Paint These Marvelous Mixed-Media Poppies

Have you ever tried painting with tissue paper? In this step-by-step tutorial from our spring 2016 issue of Zen Doodle Workshop, artist Angela LeClair shows you how to paint mixed-media poppies using this fun and easy technique.

Paint with tissue to make mixed-media poppies! (Art by Angela LeClair, photographed by Sharon White Photograpy)

Mixed-Media Poppies by Angela LeClair

I have always loved painting and photographing flowers, especially poppies. I recently discovered “painting” with tissue paper and love the mosaic texture it adds to my work. I am entranced by the artwork found in Eric Carle books, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and find it inspiring. Tissue painting is a simple and fun way to create watercolor backgrounds. Tissue comes in a variety of colors and is relatively inexpensive. In my artwork I adhere the tissue pieces to my art surface using water and Mod Podge. I use paint, markers, and artists’ pens to define the images, using doodles and outlining.

These poppies in shades of pink are called heirloom Shirley poppies. They have a light tissue-like appearance. I love the fuzzy stems and pods.


  • Paper (I use plain copy paper or sketch pad paper.)
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor paper (I used a 9″ x 12″ piece of 140-lb. cold-press watercolor paper.)
  • Transfer paper (I used Saral® Transfer Paper.)
  • Tissue paper, a variety of colors (I like recycling tissue from gifts and parties when I can.)
  • Water
  • Mod Podge®, matte
  • Paintbrush(es)
  • Dual-tip markers, brush and fine tip (I used Tsukineko® Memento™ dual-tip marker sets: Camp Fire (oranges and yellows), Girls’ Night Out, (pinks and grays), and Greenhouse (springy greens).)
  • Watercolor paints, a variety of colors
  • Artist pens (I used Faber-Castell PITT® artist pens in black in Superfine, Fine, Medium, and Brush tips.)

1. Make a rough sketch of your layout on plain copy paper or a sketch pad. When you’re happy with the composition, transfer the drawing to cold-press watercolor paper with transfer paper. (Figure 1) Alternatively, draw directly on your watercolor paper.


2. Choose some tissue colors for the background. Tear the tissue in all shapes and sizes. I chose blue, green, and yellow tissues. Using various shapes and sizes gives you a textured mosaic look.

3. Start to create the background. Paint a light wash of water on the watercolor paper, brush a light coating of Mod Podge onto the tissue, and place the tissue onto the wet surface to adhere it. Working with colored tissue is very similar to using paint. Apply light colors first, and work toward darker tones for best results. Overlap the different colored tissues to create other colors and a more random look. Continue adding more tissue until you achieve your desired effect. (Figure 2) Let dry.


NOTE: You only need a small amount of water and Mod Podge to adhere the tissue because the tissue is very thin and absorbs them quickly.

4. Paint in the flower colors. Slightly wet the petals with clean water; this helps the paint flow. Load your brush with paint and, beginning at the inner part of the petal near the center, fill the entire area with color, working your way to the outer part of the petal. Do this for each petal. I chose pinks and peachy colors for my poppies, and spring green for the stems. Dab any really wet areas with a paper towel so the paint doesn’t puddle. Don’t worry if the paper warps a bit; it’s expected. I like the overlapping folds and creases the warping adds. (Figure 3) Allow to dry.


Add Details

1. Outline the components of your painting with a medium tip pen or paintbrush. I outlined the flowers, stems, and leaves with a darker pink and darker green. (Figure 4)


TIP: Make a copy of your original line art, so that you can try out doodle patterns before you add them to the finished painting.

2. Add doodles to the flowers and stems. I doodle in a slightly darker color than the main color on my subject, using markers or paint and a fine brush. Here I used a darker pink, doodling little circles and zigzags. I prefer random patterns and tend to mix them up. (Figure 5)


NOTE: You can add doodles to the flowers with a black pen. I love the contrast that a black pen creates, but it can darken the overall look of the work.

3. Add stippling (numerous fine dots or specks) throughout the painting with a white fine-tip pen to add pattern and texture. (See opening image.) I love things that are whimsical, and think the little dots give the painting a soft feeling.

4. Using a fine black artist pen, add more detail in areas you want to stand out. I outlined the stems and added lines in the flower centers. (See opening image.)

5. Optional: Paint matte medium over your painting to protect it.

Painting with tissue and adding doodles is an enjoyable process. Experiment and have fun with it.

