Tutorial 2 - Recycled Small Journal Slip Cover

If your journal is a large one, you might have a small, piggyback journal that lives in the large journal when it's at home, but that you can take along with you when you don't feel like lugging the large journal.   This slipcover protects the paper cover of the small portable journal.  Since piggybacks are usually single pamphlets or at most a few signatures bound together as multiple pamphlets or a small Coptic book, they fill up quickly.  You can easily slip the filled journal out of the slipcover and put it in a pocket in the back of the larger journal, and then put a new, empty piggyback into the cover. 

This slipcover can also be used as a permanent cover for any small Coptic bound journal, piggyback or stand-alone.

The slipcover shown is made from a Kettle potato chip bag.  These bags are strong enough to stand some abuse, and they have a smooth finish that makes it easy to slide the covered book in and out of pockets.  You can use other material, such as woven plastic birdseed bags or even heavy paper bags, but much research has shown Kettle bags to be a truly superior material for this particular upcycle.  

 The photo above shows the materials you will need for this project:  a cutting mat, a matt knife, a metal ruler, the pamphlet or other small book that you want to put inside the slip cover, and a sewing machine, preferably with a leather needle, but a regular needle is okay.  (You can sew this cover by hand if you don't have a sewing machine.) You also need  polyester thread in normal sewing weight.
 Measure and cut the cover material so that it is 4 times the width of a single page x the height of the pamphlet plus 1 inch.




Make a 3/4 inch hem at each short edge of the cover material.
















With the right side of the cover facing up, fold the two edges in to make pockets as shown in this photo.  Use small binder clips to hold the fold.  Measure the folds so that the opened-out small book fits in the center space with its paper covers tucked under the pocket flaps.

Stitch across the top and bottom of the cover as shown above.  Make the seam about 1/4" deep.


Turn the cover right-side out, using a blunt point, such as a broken pencil point , to poke the material into the corners.  The plastic is a little awkward to fold at first;  use your fingers to make the first part of the turn and then finish up with the blunt stick.  After you turn the cover , over-stitch all around the edges, as shown in the photo above.





This view shows the finished cover with a small pamphlet book inserted.


This photo shows the outside of the finished cover with a pamphlet inserted.

This shot shows a small Coptic bound book inserted into its cover.  The covers of the Coptic book are made of cardboard from a recycled box such as a pizza carton.  This larger piggyback can be a stand-alone journal, too.

For more materials ideas, see my blog www.weRpiecework.blogspot.com.

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Sounds easy enough. The only trouble is I seldom eat chips and when I do it's Lay's, lol!

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  2. Lay's will probably be fine! Or check out my other blog, weRpiecework.blogspot.com, for many. many other upcycled materials ideas. For example, coffee bags are great, and they smell wonderful, too.

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  3. very cool idea! thanks for sharing!

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  4. Thanks for the environmentally friendly ideas.

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  5. For an even more enviro-friendly idea, sew your slip cover on an antique treadle sewing machine like the one pictured in the tutorial! I love my treadle and the fact that it uses foot power to sew. It's so easy to use that even I can use it, and I don't know how to sew on a regular machine.

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  6. Great idea Gwen, thanks for showing it. I'm following here and hope you will check out and follow on my blog as well.

    Coleen in Ukraine
    www.vintageterrace2.blogspot.com

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  7. Thanks for an excellent (straightforward) tutorial! Happily, we do eat quite a few bags of chips/crisps, so I shall be stopping the family from throwing them away now! The battle will be to make sure they open them "properly"!!

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  8. Love this tutorial--I've wanted to cover my journal with Tyvek for a long time, and now I have a great way to do it! Thanks!

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  9. Thanks for all the comments! If you're a fan of upcycling chip (as well as other kinds of) bags, check out my other blog at www.weRpiecework.blogspot.com. My friend and I make wallets and small bags out of chip bags, bird seed babs, chicken feed bags, coffee bags-- you name it and we've probably used it or at least considered using it.

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  10. I had no idea we could sew on potato chip bags. Yet one more use for my favorite new appliance!

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  11. I am so glad to have found you! I bought your book The Decorated Page years go and have been in love with art journals ever since - always wanted to connect with you online :) Anyways, I just wanted to say hello and that it makes me smile to see you also use a vintage singer for your sewing projects :)

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  12. What a clever idea! Thank you for sharing :]

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  13. Gwen, I LOVE your book The Decorated Page which I checked out from the library. Decided to buy it. Ha! As it is out of print, the prices are out of my range. Any chance you will publish another edition? You are always an inspirations.

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  14. Sue and Anyone Else Who is Interested-- YES! Decorated Page IS coming back into print, albeit in a bind-up with Decorated Journal and slightly revised with some new material added. The new volume, around 245 pages, will be titled The Complete Decorated Journal (I think-- marketing makes up the title essentially, not me!), is due out in spring 2012 or slightl sooner. I think you will be very happy with it. It has all of the images from both books plus most of the text, although I combined the materials sections and the writing tips sections to avoid duplication. ANd I added 13 statements and examples pages from real journal keepers whose work will interest you for their broad range of practices and interesting approaches. SO stay tuned, and I will keep you posted on progress. I have a photoshoot in a couple of weeks and then it will go to production.

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  15. Hi Gwen! Thanks for the inspiration! I made a journal cover out of a cookie bag (and linked everything back to you because you are awesome!).

    Want to take a look?
    http://somenotesfromafar.blogspot.com/2011/07/lo-cal-journal-cover.html

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  16. Thanks, Robin! See my comment on your blog. LOVE your journal!

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  17. This is nice, and I will put it on the list of craft projects for the kids at camp next summer. Did you know you can back your chip bag (or cookie bag, or whatever) with Duck Tape, thus making it a bit stiffer, more durable, and (in my opinion) a bit easier to work with?

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  18. Thanks, Pogo Possom! That's a good idea, only I think I would back it with a less-gooey tape or with contact paper, such as clear packing tape, because sewing through Duck tape makes my sewing machine needle get so gooey it messes up the stitch and I have to keep cleaning it. Let me know if you have good results backing it.

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