Circular Flags Flag book

You know how you see something and it haunts you? Well, I am 98% sure I saw a bare-bones image (not sure it was even a completed project, and it certainly wasn’t a tutorial!) for a flag book that had circular flags.  I have hunted and hunted to no avail. It’s out there somewhere – unless of course it was just in my head, but no combination or permutation of CIRCLE FLAG BOOK can tease it out of Google.  Despite that, I made one.

There are a ton of photos on my memory card that need sorting thru and whittling down so I can share how I did it.  But I suspect many people will just look at it and KNOW. Here it is:


Maybe you can see that I used that sink mat with the pebble design to make the Gelli Prints.  I let the colours do the talking, as I didn’t really want to do layered prints for this particular project.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE layered Gelli prints, but sometimes, less is more.

My projects often look pretty bog-standard from the cover.  Would you ever imagine this is what lurks within?


This is one monstrously long book when extended.  At least 25 inches – give or take, depending on how fully you extend it.

The flags going left are the surrounds (only the 6×6 Gelli plate needed!) and the ones leaning right are the circles cut from the centre, but that isn’t all there is to it. The math bit, and the positioning, isn’t as straightforward as the normal rectangular flag flagbook.


The book has a few quotes – the ones on the pages are extracted from a much longer work (Memories of Myths & Truths by CB Allen) but the entire chapter rambles a bit, comparing people to pebbles, so I took what I wanted to say, with a few alterations, and used just those bits.

Pebbles are…easily moved by winds or streams…like ordinary people mendering through life
Most pebbles are hidden in the flowing stream

Most of us in this life are ordinary people leading ordinary lives surrounded by even more similarly ordinary people…
…[But] examine closely [and] we’ll find something  beyond ordinary in most of us
As humans, we can make some extraordinary things happen.
We all are surrounded by extraordinary times, extraordinary people

then across the round flags: We all are extraordinary pebbles

The one inside the cover is attributed to United Starminds (?) but while the source name smacks of CULT, I did like it and it fit.


The cover is another modified turtle-wrap and the spine either detaches, or can remain in place at the front and lies under the book once it’s extended and on it’s back


or behind it if you want to display it standing up, like the other shot, above.

Just a slight close-up so you can see the variations in the prints.

Clearly there is a lot to say about this.  I’ll be working on a how-to post for it, with luck tomorrow.  Might even have to do one of my slide-show things for YouTube as there are so many photos.  I’ll know better once I determine how many of them are actually required to explain!  But I have to say I simply adore it.


Bear with me – I’ll add the info as soon as I get it organized!


Venetian Blind book – how-to

OK, I’ve whittled down the photos to a manageable number (I hope still providing enough info) and will try to explain as I go.  It’s not difficult, really, but there are a few little changes to a standard VB book as well as a little alteration to the turtle wrap cover.

Start with a large sheet of Vellum.  Mine is actually labelled TRACING PAPER (by Goldline) and is about 12 x 16.

Mark off 2 inches at the top and bottom and 8 inches thru the middle.  This is the area you want to pull your Gelli print in.  Outside the marks will either be hidden under the covers (top and bottom) or cut away (at the sides.)


As you can see with the 8×10 plate there is some overlap but with the other decor and the pages folded it’s not as noticable.

Trim the sides to give you an 8 x 16 inch strip – if you can’t find this size vellum you can do two 10 x 10 pieces and overlap one 2 inch section.  Just be sure to use vellum adhesive so it doesn’t show.

I will add a post that deals more with the decoration tomorrow so will deal only with the CONSTRUCTION today, as that is a ton of photos already.

NOTE:  Visually, it is easier for ME to decorate each “page”, so I opted to fold the accordion FIRST.  YOU may prefer to decorate the whole area that will become the pages once you fold it FIRST.  

Score the 8 x 16 inch strip every 2 inches and accordion fold it. Start with a VALLEY fold – due to the size you will also END with a Valley fold.That small lighter area at the left is the first page – the last page is more obvious!


