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Coptic Stitch Recycled Book Journals

I made some Coptic stitch notebooks that you can buy in my online store.

I have recently made the jump from using twin loop binding to hand stitching the notebooks together. I’ve been thinking about making the change for some time. Part of the change is due to rethinking of the environmental difference in creating the notebooks. The metal twin loop binding system is based on a metal spine. I wanted to have a lower impact by using thread instead of metal to bind the journals.

Here are some of them that I’ve been working on in May 2023. The paper is either 70 weight sketch book paper or a fine 24 lb writing paper.

Meeting New Friends Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

Happy Tales for Story Time Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

Literature for Reading and Memorization Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

Brooks‚Äôs Readers Seventh Year Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

Robinson Crusoe Reader Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

Everyday Reading Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

Recycled Book Journal by Paper Butterfly Forge

Gregg Dictation Simplified Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

Recycled Book Cover Coptic Stitch Journal

Study Readers Coptic Journal ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

I do have a fair number of twin loop binding spine recycled book journals for sale. Here is the link to those journals. Sale ‚Äď Paper Butterfly Forge

The twin loop bound journals are currently (June 2023) on sale for $10.00 each, so it’s a great deal, if you have ever wanted one or want more.

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Getting Ready to Make More Recycled Book Journals

I’ve been changing over to Coptic Stitch Sketchbook. I can only make 3 or 4 a week. Compared to when I used the twin loop ones, when I used to make 10 to 15 per day. Slowing down has it’s benefits though. ūüôā

If you feel like supporting my tiny one person operation, there is a ‘buy me a coffee icon’ on this page. Another way to support my micro business, is to comment on the blog. It helps out with placement. ūüôā

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What do the insides of the Recycled Book Journals look like?

I believe in fun.  Fun paper, cards, and books that deserve a new purpose in life.  I upcycle books into nifty journals that can go anywhere and be used for any number of things.  Junk Journals, Scrapbooks, writing journals, bullet journals, or sketch books.

The Recycled Book Journals also make a thoughtful gift to friends, family and co-workers.

What do the Recycled Book Journals look like?

I upcycle a variety of books.  Generally I bind them with a wire binding system that looks like this:

Other binding types are available upon request.

What’s on the inside?

  • 28 lb white paper
  • 10 ish pages of the original book
  • Decorative paper
  • Interesting pages that vary.¬† They might be maps, music sheets, graph paper, pages from other books, or things I feel like upcycling.
  • There might be playing cards from games, library checkout cards, and again if I feel like including it in a book I will.

Here are some sample inside pages:

What types of books do I upcycle?

Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and Nancy Drew recycled book journals are always popular.¬† However, I do quite a bit of vintage textbooks, gothic novels, classics, vintage children’s books, english literature books, foreign language books, and physics books.

Does it need to be hard back cover?  It helps!  However, I bind paperback and book jacket covers to a stiff book cover all the time.  I then apply a protective coating  to protect the paper, so that it will stand up to being in a bag or falling off a nightstand.

Does it always need to be white paper?¬† ¬†It doesn’t need to be!¬† I will add quality lined paper or drawing paper upon request.¬† Of course, there is a small fee for having the more expensive paper.

Interested?  My email is to discuss further.


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First Day at Pike Place Market

It’s been a fun summer. ¬†I’ve met a lot of great people at the Wallingford Farmers Market, the Madrona Farmers Market, Fremont Solstice Fair, Magnolia Summer Fest, Urban Craft Uprising events, and Oddmall. ¬†After such a whirlwind of sunny events I turn my eyes to fall and to the 2017 Holiday season.

Then I got some fantastic news. ¬†I’ve been accepted into the Pike Place Market as a daystall vendor. ¬†Quite unexpected since this was the first year that I had applied and I was accepted. ¬†I feel so fortunate.

So now you can catch my book journals at the Pike Place Market at least once a week.


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How to Make Book Cloth

I’m interested in making my own book cloth. ¬†I’m collecting some of the methods for y’all here that I’m finding.

Book cloth is used for attaching cloth to books.  The basic parts of it are: cloth, glue/or adhesive and a tissue paper backing.  There are any number of ways to do it.

Why do you want to attach paper to the fabric?  It makes the fabric more stable, it might stretch poorly when glued directly onto a book board.  In addition, when directly gluing the fabric on to the book board, glue can seep out of the fabric.

