Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to Make Your Own TARDIS Diary: Part 2

Now that you have cut and glued and let the book dry overnight, it should look similar to this:

Now you are ready for Part 2: Prep and Painting!
You will need your journal, a roll paper tape, the 1/2 inch flat brush, the small detail brush size 0, 1 bottle of primary blue acrylic paint, 1 bottle of black acrylic paint, and the painters’ pallet for this part.

Step 1: Preparing to paint.
Take the paper tape and line the front and back cover pages to prevent any excess paint getting on the inside pages. Sometimes you will find that the paper is not glued down securely to the front cover, usually at the corners. If that happens, leave the corners loose. We will paint under the corners and glue them down later.
I also suggest wrapping the pages of the book with paper to keep the edges of the pages from getting paint on them.

Now we are ready to begin!

Step 2: Painting
Using the blue paint and the 1/2 inch brush, start with the inside cover and work your way around the edges and under the corners. You may have to go over it a few times to get good coverage. Give that about 10 to 15 minutes to dry before closing the book and starting on the front cover.

Give yourself a generous amount of blue paint and start on the front cover. I like to use up and down strokes because it gives it a nice finish once the paint dries, but you can do it any way you want. Pay special attention to the top and sides of the book to catch any places you may have missed before.

Now take your small detail brush and go in between the grooves and the squares. Be generous with the paint, the book will soak up a lot. When finished with that, go over the book once more with the 1/2 inch brush to smooth out any excess paint and set aside to dry completely. This will take about 4 hours.

Getting into the groove.

Wet paint.

First layer of blue paint finally dried.

At this point you can turn the book over and repeat the steps for the back side, or you can line the grooves and squares with black paint using the small detail brush and let that dry before working on the other side.
NOTE: Using the rounded end of a small paper clip instead of the small brush to work the black paint into the grooves also works, and provides more control on where you are putting the paint.
And now you are done with Part 2! Next time, even more painting!

Journal with black lines. Finally starting to look like a TARDIS.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Make Your Own TARDIS Diary: Part 1

Occasionally, I will I get a wild hair about something that I want desperately enough to try my hand at making it. This time around, I desperately wanted the TARDIS Diary that River Song carries with her in the new Doctor Who series. After spending time searching to purchase one online and finding nothing, I took matters into my own hands. Now I would like to share with you how I made it so that you too can have an awesome book like this.
PROJECT LENGTH: About 1 week (add a few extra days for drying if tea staining pages)
Materials for TARDIS Diary

Canvas cover Paperchase Flex bound journal

·         1 blank or lined writing journal approx 7x5 inches (or about the length of the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver). NOTE: I prefer to use the Paperchase flex bound journals with the linen covers. They are the perfect size, they have a nice rounded spine and the fabric cover helps the glue adhere very well. Unfortunately they may be hard to find since Borders Books are liquidating their stock, but you can use any journal that doesn’t have a plastic or leather cover, since I am not sure if the craft glue will stick to them. Look at your local bookstore’s sales bin for deals.
·         Beacon Craft Foam Glue (2 oz bottle)
·         1 sheet of white craft foam (you can find this at any hobby store. Look in the aisle with the felt and construction paper.
·         One round detail brush (size 0)
·          One 1/2” flat brush
·         One 1” flat brush.
·         One bottle of primary blue acrylic paint.  NOTE:  Save money buying the 3 ounce bottles of paints if making only one book.
·         One bottle of black acrylic paint.
·         One bottle of white acrylic paint.
·         One small painters pallet (or you can use a paper plate).
·         Paper tape.
·         12” ruler.
·         Scissors (buy a new pair, they will get sticky no matter how careful you are with the glue).
·         One ball point or gel ink pen.

You will need the journal, craft foam, craft foam glue, scissors, ink pen, and ruler for this step.
Do not glue any piece down until you have all the pieces cut and they fit properly on your journal.
Let the fun begin!
I found a scan of the actual cover of River Song’s diary at to use as a guide as I went along. I printed it out and cut out the inside ‘ladder’ bit to use as a stencil.

1) Measure the center line of the front of your journal with a ruler and mark it with your pen from top to bottom. This will come in handy later.
2) Take your ‘ladder’ stencil and draw two of them on the craft foam sheet. Cut out both shapes.

3) Now cut out the little interior squares. The easiest way is to fold the foam and cut along one side of each square to get it started. Put the little squares away where you won’t lose them. You will need them later.
You should now have two identical ladders. These are the keystones to building the rest of the book.

4) NOTE: These measurements may be different for your book. I always over-estimate how much material I need and then cut it down to the size of the book for the best fit. Take your ruler and measure about 2 inches from the top and mark with your pen across the page. Start from the top again and measure at the 1 inch mark. Do this again from the top, measuring at the 3/8ths inch mark from the top of the page. When you are done, it should look similar to the pictures below. I’ve marked what each strip will eventually end up being on the journal.

Now just cut out the strips and cut them down to size to fit the book.  The side and center panels are the same length as the ‘ladders’. The top and bottom panels run across the width of the journal and are even with the outer edges of the side panels. You may need to cut them down more to fit, depending on the dimensions of your journal.

5) Time to glue!
The glue does not have a strong smell but it is VERY STICKY even after it dries. I use a lot of glue for each book, particularly where the edges of the foam meet the spine of the book.
Use the center line you made on the book in the very beginning and glue the center panel down right on top of it.  Then glue down the ‘ladders’, the side panels, and the top and bottom panels. The glue is forgiving and you will be able to shift things around for a few minutes before it gets too tacky. The last thing I glue down are the little squares.
Put the journal in a dry place away from dust and let the glue set for about 6 hours. The glue will dry clear.
Once dry, flip the book over and repeat all the steps for the other side.

Remember the little squares we cut in the beginning? It’s time to get them back out. You need to trim them down about 1/8th of an inch on each side and square them up. When done, your pieces should look like the pictures below.