I started with Fabriano sheets of 140 lb watercolor paper, cold press. I don't have a reason for using this paper other than I know it is used a lot by art journal artists so I had bought some from Dick Blick to test it out. The 140 lb paper is itself good and strong. The sheets were 9 1/2 x 13 inches and I cut them in half so each page is 9 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches. I used 8 of the 9 1/2 x 6 1/2 inch pages.
Additionally, I cut 2 pieces of the heavy cardboard that comes on the backs of the watercolor paper pads. One for the front and one for the back, each cut slightly larger than the paper size at 6 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches.
Next, I cut 14 strips of fabric, approximately 8 x 1 inches. For my book, I used a variety of greens from sample home dec fabric books and using my pinking edge rotary cutter, I cut the strips.
Start by placing two of your journal pages side-by-side approximately 1/8 inch apart. Place a line of glue approximately 8 inches long near the edge of one page and place one side of your fabric strips over the glue as soon as possible (if using the glue gun). Make sure your other page is still aligned with 1/8 inch gap between and run a line of glue down the other page and press the fabric to it. Since my strips of fabric were 8 inches long, I centered them vertically within the 9 1/2 inches of the paper.
Repeating this step on BOTH sides of the papers, I created these fabric hinges as you can see below, so regardless what side of the pages you are working on, you have the fabric hinges. It's not perfect and the glue can make the fabric a little lumpy but I was fine with that. Next time, I am going to sew the fabric onto the paper to see if I like that. More messy like :)
For the covers, I simply selected my fabric making sure I had at least 1 1/4 inches to wrap to the back side to glue. I also added a piece of batting the same size as the cardboard under the fabric. Using the glue gun, I pulled the fabric taught on one side toward the middle and glued the fabric down from the center outward so I would not create any wrinkles. I repeated this for all four sides then for the corners, I cut away some of the excess fabric so when I glued the rest down it would not be so bulky. The glue gun makes it possible to quickly adhere the fabric as you are pulling and wrapping it around to the back side.
The covers were then glued to the two end pages of the accordian. The one thing you need to be careful about is making sure the cover and back is positioned to open correctly if your cover has an image on it that you want to view a certain way. Before gluing the hinges on the last pages, I first made sure that the hinge was on the correct side so when the journal is opened from the front, you have a double-page spread to start with. The glue gun seals that first page really tight to the back side of the cover and back.
I hope that makes sense. when gluing your pages together try to make sure that you keep the ends aligned as best you can. If you glue the hinges to the papers with a consistent space between you should be able to keep all the top and bottom paper edges even. This is the fastest journal I have ever made and my fingers thanked me for relieving them of needle holes from trying to push waxed linen thread through heavy paper spines!