Revisiting Bookbinding

A few weekends ago an interstate friend, the lovely Kathleen Jennings, came to say. I gave her some of my concertina sketchbooks a few years ago, and she loved drawing in them. So in the evenings, after gallery and historic home visits, we grabbed my roll of watercolour paper and various pretty papers I’ve collected and made a pile more.

As before, the strips of paper being cut from the roll make for an amusing image:

These are the ones I made:

I’d intended to make five, but mistakes in measuring the page widths meant I wound up having to cut two of the strips in two and make shorter concertinas. Funnily enough, I did that last time as well. Measure twice, cut once! Still, it meant I got to make two extra covers out of some lovely paper I’d been saving.

The Last Lot

Tuesday, after my morning of card-making, I had a failed attempt at a nap (I slept badly the night before, having pulled a muscle in my side), so I made a cocktail and pushed on with card-making, whipping up ten cards using foam and rubber stamps. Cracking out the acrylic paint and roller seemed a little dangerous even while only mildly inebriated, so I stuck to using stamp pads. First to make a few themed cards:


Then I went wild with the foam animal stamps, adding an amusing twist by adding bow ties, moustaches and glasses.


That night I turned to the last four cards, wielding a needle and thread. And tweaked a previous card that I thought was too simple.


Which means I made it, with an extra if I count the cards I made and gave away before I got a photo of it. I now have 100 freshly created handmade cards on hand – with sentiment stamps and a stamp pad by them so I can customise the cards as needed.

The Eighth-to-Ninth Group

So a couple of days before Christmas I realised I still had more than thirty cards to make. Going through what I’d already made, I listed methods that were working well and other variations I could do, then added a couple of other methods to the list that I wanted to try, and put aside some cards I wanted to tweak.

That’s when I tried the oil pastel and sticker resist methods of the last post. I also tried painting with nail polish, and cutting circles out of photographs from an old diary and tiling them, but I didn’t like the result of either and the cards went into the recycling.

The next day I still had 29 cards to make. To get them done, I really needed to spend more time than a few hours sitting in front of the tv at night. So I set up on the dining table the next morning and got to work.

First up: watercolours. I painted more graphic shapes, and another sticker resist using stamps. I’ve included here a colouring book page card from an earlier bout of card-making that I finally decided I was done with.


Then I did more Sharpie drawings. They’re fun, but time-consuming.


Finally I cut, wove and glued more Japanese design paper cards.


I made half of what I needed to make to reach 100 cards, but had plenty of ideas for the last fifteen or so cards. Before I finished up for the morning… er, afternoon… I traced some cookie cutters onto card ready to do more string art. And I got the foam stamps are out again, to tempting me into getting messy with acrylic paint and roller.

The Seventh Batch

Four of the cards below were actually made before the last post’s. When I did that post my card-making materials were still separated into what stayed at home and what I took to Ballarat, so I didn’t get around to photographing the four I’d already made until now.

There’s one colouring book card, two I drew on with Sharpies, and two covered in paper I painted ages ago:


The next lot are the most recent, made the same day I wrote this post. I played with watercolour and resists, in this case the donut shaped stickers that reinforce binder pages, and white oil pastel:


I also tweaked some of the cards I’d already made. The colouring book city was a bit drab, so I coloured one of the windows yellow. The beetle was too dark, so I painted it white. The math-o-mat card looked so much better once it had stencilled letters on it, and I preferred the simplicity of the embroidered card without the bow.


And the green gardening theme one got another tweak. I’m still not 100% sure I’m done with this one yet.

The Sixth Batch

As I said in the last post, I took some card-making supplies along on my writing retreat. They included a cutting board, knife, ruler, gluestick, card stock and pages from one of my colouring books. I also had my little portable watercolour set with me, which I carry everywhere anyway. So it’s no surprise that most of the cards were made of colouring pages painted with watercolours:


Though the black one I coloured when I got home, using sharpies.

I also had an embroidery kit on hand, so one of the colouring pages was embellished with thread, too. And after I got home I continued playing with embroidery thread:


The tenth card never got photographed, since I forgot to take a pic before giving it to a friend. It was another watercolour – of a stack of books.

The Fifth Lot

I revisited and blended a few methods for the next lot of cards. Firstly the watercolours, adding washi tape for the bird one. I’m planning to write a message in black along the bottom of the striped one.


I tried blending drawing with buttons for the owl, and then gold pen and drawing for the beetle. Then I headed in another direction, using circle cutters and japanese design paper to make the last four.


The Fourth Lot

One more string art card happened before I set off in an entirely different direction – little watercolour drawings and water colour backgrounds over stencilled messages.



And since I was in need of a thank you card for a friend, I whipped up this:


The Third Ten


For a few evenings I had fun choosing and stitching buttons onto cards. That evolved into using bright embroidery thread to sew them on, then to mixing embroidery and buttons, then to all embroidery, then to string art inspired designs.

This one took a while, but I had someone in mind for it.


If you look closely, you can see he has a gold tooth.

The Second Ten


I tried filling shapes with watercolour paint one evening while watching tv, which didn’t turn out quite as I imagined because the card sucked in the paint more than proper watercolour paper does. I may revisit this idea, though not replicate it exactly, on better paper.

Then in the next sit down session I got the courage up to try some stamps, growing more confident and creative as I went. Some I coloured with pencils, others I used coloured stamp inks.

The green one was tweaked in a later session.


The one with the little kiss stamp will have a “Thank you” or “Congratulations” stamped on the front depending on the purpose I use it for.

The First Ten


Despite being surrounded by stamps, for my first cards I played with washi tape. Ideas evolved with each card, and by the end I had moved on to using stickers (the little cats and red dots) and then stamping (the roses on the red dots). The card with the map washi tape feels unfinished to me – perhaps I’ll stamp an appropriate sentiment on the front when I go to use it.