Make the covers.  As per the previous post on the turtle wrap, make the covers 8 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches

The slight alteration is to add adhesive and stick down the FRONT (side flap) pieces. This is just to make it more secure



Wrap the end flap piece as before, add NO ADHESIVE or it won’t allow the end pages of the accordion fold to slip inside.  Don’t worry, we will be attaching them securely another way.

Once the cover is wrapped both ways, make a mark 1 inch from either short side.  Slightly off the centre.  I fell this allows the book to “hang” better than a true centre-line hole will.



Insert the ends of the vellum accordion into the covers.  Make sure if the print has a direction that it’s the right way  round.

Slip the ends of the accordion into the open areas of the covers and fold it up. Make sure the pages are fully inside the covers, it’s all straight and centred then hold it firmly or clamp it with binder clips to make sure it doesn’t shift.  Punch holes thru the WHOLE THING at the marks.


With both covers attached I wasn’t sure about the Crop-a-dile getting cleanly thru all the layers so I did the front cover and all the vellum pages, then did the final cover on its own.  Just take care to ensure the holes will match up!

Now, set eyelets thru the holes in the COVERS ONLY. This will secure the first and last pages within the covers so there is no slippage later when you open the book.

covereyeNow, decide on the string/twine/ribbon you will use.  You will need two beads that fit the fibre SNUGLY. I used fairly thick twine as I had good beads on hand to fit.

For the measurement, the twine needs to be at least double the height of the book plus 10 inches plus a couple of inches for the knots.  Let’s call it a yard (36 inches) to be safe.



Fold the twine/ribbon/whatever in half.  Lay it over the cover and pull up a small bit to form the hanger.  Make a knot at ONE SIDE. Thread the twine thru the holes – the knot should be on the OUTSIDE of the cover.


I found wrapping the ends of the twine with a bit of tape compressed the fibres and let me thread it easily. Thread the knotted side thru the cover only.

Pull the twine so the knot is snug to the cover.  Again, hold up your “hanger” and make another knot at the other eyelet. Now knot each side inside the cover.


Thread each end of the twine thru the entire accordion folded piece AND the bottom cover.

Slip the beads onto the twine.  again, you need this to be a very tight fit.



Why not Knot?  You could, I suppose, but by using the beads (snug fit beads) it allows you to compress the accordion pages, snug the beads right up to the back of the bottom cover, and then “turn” the pages more like a book.  The knot would stay in place, at the full extension of the pages, and I didn’t find that it performed as well as a BOOK, IYKWIM.




The last issue is what to do with all that twine!  I found the easiest way to deal with it was what I showed yesterday:

16how2vbgelliI simply took the two long ends, slipped them thru the “hanger” and pulled it taut.  Then I tied the two loose ends around it.  Not perfect, not elegant, but it gave me a closure that keep all the twine tamed, while still allowing the hanging aspect of the piece.

Once again, the final shot:



I have one or two ideas about improving the hanger part but I’m not entirely sure it will work as I imagine.  If I do work it out, I’ll share!

Tomorrow, I’ll cover how I did the decorations.  There are one or two things worth mentioning you simply can’t see in the construction shots.




Venetian Blind Gelli book

This took a while to finish. I have something like 35 photos that I need to sort thru before I can post a step-by-step, or even vague instructions.  They are a mix of the decoration (which I always feel is less interesting, as if someone DID want to make one they would have their own ideas of how to decorate it) and the construction.  The basics of the construction follow a standard Venetian Blind book, although my version does have a bit of a twist to it.

Let me show you the book:

I’ve not really done any decoration on the cover – because the twine twists around it, pretty much anything I do is going to get obscured by that so I am still thinking on it.


The size is 2 x 8, when folded.  It’s readable in more than one way.  If you untie the twine you can “flip” the pages much like you would any book, although one with a top, rather than a side binding!


BUT if you extend the accordion that forms the pages you get something that is more wall-hanging than book….


And although I designed it on vellum, the text is far too difficult to read when backlit.  However I did want you to see a shot of it against the window so you can see the effect you would get by layering sheer and opaque papers onto the vellum base.


To save your eyes I’ll clue you in to the quotes (actually two, one following the other, not one single quote) from Flowers for Algernon.

The path I choose through the maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being–one of many ways– and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.

There are so many doors to open. I am impatient to begin.

Seems totally appropriate for a student, don’tcha think?  The project sprang from having a chat with DS in the past.  We were chatting in the kitchen, listening to Nujabes and a lyric came up saying I’m just a Vagabond with Flowers for Algernon .  Of course I had my Mom-hat  on and had to explain the reference.  Amazingly, on his most recent visit he told me he had SOUGHT OUT and READ the story (I love this kid) and that it got to him, a bit.  So there really wasn’t any question that he needed something with a pithy quote from the book on it, was there?

I’ll try to sort out the bits that explain best the veers I took in the construction and post tomorrow.


Turtle Wrap book cover instructions

Finally, DS is on the train back to Uni.  So, FINALLY, here are the instructions for the Turtle Wrap book cover.

Although it is designed to be completely without adhesive, I think a line to hold the cover inside the wrap is maybe needed.  It stays in place set on a shelf, but handling the book, it’s perhaps not as secure as it could be. You don’t want someone flipping thru it and being mortified if the cover slips off. On the flip side, without the adhesive you can pull out the centre bit and replace it with a blank one – if you used it a bit like a Smash book, sticking in collected ephemera or jotting down daily thoughts, you may want to be able to do that.  Mine is meant to stay intact, so I think the line of adhesive is needed.

What you need: 

  • accordion folded inner pages – it is essential the FIRST and LAST page point in the same direction.  Doesn’t matter so much if that is forward or backward, as long as they match!


  • two boards – cut about 1/2 inch bigger than the accordion, so 1/4 inch bigger on each side (mine is 5 x 5 so the covers are 5 1/2 x 5 1/2)


  • 2 Gelli prints at least 2 inches bigger in one direction than the cover.  Nothing too heavy, 90-120 gsm, so heavier weight printer paper to lightweight cardstock is ideal.  NOT watercolour paper of HEAVY card.  Deli paper is perhaps too thin and certainly too sheer.


a bit about that – Ideally, because when the cover papers are wrapped the BACK of the print peeks very slightly into view, a print that has something on the back may be preferable. I also like to drag a  pen or some paint along the edges, just to hide the white core of the cardstock where it’s cut.


1. Decide on the orientation of your print.  If it has direction (like text or a masked or stenciled figure) decide if it matters to you if it is sideways.


2. Cut the prints.

 Front cover:  Two prints  Back cover: Two prints

  • one print cover width x cover height + 3 inches 
  • one print cover height x cover width + 3 inches


I’m showing the two pieces with the boards so you can see the orientation, but you need one of each  size for EACH cover. The print with the flaps top and bottom will be the INSIDE of the Front or Back cover

3. Lay the print face down and place the cover centred on it.  Score along the top and bottom of the coverboard and fold flap A and flap B to wrap.


Crease this well with a bone folder.

4. I snip flaps C and D just to make inserting them to wrap a little easier.  Laying the second piece face down, with the longer measurement side to side, score and crease the same way


5. Slip one of the side flaps into the gap – it goes between the full front and the board.


6. Slip the other side flap in on the opposite side, securing the wraps around the board


To add the accordion insert, simply slip the first page into the gap between the INSIDE of the front cover and the board.  Slip the last page into the gap between the board and the INSIDE back cover. The bulk of the cover should be to the OUTSIDE of the “stack” – once you do it, it will be very clear, I promise!


You can make the a double-sided book because the back of the accordion is completely usable as well.


For my vellum pages version I did NOT make it double-sided and slipped the accordion in like above.   When standing up, and extended, the FRONT and BACK covers can be seen along with the inner “pages”  because it is meant to be displayed, backlit, like so:


If you add a spine, that will both hold the book closed and provide a place to stick the tie-closure ribbon/twine/thread/whatever.


Cut a piece of a print as tall as the accordion and just wide enough to cover the folded book plus 3 – 4 inches. A single accordion is thin, so an overall measurement of height of coverboard + 4 inches is more than enough. I showed this yesterday with the ribbon stuck to the spine


but I am now thinking two small slits and the ribbon threaded thru is a better option as it’s more secure.   Just make a slit that is as wide as the book is thick. Thread the ribbon thru and wrap to tie.

