Wednesday, April 21

Mandala Journal Tutorial - finally!!

I have finally completed my tutorial for the making of my Mandala Journal. I tried to keep it to three parts, but, well... you can skip certain parts if you aren't wanting to experience things like paper maché!
I think I'll let the videos do the teaching, and wait for questions to come in - then, as they do, I will update this post and address them rather than try to guess at what I've left out - because I'm sure I've left some stuff out!!
Part I goes over applying joint compound, or wall spackle, to your book board covers.
Part II is the finishing of the spackle.
Part III is the creation of the interior board pages, which are paper maché.
Part IV, the final video is the actual binding process.
Hopefully the hand out will help with the binding details - help yourself by printing them out.
Click on image for full view and to print.
For personal use only, please.


  1. Oh Karin, what an amazing tutorial- so generous and complete! Your hands are the most beautiful thing about these tutorials...
    I most certainly will be trying this, though I might be using felt and the attention to detail will probably not be as precise...I do not have your patience, nor skill.THANK YOU so much for this. What a gift!

  2. No time to look just yet. But I have bookmarked this post and am excited to watch soon!

  3. ~K
    This is magnificently produced...I am so happy to have ahd the chance to watch the first two installments and soooo look forward to the conclusion ;-)

    You rock!!!!!!!!!!1

  4. my god,karin. i watched the first one and can't wait for the next.

    i especiallylove the way the finished binding looks and i am so inspired to try this. you make it so doable.

    i was thinking what renee would say. i can just hear her.

    do you teach? what? where?

    because you are an amazing teacher.

    it's nice to see you up and about.


  5. You're amazing, woman! Look at you, working away on these tutorials while dealing with chemo treatments. You're so very inspiring!! :)


  6. Great videos!!! I often use spackling in my the stuff!
    I know how much work goes into these videos.... you've outdone yourself!! I really enjoyed them!!

  7. Karin, amazing and of course I am ignoring all other work and running off to make one of my own!! Genius! What an elegant binding solution, simple and looks pretty quick too! Can't wait to try it!!

  8. Karin,
    I am going to watch them when I have more time to sit down and relax. I so want to learn book binding. I am one of those people that has to be there and to be shown how to do the stitch..So hurry up with that new space..LOL>
    My question is how do you do all this..You are amazing my dear friend. I hope the spirit keeps you safe and your body will heal quickly.

  9. Hi Linda Sue, I think this binding technique would be a perfect application for felt - can't wait to see what you do!! You are welcome, and thank you for your kind words xoxox

    Great Seth, looking forward to hearing what you think :)

    hee hee Thanks D, rock on!!!

    thanks kj, I think they get better as they go on! It really is doable :) thanks for helping me to hear renee's voice again. I do teach, but haven't been in a while, with the health stuff and all - but am hoping to get back to it - book binding, mixed media techniques, what ever someone might ask me to do that I feel qualified to do!! ❤

    oh thanks Svasti! I did it over many installments - nice and steady! It helps me, keeping engaged and connected to my work and others. hugs to you, too! xo

    thanks Manon, yeah spackle is great stuff!

    oh goodie Deb - I can't wait to see what magic you create with this binding!!! it really is simple once you get the hang of it!

    I know what you mean Katelen, but I challenge you to not set yourself up before giving this one a try! Just take it slow, step by step - the video is showing it and you can always hit pause and rewind as many times as you need!! IF you can make a slip knot, you can do this binding! I have faith in you! xox

  10. Hi Karin. Your teaching video is awesine. I will watch it again, and again. Thanks for sharing.

  11. karin, these tutorial videos are AWESOME! can't wait to try out some of your techniques. your work is very beautiful and inspiring...thank you for sharing your gifts with the world.

  12. Wow, so happy to have found your blog and youtube videos...I'm learning a lot! I was just wondering how to bind together some pages that are meant to be in ring binders and this is perfect...woohoo! Will be following your blog and thank you for sharing :)

  13. This is great, I haven't made books for years but I do feel inspired. I laughed to see someone else who uses a hair dryer on their acrylic paint!

