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The making of 'Beautiful Mess' Notebooks

I launched 5mm Paper in the Autumn of 2017 as a new brand for home decoration, fashion and lifestyle products. Starting of with our Beautiful Mess Softcover Design Notebooks. The perfect timing just before Christmas as the festive and unique looking notebooks each wrapped in exclusive gift wrapping turned out to be a popular and trendy design gift. As many people have been asking about how the patterns for the notebooks are created, I decided to write this blog post to give you some more insights into how the original patterns for our Beautiful Mess Notebooks are created.

Ebru Art - Turkish Water Painting

‘Ebru’ is a hundreds years old Turkish water painting technique which is used to create traditional and artistic patterns for decorating purposes. Maybe you know it better as paper marbling, a kind of marble effect is achieved with this painting method. Colour pigments are sprinkled on a layer of thickened water, after which paper is used to ‘print’ the created patterns.

I have always been fascinated by the unique and organic patterns that appear on the water with this special painting technique. When sprinkling colour pigments onto the water, patterns appear in a natural way and every single print is different. Even though I have known about Ebru Art for a long time, I had never used the technique myself. So I decided to visit a professional Ebru Artist in Amsterdam to teach me the tricks. This was very helpful, even though it took a lot of practice to create the final patterns used for the softcover design notebooks.

In traditional Ebru Art, the colour pigments are usually worked on with different tools after pigments have been sprinkled onto the water. The pigments are moved around with for example metal pins and other tools. This way you can 'draw' on the water and create shapes such as flowers. For the Beautiful Mess Notebooks, I did not want to manipulate the colour pigments in any way after sprinkled onto the water. I wanted the patterns to be very organic and natural. This way the effect of spilled ink is created, which looks very unique on paper. After the 'water painting' is finished the result is printed into a piece of paper. Many experiments with different techniques and colours resulted in the final contemporary patterns which are used for the modern design notebooks. 

The idea for this original notebook collection was to use a traditional technique and translate it into a modern lifestyle product for daily use. The end product is a trendy notebook, something you will use every day to make a to do list, write down creative ideas, make a shopping list etc. The notebooks have black lined pages, a golden text and are thread bound which give them a modern and contemporary styled look. We thought a simple notebook was the perfect end product for these patterns, giving you a chance to look at the almost relaxing patterns in your often so stressful daily life. You can look at the notebook cover over and over and discover new parts you did not see before. Look again and you will find a new bubbles and lines, like ink flowing on the cover of the notebook which are naturally shaped on the paper. The patterns will never get boring no matter how often you take out your notebook to take a note.

The final collection of notebooks contains four different individual styles which are achieved by using different painting techniques. A simple and modern colour pallet is used of black, white and blue. The four different notebooks designs go really well together. The idea is that you can buy an individual notebook, or combine them in a set of 2 notebooks or a set of 4 notebooks. Even though the patterns are very natural and organic, the final product has a trendy and modern design style. The notebooks have golden printed letters on the softcover and are thread bound, a very nice extra feature to the stylish collection of notebooks. The notebooks have thick black lined paper and a 300 grams of paper cover.

How ever you decide to buy them, each individual notebook is wrapped in a fancy black kraft paper gift wrapping. The gift wrapping is sealed with a sticker that shows the same pattern as the notebook. This makes it a perfect unique gift for her, maybe also for him but the notebooks turned out to be mostly popular as a gift for a woman or a girl. In any case you will steal the show with these unique notebooks as they certainly are an original  gift. The notebooks each have a belly band with information about the handmade patterns. For an affordable price you have a truly unique handmade design gift with a story, to treat yourself or someone else.

There you go, you now know the secret behind our Beautiful Mess Notebooks. More notebooks with different pattern designs will be added to the collection in the future so stay tuned!

Suzan Claesen - Founder of 5mm Paper