Adding pages to a wire bound journal

Adding pages to a wire bound journal

I recently split a wire bound journal in preparation for the take a stitch Tuesday challenge. Why might you want to split a wire bound journal? You might want to do this in order to insert pages that are of different papers. Or you may wish to have fold out pages. You may wish to treat the visual journal as a loose leaf system until the visual journal is complete. Ever since I found that paper in 4 ring binders still manage to slip, slide and get damaged I have used this system to rearrange pages in visual journals. The main reason I am doing it is that in my next project I want to include different papers and have fold out pages.

I am not sure if people are aware of this but with many brands of wire bound visual journals you can split them, remove the pages and insert others. You simply turn to the back of the journal and carefully remove the pages as illustrated in the photo above. You need to be careful and lift out only a few sheets at a time but it can be done. What is more to the point what can be removed can also be substituted.

Using a page from the journal I marked where the holes need to be on 3 mm MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). This formed a template. Next I took it out to Jerry who was working in the shed. Jerry clamped the stack of different papers between two sheets of 3 mm MDF the top sheet being the template. Behind the block Jerry used a scrap of wood which in this case was a piece of old flooring. Doing this means you get a clean hole through the paper.

Jerry carefully lined up the drill bit with each hole marked on the template and using a drill press created the holes in the block of paper. Please note normally Jerry’s fingers are not so close to the drill bit and that the drill is not running.The guard was removed in order to take the photograph so people could see what was going on and it was promptly put back.

A you can see the block of paper now has holes in it. These are ready to insert as they are back into a wire bound system or ready to paint, manipulate, fold or cut any way I choose. The choice of pages not only includes a range of different papers but they are large enough to act as fold out pages in my next project.

This post has been provoked because I have been thinking about how I want to present the samples I work for the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge next year and decided I want to make a sampler book. Normally I work my samples in long strip in a band sampler style and simply roll them up and keep them near me to refer to but with the challenge next year I am interested in trying something different.

In this sample book I want to be able to include interesting papers, painted papers, stitched pages with fold out sections, concertina pages, pockets to discover things in, windows in pages you can open an look through, inserts of interesting stitch related stuff, tabs to pull surprise and delight, tags of stitching samples to remove and look at. This project will combine stitching skills with visual journal skills. Apart from housing the samples I will work I hope in its construction will reflect the sense of discovery stitching can involve.

With that in mind I have started to prepare the papers I will use. I have used this technique to drill holes in papers such as glassine, rice paper, transparency film, heavy cartridge, grid paper, tracing paper, drafting film, brown paper, envelopes, paper bags, card tags and other art papers on the market. As long as they are held firm in the block it works. If the paper is very thin or very textured such as some of the hand made papers on the market make sure it sits between two pieces of heavy cartridge. Also I usually do a hefty block of paper at once as a good sized solid block of paper means you get neat holes. This is a system that Jerry and I worked out. Although others might have come up with the same idea I have not seen it documented anywhere and I thought others might find the tip useful.

I have started to paint some of the sheets first with gesso as I like something sturdy to muck about on, then acrylic paints. The two brands I use are Matisse and Liquatex.



  1. I
    OK, I hate to show my stupidity, but is this journal just for notes, sketches, drawn stitches, etc.? Or are you going to actually do stitches with threads in it? I'm wanting to do a notebook/journal with the actual stitches saved in it but they would be on fabric. Am I confused?

    Debbie Higgins
  2. There is a bookbinding method of adding pages called 'stubbing in' that you may want to try if the journal is glued or sewn at the spine or if there are only a few pages to be added. Measure the page vertically and horizontally. We’ll assume the spine/holes to be on the left side. If there are holes, measure from the holes to the edge. Deduct 1/2 inch from the horizontal measurement. Cut a one inch strip of paper the length of your vertical measurement. Draw a line down the center back of the strip and add glue or double stick tape. Place the vertical edge of the new page on the center line and press to adhere. Place the edge of the strip along the spine (or holes) and press to adhere. Place wax paper to either side of the glue area until thoroughly dry.
    Thanks, Sharon, for the inspiration, the instruction, and the best eye candy!

    Siva Dawn
  3. Sharon,
    I would love to learn more stitches and take part of the 2007 Tuesday challenge. I am undergoing some significant lifestyle changes, which include a 22 yr son who can no longer drive…so this will be good for me. I do not have flickr or a blog, can I still participate?
    thanks, Holly

    Holly Hudson
  4. Thanks for the info. I’m really looking forward to seeing your journaling tips. I hope you will share the journal pages you do too. Sounds like you have some great ideas for the journal and the stitching.

  5. Thank you once again Sharon! This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do, but wasn’t sure how to start. I don’t know if you have me down for the Take a Stitch series, but I’m looking forward to it.
    I even thought that if time got away from me to actually do the stitches, I could use the journal format to just draw them out. Love, love, love your idea!

  6. Thanks for this tip Sharon. I knew you could do something like this but have never explored doing it. This will make it so much easier. Really looking forward to Take a Stitch Tuesdays too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: