eyeballed centering it between the covers).

With my needle threaded, I started on the inside pushing through all layers 
(leaving a tail of thread to tie off with) and came back from the outside to the inside
of the book, removed my needle and tied a snug square knot in the center.

Repeat this process for the remaining 5 sections of the book

It is at this point I glued the black hexagon in place that I had cut for the inside of the book.

Now comes the fun part, I painted pieces of card stock in the colors I wanted
for my backgrounds and then sponged color through the stencils to add the design on top. 
I wanted to do a color wheel look but you can do whatever you choose. 

When you start gluing your patterned papers on you will notice you need to trim 
about 1/4" off of the bottom of the triangle to get them to fit just right and
expose a black outline consistent with the edge of each section.

Once you have all of the designs on the cover you will begin to see your fun creation come to life!

Only couple of finishing touches left to do. We still need to cover the inside flaps.
This can be done with a full piece of paper or you can do what I chose to do.
I only covered the section of chipboard that was exposed, so I have short triangles instead
and the remainder of the triangle shows my decorative book binding tape.
Decide what you want to do and glue those pieces of paper in your book.
You can also see that I have punched holes in the ends of the triangles to 
feed in the ribbon for the ties. First I want to color my ribbon but that is a personal choice.

I had some silk ribbon and decided to color them to match each section of my book.
I used acrylic inks and painted each piece with a corresponding color. In retrospect,
the inks made the ribbon a little stiff so I probably should have rinsed the excess ink out.
I know that after time, the stiffness will fade so I am not too concerned with it.

I tied each ribbon to the correct colored triangle to finish it off.

To close the book, I tie opposite ribbons together and repeat around the book. This will
be nice when I start working in the book as I can leave some of the pages tied 
together so that I don't have them getting in the way.

I hope you have enjoyed my little take on these 2 mini journals and get creative on 
making your own, either a single journal or a multi-mini journal.

Thanks for joining in today and checking out this project! 
I want to thank StencilGirl® Products for providing me with free 
stencils so that I can share what I create each month with you.

Happy Creating!


To see more of my work please visit my Instagram page.


  1. Novel and fun - thank you, Carol!

    1. Thank you so much for checking it out Terry!


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