Tuesday Tutorial : Jenn Shurkus : Handmade MiniBook


This week Tuesday Tutorials welcomes Jenn Shurkus

UPDATE: Jen did a great update post on her blog including info on the stamps in the photo below and more information on the binding. Click here for more info. 

Here's Jen: 


This handmade mini book is a great base for so many projects. This can be an inspiration journal, an artist journal where you can test out different techniques or you can add photos make it a mini scrapbook. 

Materials Used:
Claudine Hellmuth 12x12 Sticky Back Canvas
Gel Medium in matte
acrylic paints
Chipboard sheets
UHU glue stick
paper trimmer
stylus and bone folder
an anywhere punch or japenese screw punch
variety of artist papers (i used watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, drawing, and canvas paper)
variety of scrapbooking patterned papers, single & double sided



1. Start off by cutting your chipboard and sticky back canvas.

For chipboard you will need:
(4) 6x6 pieces(2) 6x1.5 pieces

For sticky back canvas you will need:
(2) 8x8 pieces
(1) 8x3 piece
(2) 5.75x5.75 pieces
(1) 5.75x1.5 pieces
(4) 6x2 pieces

2. Using your UHU glue stick, glue two pieces of 6x6 chipboard together for your front cover, the other two pieces of 6x6 chipboard for your back cover, and your two pieces of 6 x 1.5 chipboard for your spine. This will make it stronger. I don’t use glue sticks often, but when i do I love the UHU glue stick.


3. I love Claudine Hellmuth's Sticky Back Canvas, the possibilities are endless!! Cover the chipboard with the canvas pieces. Use the 8x8 pieces for the covers and the 8x3 piece for the spine. Miter your edges (cutting the corners off of the sticky back canvasas shown in picture) and then wrap the edges around the chipboard. Use the 4 pieces of sticky back canvas that are 6x2 for “hinges” between the covers and the spine.


4. Use the remainder pieces of sticky back canvas to finish off the inside of the book cover so that there are no naked pieces of chipboard showing.


5. To decorate the cover I like to use gesso in thick layers to add texture. As you can see in my picture here I only added gesso in some areas. Play with different texture tools to “draw” into the gesso as well. 


6. While waiting for this to dry, begin preparing the inner pages. Cut all the pages cut 5.5x11. You will want 3 signatures (groups of pages). This is explained more below.


7. To score all of your 5.5 x 11 papers you don’t need a fancy scoring blade. I find that those often rip the paper. I simply use my paper trimmer to measure over to where I am going to score. Then I drag my stylus along the track where the trimmer blade would normally go. This will give you a nice straight score. Use a bone folder after you have scored your papers to get a nice flat fold. 



8. I like to start off by using gesso to cover the areas of my patterned paper that I don’t want to see. I might have a double sided paper I want to use but I don’t like one of the sides or there is a barcode I need to cover up. Once the gesso is dry I then go over it with different acrylic paints. This is when you get to play!


TIP: When using Claudine Hellmuth’s paints I like to scoop out the color with an ice cream stick. I keep one for each color so I don’t contaminate the paint.



9. Play with all kinds of different papers. I like to flip through the book and have different textures and weights. On some of the smoother pages you might want to add some stamped designs or words that reflect the theme of your book. Remember ANYTHING goes!

10. Once the inner pages are all decorated it’s time to get back to the cover. 


11. I tore out the definition for “inspiration” from an old dictionary and used matte gel medium to adhere it to the front. I then used acrylic paints again and played with coloring the whole cover, spine, back cover and inside as well. 


12. Now it’s time to put our holes in our spine. I drew up a template to use for putting the holes in my cover and my signatures. Download Spine template

13. I used some scrap pieces of sticky back canvas to attach the template so it won’t move when you go to punch the holes. I used a Japenese Screw punch to put holes in the spine. I like this tool because it can go through so many layers with ease and no hammering!


14.Sort your pages into 3 signatures. Then using the sample template you used to punch holes in the spine, punch holes into each signature. I do one whole signature at a time.


15. Your ribbon will be threaded through each signature from the inside to the outside then through the cover. You should put your middle signature in first, then the outside signatures. This makes it easier for your hand to get in there. The middle hole is shared by the top “stitch” and the bottom “stitch.” Once you have all the ribbons fed through tie them into a double knot and trim excess ribbon.


I created my project with a pink/artsy theme. I donated this journal to the scrapbook store I manage (Colorful Creations in Cape Cod) for our Scrap Pink raffle last weekend. All proceeds were donated to the Susan G Komen Fund.

Now its time for you to go get messy and have fun playing! I would love to see what books you create!



Jenn has always been crafty one way or another - from doodling posters for her bedroom as a young girl and writing short stories and poems in high school. It was only natural that she studied graphic design and fine arts in college! Jenn is originally from New Hampshire. 

She has been stamping for over 10 years, and when she isn't busy running Colorful Creations, a scrapbook and rubberstamping studio on Cape Cod, she can be found teaching a wide array of classes weekly at Colorful Creations or for A Muse classes around New England! Jenn is also copic certified and a Ranger certified educator. You can see more of her craftiness, and adventures in life at: {creative chick}

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