Sunday, September 16, 2012

How To Make River Song's TARDIS Journel

(Originally posted in a blog post swap on my friend Shaylynn's site.)

Once upon a time, in the largest library in the universe, a woman appeared with a book that no one had ever seen before. It was a unique shape, a special color, and the words inside were secrets to everyone but the woman herself. Who was she? What was the book? Where did they come from? Only time would tell...

If you're a fan of Doctor Who, no doubt you've figured out that the paragraph above refers to the (in?)famous journal of River Song. It's purpose and origins were revealed over three seasons, along with River herself, and it has quickly become one of the most iconic props of New Who. 

However, reproducing it is not so simple. I looked up a bunch of tutorials but couldn't find one that captured the texture and detail I wanted. So I cobbled together some different techniques and voila! Tutorial. 

First off I found a good little hardcover, stitched journal to work off of. You can get cheap journals very inexpensively, but it'll hold up better if you dish out for a slightly higher quality. I happened to have this one on hand, and though it's smaller than River's journal, it just makes it cuter!

My first step was to make the binding. For this I used craft foam, and glued it on in two layers with a mixture of craft glue, elmer's glue, and water (for extra flexibility). The foam did not want to bend around the book, so I had to set my sewing machine on top of it while it dried to train it into shape.

I then used more foam and glue to lay down the design on the front. The details are not exact because my book was so small, but you can play around with that.

 I was a bit nervous about the binding, so I took some painter's tape and wrapped it around the edge as well to help give it some extra support and security.

I then painted the entire thing black, using acrylic paint. (Use the paints used for picture painting, not craft paint. It's more flexible and has a nicer texture).

 I then covered the entire thing with a very thin, very breathable cotton and smothered the whole thing in glue. You might have to experiment to find the very best cloth. I'd like to use cheesecloth next time I attempt this, as I think it might be easier to work with and the texture might come through stronger.

I bend the fabric around into the inside of the book, holding it in place with the clothespins.

 At this point the book really wanted to stay open, so I let it sit for a couple hours in a closed position.

Painting time! I applied layer after layer after layer of various shades of blue...

 ...and lastly a bit more black in the cracks.

While waiting for the paint to dry (this project takes several days with all the steps) I finished up the clay TARDIS necklaces I'd made for some other friends.

Final step? Glue the first page of the book onto the cover, to hide the raw edges of the fabric.

 And hey presto! Did YOU make that beautiful book???

 Front,  finished! (There are several ripples in the fabric that frustrated me, part of why I think cheesecloth would work better than regular plain cotton).

 The back. I kept it pretty plain, but if I were to do over, I would continue the binding around the back, but in separate pieces.

A closer look at the texture. It turned out really cool, everyone who touched it couldn't stop feeling it!

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