You will need either flat glass or plexiglass to dry the fabric on.  My suggestion is plexiglass, because it is less breakable.  Glass might show the underside of the fabric so you can check for glue/paste seepage.


  • PVA glue/Wheat paste/ Fabric Fusing
  • Sharp scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Plexiglass/or glass to provide a flat surface.
  • Patience and time.
  • Clean and roomy work table.
  • Glue brushes.
  • Foam roller.
  • Fabric fusing? ¬†An iron and flat ironing surface.
  • Fabric with a tight weave, to prevent seepage.
  • Natural fabric is best.
  • Tissue paper, japanese paper, or other light weight paper.

This method by Erica Munoz involves book glue, fabric and japanese paper. It goes over using a gluing station, which I’ve found essential for bookbinding.–craft-3294

This method by Sea Lemon on Youtube involves using a fabric backing to attach the paper to fabric. ¬†This is a little bit less intense than rolling on glue and making sure it’s just the write amount as the previous method. ¬†If you aren’t comfortable using a fabric stiffener or interface, this might be an issue. ¬†It’s also not a traditional book binding method, but it gets the job done.


This method by Big Jump Press, starts off by making your own wheat paste. ¬†She focuses on the traditional Japanese book binding methods and paper. ¬†I’d practice the wheat paste method until that was right before starting on gluing the paper to the cloth. ¬†Like the other bloggers, she uses fat quarters from the fabric store.

Put down that mulled wine immediately. We are making bookcloth today.

This blog by Daniel and Karleigh goes over some the differences in the book binding cloth.  How library book cloth is treated to make it better vs. using quilting fabric.  Make sure you read the comment section as well.

This blog by Roz wound up, is heavy on text and not so many pictures.  It talks about fabric treating, why you should back your book cloth and stitch size.



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Whew! That was some whirlwind of a year!

It’s a few days before the holidays and I’m starting to reflect on everything that has happened during the year.¬†It’s been a fast and furious year! ¬†I’ve been binding books and notebooks just about every free second that I have.

From Place to Place Recycled Book Journal
Fun Textbook upcycled into a sketchbook or diary.

I started showing at the Fremont Sunday Market, Urban Craft Uprising, Oddmall and so many other craft markets. (Bellingham Steampunk, Emerald Downs Gift Fair, a Very Vintage Market and more.)

Oh the Thinks you can Think! Recycled Book Journal
Upcycled Dr. Seuss Classic

Now I’m sitting down to plan for next year. ¬†I have some new binding equipment on the way so that I do that magic that I do a little more efficiently. ūüôā

The Writers Harbrace Handbook Book Journal
Upcycled writing handbook.

My first stop this January will be Rusty Con in Seattle.  I look forward to spending time there and meeting more people.  I have more than a few applications out to craft fairs this spring.

I had so much fun this interacting with all other craft fair vendors.  I look forward to seeing them again this year.

Everyone have a great holiday!

Laura Dodson

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Crochet Common Place Book

Common Place Book Cover

Commonplace books were ways of keeping knowledge or compiling information on a particular subject.  Today, we might consider a Pinterest page a commonplace book.   The use of commonplace books dates back to the dawn of books.  Printing books also made it more accessible for people.  Many scientists and writers have used them over the years to keep track of common knowledge.

The below example of a crochet pattern common place book. ¬†It’s believed that it dates from about 1915 to the 1950’s. ¬†It is made from a old legal book with a strong binding. ¬†However, it’s been used so much over the years, the spine has fallen off and is taped together. ¬†The tape has also disintegrated over the years. ¬†However, the remaining binding and signatures appear to be in good health. ¬†It is from a private family collection.

Common Place Book Angle


Inside the front cover are some cutouts from advertisements, the creator’s picture and other personal papers.


Common Place Book Inside Cover
Detail from Commonplace Book

There are patterns for various crochet patterns.  There appear to be hundreds of patterns.  According to the family, the family home was filled with doilies, embellished pillows and other crocheted items.  Not only was this a wish list, it was a working commonplace book.