Angela LeClair is an illustrator and graphic designer, freelancing from her home studio in Colorado. She enjoys creating whimsical illustrations for children’s books, and hopes to publish one of her own in the near future. Visit her website at

Check out our Painting Techniques that Make You Trust Your Gut blog post for more painting tips!

This issue of Zen Doodle Workshop explores taking doodling to wood, rocks and more. Learn how Jodi Ohl utilizes ink sprays and get advice of doodling creativity from Julie-Fan Balzer. All this and much more inside!
In this video workshop, Sandrine Pelissier will teach you how to paint a loose, abstract background that will pave the way for your imagination to take over and paint flowers not found in nature.
Create captivating art infused with your own unique style in this video workshop with Carrie Schmitt and Amy Jones. You’ll learn how to paint floral paintings while interpreting inspirational images and honing your observational skills.

Honoring Your Creative Process

We all want to tell our own stories, and sometimes those stories become clearer when we honor our own creative process. This is something that I strive for. As an artist and an art workshop teacher I find this is so important, both for my students and for myself. My process begins not just when I start to work or experiment on my worktable, but also when I get my workspace ready and have objects that surround me that are inspiring.

The Roxanne Evans Stout Spring Collage Collection has the techniques, ideas, and materials to start your own collage projects inspired by the season.

Let me help you find your magic with my Springtime Collage Collection, which includes my first book, Storytelling with Collage, two of my stencil designs from StencilGirl Products, and my newest book, Dancing on Raindrops. In Storytelling with Collage you’ll find step-by-step projects, my own photographs, and inspirational collage artwork by me and other amazing mixed-media artists. In Dancing on Raindrops you’ll discover vibrant and thought-provoking photographs, writing prompts, and ideas that will empower you to be more creative in your own life. My nature-themed stencil designs are featured in both books, with unique ways to use them in your art.

Dancing on Raindrops is a visual journal that will inspire and encourage you to honor your creative process. It will help you find beauty in your own world and be uplifted by your original connection to art. The photographs will draw you in and introduce you to my world as an artist. You will find yourself gathering and laying out your own treasures in a new and inspiring way.

Enhance your creative process with prompts and inspirational photographs found in the book Dancing on Raindrops: A Visual Journal.

Here is how I begin a project: I clean off my surface and lay out my favorite art supplies, some found objects or things from my nature collections, and a treasure from my travels or even from a walk in my garden. Fresh flowers are wonderful, but any kind of remembrance from your time outside works, such as a bundle of twigs, a shell, a butterfly wing, or a flat stone.

Nature is a wonderful catalyst for creativity; in this collection you’ll discover ways to incorporate natural found objects into collage.

Next, I work on the background of my piece. I like to scrape an uneven layer of gesso across my page with a palette knife. While it is wet I carve in some patterns or marks with the bottom of a paintbrush, knowing that they might be covered up later. When the gesso is dry, I use PanPastels to tint my pages. I also like to glaze my paper with transparent or watered down acrylic paints.

Building early layers of texture and color is an essential part of the creative process when making a collage. (All artwork and photos by Roxanne Evans Stout.)

Finally, I am ready to collage! Now is the time I play with arrangements, moving around textures and patterned papers and fabrics until a design works for me. Then I place the whole composition aside and start adhering each piece, one at a time, with matte medium.

After everything is dry, I am ready to add a focal point. This could be something flat, or something dimensional. Often thinking about what I want to use takes several days or longer, and I like to leave my unfinished project out so I can experiment with different options.

Collage shouldn’t be rushed; audition various elements to see what works best with your composition.

In Dancing on Raindrops you will see views of these different stages of my artwork in the photos of my worktable, and see how this progression is an integral part of my creative process.

Dancing on Raindrops offers a rare glimpse into an artist’s creative process.

Roxanne offers some great tips for using gesso in mixed-media art in this blog post! 

