Thursday, November 1, 2012

Guest Blogger: Mimi Dibble- "Life Abloom" Coptic Stitch Mini Tut

I am so excited to be back as a guest blogger again for Daisy and Tsunami Rose Designs.  I am even more excited about this gorgeous"Life Abloom" Printable Journal Kit  This kit is just packed with shabby goodness. 

I have to admit that I am not a shabby crafter. I love it but don't do it...until now. This made it so easy for me.  It was fun and I learned a new binding technique.  In this post I will share with you how I made this journal and used Coptic Stitch as my binding. 


When you receive the files from Daisy, they will be in three pdf files.  Two of them are the journal pages and the other is called embellishments.  This file contains all the fun extras like tags, journal spots, pockets, envelopes, sentiments, the front and back covers as well as what's called a lined journal page.  It's on page five of that file.  I used this to print on the back of all of my journal pages, that way there is a front and back, with no white pages. 

Printing all the files were very easy. When I went into print, the only things I needed to double check were to make sure that under Size Options, Actual Size was checked and that under Orientation, Landscape or Portrait were checked correctly.

Prepping to bind and preparing your signatures:
I used my paper cutter to cut all the journal pages down to size, scored them in half and creased with my bone folder to get a nice crisp fold.  I then laid them all out and decided how I wanted them to be stacked in my signatures.  Based on the number of pages, I decided to have three signatures with 5 full size front and back sheets each. That is 20 journal pages for each signature with a total of 60 pages for this book.  Typically I only use four pages per signature but in this case, I wanted to squeeze all I could in. 

Making the covers:
I love corrugated cardboard and wanted my cover to be very sturdy.  Since the journal pages measure approximately 5 x7 inches, I cut my covers to be 1/4 inch bigger. I frequently do this on my journals to make sure none of the paper edges are not showing. 

After I cut the cardboard, I ripped the top layers off, leaving the corrugation exposed. I then painted with a linen colored paint.  I printed out the front and back covers, tore them out by hand for a frayed edge and then inked with Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  I used Mod Podge to glue down to the covers and then sealed the top as well. 

**Tip - Since I used linen colored paint for the cardboard base and the cover was more white in color, when I used Mod Podge to seat it, I used the same paint brush as I did to paint. It still had some linen color in it and it mixed nice with the Mod Podge for a muted look. I love how it turned out. 

Prepping your signatures and covers for binding:
The first thing I did was to create a template for where I was going to poke my holes for binding.  I used a scrap piece of paper that was the same length as the journal pages, seven inches long. I marked at 1 inch, 2 1/4 inch, 3 1/2 inch, 4 3/4 inch and 6 inches.  This provides 5 holes with one in the middle, the top and bottom ones one inch from the edge and then 2 more for additional strength.  I took the template and placed it in the center of each signature and used a piercing tool to poke my holes. I used large clips to hold the papers in place while punching

I used the same measurements to poke holes in my covers.  I used my Tim Holtz ruler which conveniently has holes 1/4 inch in from the edge. 

Coptic Stitch binding:
First of all, I am a total newbie at this.  I have been wanting to learn this technique for a long time and have tried a couple other times, failed, got mad and gave up. Nice right?  Well, this journal is the absolute perfect journal for coptic stitching.  Coptic stitching allows your journal to have a super strong and sturdy binding while allowing the book to lay flat while open. 

I went to You Tube in search of a GOOD video.  I think I watched almost every video on coptic stitching and finally found a channel called SeaLemonDIY.  It's a bookbinding tutorial chanel.  Heaven right!!!  Well she has the really great video called Bookbinding Tutorial: How to Coptic Stitch.  It's the best tutorial I have seen in both the words and view of the needle and where it's going next. 

***Tip - watch the video a couple times and then practice on scraps.While watching it again, pause the video as you go while doing it the first time.

For bookbinding, it is recommended that you use a waxed linen thread. This is because it's strong and the waxing helps to prevent knotting and makes it easier to thread through small holes. 

I didn't have that so I did try and find some other options: 
  • Crochet Nylon Thread (found by the yarn) is a great option.  It's strong but not waxed which was not a problem because it's wound so tight that it didn't frey. 
  • Bakers twine, floss or tightly wound thin hemp are okay options. Make sure you use at least 2 or more thicknesses though for strength. 
  • Jewelry cord is what I used.  It is called cottom cord or braiding cord. It's waxed, thin and worked great.  No knotting issues at all. 

Needle - I used a medium size cross stitch needle with a rounded end, not sharp.

Here are some pictures from the process of binding the journal:

For a full tutorial on coptic stitching, head over to THEscrapinator5000.

After I got done binding the journal, I printed and cut out all my embellishments. I glued them all together and decided where I wanted them in my book.  I used a wet glue to glue down the 2 pockets and 2 envelopes. I selected my 4 tags/journal cards to go in the pockets and envelopes.

Here's the nice thing about a digi kit...I should have decided where I wanted all my tickets and journal spots to go before I glued them to make them double sided.  After I was done filling my pockets and envelopes, I had four double sided journal spots left.  I didn't want them to be double sided but I'd already glued them together so I just printed them out again.  Tada!  Now I have all eight along with tickets and sentiments to embellish the rest of the journal.

I absolutely loved making this journal with all the gorgeous papers and embellishments.  They all coordinate so well.  Be sure to head over to Daisy's shop and check it all out!  You won't be disappointed. 

MiMi Dibble
Click here t0 See this on THE scrapinator5000 blog

"Life Abloom" Printable Journal Kit FULL PREVIEW!


  1. Absolutely beautiful . . . . thanks for the tutorial!
    Much Love,

  2. ooh pretty! It looks great Mimi! and I love how you can make such nice things using the corrugated cardboard :)

  3. Wow...Mimi, this is awesome! Love all the papers and great stitching technique! ... :)

  4. Hello! Loved this!
    One question please: Did you change anything in your printer, under "size options?"
    Or did it default to the size Daisy tells you on her site?
    Thank you

  5. Hello! Loved this!
    One question please: Did you change anything in your printer, under "size options?"
    Or did it default to the size Daisy tells you on her site?
    Thank you