How to make Fabric Art Journals

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Whether you call them smash books, sketchbooks, or art journals, they are here to stay. While the real treasure lies inside, I do like for the outside to be something special too.  I created these one-of-a-kind quilted fabric covers made with all kinds of repurposed textiles.


Some of my favorite materials are:

  • quilted pillow shams
  • old quilts
  • scraps of trim and lace
  • small crocheted doilies
  • vintage buttons
  • pockets salvaged from shirts or pants
  • shirt cuffs
  • elastic

1.These can be made any size, but I made mine from a 9 x 19 inch rectangle of quilted fabric to enclose 5 x 7 1/4 inch pages.  You will also need a matching piece of lining fabric.

2.Embellish with lace, doilies, embroidery and/or applique.

3. Laying right sides together, sew the lining and outside layer 1/4 inch from the edge, leaving an opening to turn.

4. After turning, top stich around the edges, and add any machine quilting desired.

5. Add either a button and buttonhole, or a loop of elastic and a button to close.



6. Cut a 7 1/2 inch length of Velcro and sew the loop side across the width of the cover.  Sew one end of the hook side to the top edge so that it can enclose the rings that will bind your journal pages.


7. Add a reclaimed pocket or a strip of elastic sewn at intervals inside the front cover to hold your journaling tools.



8. Inside the back cover, add a pocket for little bits of ephemera to add to your journal, a bit of washi tape, or maybe a glue stick.

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9.  Now you are ready for your papers!  Cut a collection of found papers to 5 x 7 1/4 inches.  I use book pages, maps, old business stationary, file folders, painted pages, and notebook paper. I like to add a glassine envelope to the front filled with scraps and bits to use in my journal.

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10.  Punch two holes in your pages, add binder rings from the office supply store, insert in the Velcro, and there you have a smash book, ready to play!

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It’s also fun to add tickets, cigar wrappers, tags and strings, … as tabs on the pages.


I also added straps to some to carry over the shoulder like a purse so that you can have your journal at your side at all times!

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These “journal bags” are featured in the SPRING 2014 issue of Haute Handbags available on newsstands April 1! So be sure and pick up a copy for more about creating these handy little visual journals!

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