  14. Karen, your book is gorgeous! and thank you for your generous tutorial... very helpful, especially the binding... and hey, we're nearly neighbors :-)
    Doreen from Harrison

  15. Thank you so much Karin for the tutorial. Very very interesting. :)

  16. i'm making my way through the video installments - wonderful tutorial!! i feel inspired by your generous spirit and beautiful art, and want to try my hand at video tutorials and sharing like this from my blog, when my traveling/teaching schedule ends. And that hand out rocks, so descriptive, concise and neat. thank you for your inspiration this morning. xox

  17. Karin,
    Wonderful wonderful tutorials. Such beautiful work, thank you so much for sharing your process. It is a wonderful gift that you are feeling well enough to create. Take care my friend!

  18. what an awesome tutorial Karin! I love it and so fun hearing your voice! this is so inspiring and of course your journal is gorgeous!

  19. I have completed the four segments and find them to be some of the clearest and most calming tutorials I've ever watched...the 'soundtrack' is excellent too.

    Like you.

  20. that was one of the best tutorials I have seen. no wonder it looks so good. I'm going over to Art Journaling Ning community and tell them about it!

    Cause I know they will want to know.

  21. This is a fantastic tutorial! I'm thinking maybe you make this look more easy than it is! lol BTW your hands are lovely (creepy me?)

  22. This is fabulous Karin...YOU are such a gifted teacher as well as being a talented heart centered artist. Watching your hands work was like viewing meditation in motion. I am looking forward to trying these techniques out one of these days...thank you so much!

  23. Thanks Gloria, I'm glad you like it enough to watch it again and again!!

    Hi Stacy, thanks!! If you do try it out, I hope you'll share images of your creations with me :)

    Thanks Linda, glad to have been of help for your timely discovery, too!

    Hey Whitney Anne, yes, the very helpful drier is the impatient artist's best friend :)

    Hi Doreen, wow, we are neighbors - that's cool!

    You're welcome Maria :)

    Thank you Katie, and you're welcome! I'm glad for the feed back about the hand out. I'm really getting to enjoy the video tutorials now that I'm getting the hang of it!

    Hi Jackie, you're welcome! Yes, it's been nice to have the energy to focus on something like this and work on it bit by bit. I's the kin of thing I could do in installments, so I could pace myself and enjoy it, too!

    Thanks Cat, glad you enjoyed them :)

    Thank you D xo

    I appreciate your sharing them Paige - thank you!

    Hi Sena, it's not a difficult binding - probably the easiest binding you'll find! and paper mache is super easy. and, no, not creepy - thank you :)

    Thank you Laura, teaching is something I've been missing, so the videos are really a happy outlet for me - I'm glad it comes through! xox to you, too!!

  24. This is fantastic! You have such a lovely clear way of explaining everything.
    And the great thing about video tutorials is you can pause and rewind as much as you want and the video doesn't get frustrated with you :p

    I'm mainly interested in the way you treat the covers because I think this technique could be very useful in my work on canvas.
    I absolutely love the colours and textures you have on the cover, and I was wondering how on earth you achieve this. I didn't realise you use watered down washes over dry layers, I will have to try that. I've never tried rubbing it with a rag either. That must be what creates that lovely luminous look.

  25. This is amazing. If U choose, U could have your own crafty corner Youtube channel or broadcast on some other medium. So wonderful how you generously share your talents with the world. Everyone benefits from your positive energy and creative insights. Blessings!

  26. WOW!
    Karin, you have done such a good job with this tutorial, simply perfect. You explained and showed all so well and the background music is beautiful too. I´m tellin´you - if you released that on DVD I would buy it!
    Thank you so very much for sharing this for free. I´m so inspired right now to make a mandala book myself.
    I´ve read that you are planning to give workshops in your new studio and I know people will just love this. I couldn´t imagine a better teacher like you.

    Thank you very much!! :*)

    xoxoxo Always ~ Bettina

  27. Karin, you are AWESOME! What fantastic videos. I can see you teaching an art course in your new attic studio. How fantastic that would be! I only watched the first one so far, but I must come back and definitely watch the bookbinding!

  28. Karin,
    what an awesome, generous gift you have shared with me and the world. It was one of the most beautiful videos and so completely understandable- you made it look so easy. I can't wait to try it just exactly as you have offered it. And then, you and I will have made art together- and yet you have been the only giver. thanks for being The Giver. You reflect His image in a thousand ways.

  29. I've been trying to achieve the technique you used on the cover here, but I'm not quite able to get it.

    We don't have spackle as such in New Zealand. what I've been able to find is plastic type jointing compounds, or gypsum plaster powder. Is the spackle you use a blend of plaster and some kind of plastics?

    I also tried this with impasto medium, but it's not looking right.

    Sorry to be a bother.