Roxanne Evans Stout lives and creates in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and the mountains and the river lands that surround her home are her constant inspiration. She is an adjunct professor at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, where she teaches mixed-media arts. She shares her art in workshops throughout the United States, and her work has been published internationally. Roxanne also teaches online workshops to students from all over the world. She is the author of Storytelling with Collage (from North Light Books) and Dancing on Raindrops. See more of Roxanne’s work at

How to Develop as an Artist

Annie O’Brien Gonzales is the Cloth Paper Scissors Artist of the Month for March! Annie takes over the Studio Saturday spot to give guidance on how to develop as an artist, and to offer a technique for creating an underpainting. Don’t miss our giveaway of Annie’s new book, The Joy of Acrylic Painting on the Cloth Paper Scissors Facebook page! ~ Jeannine

When learning how to develop as an artist, commitment, consistency, and a passion for creating are key.

Thoughts on Developing as an Artist

In the book A History of Pictures: From the Cave to the Computer Screen, renowned British artist David Hockney said, “The Chinese say you need three things for paintings: the hand, the eye and the heart. I think that remark is very, very good. Two won’t do. A good eye and heart is not enough, neither is a good hand and eye.” As artists we can translate hand, eye, and heart to mean skill, vision, and passion—this is how to develop as an artist. Here’s my take on these essentials:

To acquire skills as an artist requires a ‘no excuses—time at the easel’ commitment. There are no shortcuts to acquiring the skills needed, just as creating music requires playing scales. Development as an artist takes a commitment of your time creating by hand—not blogging, checking Facebook, or organizing supplies. Doing the hands-on work is needed to get there.

In The Joy of Acrylic Painting, Annie O’Brien Gonzales offers an enjoyable, streamlined approach to learning the basics and beyond.

How to develop an eye or vision for your personal style is a question on the mind of all artists. If you decided right now that you wanted to completely change your handwriting, you would have to work hard at it, right? Your signature style in art develops the same way over time, if you let it. Concentrate on learning the basic language and skills of painting, be open to experimenting, and find what resonates with you. If you do all of these things consistently, ultimately you will have developed your own vision.

Passion is essential to generate the energy and enthusiasm needed to put in the work required to become an accomplished artist. You must put your passion and heart into your work. The most difficult, frustrating day of creating must still be better to you than anything else you could be doing. You must be confident and bold and not let fear or rejection stop you. Remember, Georgia O’Keeffe said, “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”

Follow Annie’s techniques in the video Expressive Abstracts and discover ways to develop eye-catching abstract compositions.

Start Loose, Stay Loose: Expressive Underpaintings

In my workshops, people often ask me how they can paint more loosely. The following underpainting techniques will get your painting started boldly and lead to a looser painting style. Even though an underpainting may eventually get painted over entirely, beginning loosely establishes the character of the painting from the very start. These techniques are simple, but an important part of the process. They also solve the issue of confronting the scary white canvas. Those fears may create inhibitions about what to paint or how the piece will turn out. Get in the habit of starting your paintings with this loose approach, not thinking too much, and just letting go!

Creating an underpainting is a great way to take away the fear of facing a blank canvas.


  • Canvas or panel substrate, any size
  • High-quality fluid acrylic paints in colors of your preferred color scheme, including transparent fluid acrylic paints
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Scraping tools, such as a bowl scraper, plastic key card, or squeegee, dedicated to paint.
  • Paper towels
  • Water-soluble mark-making tools, such as Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons, Stabilo Woody 3-in-1 Colored Pencils, Faber-Castell Gelatos, or water-soluble colored pencils
  • Stencils (These can be purchased or made by hand.)
  • Acrylic matte medium
  • Collage papers

Tip: Turn on your favorite music to unleash your creative juices!

Try using some or all of these techniques for creating an underpainting to find an approach that resonates with your style. These are also helpful for learning how to develop as an artist.

1. Drip fluid acrylic paint onto a panel or canvas and quickly spread it with a scraping tool, creating random shapes.

2. Spritz water onto the painted surface. Tilt the substrate, allowing the paint to drip down.

3. Lay paper towels on the surface and blot some of the paint, but leave the patterns and shapes you created.

Some fluid acrylic paint and scraping tools are all that’s needed to get started on creating an underpainting on canvas.

4. Using different types and sizes of marking tools (crayons, colored pencils, etc.), randomly add marks, responding to the music that’s playing.

5. Apply additional paint with stencils, adding images and shapes randomly and freely across the surface.

6. Spread acrylic matte medium onto sections of the surface.

7. Apply pieces of torn collage paper randomly.

8. Allow everything to dry before starting to paint.

Drips, shapes, and color form a great beginning for a painting.

