You can sew embellishments onto your paper journal pages.
You can use any page in a book as if it’s fabric (to sew on, for example) by using iron-on interfacing on the back side of the page.
I’m talking about interfacing that is smooth on one side, and the back of it has an iron-on adhesive that melts when exposed to extreme heat.
First, cut it to size. Generally, I cut it slightly smaller than the dimensions of the book page… maybe 1/16″ smaller.
Then, iron that interfacing onto the back side of the page, the same as you would iron interfacing onto fabric. It won’t always stick 100%, but it will work well enough that you can sew through it.
(If you try to embroider or sew beads onto regular pages in a book, the thread tends to pull right through the paper, if the thread is tugged.)
Sewing to Embellish an Art Journal Cover
You can do the same thing with your journal cover. A strong crewel embroidery needle will usually sew through cardboard… but you’ll probably need a thimble to push the needle through.
You can then embroider with embroidery floss, yarn, thin ribbon, etc. You can add buttons, beads, and so on, too.
At left, you can see one of my journal covers I’ve embellished with sewn-on buttons. Most of the buttons are just for decoration.
But, the biggest button is part of the journal closure.
When the journal is not in use, a string of hemp (secured to the back cover) is wrapped around the button on the front cover to hold the journal pages closed.
Concealing the Messy Back of the Page (or Journal Cover)
After you’ve finished your sewing (or other embellishment), you can glue a page or fabric over the ironed-on interfacing, so your stitches are concealed.
Or, you could cover the interfacing side with more paper… maybe a collage.
Sometimes, if I’m sewing many pages in a book, I’ll buy a second copy of the same book. Then, I can glue a “backing” page that matches the one I’d covered with interfacing.
In other words, the un-embellished side of the page will look like it would have, if I hadn’t covered the original with interfacing. (Pop-up stores selling discounted books – at bargain prices – can be ideal for this.)
You’ll find iron-on interfacing at any fabric shop. It’s usually kept in a bin or on shelving next to where they cut fabric yardage for you.
You can also iron-on Stitch Witchery or another fusible adhesive. That gives you the option of sticking something wonderful on the other side… interfacing isn’t all that interesting.
For example, you could fuse an actual piece of fabric to the paper page. Or part of a favorite (but worn out) item of clothing. Or, print artwork or an image on fabric, and apply it.
Whatever you choose to support your art journal pages, you can sew onto those pages. It’s easy!