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Paper Grocery Bag Sketchbook with Handles!

dala art miscellaneous sketchbook Sep 06, 2019


When I end up at a grocery store without my cloth bag, I request paper rather than plastic so that I can make good use of the bag that I wouldn't have needed if I'd had my cloth bag with me.

When I returned to Mike's apartment, I made a sketchbook out of the bags.  Having never made one with handles before, I decided to design the sketchbook around the handles.  I also wanted to show an example of being able to make a sketchbook without scissors or rulers.  I used the fold, crease and wet technique for tearing the bags into the right sizes.  I used an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper that had my train schedule on it as a measuring device rather than a ruler.

 A. Started off with four paper grocery bags with handles.

B. Decided to use the handles. Folded the bag vertically to figure out how wide the sketchbook could be.

C.  Used an 8 1/2 " x 11" piece of printer paper to mark off the width of the page.

D. Chose the two handles I wanted to use and tore the rest of the handles off of the bags.

E. Using my white sheet measurement, I marked off where I would fold and tear the paper bag, centering the handles.

F. Using a permanent marker as a bone folder, I creased the paper bags where I wanted to tear them.

G. Using a slightly damp sponge I moistened the crease to make it easy to tear.  

H. I folded each crease in reverse and ran the marker down the crease again, also moistening the crease again.

I. Gently, I tore along the moistened crease.J. I now had two bag strips with handles to use for the covers and the rest of the bag strips to use as pages.

K. Checking the size of my sketchbook when the pages were folded.

L. My front cover and my back cover with handles.  Hmmmm. I had to connect these somehow .... I'll think about that a bit later. I don't have glue, nor do I have double sided tape.  I only have a tiny tape dispenser in my travel kit.

M. I clean up a bit by throwing my paper scraps into the recycling bin.

N. I folded all the pages in half and split them into three separate signatures.  A signature is the bundle of pages that gets stitched into the book as a group.  I determined how thick the sketchbook will be and allow a quarter inch for the spine.  thgis means that I have to separate the two cover pieces allowing for that extra quarter inch for the spine.

O.  Close up of the spine allowance.

P. I dig back into the recycle bin and find a piece of the bag big enough to make a narrow spine reinforcement strip for the inside of the sketchbook. I'm thinking I might secure the placement of the covers by using this inner strip.

Q. Using tape from my tiny tape dispenser, I secure the position of the front and back covers and the spine allowance by taping the inner spine strip into position.

R.  Inner strip is taped on all sides.S - Z.  Photos of securing the spine.

ZZ. Testing to see if the cover fits well over the three signatures of pages that will be stitched onto the cover.  AA BB & CC.  Mike ordered double sided tape.  I waited for it to arrive before stitching the sketchbook together.  I wanted to reinforce the spine with a bit of his rip-stop nylon that he has from a retired paragliding wing.  To hold it into place along the spine, I used the double sided tape.

DD.  I remembered that my tiny travel tool kit has a 3" ruler along one edge.  I used that to measure off the stitching holes.  First I marked the holes on one of folded pages with a pencil.

EE.  I carefully pierced the holes with a large embroidery needle.  Fortunately Mike does a lot of sewing projects and has needles.

FF.  Using the page with the pierced holes as a guide, I pierce three rows of holes in the cover along the outside of the spine.

GG. I stitch the signatures into the cover using an invented 3-section stitch.

HH. I use a slightly different way of stitching the top row of holes and the bottom row of holes.

II. Finished binding.

JJ. I'm fortunate that Mike not only has embroidery needles for me to use to pierce the holes and to stitch the sketchbook together, he also has extremely strong, braided, fishing line.  

KK. I broke off a bit of wax from one of Mike's candles and waxed the fishing line thread so that the binding stitches and knots would hold securely. Because the line is braided, it grabbed the wax well.

LL.  The finished sketchbook looked a bit drab and a couple of small grease spots made it look pretty trashy.  I decided to decorate the cover with a dala, inspired by a recent mystery.  Mike has a fabulous garden of hot chili peppers.  Something has been getting into his garden and attacking the pepper plants.  The other night, whatever it is harvested the ripened peppers and munched on them!  The footprints left behind appear to be that of either a squirrel ... or a RAT!  Hmmmmm.  We're thinking of setting up a camera.  Each night it returns for more.  These peppers are WAY too hot for me.  I can't imagine what this small animal is feeling.

MM - RR.  The finished, fun, paper grocery bag sketchbook.

Way too many creature nibbles




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