Note: Consider doing several underpaintings in one session. You can also use leftover paint from your palette at the end of a painting session to create an underpainting for your next piece.

Annie has fantastic ideas for keeping an inspiration sketchbook that she shares in this blog post!

Annie O’Brien Gonzales is a professional painter, teacher, and author from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work is represented by galleries across the U.S., appears in juried exhibitions, and is collected by art lovers internationally. She is the author of Bold Expressive Painting: Painting Techniques for Still Lifes, Florals and Landscapes and The Joy of Acrylic Painting: Expressive Painting Techniques for Beginners, both from North Light Books. Annie also has three videos on expressive painting with Artists Network TV. Her online workshops can be found at For more on Annie, visit her website:

The Ups and Downs of the Artist Loft Life

Most artists agree that living with your art 24/7 in a live/work space is both a blessing and a curse. The ability to work at any hour, be surrounded by your art, ditch a commute, and share resources and inspiration with other artists is the benefit of a live/work space. But these spaces are sometimes small, often set in old, repurposed industrial buildings, and offer little escape from the job.

artist loft
Collage artist Susan Savory and her husband, painter Bruce Dean, share their live/work space at The Brewery in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Roberta Wax)

“I’m a workaholic, so living in my studio is good and bad, because the work is always there,” says mixed-media artist Teale Hatheway. Hatheway lives at The Brewery, a 16-acre, 310-unit artists’ complex located on the edge of downtown Los Angeles, California, and situated near a train station, a UPS truck depot, and spitting distance from a busy freeway. Units there range from 1,000 to 6,000 square feet and rent for $2,000 a month and up. When her muse calls, Hatheway can immediately answer, living amidst her art in her narrow 1,500-square-foot studio where she has resided for more than a decade.

Public art walks and open studio days are bonuses offered at many live/work studios; they give residents exposure and encourage the community to support local artists. The twice-yearly, two-day Art Walk at The Brewery helped build a client base for Hatheway, who creates large-scale architecture-inspired acrylic pieces as well as textiles.

Art Walk, she says, gives her a personal connection with potential buyers. “People trust you more when they’ve been in your home.” On the downside, however, during Art Walk, strangers may peer not just at your work, but into your private space as well. Artists respond to that in different ways, with some using curtains or screens to shield their living spaces.

Being at work around the clock can take its toll, notes photographer Marshall J. Vanderhoof, who has been at the Brewery for nearly a year. “I’m a workaholic anyway, so it’s hard to turn it off when you are living in it,” Vanderhoff says. “If I’m inspired, I just keep working. I’m still trying to figure out the work-life balance.” With smart phones, however, even non-artists find it difficult to disconnect from work while away from the office.

“I like having my art and materials all around me,” says collage artist Susan Savory, who has also created jewelry and fiber art. “I have to see things every day. When I had an outside studio I didn’t work as much because I have to be surrounded by (my art) things.”

artist loft
Mixed-media artist Katherine DuBose Fuerst lives and works in her studio at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, Massachusetts. (Photo by Katherine DuBose Fuerst)

“Living with my work full time, I can work any time, day or night,” adds fiber artist Susan Garry, who lives and works in a 1,500-square-foot loft at Western Avenue Studios, a five-acre, three-building former mill in Lowell, Massachusetts. The complex is similar to the Brewery, with 50 live/work lofts, 250 work-only studios, and a co-op gallery. Rent for the live/work lofts ranges from $1,000 to $1,800 a month.

“There’s opportunity to drift into the work, to have an idea and execute it, or try it out right away,” adds Garry, who has lived at Western Avenue since August 2014. “No one else’s schedule is in play. I don’t have to get dressed for work.” She also loves the community aspect, which might include regular critique sessions or sharing a model for figure drawing practice. “In interacting with other artists, my art is broadened,” Garry adds. “I gain confidence to try new things, expand my range.”

“I have definitely enjoyed, and benefited from, the inspiration and interaction of the artists around me,” notes Katherine DuBose Fuerst, who works with oils, collage, and paper clay, and lives in a studio just under 1,500 square feet at Western Avenue. “Many artists are somewhat reclusive,” she adds, “and I’m no exception. It helps to be steps away from friends and colleagues when you need supplies, a sounding board, or another pair of educated eyes.”

