We’re over the hump and getting close to the weekend, which means you will finally have time to make all of these freebie DIY’s we’ve been giving away this weekend right!? We’ll be busy putting the final details in place for our We Make Collective August kit launch on Monday and the freaking amazing giveaway that is going to blow your socks off. I’m itching to tell you all about it right now – I’m going to save it, but this is killing me!
Let’s take our mind of that with our fourth freebie DIY from the We Make Collective courses. This errrrmazing tutorial was created by our contributor Teri from The Lovely Drawer. I think you’ll agree that we all have to make DIY tropical leather spine notebooks now… Take it away Teri!
I reckon you can never go wrong with a new notebook. In fact I got through them at the speed of light so I’m always searching for the next one. Lino cutting is an incredibly versatile technique and great for making all sorts of patterned notebooks. Seeing as Summer is somewhat in view (if not still a little distant) I decided to opt for some tropical foliage to get me inspired for note taking. You’ll be addicted to carving shapes and making gorgeous patterns in no time. I genuinely find the whole process quite therapeutic and satisfying and you can even use your inks to print onto fabric too! I remember spending hours at school on the most intricate of lino cuts but I was happy beavering away for days. Lucky for you this ones a lot simpler.
- We Make Lino Cut Kit
- Coloured paper big enough for the notebook (atleast an inch extra all round)
- Cutting mat or board
- Double sided tape
- Faux leather scrap
Start by drawing out your shape onto the lino block. It’s a lot easier than it looks to create this monstera style leaf. Start by drawing a regular leaf shape but keep it quite wide. Then using that as a guide, mark in the negative sections, curving each indent on the inner edge. Shade these areas to remind you what needs to be cut out. Draw a line down the centre and extend it out of the bottom of the leaf for the stem. When you’ve drawn the shape use a scalpel to trim the lino block.
You can choose your carving chisel depending on what size your leaf is but I used a medium size for this. Start by taking the tool around the edges of the leaf. You should hold it relatively flat so it pulls up the lino. It should be able to glide along in nice long movements. If it’s juddering you may be holding it too vertical or going in too deep. Steer the tool around curves and remove the whole outer background.
Go slowly when working on the inner curves, keeping long, steady motions where possible and using your other hand to keep the lino still or turn it around when needed.
When you are left with a raised area in the shape of a leaf print and everything else worked down, you can attach the lino to a wooden block. You could use all purpose glue to do this but I just opted for double sided tape, trimmed to size.
When it comes to inking up, the temptation is to press the stamp onto the ink but you’ll get much better coverage if you hold both and pat the ink onto the lino, working it all over.
Check your technique by practising a few times on some scrap paper. You may need more ink on the stamp if parts of the design are coming out too faint or not at all.
When you’re confident you have a feel for printing you can start stamping on your coloured paper. Try to get an even spread of leaves, changing the direction of the leaf each time you print a new one. If it helps you can mark small pencil dots on the paper first as a guide to keep them even or you can just wing it like me.
Leave the ink to dry and then trim the paper to the correct size for your notebook. There should be roughly an inch overhang all the way round.
Place the notebook in the middle, on the wrong side of the paper. Mark the flaps in each corner and on the spine, keeping the lines tilted inwards slightly. Cut away the corners. Then either use glue or double sided tape on the front and back cover of the book to attach it in the above position. Make sure the paper is smooth and there are no wrinkles. Attach strips of double sided tape along the flaps and fold each one over and fix to the inside covers, front and back.
Cut the leather strip to the right height and width to fit around your notebook. For this A5 notebook the width was about 1.5 inches. Use glue or double sided tape to fix the leather evenly on one side of the spine and then wrap around to fix on the other.
Your notebook is ready to use! Now if only the sun would make an appearance you could grab a cocktail and don a bikini for the whole tropical experience.