A Journal cover with raised text

I had admired a particular book style on Pinterest which showed a raised image on the covers.

These were made with leather which I suspect has a better tendency to mold itself to the underlying images. So as there is no way I am trying using expensive leather at this point I produced a test piece which had a simple design with relatively thin card pasted onto normal book cover card and then covered with leathercloth (This also allowed me to practice my fold down corners when covering card). Leathercloth is an artificial leather effect book cover.


So with this in mind I had a think and decided to produce a journal cover with the word “journal” in raised letters on the cover and the spine. I wanted the letters to be crisp and consistent so I decided to use a template for the letters, cut them out and then just paste them onto card and cover it. Should be simple!

I use Microsoft Word and other document tools in my day job and knew that it was relatively easy to produce outlined text so I ran up my copy of Word (you should be able to use OpenOffice or any other word processing tool) and used Arial Black bold size 105 (if using MSWord) as my font. I messed with the features so that it was outlined rather than filled to save on toner.



The card stock that I used to paste these templates onto was just the backs of some old Christmas cards (we have a tendency to keep these if they have return addresses on them, and you can use the front covers of the cards, or parts of, as bookmarks). This card is flexible and not too thick. Waste not, want not.


So next thing to do is to cut up the template and stick it down onto the card. For this i should have used standard PVA but I selected the wrong bottle and used Flexibind which is actually used to make book spines. However, it’s not too much of an issue. I use foam brushes for the glue as I find that these lay down an even layer and do not produce lines or brush marks that you get with heavier paint brushes. I always wash out the foam brush immediately after use in cold water so that the PVA does not have a chance to start to harden.


Next step once the glue is dry is to cut out the letters and I did this by slicing up the letters individually and then carefully using a craft knife cutting round the outline. I think that if I had tried with with a pair of scissors it would have been almost impossible not to damage the letters or at least bend them badly and make it more difficult to glue them down properly.


I then prepared the front book cover. This is standard 2mm thick card and is sized for the book-blocks that I had bought and talked about in my last post.


I found it much easier to paste the card and then stick the letters down onto it as this also allows you the chance to peel off the letters and adjust them if needed. Vertical alignment of the letters was one of my problems which I don’t think I got right. However the horizontal alignment is ok.


And this is the cover with all of the letters positioned and glued. Now this was left overnight to dry properly.


Then the back cover and spine was added and held in place using cartridge paper. I like using this rather than cloth but it’s a personal choice. I abandoned the idea of cutting out the finer letters for the spine as I suspect that the book cloth would be too thick to actually show the detailed shape of the letters.

The choice of cover cloth was limited to the materials I had at hand. I decided not to go with a dark cover such as the leather cloth I had used for the test piece. I decided on gold book cloth as I thought that the light colour would provide a good contrast for the shadows of the raised letters and hopefully make them more prominent.


It turned out quite well. I had to mess with the colours with this first picture of the cover as the camera had a hissy fit and decided the cover could not be a gold colour. This is the cover after it was dried.


And above is the inside of the cover. As you can see I am not to careful with straight lines but as most of this will be hidden beneath the book block I wasn’t too worried. The other thing to note is that I glued the spine and boards together with a piece of cartridge paper first so I could align that up properly before gluing down the book cloth. I put the grooves in the channels beside the spine by simply laying two barbecue skewers down those channels with glue on the cartridge paper (which is stuck on the inside of the cover) and on the book cloth and then pressing it beneath weights. As it dried the skewers kept the cloth pressed against the glued paper and produced the channels.


This is the bought paper block with head bands glues top and bottom. This tidies up the ends and covers a multitude of sins. I bought the headbands as pre-prepared ribbon from the stationaries mentioned previously.


These last two shots are of the finished article with black book mark ribbon glued in below the headband and sealed against fraying using the technique described in my previous post. This particular piece of ribbon came off of a new women’s dress my wife had bought and is normally used to hang the dress up on a coat hanger but my wife usually cuts these off and throws the ribbon away. Re-use is good.


Things that I learned

  • I probably chose a word with too many letters with not enough space between the letters to glue down properly to give the raised text effect. I should have picked “Diary” and made the font size bigger.
  • The letters were really a bit fiddly to cut out and I abandoned the idea of using smaller letters for the spine as that was going to really strain my fingers and eyes as well as having no definition under the cloth.
  • Even with fewer letters I should have used thicker card stock for the raised effect.
  • Always try and cut away from you when using a craft knife on thin card in case the blade slips while you are trying to do detail work but still need a fair amount of force to cut through the card all at once.
  • Remember to use the right glue!!
  • It’s easier to paste the cover and then place the letters than try and paste the back of the card letters.
  • With more depth to the letters I may have chosen a darker colour for the covering. Either black or the maroon leathercloth.