Common Place Book Muff and Hood
Detail from Commonplace Book

Common Place Book Rose
Detail from Commonplace Book

Common Place Book The Lone Star
Detail from Commonplace Book

Common Place Book Tumbler Doily
Detail from Commonplace Book


Common Place Book Daisy Lace
Detail from Commonplace Book

There are also hints of other items that she was interested in. ¬†This newspaper was also included. ¬†It is frail, so I didn’t open it up to see what was saved.

Common Place Book Information
Detail from Commonplace Book

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Paper Butterfly Forge will be at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall this weekend

Urban Craft Uprising - First Thursday Art Walk Pioneer Square

We are super excited to be at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall this weekend.  (May 14th & 15th 2016).  The market features vintage and upcycled products.  They also have long term vendors in vintage trailers!


Saturday: noon-7pm
Sunday: 11-4pm


5805 Airport Way South,
Seattle Wash. 98108

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Found Between the Pages

California Banks Gearing up Cashless Society

In an old social studies book, I found a photocopy of 1972 Newspaper article about banks switching to ACH Clearinghouse payments.

ACH payments are still used today between banks.  They bundle up a large number of transactions and then send the net amount to the other bank.  They also email/transmit a list of transactions for that amount.

It’s not quite the same thing as debit and credit transactions flying around via merchant services. ¬†However, there is a pretty good chance your payroll is transmitted to your bank account via ACH.


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How to Keep a Reading Journal

A reading or book journal can be a great way to record your thoughts and progress on reading books.  Book clubs and other get togethers can be a fantastic way to interact with people about the same books, as well.  Here are a few tips:

  1.  I have a journal that I use exclusively for book reviews, thoughts, and goals for future readings.  I find that it helps to centralize my thoughts into one location.  (Of course, I love making journals, so I have about five that I write in each week!)
  2. Record the date, the title and the page number at the top.
  3. I like to chat about what is going on as I’m reading the book. ¬†Am I on vacation? ¬†Did I just have another Kickstarter campaign? ¬†What volunteer work am I doing at the time? ¬†I find that my current projects sometimes color the book that I’m reviewing.
  4. Discuss the book themes and main characters. ¬†Did you like them as people? ¬†One of the current themes that I’m not liking is the bad things happen to women and then they go all karate/judo and get revenge. ¬†Is it a trope that bad things happen and then women need to be rescued or get revenge? ¬†Perhaps too much video game plotting is seeping into books, just a thought.
  5. Talk about where the novel is located. ¬†Is it in space, Earth, or in a mine? ¬†Was the world building appropriate? ¬†I remember a romance that I read many, many years ago where it was located in a city where I had spent much time there. ¬†(Port Townsend) The location seemed like a generic small town and not once did they mention the very large tourist/shopping area. ¬†This was before the age of google, but couldn’t they at least pick a tourism brochure and make sure that it mentioned a few landmarks? ¬†Or even that there is a large fishing fleet harbored there?
  6. How did you acquire the book?  Gift, bookstore, book club?
  7. Did you like the resolution?  Would have made different choices?
  8. Is it difficult to believe the character could actually do those things? ¬†This is a problem in multi book series in science fiction and fantasy. ¬†All characters grow during the course of the books, but in those genres, the authors are compelled to give them new abilities and powers that don’t seem reasonable. ¬†For instance, a poor magician suddenly finds out that he has magic beans and that he can stop nuclear blasts. ¬†A space ship is given a over haul and can suddenly travel to new galaxies overnight. ¬†Did the author actually layout a reasonable process for those new powers/abilities?
  9. Was it a predictable read or not?  Was that a good thing or not?
  10. Is this a book that you would recommend to others?

Is there anything else that you would add to this list?  Your reading journal is about you and the books that you read, make sure that is included in your entries.

Feel free to add suggestions in the comments!

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25 Journal Writing Prompts

Sometimes we all need a little help getting started writing a journal entry.  Here are twenty five writing prompts for journals:

