Art Journal: Piano Hinge Travel Journal

For my next trip abroad, I wanted to make another travel journal. I have previously handmade a small hardback pocket journal and a fold-out accordion journal. This time I decided to make a handmade journal using a piano hinge. This, for the unfamiliar, uses tabs and cylindrical objects (in this case bamboo skewers) to attach the pages at the spine. The benefit for a travel journal is that every other spread is the depth of the bamboo skewer, which means there is plenty of room for additional items of collage and other ephemera, and pockets to store memorabilia. It’s also possible to easily disassemble the book at the hinge to work on individual pages, or remove and add pages as required.

Constructed from canvas textured acrylic paper, I knocked back the white using an off-white chalky finish acrylic paint. I added a darker shade at the base of each page, using the same paint to stencil the building outlines. Overprinting with various travel oriented stamps using archival ink completed the decoration. It seems that the convention for piano hinge books is that the spine is visible, and the skewers extend from the bottom and the top. I wanted a more traditional book appearance as well as a protective cover, so I constructed cover pages before covering them with lokta paper which resembles old leather. A few coats of soft-touch varnish added to that illusion as well as protecting the paper. Adding this type of cover does restrict the addition of further pages. As I intend to use this on the flight as well, I thought it wise to trim the skewers… Some care needs to be taken to keep the pages vertically aligned, but in practice friction seems to keep the posts in place.

Used in this journal:

  • Canvas Textured Acrylic Paper (W H Smith)
  • DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint: Lace
  • Royal Talens Amsterdam Acrylic Paint: Naples Yellow Deep
  • The Crafter’s Workshop 6×6″ stencil: Urban Landscape [TCW342S]
  • Various stamps: Tim Holtz/Stampers Anonymous, Kaisercraft, Woodware, Darkroom Door
  • Ranger Archival Ink: Yellow Chrome
  • Vintage Style Lokta paper from PaperPod, York
  • Bamboo BBQ skewers
  • Reference book: Making Handmade Books, Alisa Golden (Lark Crafts)

One thought on “Art Journal: Piano Hinge Travel Journal

  1. Neil, this is great! What a lovely book. The piano hinge idea is brilliant for the ability to add more pages. I love how some of the pages fold out, too, and the unifying colour scheme with the travel prints. It’s just gorgeous. Lol at the blunt skewers for travelling – I thought I’d heard everything, but the idea of using a book as an offensive weapon on a plane is really funny! Still, I can imagine your frustration if it was confiscated… I hope we’ll see this book when you’ve added some things to it.

    Fabulous project. Thanks for sharing.


Comments are closed.