Like many others who keep an art journal, I tend to work in several at a time. One is usually a larger book I’ve bound, think of it as the mothership — it rarely leaves the house. Each year around this time I bind a new one to take me through the year,

I began by tearing down 10 sheets of Fabriano Artistico to for the book block, I didn’t want any waste so I quartered the sheets for a book block that measured 7 1/2″ X 11″. I wanted the cover to look like it had been made from some salvaged wood so I began by edge gluing some poplar to a strip of walnut to get the 7 1/2″ width I was going to need.


Once the glue was dry, I ripped the board down to 7 1/2″ and then cut it down into to 11″ pieces.


Because I wanted this to look like reclaimed wood id decided to use several coats of milk paint. Milk paint can provide a nice hard, smooth finish but you can manipulate it to look distressed by applying it too quickly which can cause it to crack. I started with a base coat of black and followed that up with a two coats of white.


My goal was to get some hairline cracking of the white paint to reveal the black underneath, there wasn’t as much cracking as I had hoped but it was good enough for what I had in mind. I sanded the white coat a little and then applied a mask to create some lettering under the final coat of paint.


Once the paint was dry I sanded it down until I cut through the layers of paint and looked well worn. I followed that up with a couple of coats of clear Danish Oil to protect the finish. Once the covers were done, I attached them to the book block to wrap it up. Here’s a shot of the finished book, 424.