Cortina's German in 20 Lessons, Recycled Book Journal, Interior 2


Laura Dodson, Paper Butterfly Forge, does everything at her one person work shop in Seattle, WA. Here are a few word about her book binding path in her own words.

I create recycled book journals, upcycled book art and small notebooks. This partly born of my lifetime love of reading, writing in journals and the fun of finding new purposes for old items. Recycling older books into beautiful things rekindles the use of dusty books.

I have loved writing and journaling since the third grade. My then teacher had a daily journal writing assignment that has lasted almost 40 years now.

As a kid I spent many afternoons sorting through the shelves of my local library.  We didn’t have a lot of money, so I spent my few dollars at the local thrift shop for used books.  Today, I spend many hours looking for unique and cool books at thrift stores, library sales, and garage sales.  So I seem to have come full circle to my childhood obsession with reading as many books as possible.

After an extended period of trying to make handmade seeded paper in damp and perpetually rainy Seattle, I was searching for an outlet for my obsession with paper and handmade. (Hint: the seeds may sprout if you don’t properly dry the paper.)

In the fall of 2015 I started making my own recycled book journals as a fun project for myself. In early 2016 I made about twenty journals and went to the Fremont Sunday Market to see if other people would like them as well. I didn’t sell out, but there was enough interest to forge ahead with the project.

After purchasing so many journals, notebooks, notecards, and planners over the years, I definitely have acquired some opinions about what a journal should be:

  • Plenty of quality paper that is fun to write on.
  • Unique and funky details
  • Lay flat design
  • Unlined paper so that I can add sketches or doodle.
  • Fun cards that serve as writing prompts for those journaling days that aren’t brimming with inspiration.

I feel grateful that I live in Seattle. We have innumerable craft fairs, farmer’s markets, and pop ups. They have been so generous to include my humble book journals in their lineup. I’ve learned a lot along the way. Such as how to haul a 40 pound 10 by 10 pop up canopy tent a half a block to the designated spot at a craft fair.

Now that I’m making so many recycled book journals it seems only fitting that I make other products with the left over pages. I’ve been making unique magnets, book marks and other book art with the pages.

Not all the projects have been successful. I still have a paper wreath that took over 100 hours to build. It hangs in my workshop to remind me that I need to have achievable products.

Towards the end of 2016, a customer at the Westlake Christmas show, put on by Downtown Seattle Parks and Urban Craft Uprising, insisted that I also make recycled game board notebooks. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how delighted people to adopt one.

Please contact us for wholesale or distribution prices.

Located in Seattle, WA.

Customer Feedback:

7 thoughts on “About

  1. Greetings!

    I have a question about your Recycled Book Journals. If I sent you a book, would you be willing to turn it into a journal? If so, do you have any criteria that the book would have to meet to be eligible for recycling?

    Thanks for your time!

    1. I’ve sent a message with more information. 🙂

  2. I love love love your concept! I am a crazy journaling addict and am also a writer who has many projects in the works but so far, only published in newspapers and magazines. I am looking for a travelers notebook cover style. Could you create a soft cover somehow?

    1. Sure! There are a few different directions that it could go. A soft cover with a clear plastic report cover, a laminated book cover, and a non-stabilized paper back cover. Of the three, I like the clear plastic cover the best. I could also mount the paper back cover or a map to a thinner chip board cover. Did you have a particular book or map in mind? Would you like some extras like folders or envelopes? I can also provide a strap to go around the book to keep it closed.

      The world of possibilities opens when you are hand crafting books. 🙂

  3. Hi Laura
    I am enjoying my recycled book, especially all the little added inside pages.
    Do you have a special “press”/ machine to cut the holes and spiral bind the cover and pages?
    What fun to be at the Pike Street Market…I remember them throwing the fish!
    From East Coast ( South Carolina) to West Coast…a book lover Pat Schad

    1. Pat,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      I use a large binding machine that you might find in a small print shop to punch the holes. I use an exacto knife and a ruler to cut through the book cover. The rest is up to 10,000 hours of practice. 🙂

      There are some smaller binding machines that you can find at larger craft stores, but they are prone to jamming and have a smaller binding path.

      Hopefully, that answers your question!

  4. I’m using an amazing Inside Outside Upside Down book you made as my gardening journal. Very important stuff in a very cool notebook. Thanks!!

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