How To Create Your Own Grimoire As A Beginner
Welcome back to the Grimoire 101 series!
Today we’ll be getting into the details of creating your own grimoire. One of the biggest hurdles facing first-time grimoire makers is the blank page. There’s nothing quite like that pristine, white page staring up at you to make you feel a little nervous about potentially screwing up your beautiful new book. Or perhaps you can’t even decide what KIND of book to buy in the first place! This article should give you a good starting point so that you can actually start your grimoire and stop daydreaming about it! We’re officially giving white page syndrome the boot.
What kind of book should you use?
The type of book you want is going to depend on what you want out of a grimoire. Write out a list of what you want and need or answer these questions to get a better idea of what sort of book you’ll want to get.
Do you want it to be beautiful? Define what a beautiful grimoire looks like to you. This is a very important part of choosing a grimoire, if you don’t love it, you won’t use it! Do you like leather bound books? Books with clean black covers? Colorful books? Books that have leaves and pressed flowers collaged all over the cover? Decide what you want your book to look like and aim to buy or make a grimoire that suits your personal tastes (and yes, it’s entirely possible to MAKE your own book for a grimoire! We’ll talk about that in the next installment of the grimoire series…)
Will it be portable or stay at home? You won’t want to lug a huge textbook-sized tome with you back and forth to circles and group events every time you go but likewise, if you have a lot of material to cover in your book you’ll be quite annoyed when you run out of space. The function of the book is the most important part here. If you need a book that is both portable AND able to contain all of the information you might want to stuff it with then you might want to consider splitting your grimoire into several different books, each with a set purpose. This will allow you to transport only the book you need while giving you ample room to work.
You might also consider going digital. This won’t appeal to every witch but for those who travel a lot, are minimalist, or simply prefer to have access to all of their material whenever they choose, a digital grimoire can be a godsend. Plenty of excellent programs exist to make structuring and organizing a digital grimoire a snap. My favorite is Evernote but OneNote and Dropbox also make creating a digital grimoire a snap.
Do the pages need to be removable or rearrangeable? If you’re not sure how you want to organize your grimoire then you might want to start with something that you can arrange and rearrange at will. Binders are my go to when I’m not sure how to organize a book. I myself use a leather binder for my main grimoire because it suits my aesthetic tastes while also giving me lots of flexibility (which is good since I’m perpetually changing my mind about things). This is another instance in which a digital grimoire might suit your needs.
Do you have a specific medium that you want to use (paint, multimedia, collage, etc)? If so you may need to use heavier paper. I like to use multimedia or watercolor paper for my grimoire since I use paints, pressed leaves, and ink pen drawing in my grimoire. If you’re just looking for pages to write on you might not need anything that heavy. Another important consideration when it comes to paper is whether you’ll want lined or blank sheets of paper. Lined paper can be a bit of a disappointment if you plan to illustrate your book so choose carefully.
Will this be used in such a way that it might get ingredients or recipes spilled on it? You might not be too pleased if you spill a hot potion on your $200 Italian leather-bound tome. If you’re prone to spills or plan to use this grimoire as a sort of spell/recipe book then you might want to make sure the book can stand up to rigorous use and that you won’t be heartbroken if things get a little messy.
What is your budget like? While it’s nice to daydream about gorgeous, expensive books to fill with magical learning it may not be practical for you. Figure out what your budget is and stick to it. You might even consider saving up a bit of money if you have something specific that you want but keep in mind that putting things off indefinitely gets you no closer to having a grimoire. It’s better to start a grimoire that’s a little less impressive than it is to have no grimoire at all!
What medium will you use?
We touched on this previously when talking about paper type but it bears a little more consideration. The type of medium you wish to use is incredibly important. First, what mediums are you comfortable with? Deciding you want a watercolor illustrated grimoire won’t get you far if you can’t use watercolors.
Take stock of the mediums you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to be an expert but it shouldn’t feel like a daunting task to pick up your grimoire materials and try to make a page that looks nice. Go ahead and think outside of the box here, illustrations done in watercolor, ink, or fine art markers might look lovely but if you enjoy collaging, calligraphy, photography, or scrapbooking, those can also be used to make your grimoire beautiful and unique.
My favorite grimoire inspiration comes not from other grimoires but from travel and art journals. Don’t be afraid to get creative and let your imagination guide you toward something that perhaps looks a little less traditional if that’s what you like. Just be sure to get the correct materials to support your preferred medium.
How much use will your grimoire get?
This will dictate not only the kind of book you get but also how much work goes into each page. If you’re anticipating this book being used all the time, getting potions and spell ingredients spilled on the pages, having the corners bent, and traveling with you places, it might be prudent to create a book that is more of a nice recipe book than a work of stunning art. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy the idea of getting tea all over pages that I spent hours slaving over. This doesn’t mean that you have to have an ugly grimoire though! Make it beautiful, by all means, but don’t spend a crazy amount of time getting every detail right and don’t use water-soluble mediums like watercolor paints if you anticipate heavier use of your grimoire.
How will you organize your grimoire?
Organizing your grimoire can be a bit tricky and it’s highly dependent on the sort of grimoire you’re creating. Some grimoires, like the journal style, are simple. They’re created chronologically so all you have to do is turn to the next blank page. Others, like books of herbal information, spell books, and mashup grimoires, can be more of a challenge. What sections will you need to create? How many pages should you allot for each section?
If you’re like me and have no idea how you want to organize your grimoire, perhaps go for something like a binder that you can rearrange the pages of. If you don’t like the idea of using a binder, I would suggest creating a mock-up of your grimoire. You can do this digitally or by hand, just create a simple layout plan of all of the information you want to include in your grimoire, how many pages it will take up and how you’ll organize the information contained within. This way, when you start creating pages you’ll have a good idea of how to proceed.
Note: If you use a mockup always allow for extra pages in each section! Inevitably some information will take up more pages that you anticipate and in the event that your estimations are spot on this also leaves you with extra space to include information you find in the future.
Get your materials and start creating!
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’ll need to get to create your grimoire. The best advice I can give you now is to JUST GET STARTED! Don’t put off starting your grimoire until some far distant future. Even if you’re not ready to create your super fancy, gorgeously illustrated heirloom grimoire you can still get started chronicling your witchcraft journey in a more functional use grimoire. If nothing else, you can get a simple notebook and keep a journal style grimoire just to keep track of information. It may not be beautiful or well organized but at least you’ve got everything written down so that when you ARE ready to start your big project grimoire you’ll have tons of spells, rituals, recipes, and other stuff to fill it with!
Just get yourself a book and get to it.
Below are some grimoire submissions I received from readers last week. Check out all of the awesome designs and maybe get some inspiration for your own grimoire!
Check out the rest of the Grimoires For Beginners series!
Grimoires For Beginners Pt. 2: You Are Here!