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Tutorials and Tips on making a smash styled travel journal.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Den Building

The National Trust have a challenge called 50 things to do outdoors before you are 11 3/4. One of the activities is to build a den. When we visited one of their properties yesterday, we found an area in the woods set up for the children to have a go at den building in.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

TJ's Lighthouse Idea

I can't show you the finished project yet, as the recipient of the gift hasn't been given it yet, but I just have to share with you this cool idea TJ had. One of her mixed media canvases is of a lighthouse scene. For the top of the lighthouse she got a piece of acetate from some packaging to make a 3D lighthouse top. How cool is that?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Mixed Media Sunflower

I've been teaching the children some mixed media art techniques over the last few weeks. They are creating master pieces to give their teachers and teaching assistants at the end of the school term. As part of the teaching process they watched sections of this detailed tutorial with me by Helen Allen.

I completed one of my own today using the same techniques on a 4 x 6 canvas board.

  • coat the canvas board in light olive acrylic paint
  • blend in some yellow and some olive to make the background less flat.
  • stamp leaves onto the background in Olive green
  • sponge dry yellow paint
  • Draw sunflower onto black & white printed paper
  • cut out pieces and glue to dry canvas
  • add a little water to the acrylic paints, and then paint the flower.
  • apply modelling paste to the centre of the flower and using the end of the paint brush make points in the paste
  • allow to dry, then paint the paste with burnt umber acrylic paint. 
  • once dry outline with ink pen (0.5)
  • add details using a finer ink pen (0.3)
  • shade using markers

Travel Journal Part 6: Assembly

I've used a Zutter Bind It All machine to assemble Tisha's travel journal with.

When selecting your owire size for the journal, Zutter recommend measuring the thickness of your finished journal, then adding 1/8th of an inch.  For a journal that is going to have stuff stuck inside it, I think an extra 1/4inch might be better. I've used the largest size I had in my stash, the 3/4 inch. I've ordered some larger ones for future journals.

Set-up the Bind-It-All for the correct owire size, using either the measuring gauge on the binding plate, or the plastic measuring guides.
Using wire cutters, cut a strip of owire to the desired size. I'm using 10 rings for this journal.

On the inside of the covers, mark the centre of the edge to be bound.
Extend the mark out to about 3 cm.

Place the cover in the hole punch, lining up the pencil mark with the centre arrow.
Ensure the cover edge is pushed firmly down to the bottom of the slot

Pull the lever, to punch the 6 holes.

Six holes are not enough for this journal, so I'm going to add another 4.
Move the side piece to setting B.

Place the cover back into the cutting place, and put the notch into the end hole

Punch the holes.
Turn the cover around and place the notch into the third hole.

Punch again.

Repeat with the other cover, and the pages.
The pages can be done in batches of about 8 depending on how strong you are and the page thickness.

Thread the pages and covers onto the owire, starting with the back pages, through to the front cover, and finally the back cover. See the two photos below.

Place the owire down onto the binging plate and pull the handle to close the wire. Be sure to check the instruction in the Bind-It-All manual on how to position the owire on the binding plate.

Now Tisha's new journal is complete and waiting for the school summer term to come to an end.

Thank you for reading my blog posts over this past week and watching the journal grow. Many blessings to you, and if you make a journal soon, then please, I'd love to see it.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Travel Journal Part 5: Adding a Pen Holder.

The SMASH journals we saw in the shop had a pen holder inside the back cover. We picked up some of the pens. Tisha wanted a blue one. Fixing a pen holder into the back cover is fairly simple if you have the tools. Remember to include space for the pen when creating the covers (see Part 3 of this tutorial.)

Tool Kit & Supplies

  • Rule, and pencil
  • A hole punch & eyelet setter. I have a Memory Keepers' Big Bite
  • Eyelets (3/8 inch)
  • 1/4 inch wide elastic

Working on the inside of the back cover, find the centre of the right hand edge.
Mark points 2 cm either side of the centre and draw lines from the edge inwards at those two points.

Along those two lines mark two points for the hole locations. Mine are about 7mm and 17mm from the edge.

Punch holes at the marked points
Set eyelets into the holes


Take a length of elastic and thread through the holes as shown in the following photos.

Place the pen in at this stage to ensure the size of the inside loops are correct.

Tie firmly and trim.

