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Make a Stenciled, Embroidered Book with Kraft-Tex!

Hi everyone, I'm so excited to be joining in on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and C&T Publishing (makers of Kraft-Tex!) This week the creative teams are using stencils with Kraft-Tex... I can't tell you how much fun it was to stencil on this incredible product. It's so cool! I could keep talking, but why not just show you?

First off, here's what I made - it's a riff on a traveler's notebook style book cover with two book inserts; I made it with elastics to give me the ability to swap pamphlet books in and out of the inside, only I customized the structure to be more like an actual book.

Stenciled-Kraft-Tex-Notebook-Cover---Front-Bottom-View---Gwen-Lafleur-sm

Here's how it all came together...

I started with the brand new turquoise, pre-washed Kraft-Tex and cut a piece approximately the size of the spine and covers, then used some Archival Ink and my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil to put down a pattern on what would become the front cover of my book.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that Kraft-Tex is paper, but it has a lot of the qualities of fabric and leather, so I started the process of embroidering my peacock feather designs. 

  Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

A few tips for sewing on Kraft-Tex:

  • It feels like leather, but it's still paper. If you put the holes too close together, it will tear. (You'll probably want a designated Kraft-Tex or paper needle, for either hand or machine sewing.)
  • If you poke a hole in it and it's not where you wanted the hole, it will show - it doesn't disappear the same way it would on fabric. To outline each section of embroidery, I used a needle to pre-poke the holes for my back-stitched borders.
  • Use a needle with a hole that's big enough for your thread, but not unnecessarily big - you don't want too-wide holes because it will show.
  • It can be hard to pull the needle through - I wore Finger Gloves on my thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. This helped me grip the needle to pull it through as well as protect my fingers (I hate thimbles... I have a really hard time working while wearing one.) The other big help for pulling the needle and thread through - Thread Heaven - it takes some of the hand stress out of the stitching process.
  • Working with a design like this one with sections of color, work from the inside out. Re-use existing holes if you can when setting new stitches.

Honestly, all of that satin stitching probably should NOT have worked... lol, but I love how it came out! Of course, you do NOT have to stitch! You could stencil the design on as a pattern and then use paints, Liquid Pearls, markers, etc... to add in color and details.

When the stitching was done, I wanted to put some structure behind it to make sure that my stitches were secure, so I cut pieces of thin chipboard and adhered them to the back of my cover piece where the front and back covers were going to be.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I cut another piece of Chocolate Kraft-Tex the same size as my cover and clipped it to the back to sandwich the chipboard and give me nice inside covers in a contrasting color. (Mine wasn't pre-washed... I cut a chunk off of the roll and threw it in with a load of colors in my washing machine, detergent, fabric softener, and all! It's colorfast, so there was no bleeding. Then I took it out and laid it on the table to air dry.)

I pre-poked holes around the chipboard and back-stitched with gold Sizzle thread from Wonderfil to bring it all together.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

You can also see where I added some ribbon... I had the perfect piece of peacock feather patterned ribbon so I tucked the ends between the pieces of Kraft-Tex and sewed it into place as I stitched the border. 

After I finished the front cover, I poked the holes for the back and then slipped another piece of chipboard into the spot which would become the spine. I kept stitching until the whole thing was finished.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I punched holes where I wanted to insert my elastics and put in grommets, then added Tim Holtz elastics (2 kinds - one for the inside to hold the book inserts, one with only one end that would wrap around the outside as a closure.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I went back and stitched a few beads onto my peacock feathers as a finishing touch.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6a - Gwen Lafleur

You could leave the inside covers plain, but of course... I stenciled them! I used gold pigment ink through my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil and then heat embossed.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6b - Gwen Lafleur

With that, the covers were done!

Of course, next I needed to make some booklets that would fit inside. I measured my book - the height shouldn't be much taller than the distance between the holes where your inside elastics go. I kept the width about 1/4" smaller than the width of the cover. I cut and folded some papers - bristol and watercolor paper, and also cut and folded covers from Stone Kraft-Tex and Chocolate Kraft-Tex. Then I used my awl to punch four holes into the creases (you want an even number of holes for this method.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I used the pamphlet stitch and waxed linen thread to bind the books together. In total, it takes about 10 minutes to make one of these little books... quick and easy! I repeated this process for the second book so I could fill up both of the elastics I'd attached to the spine.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7a - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the fun part... embellishing the covers! Starting with the stone book, I once again stenciled with Archival Ink, this time using my Decorative Medallion stencil. Then I used Liquid Pearls / dimensional paints and Stickles and went over the top (this is another way you could do the outside cover if you don't want to sew.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

I added a sari applique in the center (I picked it out first and then matched the colors of the Liquid Pearls and the Stickles,) and a scribbled gold border around the edge.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8a - Gwen Lafleur

For the second book, I did something a little different to decorate the cover... I stenciled with Versamark ink, then with the stencil still in place, I went over top of it while it was still wet using bronze PanPastels.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

I sealed that layer with a workable fixative, then used the same process to embellish with dimensional paints and Stickles.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9a - Gwen Lafleur

I let everything dry... I just love how these turned out!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur

Slide your new journals into the elastic in the cover and you're ready to go!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10a - Gwen Lafleur    

I really like the stiffer, more structured covers, but you could totally follow this same process to construct your book and just leave the chipboard out. In that case, though, you'll want to make sure that the height of the books you make to go inside is a little shorter than the distance between the holes in the spine... without the chipboard, it would probably collapse it a bit to add that extra tension.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10b - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! A finished reusable notebook cover with your own custom books inside. I'm already using mine as an art journal :)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur

That's it from me... I hope you enjoyed the project and tutorial! Of course, now it's time for the best part of all...

 GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products

AND a $25 Gift Certificate for C&T Publishing!!

February Blog Hop GIVEAWAY image
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)


You have until Saturday, February 18th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and C&T Publishing’s Blog on Sunday, February 19.

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