Being around your work all the time is good and bad, she says. “It’s good because it’s hard to procrastinate finishing something that is in front of you, but it’s bad because it’s hard to leave something alone when it’s in front of you.” Also, she can’t close off a room when she works with strong-smelling products.

But, artists agree, the tradeoffs are a small price to pay for living among one’s art with others who embrace the same muse.

Roberta Wax is an award-winning journalist and imperfect crafter. Her work has appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and a variety of craft titles. Roberta has designed for several craft companies. Though she has no formal art background, she was a crafty Girl Scout leader. Visit her website at

This Backstage Pass article is featured in our March/April 2018 edition of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. See what else is inside this issue when you view our lookbook preview!

The March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors has everything you need to explore new mixed-media abstract art techniques and materials. Learn from top artists like Dawn Emerson, Karen O’Brien, Becky Nunn, and more!


5 Reasons Why You Should Share Your Art

The greatest tool artists have at their disposal is a camera. Cameras—especially on smart phones—allow you to share your art with the world, making it possible for someone to fawn over your latest art journal spread while sitting in a café in Malta. But could your artwork and your expertise have an even bigger reach? Yes, and it all comes down to great images.

share your art
The Film It Yourself Kit will get you started taking great photos and videos for your blog, website, online classes, and more.

In showing your artwork you’re also sharing your talent, your vision, your style, and your voice, and that’s a wonderful thing. In order to do that, your artwork needs to look its best. If artwork were a person, it wouldn’t wear pajama bottoms in public and try to pass them off as “fun pants.” It would look great at every opportunity. No one wants to look at poor quality photos or videos, even of great artwork. Since photos and videos are how we communicate our creativity with the world, the visuals need to look as fantastic as they possibly can. Today, there are tools that can help, like the Joby GorillaPod Video tripod with a Monoprice Clip Clamp Phone Mount. No more blurriness from shaky hands, no more badly framed shots—this gear is perfect for filming and shooting your artwork, video and photo tutorials, and process videos. These items are part of the Film It Yourself Kit, which also includes The Successful Artist’s Career Guide eBook By Margaret Peot. These items will help you share your art with the world, and here are the five reasons why that’s important:

1. You’ll grow your blog or website audience with better content. Millions of artists go online every day searching for information and inspiration. I’m guessing if you have a website or blog, you’re interested in having people take a look around and set a spell. Great photos and videos will lure them and keep them there. It’s a fantastic feeling to know you inspired someone with what you created, or gave them the knowledge and tools so they could soar on their own. That what propels this whole fantastic creative cycle. Let’s keep it going.

share your art
Make sure your artwork and tutorials look as good as possible by ensuring photos are framed well and in sharp focus. The GorillaPod tripod’s sturdy base helps make that happen.

2. You’ll expand your social media reach. Similar to the point made in #1, but it’s important to note how people view and have access to social media. When I scroll through Instagram and Pinterest, great photos immediately capture my attention, and I love sharing unique finds with family and friends. Your beautifully photographed artwork and well-shot instructional videos will find lots of admirers, and your followers will grow. That will motivate you to share your art even more with the world.

share your art
Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are all about inspirational photos.

3. Your online portfolio will look top-notch. There are few things more frustrating than checking out an artist’s digital portfolio, only to find that the photos of their artwork are sub-par. The quality of your photos may make the difference between someone signing up for your online class or finding another instructor. Plus, you never know who may be lurking on your site, searching for the Next Great Artist.

4. You’ll have a leg up on contests and submissions. If you’ve ever entered a contest or applied to be on a design team, sending photos of your work is part of the process. Increase your chances of achieving your goals by sending first-rate photos and videos. Every advantage helps.

The Successful Artist’s Career Guide eBook By Margaret Peot has great advice for achieving the creative life you dream of.

5. You’ll expand your artistic horizons. I use a lot of my own photos in my artwork. Sometimes I even photograph my artwork and use it to create more artwork. That process is enhanced and expedited by good photography. Instead of holding my smartphone and taking a zillion pictures, hoping one is in sharp focus, I just use the clamp and tripod and I’m done, leaving me more time to create. The handy tilt/pan arm makes the camera so easy to move.

If you’re ready to accomplish your creative goals and share your art, this kit will help you get there. Why not start today?

In this blog post, discover another way to market your artwork using photos!