  1. Do you remember learning how to read?
  2. If you could have a robot do one task for you, what would it be?
  3. Would you rather be a werewolf or a vampire?
  4. If you had one snapshot that could go viral on social media, which one would it be?
  5. What was the best pun that you’ve heard recently?
  6. What do you like to write with?  A pen?  A pencil?  Glitter pen? Keyboard?
  7. Have you self edited your social media posts? ¬†Have you exaggerated the ‘good’ in your life or the ‘bad’? ¬†Discuss why.
  8. If you had a only an hour to pack to save yourself from zombies, what would you bring? Only weapons?  Clothes?  Perhaps a red pair of high heels that can also be a weapon?
  9. What makes you want to volunteer your time to a cause?
  10. Doodle instead of writing today.
  11. Would you rather visit a chain coffee house, like Starbucks or visit an independent coffeehouse?  Or perhaps you would not be caught dead in one?
  12. What is the first book that you remember reading?
  13. Compare frozen food to home cooked food.  Which do you actually eat more often?
  14. Christmas and holiday traditions that you miss.
  15. How has your family changed over the years?
  16. Write a paragraph about oranges that does not mention the color, name or the word orange.
  17. Describe the smell of fresh spring rain.
  18. If you see someone with a clothing tag hanging out, do you tell them?
  19. Describe the last time that you laughed.
  20. We always hear about 5 year goals and the current year goals.  What are your 2 1/2 year goals?
  21. Do you always finish books or movies?  Why or why not?
  22. Which food do you remember from your childhood that you never eat now?
  23. If you had to start over, what would you change?
  24. What are you grateful for?
  25. Describe the perfect day.


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Found Between the Pages

I find all sorts of interesting thing while reworking books into book journals.

This mysterious stock quote was found in a Hardy Boys Mystery. ¬†Frozen in time, it appears to be from the 1980’s judging by the Holiday Inn stationary it was written on. ¬†I like to think a Eastern Washington business person was watching a stock quote show while reading his/her trusty Hardy Boy’s mystery from the 1960s. ¬†Hopefully they remembered to buy the stock!

Found Note in Hardy Boys Mystery
Found Between the Pages

This extensive note was found in a copy of The House at Pooh Corner. ¬†I love that it talks about philosophy and why studying it can lead to understanding your fellow man. ¬†Safely tucked in a children’s book that is also about philosophy and how to be a better person. ūüôā

Found Note found in Pooh Bear Book
Found Between the Pages

What will I find next? ¬†I don’t know! ¬†I’m looking forward to sharing more notes, notes from the past and funny bits on the blog.

Have a great day!

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Write Your Own Story in a Journal

Why should you have a personal writing journal? ¬†The reasons can be complex and simple at the same time. ¬†A journal can help solidify a thought, call others into question, or be the new step in your life. ¬†A journal doesn’t have to be about writing, it could be doodling or drawing your thoughts and perceptions. ¬†Today’s art journals are also a stepping tool into the soul of the creator. ¬†They can be hand drawn, stencils, or collages. ¬†Each one is unique and reflects the heart of the artist or writer that created it. ¬†Starting off with a non-mass produced or altered book is a great way to kick off the creative process.

If you are going to create art on a book page, it might be helpful to add gesso or white background page to a book page to create a good background and to stabilize the page. ¬†Other’s prep by gluing pages together to create a stable surface.

Part of altering a book means letting go of any mistakes. ¬†In real life, I’ve rarely seen an altered book without what the creator would call flaws. ¬†On the internet, everything looks perfect and no mistakes are ever made. ¬†Letting go of the perfection ideals and creating a unique and flawed altered book is part and parcel of the creative process. ¬†Journaling is about acknowledging and giving acceptance to all parts of yourself, just not the perfect ones.

Pinterest and Tumblr are full of perfect journals.  They are perfect for those other people.  Are you creating a journal for Pinterest or yourself?

I enjoy creating blank canvas’s to launch other people’s creativity. ¬†Never mind recreating what I want, explore the process on your own terms and create your own unique journal.



Shop: Paper Butterfly Forge’s Handmade Book Journals

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Blank Books and Journals Reclaimed from Recycled Books


The Secret of the Old Clock Nancy Drew Blank Book

I’ve been busy at working creating blank journals from books lately. ¬†It’s an extremely relaxing and engaging task. ¬†Find a cool book cover or VHS tape.

The Avengers Upcycled VHS Case

Find some cool paper that I would like to see in blank book.



Mr Brown Can Moo Can You Upcycled Journal

Assemble the book and add a sturdy wire binding.

Nancy Drew The Bungalow Mystery Handmade Journal

Paper Butterfly Forge is excited to add recycled books and VHS tape covers to it’s product line up! ¬†Keep an eye out for some of our new products on the website!¬†As always we welcome wholesale and bulk orders. ¬†Custom Orders are just fine!