This year for the April 2017 International Fake Journal Month celebration I created a journal of 30 loose card sheets. Each sheet contained the sketch from one day in the month.
To contain these sketches I decided that I would make a simple slip case using pre-painted watercolor paper. I decided to use a case which had a fold over closure. It’s like a boxy envelope.
I frequently use this type of case to contain loose sheet journals because it is quick to make. I also usually have some prepainted watercolor paper (140 lb. weight) around because I use it for decorative paper in my book binding.
Making a Simple Case for a Loose Sheet Journal
If you would like to make a case like this for your loose journal sheets (whether they are from a special month, series of sketches, or a travel journal), you can find my instructions for this case at this link. There is also a short little video.
Ascertain how far over on your front side the flap will fall and how you want the flap tip to be designed. I think it looks tidier if you bring the sides of the flap down an inch or more on the cover before you start to make a point or other decorative end to the flap.
Decide how you want your flap to close before constructing the case. Do you want it to have a ribbon closure like I did in this project? Plan and cut slots for the ribbon before you make the case. Do you want the end of the flap to insert into the front cover of the case? Plan and cut those insertion slots before you make the case.
Once the case is constructed it’s hard to make cuts. If you forgot, you can always insert a stack of waste card or mat board into the case so that you have something to press down onto as you cut, but it’s so much easier to mark and cut on the inside of the flat case.
Think about any labels you want to add before constructing the case. Stamping a title or date on the case is also much quicker and simple if you’re working on a flat case than one that is constructed. If you’re using labels you want to glue in place it’s simpler to glue them in place on the flat case, weight the flat case, and then continue construction when the labels are dry.
Many paper types are suitable for this type of case. Look for papers that are card weight and which fold well in BOTH DIRECTIONS, i.e., both with and against the grain. You will make folds in both these directions and if you use a paper that cracks when folded against the grain you’ll be making a case that won’t hold up over time.
I have found that Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. watercolor paper (hot or cold press) is an excellent choice. It folds well both with and against the grain. Also you can paint the paper with acrylic paints in advance of your project.
Other readily available papers to use for cases are Canson Mi Tintes, Fabriano Tiziano, and Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Paper (which you can prepaint).
Many heavy weight printmaking papers and handmade papers are also suitable for this process. The handmade papers are particularly useful as they won’t have a grain direction and will fold well no matter how you orient your case on the sheet.
I recommend that you stay away from very soft and pliable papers. Even if they are thick they tend not to wear well over time and usage.
If you like to sew there’s no reason you can’t make a case with fabric! Use craft felt or craft foam and some decorative embroidery stitches and you won’t even have to get out the sewing machine. Sew and embellish to your heart’s content! (I teach a class on making pocket journals but can’t find my photo. If I do I’ll add it here for inspiration.)
You can even make custom printed fabrics (using your sketches) and make a case. I made a journal bag using a sketch printed from my journal, but you could adapt this technique to a case project.
If you’re going to make an “edition” and have multiple cases to make you want to read this post on “Setting Up a Production Line for Your Art Edition Project.”