Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making Journals with repurposed materials

A while ago, I conducted a workshop at Inkwell, where we made journals entirely from recycled materials. Let me introduce, the Secret Scottish Rubbish Binding. I learned this book structure from Emma Fraser, a conservator and bookbinder, in Scotland. She invented this neat little book structure and always made it with box board for the covers, discarded papers and envelopes for the pages, and it is actually bound together with a plastic bag, all rubbish, hence its name.

Here's an example of a Secret Scottish Rubbish Binding, that I had brought to show the participants before we started.

Participants were asked to bring their own box board to the class, so there was a good variety of cover materials: cereal boxes, tissue boxes, shipping boxes, etc. We used a variety of discarded papers for the pages, and colourful plastic bags for sewing. Here I am, demonstrating the "sewing" process using a plastic bag.

Here is some of the work in progress. There does seem to be a lot of rubbish scattered around on the tables!

Finished books, and a shot of some spines so you can see how the plastic bag looks.

I also took this little sample with me. This is the same book structure, but it's made from new materials, no rubbish included. I wanted to show the workshop participants that they could use the technique this way as well and it looks pretty, but I honestly like the rubbish books better.

One of the people who attended this workshop, very kindly took some time to write up instructions for making this and she posted them on her blog along with pictures. Check it out at If you try it, I hope you come back and tell us about it!


Unknown said...

beautiful journal, i love it.

acidpunk said...

very nice

MyHandboundBooks said...


Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Rhonda, thanks a lot for your posting, it is so rare that bookbinders write about repurposing materials. It inspired me a lot.
And I think that your blankbooks are beautiful!!
Thanks again!!

ttposad11 said...

Der Bye Bra Klebe-BH besteht aus selbstklebender Folie in
Hufeisenform, welche es ermöglicht die Brustwarzen um einige
Zentimeter nach oben zu positionieren.ttposad11

Heidi said...

Hi there, I appreciate your blog very much. This is so inspiring...
Sorry to say, the link to the instruction for the secret Scottish binding does not seem to be active any more. Would you please help to find the instruction anywhere else?
Thanks a lot


gracountry said...

me encanto la encuadernacion reciclada
yo me dedico a hacer cosas con reciclado y me encantaria hacer mi cuaderno asi
el enlace al blog con las instrucciones no esta activo
como podria conseguirlo?
ojala la persona que lo hizo y publico lea mi mensaje
si asi fuera serias tan amable de enviarme las instrucciones para hacerlo? gracias, mi correo es

Journaler said...

Love the book but disappointed the link to the instructions did not work. Is there another place we might find them?