Slip the side edges of the spine into the gaps between the cover and the book. With the spine in place, you can flip the pages of the book, and if you remove it, you can extend the book for display! Just looking back at the vellum version, here the spine is in place – the book stays closed and the pages turn like a normal book.


So I hope that explains it well enough.  Any questions, ask and I’ll help if I can.


Vellum Gelli Book DONE!

Phew.  Snatching moments here and there, between cooking and laundry, I managed to finish it.

I was undecided about the purpose of the book when I began, but I had read an article in The Sunday Times last week called The Art of Talking Rubbish.  It was all about artspeak – words critics use to describe art and what the sub-text is.  It amused me, and I found a few terms that I’ve used when complimenting other’s work, or that have been used to compliment MY work.  I can only speak for myself, but I certainly never intended the sub-text to be the definition!  Anyway, I decided that the article would form the basis of the book.

What I DIDN’T manage was to do another cover/spine so I could photo it, but I will try to do so today and share that maybe tomorrow.  I have another project in mind….

So here it is:



The letters were cut on my Cricut from some scraps of Gelli prints.  The ART ones are the surround mounted on white card (with a bit of Old Paper Distress Ink in it) and SPEAK is cut then mounted on black card.  Yes, that stencil text was a paint to do – you can see the E has four bits to it, three of them teeny tiny, all needing to be stuck.  It would have been far easier to cut the words from black then mount the print behind it.  DOH!

I amended a few bits of the text to suit me – for example, the article title uses RUBBISH.  But when at crop, and I make a mistake with something, it amuses my cropmates to hear my very American cry of BALLS! ring out in the hall.  They always mimic me.  So I used the more British term that also means trash-talk:



The thing about the cover arrangement is that the covers can be “attached” in two ways.  I altered the position for the final book because THIS way, when opened out, you can see the covers. Of course they are just out of shot here, but I’ll talk about that when I do the step-by-step.

The addition of the Deli paper prints behind the solid cardstock swirls, which are behind the vellum pages gives it more depth.  That actually sprang from a comment from my son as to whether the swirls could be added in pieces somehow so the sheerness varied.  I couldn’t quite get what he meant, but while I was working on it, the idea to layer the sheer Deli paper prints behind would give the whole thing so much more depth and dimension, as the three bits – the vellum pages, the solid card swirls that block the light, and the also sheer Deli paper that is blocked by the cardstock, but can be seen THRU the vellum – were all viewed with backlight. Thanks son!


The other advantage of this version is with the spine slipped in place, the pages flip a bit more like a traditional book.

You can read the definitions but maybe not the comments, which I added printed then embossed with embossing powder on Deli paper prints.

Your art is so accessible  and How decorative!





Your prints are so interesting! and What a charming piece!



If you pull the spine OUT, then you can extend it so it stands more like an accordion, as in the previous shot!

And on the spine.  It’s just a bit of a print. The sides insert into the slits on the other side from the covers to close the book.  I’ve identified one area that COULD be glued in place to keep the covers from falling off with rough handling while still maintaining the structure of it all.  More on that soon. The tie is stuck only to the spine so when you pull it out there are no trailing ribbons to contend with – you just have to remember where you put it – or maybe slip it into the slit behind the cover and tuck it all away!



and with the ribbon:


I had such fun with DS.  A couple of interesting points there.  First, he spent a LOT of time with me in my office, looking at various projects.  He pretty much liked them all and loved a few of them.  So much so that he linked my blog to some of his Uni friends who do “proper art.” And I am a little sad, but at the same time proud, to say he claimed a few things for himself.  My BIG CARDS set is lighter by all the JACKs, all the 4’s (his favourite number, no idea why) and an 8 he wants to give away to someone else.  It was a wrench, but I am running out of room, so I guess I can come to grips with it.  He also claimed my Steampunk House – I can disassemble it and it folds flat for transport.

I really love this one.  sorry that got a bit long.  One day I’ll figure out how to be concise…..who am I kidding?   {wink}