Jun 032015

I need an opinion for a binding system for a journal I already sell in my shop. The choices are the exposed envelope spine system I discuss in this post, or a spiral or hinge binding system. Let me know in the comments below what you think.

Late last night, I completed another custom order, one of my “The Love We Share Journals.” This is a book made up of six envelopes that are adhered together and folded to form a dozen pockets for journaling cards. The spine in this book consists of the exposed edges of the envelopes, which I ink with Tim Holtz Distress Ink. After exchanging several convos via Etsy to identify the paper preferred by my buyer, she settled on a gorgeous paper collection called Beautiful Moments, designed by Carina Gardner for Carta Bellaâ„¢.

Beautiful Moments Collection

I have blogged about the process involved in this book previously in January challenge: new techniques, which I made for the first time 3-1/2 years ago. However, instead of using a “soft” cover as the tutorial suggests, these days I use thick chipboard, which makes the book much more durable. I covered the chipboard with Bazzill Basics solid card stock in Walnut, then cut out and adhered a rectangle from the Beautiful Moments collection. Notice that the front cover and back cover are not the same. This adds interest, I think.


The book always begins with a skeleton of business-sized envelopes, although you can technically use any sized envelopes you prefer.

Envelope Skeleton

Because the Beautiful Moments collection features dark brown as one of its accent colors, I inked the edges of the white envelopes with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Walnut Stain to match it. If you didn’t know what comes next, you’d think what you see below looks pretty unattractive, but in reality this gives the book a soft vintage appearance.

Inking the Edges

Once you cover the envelopes with decorative card stock, you can see how much better things look.

Pocket Pages

When the book was completed, it was a rainbow of earthy colors in wine, dusky pink, chocolate brown and gold.

Beautiful Moments Envelope Book

One thing that I’d like to change about this book is the binding. As you can see in the photo below, the covers don’t lie flat as you fill up the book with journaling cards and photos. The hemp ribbon tie does keep the book closed, however.


To solve this issue, I’d like to experiment with some other binding methods, possibly a spiral binding, or maybe a hinge method, resulting in a hardcover spine. If you had to choose one of these bindings, keeping in mind that the envelope pockets would still comprise the “content” of the book, which would you prefer? Although these books are not the same as my envelope journal, the photos below show the difference in binding methods.


Spiral binding using double owire

"Cherish" Photo Journal

Hinge binding system with hardcover spine, measuring approximately 1-1/2 inches

I guess a project like this proves that you never stop wanting to improve your products, and you can certainly learn something new with each project you complete. What have you learned lately about a product you make?

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.