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Making an Art Journal using your existing supplies

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Here’s a quick way of creating a small journal using supplies you are likely to have around the house. This technique is useful for time limited projects or where your journal theme only has a finite amount of space required.

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Page Transparency Statement

You will need:

  • Card blank measuring A5 or less (Kraft card used here) (or 2 for a thicker cover)
  • A4 paper (could be copier paper, cartridge paper or more quality focussed paper such as mixed media or watercolour paper)
  • Themed stamps: Making More MarksNot More Flowers and Slim Word Strip 1
  • Rainbow coloured permanent and water reactive inks and matching watercolour pens and pencil crayons
  • Brown toned inks for distressing

Making the journal

  1. Pull out your card blank (or first card blank if you are using two). Decorate it as the cover for your journal. Start this process by stamping the “Journal” stamp for Slim Word Strip 1 onto the right hand edge of your card blank using a chocolate permanent ink. Use a white pencil crayon or gel pen to highlight the detail in the word Journal.
  2. Blend ink around the edges of the card blank on all sides to age the cover if you wish. I used a combination of blending brushes and sponges to vary the texture and colour depth. If you are using two card blanks, blend on the outside of your stamped cover and on the inside of the remaining card.
  3. Depending on your card blank size, score and trim the papers to fit inside. Optional: you can round off the corners using a corner punch if you desire.
  4. Next, fold your pages into one signature and fix this into the inside card of your cover (if using two) and you can even cut slots in this card for pockets if you wish. Use double sided tape to fix the card cover together. If using one card, then just staple in for the outside in.

Decorating the journal

Here’s a few example pages for you along with a few little ideas along the way.

First page

Stamp the dandelion image using black permanent ink and doodle splash shapes using coloured pencils. Shade the splodges darker/stronger around the outside to give the splodges a wet blob appearance. Add smaller stronger coloured dots to add to the splatter effect.

Image focussed layout

Pull in some other stamp sets on a few pages from the Chocolate Baroque range. Use masking film or techniques in order to stamp mark images from Making More Marks into the background. Stamp the “Nature” stamp from Slim Word Strips 1 onto copier paper and tear along the long edge. Subsequently, run the stamped strip through a Xyron sticker maker to turn it into a washi style tape.

Going vintage

Again, using the “Nature” word strip onto copier paper, but this time blend in inks into the background to add texture. Simultaneously, pull out individual words from the strip to use as titling or journalling. Use lighter coloured inks to stamp multiple impressions of images to create a background texture.

Translucent layers

As part of my signature, I mixed up paper types including a sheet of translucent paper as well as marker paper. Marker paper is great for avoiding bleed through, while translucent paper is great for effects such as layering and increasing contrast. You should also consider the reverse of any elements stuck to the translucent page – a great place for hiding journaling.

Creating backgrounds

Use repetitive stamping of a word strip in order to create a background by staggering the placement of the image. I created a full sheet and then trimmed to fit my page. 

Colourful rainbow

In the centre spread, I mimicked the first page this time using the daisy image; this time blending two colours per main blob. The “ribbon” stamp was stamped using a light grey ink, and then coloured using the watercolour pens to give a rainbow effect.

The rainbow effect for the paint splodge was created by drawing directly onto the stamp using watercolour markers and a light spritz of water to blend. It was stamped onto the reverse of the translucent paper while the text was stamped onto the front. Stamp your text first as its the bigger stamp being careful to remove any excess ink prior to stamping.

For the colour border, firstly stamp the strip background in light grey and blend the watercolour pens for a rainbow effect. Allow to dry completely before stamping the word stamp.

In the above image, colours were applied to the paint stroke image and then prized with more water than the previous image using this technique. The colours will blend more, but be aware more warping to your paper can occur.

Multiple impressions of the same inking will give you a lighter colour subsequently. I would apply these coloured images first and then align your detailed images over the top to make the most of the textures.

Create the border by inking the background strip firstly with lighter ink, and then using kiss stamping to add the flower image into the background using a darker ink. Over this impression, then stamp your word image, this time with a water creative ink for a softer finish.

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