Tutorial: Make These Paper Flower Anemones

When we went to the Creativation 2018 show earlier this year, paper flowers were one of the big trends we saw on display. Big paper flowers were blooming practically everywhere we looked! In this tutorial from our Paper Art special issue, Jenny Jafek-Jones shows you how to create pretty paper flower anemones. These easy paper flowers are perfect for decorating and giving.

paper flower
Let your garden bloom and grow with Jenny Jafek-Jones’ paper anemones. (Photos by Sharon White Photography)

Flower Market Anemones by Jenny Jafek-Jones

In flower symbolism, anemones represent anticipation. They are sometimes called windflowers because their name translates from Greek as “daughter of the wind,” and they bloom in almost every color imaginable. Popular in wedding and floral arrangements, they’re incredibly versatile. You’ll see them used in contemporary, whimsical, elegant, and even very “organic” styles and settings. With such lovely meaning and endless possibilities for use, they’re a favorite in my repertoire of paper flowers—as I hope they’ll be in yours.


  • Wooden dowel cap, half-round (I used a 1/2″ x 1/4″ dowel cap with a 1/4″ hole.)
  • Glue (I used Crafter’s Pick The Ultimate! glue.)
  • Stem wire, paper-wrapped
  • Crepe paper, doublette (double-sided), white and apple green, 1 fold of each, roughly 9″ x 4″ (I used Castle in the Air™ brand.)
  • Binder clips, small
  • Scissors, fine-tip
  • Patterns: petal, leaf, and calyx, copies (Available to download here)
  • Crepe paper streamer, black, one 24″ piece and one 4″ piece
  • Wire cutters

Prepare the papers

1. Fill the hole on the underside of the wooden dowel cap with glue. Insert 1 end of the paper-wrapped wire stem in the hole and set it aside to dry, making sure the wooden dowel cap remains level. (FIGURE 1)

2. Secure the petal patterns to the white crepe paper with the mini binder clips, being sure to align the grain of the paper with the grain lines on the patterns. (FIGURE 2) Cut 10 petals per flower. I fold pieces of crepe paper in half so I can create 2 petals with each cut out. Set the petals aside.


3. Fold the green crepe paper in half the short way, and then in half again. Secure the folded paper on 1 short end with binder clips. Cut horizontally across the layered paper, approximately 1/2″ from the binder clips, to create a single long strip of green paper. (FIGURE 3) Set aside.

4. Use binder clips to secure the leaf and the calyx patterns to the remaining folded green paper. (FIGURE 4) Create 3 leaves and 1 calyx per flower, aligning the paper grain with the grain lines on the patterns. Set aside.


5. Fold the 24″ strip of black crepe paper in half, creating two 12″ layers. Fold it in half again to create 4 layers that are 6″ long, and secure the layers on one 6″ side with binder clips.

6. Use scissors to cut fine lines into the unclipped edge, approximately two-thirds of the way up the paper, and along the length of the folded strip, creating a fringe. (FIGURE 5) The closer the cuts the more realistic the flower bloom will look.


Make the flower

1. Unfold the black fringe strip and apply a light line of glue to the entire length, just above the uncut edge. Carefully fold the strip in half and press the layers together to ensure adhesion, creating a double-layered fringe. Set aside.

NOTE: Keep in mind that this particular type of crepe paper is thin and will tear easily if you apply too much glue.

2. Fold the 4″ black paper strip in half to create a rough square and apply glue lightly to the edges and in an “X” across the middle of the strip. Center the black paper on the wooden dowel cap, glue-side to the wood, and wrap the paper around the cap. Adhere any overhanging paper to the underside of the dowel cap, and twist any remaining paper around the stem as tightly as possible.

3. Take the double-thick black fringe strip and apply a light bead of glue just above the uncut edge along the length of the strip. Hold the strip between your fingers and add a light bead of glue to the back side. Your fingers will get sticky in this step, but having glue on both sides is necessary for the flower center to stay in place.

4. Working just below the dowel cap, gather, fold, and press the black fringe strip around the stem, keeping the bottom edge of the fringe as even as possible. (FIGURE 6) When the wrapping is complete, you should have a fluffy black circle around the wooden center. (FIGURE 7)


NOTE: If the fringe is sticking straight up, you probably wrapped it in a flat circle rather than gathering and folding as you went. If the fringe is going every which way, the bottom edge of the fringe probably did not stay even. If you are unhappy with your fringe, you will need to start over.