This is what the loops look like without the pen.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Travel Journal Part 4: Themed page Ideas

One of the benefits of making our own journal, instead of purchasing one, is that we can customise it. Spotter sheets are a great addition for travel journals, particularly ones for young explorers. I found loads of free ones on the Wildlife Watch website. I printed out the summer flowers, and also some seaside themed ones as we intend on visiting the beach soon

Another great addition for a travel journal is some activity pages; something to do during the journey or rainy days You could cut some out of activity and puzzle books. I found a free on-line puzzle making website, where you can make your own custom puzzles on a theme and a difficulty level that's appropriate for you or your child.

I decorated up my activity pages using digital scrapbooking supplies and techniques.

Other ideas for including in a travel journal would be:

  • route plans.
  • maps, or space to add maps.
  • lists of places you want to see that you can tick off. You could even include a ratings note next to each item so you can grade it after your visit.
  • blank menu cards for adding details of special meals.
Do you have any other ideas I could include in this journal or the next one I'm doing?

Friday, 4 July 2014

Travel Journal Part 3: Covers

Tisha was off school with a very sore throat on Tuesday, so we made the covers for her travel journal together.

1. Cut two pieces of cardboard to slightly larger than the pages of the book.

  • 1 cm taller
  • 0.5 cm wider if not creating a fancy closure or adding a pen.
  • 2.5 cm wider to fit a pen inside the journal (SMASH style)

2. Cut a piece of paper to about 1.5 cm larger than the cardboard around all 4 edges.
3. Draw a triangle just outside the corner

4. Cut the triangles from the paper.
5. Fold the edges round the cardboard and stick down.

6. Cut another piece of paper slightly smaller than the cover and glue in place over the folded edges on the inside of the cover.

7. Repeat for the second cover.

8. Decorate the front cover.

It's my turn to provide an example for the CKC Challenge #1 again this month. Our challenge is to use a minimum of 5 triangles.

This paper Tisha chose has a lovely triangular design in the pattern, making it really easy to cut to a nice pretty, equilateral triangle.

For the cover deign we got help from a sketch I found a few days ago at Stick It Down.

Sketch from Stick it Down Challenge Blog
Here's the cover that we decorated together, based around that sketch. Tisha cut the birds out from a scrap of double sided card stock, that she found in my stash.

Tisha wanted to add her name next.
Here's a little trick we use for lining up the letters.

We decided afterwards, that the design didn't stand out very much, so a black line was doodled around the outside of all the shapes.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Travel Journal Part 2: Pockets

No smash styled travel journal is complete without pockets. The simplest pocket is a rectangular piece of card stuck to the page with double sided tape on the bottom and side edges.

4 finished pocket pages.

I made a larger pocket for putting brochures/maps in. I'm using thick paper (180gms sketch paper). You could use card-stock if you prefer. Here's how I did it.

  • Fold the paper in half, crease firmly, and then open up.
  • Cut a strip about 2 - 3 cm wide from the lefthand edge.
    • whoops, didn't notice that TJ left the wave blade in the trimmer, instead of putting the straight one back in again after she finished.
    • It will make for a prettier edge.

  • Place a dinner plate over the left hand side of the unfolded card/thick paper.
  • Position it so that it meats the top of the fold and the cut edge.

  • Draw a curve along the edge of the plate using a pencil

  • Cut the curved corner off to make the front of the pocket.
  • I lined the back of the pocket with patterned paper to make it a bit more interesting. There's space on the front for notes and doodling.
  • The bottom edge of the pocket is stuck down with double sided tape.

I will place this inside the journal with the unfolded edge in the binding.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Travel Journal Part 1: Hand painted Papers

One of the things young Tisha liked best about the SMASH books was that none of the pages are blank. They are coloured, patterned and or decorated. So all those white sketch papers I'm putting in needed sprucing up some. The completed pages are metric A5 sized, which is half of an A4 sheet. My art pad has A4 sheets in.

Here's some tips on painting pages for your scrapbooking and journals.

1. Tape the papers down to a board with masking tape. This reduces the amount of wrinkling in the finished painted paper. I'm working on them at A4 size at this stage, and will cut them in half at the end.

2. Mix up two colours of water colour paint. I've used mid-blue and sunshine yellow.
3. Load up a large brush with clean water.
4. Cover the paper in water from the brush.
5. Apply the paint one colour at a time and allow the colours to blend where they meet.

6. Allow to dry.
7. Sponge acrylic paint through stencils to produce patterns or pictorial designs.

8. Allow to dry.
9. Turn the paper over and repeat steps 1 - 8 on the other side.

Here are some of my hand painted pages for Tisha's journal after I cut the painted A4 papers in half.