Watercolor Sketchbook $5

The following is from the CAG presidents message – December 2008

In the spirit of Christmas I thought I would put business aside and share a best practice that I recently discovered on the web.

Many of us are in lifelong pursuit of the perfect sketchbook, in particular a watercolor sketchbook. There are a number of these available but they are expensive and don’t often have our favorite paper. So I was pretty excited when I discovered the following procedure for making a 5.5 X 7.5 inch book for only about $5.

Start with a full sheet (22X30) of your favorite watercolor paper (140 or 300 weight). I use Arches 140 lb cold press which I buy at Creative Crafts for $4. Next fold the paper in half and burnish the fold. Next fold each remaining half, in half. Next do the same in the other direction. The result is a full sheet with 16 sections, each 5.5 X 7.5 inches in size

Next you have to decide if you want the book to be in landscape or portrait format and cut along the three lines indicated in the figure. After cutting, you can start folding at either one of the ends, and alternate the direction of the folds. When you reach the other side you have 2 possible ways of making the fold, however the correct direction should be obvious. If you make a mistake, you simply back up and redo the fold. Continue until you have a 5.5 X 7.5 inch book. Place the book under a weight overnight to set the folds.

The only thing left is to make a cover with a pouch at the end to hold the the paper. For the landscape book I used a piece of 100% rag matte board 6 inches wide about 21 inches long. I scored and folded the board after the following distances in inches: 8, 7/8, 8, 3.5.. I folded the resulting cover and taped the 3.5 inch piece on the sides in order to create a pouch for the cover. It is not necessary, however I also covered the book with plastic material to protect it.

One of the interesting features of this book is that the watercolor paper can be turned over so that both sides can be used, and if you wish, the entire sheet (since it remains connected) can be framed in its entirety.
I will bring an example to the December meeting so you can see the result before you invest $5 and make your own.
Happy Holidays