Years ago, when I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, I thought Henry Jones' Grail Diary would be a cool prop to have.
A few months ago, I stumbled upon some people who make their own versions of the Grail Diary. As geeky as it seemed, I was all over this. I decided to make my own. I had wanted to learn bookbinding so this seemed like a good excuse.
There were multiple original Grail Diaries used in the movie. It sounds as if none were exactly the same. Certain pages were seen on screen and in auctions. Some fans have put together a complete diary telling a complete story and supply the text files online. The known pages are interspersed throughout the book. I more or less used one of these texts for my book.
There were several web sites that provided help.
Some example sites include Indyprops, S'Wak Props and Sarednab's World Props
The most helpful sites were indianajones.dk (which included the text I used) and indyquest.nl.
I found a copy of the original book used for reference in making the movie props. It was Grail: Quest for the Eternal. It was on Amazon for barely over 5 dollars.
My wife also surprised me with From Star Wars to Indiana Jones: The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives. This book showed the actual movie prop along with several pages from it.
Making the Book
Using the Henry Jones font available at indyquest.nl, I flowed text into a 4″ X 6″ document.
I drew the pictures with pen and paper, scanned them in and placed them in the document. I did a lot of formatting to get the pages to roughly look like the originals. This ended up being a bigger project than I had imagined.
When everything looked satisfactory, I imposed the whole thing (well over 200 pages) and printed them out on a laser printer.
I sewed the signatures together and bound the book using leather from a store on ebay. I added a piece of black elastic just like in the movie.
It had to look old. To age it, I mostly used very strong tea and sandpaper.
There are quite a few inserts in the diary. Many are available at indyquest.nl. Depending upon the look I wanted, I printed them out on either inkjet or laser printers and put them in the correct places in the book.