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"Paperscape" Journal

Suzanne Cahill transforms an ordinary photo album into a three-dimensional paperscape journal.

Suzanne Cahill uses papers and fibers to create textured, three-dimensional landscapes, or "paperscapes" as she likes to call them.

Materials and Tools:

300 lb. watercolor paper
watercolors, paintbrushes, foam brush
handmade papers of various colors and textures
acid-free bookbinder's glue or similar paper glue
double-stick tape
8" x 8" double mat board with 4" opening
pigment inks in shades of brown
blank generic 8" square photo album with removable pages
mulberry paper
22" x 28" sheet of handmade paper
ivory card stock
various colored fibers
sepia and copper color skeleton leaves
jewelry findings, beads, metal scrapbook letters
hairdryer or heat gun
wood skewer
masking tape
deckle-edged scissors
paper cutter
water pen
paper punch
glue gun and hot glue sticks


1. Create the background for the paperscape by tearing the edges of a 5" x 7" piece of 300 lb. watercolor paper. Paint the paper using watercolors. Let dry. To speed up the drying process, use a hair dryer or heat gun.

2. Choose various types of handmade papers to create the landscape in the desired color scheme.

  • Tear strips of paper and glue them to the painted watercolor paper starting with the landscape background and working your way to the foreground using different colors to create depths and shadows.
  • Apply acid-free bookbinding glue with a foam brush — which will dry clear and won't curl the paper.
  • Press the paper strips onto the background paper with a wood skewer, bunching the strips up to add texture.
  • Allow to dry for 24 hours.

3. Embellish the dried paperscape with metallic threads and beads. Allow the glue to dry.

4. Position double-layer matting over the paperscape to create a framed picture. Trim the paperscape to remove excess paper.

5. Attach the paperscape to the back of the mat board with masking tape.

6. Antique the mat board edges with brown tone pigment ink for an aged look. Rub some of the pigment ink over the top of the mat board.

7. Begin preparation of the journal. Disassemble a plain 8-inch square photo album. Measure the photo page inserts for the dimensions needed to create card stock journal pages and handmade paper pages.

8. Using a large 22" x 28" piece of handmade paper, measure and mark out pages for the journal. Using a paper cutter cut three sides of the handmade paper. Create a deckled edge on the fourth side of the page by running a water line with a water pen on the paper and gently pull away the paper along the water line.

9. The paper will pull apart creating a feathered or deckled edge.

10. To create the card stock journal pages, measure the page size and cut them out with a paper cutter on three sides. Use decorative deckle-edged scissors for the fourth side.

11. Mark the holes for punching on all handmade paper and card stock pages using the pre-punched holes in the photo album cover as a guide. Punch holes in the handmade and card stock pages using a paper punch.

12. Cover the photo album front and back covers with handmade paper that coordinates with the paperscape color scheme. Adhere the paper to the covers with double-stick tape.

13. Finish the inside of the covers by gluing a piece of card stock to each inside cover.

14. Re-assemble the journal. Alternate each page with handmade paper pages, card stock journal pages and photo sleeve pages.

15. Attach the matted paperscape to the front cover of the journal with hot glue.

16. Embellish the cover of the journal with various colors of fibers tied around the cover, metal jewelry findings hot glued at the corners of the matting and self-adhesive metal letters to spell "Journal" at the bottom right hand corner. Hot-glue skeleton leaves to the lower left corner of the mat.

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