5. Trim the fringe to a uniform length, approximately 1/2″-3/4″ in a circle around the center of the flower. (FIGURE 8)


6. Holding a white flower petal in both hands, pinch the top center of the petal between your thumb and forefinger. In a motion similar to wringing out a washcloth or fluting a piecrust, simultaneously twist one hand forward and the other back while holding the petal. (FIGURE 9) Repeat for all the petals.


7. Pinch and hold the bottom of the petal with one hand, and use your other hand to drag the middle of the petal with your thumb to create a cupped shape. (FIGURE 10) Repeat with all the petals.


8. Apply glue to the base of a petal. Attach the petal to the stem just below the black fringe, and press firmly. (FIGURE 11) Repeat this process with 4 more petals to create a star shape. (FIGURE 12)

9. Add 5 more petals in another star-shaped layer that is offset and just below the first.(FIGURE 13)


The stem and leaves

1. Apply glue to the straight edge of the calyx. Turn your flower upside down and wrap the calyx around the stem, pulling and stretching the crepe paper slightly to cover the base of the flower. (FIGURE 14) The calyx will stretch into a five-pointed star shape when correctly applied.

2. Using wire cutters, trim the stem to your preferred length for the finished flower.

3. Take the 1/2″ green strip from step 3 of Prepare the Papers and cut approximately 14″ from it. Apply a light bead of glue to the entire length of the strip and wrap it around the base of the calyx twice to secure the paper. Continue wrapping down the stem in a spiral motion (FIGURE 15), using one hand to hold the paper strip out at an angle (similar to the bottom leg of the letter K), and the other hand to turn the stem.


4. Continue wrapping the stem to the bottom and then cut the green paper, leaving a 1/2″ tail. (FIGURE 16) Add a bit of glue and fold the remaining paper upward onto the stem, covering the end of the stem and securing the wrap to it.

5. Apply a light layer of glue to the base of a leaf and attach it to the flower stem approximately 2″ below the bloom, wrapping the base of the leaf around the stem. While pressing the base of the leaf to the stem for stability, gently pull the tip of the leaf down until the leaf is at a 90° angle to the stem. (FIGURE 17) Repeat with the 2 remaining leaves, having each overlap the base of the previous leaf slightly and radiate out from the stem.

paper flower

These anemones are remarkably easy to make once you’ve made one and understand the techniques. They’re lovely in arrangements or even as singles in a repurposed tin can. They’re perfect to make and keep on hand for times you need to send a flower or gift on short notice. May your paper garden bloom and grow!

paper flower

Jenny Jafek-Jones’ garden grows in a cheery Dallas, Texas, studio that houses a plethora of paper, 52 pairs of scissors, and artwork by her daughters and husband. Vsisit her website at

Want to make more paper flowers? Here’s a tutorial for creating a paper rose and poppy!

Inside this collection of PAGES, Paper Art, and Paper Holiday you’ll enjoy inspiration for art journaling, bookmaking, paper lanterns, paper flowers, cards, gift tags, and so much more.
Paperplay by Shannon E. Miller is packed full of 40 creative step-by-step techniques along with 100 beautiful, detailed projects.
I {Heart} Paper focuses on paper reimagined into fantastic, beautiful, and/or purpose-filled items such as wreaths, collage, sculpture, artist cards, party and home décor, and so much more!

6 Mixed-Media Techniques to Keep You in the Creative Mode

Cloth Paper Scissors had all the bases covered again in 2017: painting, collage, journaling, book making, jewelry, and more. A plethora of artists shared their ideas, experiences, and techniques in essays, artwork, and how-to articles. It was a year of discovery and creative adventure. This 2017 Collection has every issue, in its entirety. Just think of the convenience of having all of that wonderfulness at your fingertips, whether home or away, for creative mixed-media inspiration. Here are six ideas from 2017 that will help keep you in the creative mode.

1. Make a vision board: The January/February was all about starting the New Year right, and had all kinds of projects to energize your creativity. Rae Missigman had a plan to create every day, and made and shared a vision board to keep her on track. Her board held a collection of simple, colorful reminders of things that motivate her to create. What were your New Year intentions? What would you display on your vision board?

