A Slip Case for My 2017 International Fake Journal Month Journal

October 6, 2017
Some of my sketches from my 2017 fake journal alone with the case (top right) I made to contain them all.

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. 

A view showing how the sketch cards slide into the journal. Typically I make the sides and front of the this style of case the same height as the cards. On this day I brought the front of the case down just a bit to make it easier to grasp the cards. Alternately you can make a thumb cut, a  1/2 circle cut in the front of the package to allow you to grasp the contents. Do that by positioning a circle punch at the center of the width of your case, with only 1/2 of the punch over the paper. This allows you to grab and pull the contents easily from the case. Regardless of what you do make sure, before you cut your paper, how your flap will fold over and what it will cover so that nothing is left exposed.

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.

The completed case. I stamped the date on the spine of the case so it can sit on my bookshelf. 

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.”







    • SusanA
    • October 6, 2017

    This is a great idea, Roz! It sounds great not only for journals created with loose sheets, but also for random study, lesson, test, and practice pages. Thank you for sharing the how-to.

    1. Reply

      Yes, it would be good for all those additional things you mentioned!!! You could have a shelf of these cases! Have fun.

    • Fran Isaac
    • October 6, 2017

    Thank you, Roz, for your detailed instructions. It was a pleasure being in your SBS class last year. I’m hoping I can meet you in person at the state fair next year. Just missed you by a day this year.

    1. Reply

      Fran, I’m sorry we weren’t there on the same sketch out day. I was able to go to the Saturday event, but I had eldercare commitments on the Monday I couldn’t swap. I was able to go on Thursday (opening day, Saturday (of the sketch out), and Tuesday. I’d hoped to go an additional time on Friday towards the end of the Fair but additional family obligations came up.

      Generally I try to go several times and one or both of the sketch out days so with luck I should get to see you next year.

      If you live in the Twin Cities area you need to think about coming to the MCBA Visual Journal Collective and the Urban Sketching group and the MetroSketchers group. All three have meetings every month and there is a lot of overlap in the membership, with great people in all groups.

      I hope you got a lot of sketches at the Fair! And I’m glad you liked the instructions.

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