Marbled Woven Spine Journals

Woven spine on a handmade book using gold and white thread.

Paper from West Palm Beach

While I didn’t marble the paper on this book cover myself, I won’t forget where I bought it from. It was a hot afternoon in September and we were driving past West Palm Beach for a follow up appointment for my husband’s Lasik eye surgery. We planned to stop at The Paper Source shop in downtown West Palm Beach on the way home, having never been to the town before.

We assumed West Palm Beach would be the same sort of tourist town that our seaside town further north is, but nope. Our first giveaway was the Gucci store in downtown “main street” (that somehow looked like a bunch of old Spanish villas) – I mean, I guess I should know better since the infamous Mar A Largo presidential getaway is in the same “town”, that West Palm is super fancy. After navigating construction, fake cobblestones and a high rise parking garage I arrived at the paper store.

By this time my poor husband’s anesthetic eye drops were wearing off, and he had to wear sunglasses inside to protect his tender eyeballs from the bright indoor lights. “Take your time” he said, while hiding in the darkest corner of the shop, “I’m fine…”

I did my quickest in-and-out of the paper shop, but I didn’t leave before picking up some gorgeous marbled paper that I used to make these books.

Click here to see if I have any of these journals available my handmade journal shop.

Putting the books together

Oh what’s that, you’d like to hear more about the books instead of a biographical account of my first trip to West Palm Beach? Well I bought three different colors of paper, green, aqua, and a dark cadet blue. I love the finely detailed black and gold ink, and I think the thin veins of red are an interesting surprise.

When cutting out the paper for the front and back covers, I wanted the marbled design to continue seamlessly from one cover to the next. It was fun to decide which side should be the front and which the back, sometimes it was a tough choice!

Sewing the book together

I didn’t want to create a geometric effect with the stitching that would take attention away from the swirling marbled patterns, so I chose to use a natural white linen thread to blend with the paper. I can’t remember if I had already intended to weave the spine, or if I thought it looked like it could use something extra.

My favorite style of bookbinding is called “singled needle coptic stitch” and I taught it to myself from Keith Smith’s Books Without Paste or Glue. (back in the day before You Tube). I love how it allows the book to lie flat.

For the weaving, I chose a simple over and under pattern through the ladder stitch in the middle of the spine. This was the most time consuming part of making the books, but very calming and meditative, something I sorely needed during COVID-19 quarantine time when everything was (is??) going crazy.

One of these could be yours: Woven Journals – Handmade Journal Shop

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