I decided to make this batch with Coptic binding. I like the look, it makes for a more flexible book, and I don't have to deal with trying to find the perfect material for the spine! Also, it's less glue, less time, and less work.
With Coptic binding, the book lies flat.
Here is the excellent tutorial I used that explained how to bind my book, including attaching the covers.
This time, I used waxed linen cord instead of thick sewing thread. It's available at Hobby Lobby in a number of colors, and it is commonly used for bookbinding. It's strong and the design shows up nicely on the spine because of its thickness. It is inexpensive and was even half off!
I'm still sanding down the edges to make them even, but here is a video that seems like it would be a feasible option to get a straight edge. Apparently the thing bookbinders use to cut the edges of their books is called a "plough." Basically, for the simple versions anyway, you clamp a book firmly between two boards and cut away a few pages at a time with a very sharp blade. I might try to rig something up, or I might just keep sanding away, but I pinned it for future reference.
I finally found a source for thick, cream colored paper - not the really nice expensive stuff from the bookbinding websites, but drawing paper. It comes in cream or white and is sold many places, in 9x12 or 12x18 sizes. I bought a ream of 500 sheets of 12x18 paper (twice the size of the printer paper I've been using) for about $21 I'll be able to get 10 large or 15-20 medium journals out of a stack that size, so I think the price per journal is quite affordable. It is sold on Amazon, Walmart.com, and a number of other places online - pretty easy to find.
I punched the holes in the covers with some kind of heavy-duty sewing rivet punch thing I found in our craft stuff.
I found an easier way to mark the insides of the paper creases for hole-punching - I took a piece of cardstock and made a template that I could insert into each signature. No more measuring and marking each one!
Still working on my decoupage skills. The thin covers tend to warp a little when they get wet from the Modge Podge. I think I need to use only thick covers for anything with a packing tape transfer.
Peacock. I messed up the corners...so this is how I fixed them. =) I bound this one with hemp thread because I had some in variegated colors that matched. It was thicker than the linen.
I kind of wish I'd left this one plain, but I guess it turned out ok.