How to re-bind your moleskine without re-binding your moleskine!

I have been happily filling the pages of my moleskine sketchbook sent to me by the The Art House Co-op after I registered for The Sketchbook Project 2011 in August of this year (see here for details).  
Earlier this month on twitter Art House Co-op asked participants to pass on any documentation of how the moleskines have been altered or re-bound.  Here then are my materials and step by step instructions on how I have altered my moleskine.  
My box of tricks for negotiating the thinness of the pages contained between the kraft card covers includes:

Coloured pencils, a mixture of Rexel Cumberland Derwent Artists and Schwan Stabilo  Softcolor.  
This is my main way of adding colour as it is a dry application and won't therefore wrinkle the paper.

Paint brushes, varnish brush, white acrylic paint and Matte Varnish.

Rub-down transfers
I am using a lot of these due to my take on the theme I chose, 'Nighttime Stories'.  I want the sketchbook to have the feel of a children's book.  If the amount of text for a particular page is too long to transfer then I will print it out on some collage paper and incorporate it into the sketch.  The advantage of both methods is that the text does not show through on the next page.


A few scrap booking supplies.  I'm not a  scrapbooker, but I love some of the products.   Pictured here; luggage tag stickers by K & Company, paper pads by Basic Grey, stencil by Paperpizazz.  Fiber pens by Staedtler (0.3 & 0.5), Papermate and Zig.

Old catalogues and Surf Europe magazines for collage papers.

If I end up with a page where I know the media I want to use is going to bleed through then I 'prime' the pages in the following way (alternatively, if I've just finished a page on the moleskine paper and the next page is marked by the previous image showing through then I clad it over in the same following way) :


Step one: I chose and old paperback book that was on its way to recycling.  In my opinion - the older the better.  This one has a lovely yellow hue that intensifies towards the edges of each page.

Step one: rescue and reuse and old paperback

Step two: 'Prime' the page with a thin layer of white acrylic to knock back the text a little.  


Step two: apply acrylic paint straight from the tube

I don't go right up to the edges and generally keep the brush strokes fairly free.  I like the final finish to be a bit patchy and haphazard.


Step three: Apply double sided sticky tape to the back of the primed page.  I try to get the tape as close to the edge of the page as possible so there are no flapping edges.  As Art House add more dates to the Sketchbook tour I'm always thinking about how I can make my sketchbook as durable as possible.



Step three: apply double sided sticky tape

I continue round all four sides.


Step four: When I started sticking these pages in I continued the primed paper right into the spine.  This began to create too much thickness in the spine. Now I space the pages a little way from the centre.

Step four: stick pages into the moleskine

Step 5:  A double spread ready for almost anything you would care to throw at a sketchbook!

Step 5: Your double page spread is ready for anything!

Once I've finished a sketch or a piece of text I will often use a bit of the matte varnish painted on over the rub-down transfers and any graphite just to seal and protect the art / graphic work.  Hopefully this will help the pages last the tour and beyond!

Top tip: use matte varnish to protect any fragile / smudgable work

You can sign up for The Sketchbook Project 2011 here but you will have to hurry, the last day to register is 31st October 2010.