Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rainy Day Craft: Recycled Cardboard Matchbook Style Notepad

Recycled Cardboard Matchbook Style Notepad

Today I headed over to my garage studio at my Dad's house. My hubby made a quick stop to work on his bike, so I started messing around with some of my supplies. I didn't stay long enough to heat up my griddle and work on encaustics, so I started poking around at some of my recycled scraps. Before you knew it, it started to pour, so I tried to stay busy until the rain let up.

I've been on a bookbinding kick lately. I've enjoyed art journaling for many years, but never really worked on making my own sketchbooks, journals or notepads. I think it's time to change that! I've been adding ideas to my Pinterest boards on bookbinding and album making (including beloved mini's). There's a lot of overlap, so I feel they're a little disorganized, but I digress. Between Pinterest eye candy and some inspiring YouTube tuts, I was anxious to begin my own DIY journal projects.

Bicycle Box ~ Recycled Cardboard Journal Fodder

Since I'm just getting started, I have very few actual bookbinding materials or tools. I'm also trying to keep things green by using up packaging I already have. My husband has ordered a couple different bicycles in the past several months as he works on motorized bicycles (his outlet for creativity). We were getting rid of the cardboard boxes, but then I started admiring some of the graphics on them. I also thought, "hey, I'm looking at a goldmine of corrugated cardboard for altering, encaustics, etc." I didn't save all of it, but I gathered up a considerable stack of cardboard for future projects.

I saw a couple empty boxes in the corner of the garage for some of the tools Shannan bought. I picked up a grinder box and decided to peel away the shiny surface and expose the corrugated cardboard on both sides. I ended up with a nice strip of bendable, flexible cardboard that I knew would be perfect for a little booklet.

I've been smitten with several designs for matchbook notebooks. I've seen them using anything from paint chip samples to cereal boxes for covers, as well as decorative cardstock. Since I was in a garage, which is half Shannan's man cave, I wasn't in a frilly, scrappy mood.

I pulled out a couple vintage books from my supply shelf. An early 20th century French primer and a mid-century short story anthology. Lots of beautiful words and aged paper. I tried to choose pages that had quite a bit of blank space on them, mostly choosing pages at the end of a chapter.

recycled cardboard sketchbook with french papers
I don't mind that there are still words. This is a rough notebook/sketchbook

I bent my corrugated cardboard strip into a matchbook style. Obviously it's much larger than a matchbook. I began with a strip of cardboard measuring 4.25" x 11.25". I folded my papers just as I would to make signatures, but then I used a straight edge and exacto knife to trim the edges. I eyeballed measurements, placed paper next to cover, and then remade my cuts until it fit properly. I liked the way the torn pages create a bit of interest and deckled edge.

Now a matchbook notepad requires either stapling or a sewing machine. I had neither in the garage, so I began thinking ways of how to bind my paper. If I had thought this part through, I would have left my paper in folded signatures rather than cut them into individual sheets. But I was winging it! So.....

Out came a baggy of rusty goodness. A good while ago, I experimented with aging and rusting techniques. I've used a few objects here and there, including this bulletin board project. I picked through the pile of rusty treasures and saw some of my favorite pieces - rusted paper clips.

rusty goodness fake rust rust love

I considered making some kind of attachment on the front and using the paper clip as a closure, but it didn't seem to gel. Eventually, I decided on attaching a paper clip on each side of the back cover, holding the scrap vintage paper securely in place. I mean, hey, it's just an experiment. I didn't stress over perfection (OK, maybe a little).

rusty paper clip distressed recycled notebook rubber band
The DIY rusty paper clips leave a little residue. I don't mind a bit,
but if that bothers you, you could seal them. 
Next I picked up a rusty rhinestone setting. Well, it had more of a verdigris finish, but it was nicely distressed. I pushed it in the middle of the flap and quite liked it. Of course it was poking out the other side...not so good! I grabbed a hammer and flattened it out on the back. There, that's better. I was happy to see the rhinestone setting stayed secure. It was my first time using them, and I'm sure there are proper tools for that craft, but I guess it, experimenting.

I chose to add 3 more rhinestone settings. I liked the grommet look. It really was looking like something you might find in a garage. Rough, rustic, and a wee bit steampunkish. I hammered the other three settings flat. Now, I still was puzzled how to make the closure.

My vintage rhinestone setting stash, all nice and shiny. I don't do these,
just thought they'd come in handy for something!
I wrapped a good-sized rubber band around the cover. I dug through the rusty bits again and found a half-rusted washer. Perfect! I looped the rubber band end around the washer, and then re-looped it around the cover. I tucked the rubber band in the paper clips to secure it.

rubber band closure rusty chain recycled cardboard notebook

I dug into that magic ziplock bag again and found a piece of rusty, distressed chain. It had a hook on either side. I cut a small hole in a diamond shape and ran the chain through.

The I pulled the rubber band and washer down in a V-shape and hooked the chain ends on the washer. I tested it. One hook needed adjusting (pulled out slightly with a pair of needlenose pliers) so it would unhook more easily.

rusty chain closure journal rubber band recycled cardboard journal


This little experiment took about 10 or 15 minutes, and I felt a little bit like Tinkerbell trying to invent something out of nothing.

I don't know how long the corrugated cover will last, but it wasn't that much work. My wheels are turning thinking of ways to alter the cardboard, possibly sealing it to make it more durable, and maybe adding some extra layers of cardboard for strength. But overall, I'm really pleased with it.

A couple more pics:

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