Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tardis Journal

I've had several people ask me about my handmade books so I decided to show how I made a replica of River Song's Tardis Journal. Here's the one you see in the Doctor Who episodes:

 My daughter has a Tardis dress which she wore to Comic Con and also to Super Hero day at school, so we took on this project together so she could add this great accessory to her costume.

Here we start by sorting the paper into stacks of 7. These will be the signatures in the book.
We used regular 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper.

I wanted the book to look old and antiquated--including each page. I usually coffee stain my papers to give them an antique appearance; however, that process would take an too long so we tried another method--heat. We took each page and slid the edges across the top of a hot burner on my glass-top stove. It discolors the pages nicely; although, too much can make it brittle.

Once the pages were discolored, we took each signature (7 sheets) and folded them in half.

Then we stacked all the signatures together. We are putting 9 signatures in this book.

Next we used a template (green card stock with  pre-measured holes) and punched all of the holes into each signature. Then they're ready  for sewing.

This is all of our signatures with the holes in them.

Next we sewed all the signatures together. I'm not going to get into detail on how I did this, but for anyone interested, here's a link to a tutorial: http://jamesdarrow.deviantart.com/art/Bookbinding-Tutorial-292237490
The small strip of cloth is there as a reinforcement. It will be glued down later.

Once the signatures are sewn together tightly then we put glue along the back 
and put it under a weight to let it dry for the night.

Next we prepared the leather. I used a tan book leather and spray-painted it blue.

Now we put together the covers. River Song's journal has raised panels on it that look like the Tardis, so we found a diagram of it and used it as a template. We traced and cut the panel pieces out from mat board.

 We glued the pieces onto the cover boards. 
Our cover boards are recycled covers from discarded library books.

Next we glued the leather onto our cover boards, pressing it down into the grooves as we go.

Here's what the cover looks like after the leather has been glued to it.

We turned the raw edges of the leather over, gluing them to the inside of the cover.
Then we glued the block of signatures into the cover using hing flaps. 

Now for the finishing touches. We glued end pages in.

To give the book an old, antique look, we dry-brushed black into the crevices.

Then we dry-brushed a light blue on the edges and anywhere we wanted it to look particularly worn.

Here's the completed journal.

We did add in some drawings on some of the pages. I'm only showing one page here.
Don't want to show too much--spoilers, you know. 


  1. Okay, this is awesome; now i want to make a book. Not, necessarily, a tardis book, but something cool...been wanting to for a while. stumbled upon your blog via your 2010 post on the publishing of your first book...looks like that went well! thanks for the tutorial; i've wanted to make a book but figured it was too tricky; this actually looks like a fun project. i may have to go fill some jellyroll pans and cake pans with strong tea...

  2. I love the way you made the River Song journal. Could you please tell me what paint you used to paint the leather?



I'm always excited to release a new book, but I have to say...This one is extra special. THE WIZARD'S WORKSHOP , was born out of m...