yung-immortal said: i love your gravity falls journal, its the best one i have seen so far. I also want to make the journal, I want it to look as good as your journal and was wondering if you could do a gravity falls prop journal tutorial, or give me some tips and tricks you used when you made yours.
Aw, geez, thank you. I’ve seen so many amazing journal props that have consequently inspired this project. Nothing can top them in my mind.
As for tips, I’d be happy to share you with as much information as I can reasonably provide. Unfortunately, an in-depth, photo-packed tutorial would be impossible at this point, as I didn’t have the foresight to take pictures during the early stages of my progress. This has been on-again, off-again experimental project since I started back in spring 2013, and some of the steps are fuzzy even to me. I’m not kidding when I say I have crap for brains.
The best approach, then, may be a general overview of the progress I’ve made so far. If there’s anything that needs further clarification, just send me another message and I’ll do what I can to help:
- I started off with an economic, hardbound sketchbook from a craft store. Anything designed for use with marker or paint would be ideal. Don’t go too cheap, or you may wind up with something that won’t survive the “distressing” stage. I get more into detail about that here.
- The hardcover of the sketchbook was carefully removed with an exacto knife and set aside. Here’s where the “fun” begins. (I’m lying, this stage is AWFUL.) Each page in the 210 page sketchbook was hand dyed individually by rubbing a moistened black tea bag haphazardly around. I also had a spray bottle with concentrated tea for more coverage. Be careful not to get the pages too damp or you’ll risk destroying them. The tea bags will lose their potency quickly or get torn. By the time I was finished I went through nearly 100 tea bags. The Boston Tea Party had nothing on this.
- Still with me? With the pages looking nice n’ old, it’s time to give the cover some attention. I resurfaced the original cover with a hand-dyed muslin fabric.This in turn was covered with a maroon faux leather vinyl. I recommend using a spray glue such as Super 77 for an even bond. Be selective when choosing your leather; you’ll want something that has some pliability and stretch. To create the “torn” areas, I carefully removed the unwanted vinyl with a razor blade, exposing the hidden muslin underneath.
- It’s now time to reattach the cover to the rest of the book. I had no prior experience with bookmaking, so I had to wing this step (and well, it shows). This is going to be difficult to explain without photos, so I highly recommend researching book binding methods before proceeding. (Sorry about that!) Setting the spine into its original position, I used a a custom sized piece of fabric-backed cardstock and glued it over the front page and inner cover, joining the two. This was done front and back side making the book “whole” again.
- Now, let’s give the book a hand, literally. *rimshot* Used a screencap as my guide, I cut out and glued the 6-fingered hand and “corner protectors” to the front cover. My initial choice for the gold elements was cardstock but after a year of usage they were starting to look shabby. I recently removed and replaced the original pieces with gold styrene.
- Finally, there’s the pages themselves (a.k.a. the fun part). Time to cut loose with a little experimentation; they’re supposed to look shabby, after all. Gather up your references (the Gravity Falls wiki is sure to come in handy) and rescale them to match the size of your page. For most of the text, I used Saral transfer paper to create temporary guidelines before inking. Most of the sketches (including the eyeballs and bat) were too detailed to transfer accurately; so these had to be hand drawn instead. My tools of choice for inking are Sakura Microns (in various nib sizes) but there are plenty of other options out there (make sure whatever you use is archival quality). After inking, I distressed the pages further using soft pastel and watercolor.
- Adding the photos is relatively straightforward. This time it was glossy photo paper that got the tea-dye treatment. (Did I mention I love tea dying!?) Since kaokoneko provided some great vectors, I opted to use these instead of screenshots. Print to scale, tear up the edges, and tape those suckers in.
- As for the invisible ink, I touch on that in more detail in this post.
If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back for putting up with this verbal diarrhea trying to pass as a guide.
I hope there’s something in there that will be useful to you but bear in mind this was a learning process for me. No doubt there would be some things I would approach differently given the opportunity; so make changes as you see fit. Good luck!
Oh gosh, thank you for the kind words.
Working with the blacklight reactive ink gave me so much grief, I’m a bit taken aback by the positive response.
I purchased a package of “Secret Message Invisible Ink Pens" just like the ones sold here. Despite the iffy quality, (expect some leaking barrels, dead batteries) these are a fun novelty pen and have great results on your run-of-the-mill notebook and computer paper.
My experience using these on the journal pages is another story. It’s very easy to create bleed-through that will permanently stain (watermark) the page. It will also react with other mediums already applied to the paper, including permanent ink. For all the trouble, the ink is barely legible even in dark conditions and with a powerful blacklight. …Of course, the quality of sketchbook paper varies drastically so what didn’t work for me could potentially work for someone else.
For future pages, I’m going to experiment with other types of UV Ink, until I can find something I’m happy with. I’ve learned to embrace failure as an important piece of the creative process. I wouldn’t have gotten here without it. Thanks and happy crafting!
(Disclaimer: I’ve never quite figured out how to properly reply to
comments without reblogging the entire post. So I apologize if I’m doing this wrong; I’m tumblr dumb.)
This photoset should be properly titled “How NOT to Spend Your Time Preparing for NYCC”. Procrastination reared it’s ugly head yet again and resulted in this rush job. There’s still a daunting amount of work to be done so consider this a work in progress. (Be sure to check out the photo captions for additional information.)
Welcome to my McNightmare.
A Fall merchandise preview over on the official Disney Parks blog revealed a nice surprise; Gravity Falls is getting the Vinylmation treatment. The limited edition series is comprised of the Mabel figures pictured here. It’s also worth noting that this marks the first Gravity Falls merchandise produced for Disney Parks.
(Thank you stephdisneyfan for the heads-up!)