Handmade Quick Daily Journal - Part 2: The Making

On my new schedule this would be a "theory" post, but I'd hate to keep you in suspense about how the journal goes together (Will I use two staples or three? How will I fold it? :) ), so I'm swapping them and next week will be about storage and organisation in the workshop.

In part 1 I went through the design process for a daily journal with printed pages, a card cover and saddle staples. In this post I'll show how I actually put them together, using mostly basic home office supplies.

The pages are printed and stacked. I've got a decent office colour laser; cheap to run and good for clean graphical prints like this, no good for photos but I bought it for the specific purpose of churning out cheap documents and doing graphics for the workshop. Photos I can get done elsewhere.

My childhood origami practice comes into play folding the pages in half with nice sharp creases.

I'm using Holly Green 270gsm recycled card from Eco-Craft. It's just barely thin enough to be folded by hand, but it tends to get a bit crumpled around the crease. I use a cheap plastic bone folder to crease the card and get a sharp clean fold.

This is where I use the only specialised piece of equipment in the process - a Bostitch manual saddle stapler. You could definitely do it with a regular long arm stapler for less than £10, but the saddle stapler sets the staples really neatly upright on the spine of the booklet. I justified it on the basis that I had a feeling I'd be making various booklets in future, set a watch on Ebay and picked this one up new for £40, which is about 20% off the list price.

This thickness of booklet is right on the edge of what the Bostitch will do, and the staples tend to come through a little proud, but they're easily flattened down.

Next: Split and trim. As I mentioned in part 1, this guide from Big Jump Press is a fantastic explanation of how to cut and trim a booklet with hand tools, but the main elements are:

I would add from my own experience: Make sure to keep the blade of the knife vertical, particularly if you're cutting lots of layers. I tend to tilt the blade if I don't pay attention and then you get sloping edges; no bueno.

I flatten the booklet out to trim the top and bottom and cut across the middle to split the two journals apart.

Then I fold it closed to trim the edge, so as to get a flat edge to the pages.

The two journals are now fully trimmed. The printed pages are actually a little high and to the left, which I thought I'd corrected after the last batch but apparently not; I adjust the digital file now to make sure the next batch are dead on (it might still take a couple of iterations), and make a prominent note to myself. There's nothing worse than forgetting what you've adjusted between versions, doing it again and overshooting.

Nearly there, and the most fun stage: It's time to punch the corners with the little Docrafts hand punch.

It can only do one cover page or a few inner pages at a time, so it's just a matter of getting into a rhythm and crunching away.

Mmmm....satisfying :) I highly recommend corner punch therapy if you're feeling a little tense.

At this point the journal is basically done. The only thing I want to do is add a title to the front page. The card is too thick to go through my printer, and a stamp is going to cost more than I can justify unless I'm selling these in numbers, so I may just need to paste a label on there, but I do have an alternative idea which I'm going to try out - if it works I'll make an extra post about it.

Speaking of selling...I'm honestly not sure where I'd stand with these; they replicate the questions in the 5 Minute Journal which are, let's be fair, the essence of the thing, although the 5MJ you buy has a lot of other content like daily quotes and planners, and obviously there's a lot of my own work in this one in terms of the design and fabrication.

Copyright law says in essence that you can't copy a substantial portion of a work and sell it, but how that's applied is pretty vague and case-by-case. I've got no intention of messing with the 5MJ guys' business although I do think £22 for a six month journal is exorbitant, so I'll probably play it safe and just make these for personal use and gifting, but if anyone has a better informed opinion let me know.

As for the two journals I made for this post: I'm not actually using them at the moment (although I had a load of value out of them I have a slightly different mindfulness routine right now), so I'm going to give these two away. One's already promised to a friend, but if you'd like the other one drop me an email at mark at silverknife dot co dot uk, and in a couple of weeks I'll randomly pick a winner and post it to you (international competitors welcome ;) ). If I get a lot of submissions I might make a couple more to improve the odds; I need the cutting practice anyway.

See you soon!

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