Being able to make something useful out of something forgotten is one of many joys in my life. Such as this new trend of turning old books into new journals. It is a terrific idea, however I am not a fan of these spindly spines people are using. The spirals fit awkwardly on shelves, in bags, and generally look tacky. A perk of having an old book is also having its old spine to really enhance the character and give it an element of mystique, which brings us to why I have taken this book converting craze one step further:
HOW TO TURN AN OLD BOOK INTO A JOURNAL THAT ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE A BOOK WITH A REAL SPINE AND REAL PAGES INSIDE!
The process is really quite simple, and a great learning experience. I created this at-home version of book binding by looking over some books to see how they were bound. I have broken down the process into 3 basic steps, and included pictures and texts to help you along the way. Best of luck, have fun! Or skip the hard part, and buy a custom book from me on Etsy!
BEFORE YOU BEGIN gather the following supplies. Attainable around the house or any office supply store ever.
STEP TWO Cut two new spines out of the thin cardboard to match the same height and width of the book’s spine. Set aside one cardboard spine for now, this will be the backbone.
Take the second piece and use your ruler and push-pin to create the holes where you are going to sew your pages to the cardboard with needle and thread. As you can see the book spine looks like the neck of a guitar.
Sew your pages into the spine, this will make a very sturdy book. Start in one hole and work your way up and down the spine, closing every gap, and tie off on the outside. Start with the first group of pages and work your way right to left until all 5 group are secured to the cardboard. The tighter the better.
Now that you have a cardboard spine and 200 lovely pages to write on, you can attach this spine into the old book.
Carefully remove the old pages from the book. Use sharp scissors or an exacto knife. Take extra caution when removing the spine from the back as not to tear the cover where the layers are very thin. I made this mistake and tried taping it back in place. Lesson learned.
Once you have the old pages out, recycle them, throw them in the air, burn them, fold them into 500 paper cranes, you do not need them anymore.
Now use your permanent double-sided tape, I used 3M squares. You can also use a glue gun. Tape the single cardboard strip to the spine, press it down. Do the same thing with the spine that you sewed your pages too, press it down.
STEP 3 involves glue and precision.
You have a book, but you want to seal it. Use some paper with a heavier weight, decorative scrapbook paper, wrapping paper… anything that fits your desired look. I used my favorite silver resume paper. You can find some fun styles on papers-papers.com, or any local office supply or craft store.
First use your glue stick to glue down the very first page of your book to the inside of the front cover. Use lots of glue and seal it with your hand. Do the same thing with the last page and the inside of the back cover.
Second, use your “fancy” paper to cover the inside of the front cover and the second page. This decorative page should lie flat between the two pages beneath it. Glue it down, press, and crease it. Repeat on the back side. Cut back any paper that extends past the edges.
You did it! Congratulations. You have created your very own book.
I personalized the journal even more by glueing an open envelope to the back page for my friend to keep mementos in. I also wrote a note on the front, since it is a gift.
Be as creative as you want with your pages and content! This is your creation, be proud that no one else has a book like yours.
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