What’s special about your nature journal?

This past week we had another lovely bookbinding workshop where we hand made books to use for nature journaling!

It was great to be in community with others, having conversations, talking about nature, journaling, life, and making/creating something with our hands!

We had 9 wonderful participants this time. And each book was unique!

I taught how to make the exact book that I personally use for my nature journaling.

Description of journals

Size: 10 inch x 7 inch– this is big enough that my thoughts and ideas have plenty of room without feeling cramped- yet small enough to fit in my bag and comfortable in my arms.

Paper: Mixed media, Canson brand, 98 #-– I like this for taking watercolor and color pencil. and pen. Its not too thin, had some texture ( I don’t like it super smooth), and its not to expensive (so i don’t feel too precious and can easily “waste” paper). I also add a few pages of Strathmore toned paper.

Pages: 120 pages-– the same as the Canson spiral bound– It takes me about 2 months to complete one– if it had fewer pages means I go through the journals quicker

Cover: Hard cover– gives support when I’m standing while journaling, or on my lap.

Coptic stitch binding-– allows the book lay flat when open– and you can easily to a 2-page spread. (I got tired of my spiral bound – the spiral getting in the way)

Decorative French link open spine binding- I think it looks pretty and gives a little beauty.

Making your own book: Highly customizable! You can change the cover, paper size, type, number of pages, orientation (portrait/landscape binding)!

My personal customizations

I like to further customize mine this way:

1- pen holder-– to keep my fountain pen handy– bought at a bookstore– leather pouch with elastic band to attach to front cover

2- ruler pocket– I make a pocket to hold my ruler so its always handy. I make the pocket from old calendar pages or postcards

3- back pocket- to store sheets of spare paper (printer, toned, tracing, rite-in-the-rain waterproof) and notes (maps to favorite spots, sheet of sunrise/sunset times). I make this out of old calendar page or scrapbook paper, or I tape 2 of the journal pages together and cut one side off at the top to make a large pocket.

4- Business card pocket- make by taping a biz card to inner cover. I tape the bottom and sides of the card, leaving the top open so I can slide a few biz cards in there. Because you’ll never know who you might run into while nature journaling– and I can invite them to join our community!

What about you? What do you look for in a sketchbook for nature journaling?

What do you like about your sketchbook or nature journal? Are there ways that you’ve customized yours? I’d love to hear and get ideas!

Make your own handmade journal

If you’d like to learn how to make a journal like this, and join in a workshop with me, you can sign up here to be notified of the next class in 2023.

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