  30. This tutorial is FABULOUS!!! I am working on trying these techniques out between classes; when I should be preparing for the next classes. I am using light modeling paste cuz I don't if I can get spackle in the country I am teaching in.
    THANK YOU for this!

  31. Thank you for the great tutorials about your Mandala book, Karin; that was a lot of work! Your finished book is beautiful and the texture fantastic! I’m very interested in your version of the Coptic stitch sewing since I’ve done a couple the last few months. There’s always something new to learn.

  32. Hello Karin,
    Thank you so very much. I'm trying to make one right now and have a question. Did you put spackle on both sides of the board?

  33. Hi Estelle, No - I didn't do both sides, but you can. If you only do one side there is a chance of slight curving of the covers - which is very slight. If you do both sides, it's more likely to be flatter, but it ends up being quite a bit heavier, so you have to weigh your preferences.
    I have never done both sides, preferring a slightly lighter weight, and not minding the bit of curve. If the cover is small - say around 5 inches x 7 inches, there's really no worry of board warping - that only happens with larger boards. Good luck!

  34. Karin, this series of videos is fantasti!!! I am so eager to try your technique, thank you so much for putting this all together. Your journal is so gorgeous... I am in awe. roxanne

  35. Thanks so much for the fabulous videos! One question with the binding holes. You mentioned the spacing from top to bottom but not how far in you set the holes.

  36. Hi Bonnie, glad you've liked the videos! You want to keep the holes as close to the edge as you can, while still safely giving enough room so that the binding won't eventually tear, so I set them in 1/4 of and inch. I wouldn't go any less than that, but if your board is the weight of say poster board? I'd probably go in a little further, perhaps 1/3 of an inch. My boards were quite heavy, so I am sure they will never tear. Hope that helps! Karin

  37. FAB-U-LOUS video! Since you make it look so easy, I'm for sure going to give this a go. You do really beautiful work, Karin.

    One clarification: The waxed linen string/cord that you use... is it a certain 'weight'? You seemed to really tug on the string to make the knots tight, and the cord does not break. I like that.

    Thank you.

  38. Hi Tricia, thanks so much for your kind words!
    The waxed linen I use is a 6 ply/1 mm weight - the same you'd find at Michael's or other craft supply stores that's used for jewelry beading. When I haven't been able to find a larger spool of it, that's where I'll go to get some in a pinch. You can find it on Amazon here, as an example. Hope that helps, and let me know if you make one - I'd love to see and hear how it goes :) ENjoy,

  39. Karin, I just 'found' these videos today and have been glued to the screen. I am very excited by your ideas and fabulous journals......Thanks for sharing.........
    Could I use this type of binding on regular thick paper like 140lb watercolour paper with a hard cover, or would it tear the pages? Happy holidays.....
    December 2011....Maggie L

  40. Thank you for your reply, Karin. I will give it a try. Just purchased Artist Unique today, so am looking forward to reading it.
    Maggie L

  41. Hey Karin! I must say your art is amazing and inspiring, and I can't wait to make one of these myself.
    I watched videos 2,3, & 4, but video 1 isn't there... Is it somewhere else I could find it?

  42. Hi dmc18, Thank you so much - I'm glad you enjoyed the videos and are inspired. I'm not sure why the first video isn't showing up for you. It is appearing here on the blog for me as the first video, and on my youtube channel, but try this direct link:mandala tutorial 1 or the list of my videos on my youtube channel Hope one of these works for you!

  43. i think I figured it out - if you were looking for the video on a mobile device or iPad, the video setting for the first video wasn't allowing it to be seen, so I changed the setting! hopefully that did the trick for you :)

  44. Yes, thank you,mitsubishi working now :) I can't believe I didn't think of that!

  45. I found your blog because someone "Pinned" the slip-knot binding in Pinterest and I followed the link.
    This is a great set of instructions - and generously shared.
    I will definitely have a go myself - thank you so much!
    (I won't re-pin the slip-knot image, because I'm not sure whether you would want it pinned - I read the note at the bottom and will take it literally).

  46. thank you for such an amazing and well thought out tutorial. Im truly inspired. I recently opened an art centre called Mandala Art Centre so this book really speaks to me. I will be sure to try your techniques!

    thank you!

  47. Does this binding work best with board pages? I have a book of 140# watercolor pages I'd love to bind this way (I can make board covers) but it looks like the pages might tear?

  48. Your journal is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


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