I had so much fun using Eileen Hull's new Journal XL die that when she offered me a few more blank journal covers I jumped at the chance. I decided to make a travel sketchbook with one of the sets. Check out Eileen's blog for inspiration and how-to's on putting the journal together.
If you've got the die in your hot little hands (always the best choice), the best way to make your journal is to adhere your paper to the mat board prior to running it through your die cutting machine. This ensures that the paper and mat board are scored together on the fold lines for the cover. Otherwise you run the risk of the paper cracking and ripping where you don't want it to when you fold the edges of the spine.
I didn't have that option with this journal, as I was given a set of mat board covers. My first choice in this situation would be to die cut the paper prior to adhering to the mat board. If you don't have the die, first mark the paper where the score lines are and then after adhering, gently cut through the paper using a craft knife.
For the cover of this journal I collaged a variety of old book paper, Tim Holtz Tissue Tape and paper scraps on the front and then applied Dylusions paint with a Tim Holtz stencil. A few pieces of ephemera, more Tim Holtz (metal) and washi tape. The back has fine art paper from Paper Source and I applied washi tape over the spine.
Handy hint: if you're using washi tape on a project, add a bit of glue to the tape to keep it sticking. I've found this an absolute necessity if it's not a layout that's kept untouched in a page protector. On a journal you're just asking for trouble -- it was always start to peel up. My favorite glue for this is ScraPerfect's Best Glue Ever. Seriously.
On the interior of my journal you'll notice that I did something a bit different. My sketchbook holds a small travel watercolor palette, plastic pouch, waterbrush and a bit of 90 lb. paper. I used a Tim Holtz elastic. You need a bit of patience to get the metal end through the hole, but it works like a charm!
The plastic Artbin container was on sale at my local art store. Many people like to turn Altoids tins into watercolor palettes, and this is about the same size (maybe a bit thicker). It did have the benefit of being (1) on sale and (2) already divided so I didn't need to purchase half pans (i.e., cheaper). I used a large circle of industrial velcro to hold the palette in the book. This allows me to remove and reattach the palette at will, and makes it easier to use on the go.
I found the pouch at Michaels in their planner section. When I ran elastic through the spine, I wove it in and out of the prepunched holes in the pouch. It's actually slack enough to hold another brush or pen if I weave it in the elastic. I'm using it to hold some of my Peerless watercolor sheets.
On the inside back cover I attached a vellum pouch that holds a small plastic palette. The palette can slip out easily and the vellum pocket flattens out without interfering with my watercolor or sketching. I punched a hole with my crop-a-dile and added a piece of wider elastic to make a brush holder. The elastic is from Dritz, 1/2" Tie-Dye -- picked it up at Joann's.
And here's a view from the side with everything all closed up: