Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Okay! I am going to post the first secret project I had been working on this summer--and all the "how-to" photos. One has been delivered--and I'll just hope the other person doesn't look at my blog--hehe!
These rice paper journals were made as thank you gifts for a couple of ladies in my Chinese Brush Painting Yahoo group. They have done so much for me, personally--and others, of course. :) I looked around online and couldn't find rice paper journals or sketchbooks for sale online anywhere. So--there may be a good reason for this. These may be totally impractical. Oh well.
First I took a roll of OAS practice paper for brush painting. I had to measure with rulers and pencil for each one and cut by hand. I don't have a large enough cutter. (A new item on my list--hehe!)

After I cut the 24" lengths I wanted, I had to then cut each section down the middle to get the 9" width--so I'd end up with about a 9 X 12" rice paper journal.

Then I found cardboard I could use and cut it to size (I save everything!).

Folded each of the sheets individually and creased with a bone folder. Then grouped up the sheets to make the signatures--4 sheets in each one--6 signatures in each book. (You can only use one side with the brush painting because the ink bleeds through the thin paper--so there were 48 usable pages in each journal.)

I picked out pretty papers for the covers--cut the paper larger than the cardboard--and then glued one side of the cardboard. I just used Elmer's white glue because I had it around. These covers were much larger than what I had worked on before and I discovered it was easier to catch glued newspaper and get glue blotches where you didn't want them. Sorry ladies--I am just a novice.

Probably wasn't a good idea to use Elmer's glue? It curled the cardboard, as you can see. I'll try something more proper next time.

I used a brayer to smooth out the paper. It had been all nice and smooth at this point. But because of the curling, I pressed the covers under some books overnight--and that caused wrinkles in the paper. I should have let the paper dry curled first, I guess. Sorry again, ladies.

Oh--I trimmed the corners first...

...and glued down all the edges before I pressed the covers. This is what they looked like after I pressed them. Nice and flat--but the paper wrinkled.

Next I picked out the inside paper for the covers...

...and glued them on.

Then (no pictures) I made a paper template, cut the holes, and set the eyelets. Here they are--all done.

Then I used the same template to cut the holes in the signatures. You could use an awl, but with this thin paper I wanted to cut holes--thought there might be less tearing while I was sewing. No tearing--tada!

It was at this point that I discovered I should have planned the holes better. The paper doesn't go all the way to the edges of the covers and I had the outside holes/eyelets too close the sides of the covers. So I had to re-do the template for the inside signatures and pull them in a little on each side. It worked out, though.

Next I picked out the waxed thread colors and was ready to start to follow the video on YouTube.

I'd watch a step, put it on pause, do that step myself, and go back to watch the next step--back and forth--like it did on the very first coptic stitch journal I made when Jennifer was here. The video is a little over 9 minutes long. He shows from start to finish on the sewing of a three signature little book.
Very difficult to show in pictures.

Especially when you are both the sewer and the picture taker--hehe! Here you can see that you go back and loop under the previous stitching each time.

Then you return into the same hole--and go over to the next one--out, loop, and back in. I tried understanding drawings I found online--too confusing to me--all the arrows and such. I guess I am one of those people who needs to watch somebody actually doing it. Is there any wonder why I have fallen in love with YouTube! :)


This one is in the mail to Australia for Haiying.

And this one...

...went to Ann in Colorado.

They may have some wrinkles...

...and some glue blotches on the inside covers--but I was very happy with how they turned out.

I got some felt sold by the yard over at JoAnn's--and cut it to size. You use felt under your paper on the table when you do Chinese brush painting, so I thought maybe this would work for a journal? Slide them under the paper to keep the ink from bleeding through to the next page?

So--here's Haiying's--ready to mail. For each of them--a page that told the kind of paper I used from OAS, two pieces of felt, and enclosed a "cheater" picture I did long before I ran across the Chinese painting group on Yahoo.

And, here's Anns. The "cheater" pictures--I found bird and flower paintings I liked online, printed them off, traced them in pencil on watercolor paper, outlined them in ink, and then colored them in using watercolor crayons and a waterbrush.

So, not my own art, by any means. But a little something extra--what the heck! There's only so much I can put up on my own walls, right? I have several more of these--all inked and ready to be colored. I was just so afraid about using watercolors at that time. Have gotten a little braver now--I guess. :)
So this was the first secret project I was working on. I am still working on the second one (also a double project). I am soooo slow. But the tortoise wins the race, right? I keep telling myself that. :)


Jenifleur-de-lis said...

Pretty! Very nice gifts and cool projects! A lot of hard work there. I'm sure your friends will love these. I'm so impressed Rita! :)

Rita said...

Ann got hers, but Haiying's takes longer. Ann really liked hers and is going to use hers as a refernce for calligrpahy sayings, I guess. :):) wow!