Having visual reminders on display can provide the spark of inspiration you need to get started creating mixed-media art. (Art by Rae Missigman, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

2. Change it up. In the March/April issue, Irene Rafael captured the hearts of many with her Tea Bag Ladies. An avid tea drinker, Irene created intriguing mixed-media portraits on used tea bags. This article is just one of the many articles and ideas on creating for you and your home. What household items do you use every day that you may be able to use for art making?

Whether you like to paint, sketch, or collage, think about changing up the substrates you use, and see what effect that has on your mixed-media art. (Art by Irene Rafael, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

3. Take a second look at everyday items. Leaves, aluminum foil, and vinegar are just a few of the everyday items artists used to make unique artwork for the May/June issue. Wen Redmond printed on leaves, Lisa Thorpe created dimensional embellishments with aluminum foil, and Debora Mauser used vinegar to add patina to her bracelet project. And that’s just the beginning. Take a look around and see what everyday items you might have on hand to take your art in a new direction.

Lisa Thorpe elevated a simple kitchen staple to art in this mixed-media art project. (Photo by Sharon White Photography)

4. Take it on the road. Just because you’re traveling, it doesn’t mean you can’t be making art. The July/August issue is full of tips, tricks, and techniques for making mixed-media art on the go. Whether you take supplies with you or use items you find along the way, you can make art wherever you go. You just have to be open to new experiences: sketch in a café; collect all kinds of interesting fodder, materials and tools as you travel; paint and collage anywhere and everywhere. This issue has you covered.

A trip to the Eiffel Tower is captured in a journal with a simple sketch and a little paint. (Art and photo by Jane Davenport)

5. Challenge yourself. The September/October issue set out to challenge readers to try something new: encaustic. Starting with an encaustic primer, readers were treated to a variety of projects to get acquainted with encaustic, and then to fly with the various techniques and projects. Encaustic is intriguing, and a lot easier then you may think. If you haven’t tried encaustic yet, now’s the time!

Talliesen elevates a simple image to elegant with a marbled background in this encaustic piece. (Photo by Sharon White Photography)

6. Build added meaning into your art. Incorporate pages from a well-loved book. Use someone’s favorite colors. Include bits of a special someone’s clothing in your mixed-media art. Every choice you make when creating a piece of art adds meaning. In the November/December issue, artist shared a variety of techniques for making one-of-a-kind gifts. Blair Stocker used outgrown clothing and favorite textiles to create a hand-stitched paintbrush roll-up that’s perfect for any artist on your list. Doreen Kassell’s ornaments can be customized to fit any personality. There is plenty of inspiration in this issue, whether you’re looking to make a gift, or would just like to try something new.

Polymer clay, paint, texture tools, and stamps come together in these unique mixed-media ornaments. (Art by Doreen Kassell. Photo by Sharon White Photography)

This is just a taste of what the Cloth Paper Scissors 2017 Collection has to offer. If you missed any of the issues, now’s the time to catch up.

Bookbinding Tutorial: The Romantic Art Journal

In the last Studio Saturday project we made an abstract floral art journal spread inspired by Laly Mille’s article “A Secret Rose Garden” in the March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. I promised I’d show you how to make the book I was working in, and here it is! This romantic art journal was inspired by the one Laly created for her project; seeing her gorgeous book motivated me to make something similar.

I love that she used heavy watercolor paper for her pages, and that the first and last pages served as covers. Mesh covered the spine, and the look was lovely and rustic. Having no separate covers allows this book to come together quickly, and working with watercolor paper, you can make the book any size you like.

romantic art journal
A custom romantic art journal can be filled with all of your favorite art journaling techniques.

I started by tearing large sheets of 140-pound cold press watercolor paper into 12 12″ x 8″ sheets, then folding them in half to create 6″ by 8″ folded pages. I created six signatures by nesting one sheet inside another. I gathered other supplies: super (also called mull or crash), a stiff mesh used to hold signatures together; some natural-colored gauze (you can also use cheesecloth); and woven ribbon.

I stacked the signatures and cut a piece of super the height of the book and 2 ¾″ wide, leaving about 1″ overhang on the sides. The signatures were clamped together with four bulldog clips.

With a glue brush, I applied a hefty amount of Tonic Studios Craft Tacky Glue to the spine, over the super, rubbing in the glue with my fingers. Super is pretty tough, so don’t worry about it not holding up. I also glued the overhanging pieces to the front and back covers with Golden Artist Colors Regular Gel matte medium.

When that was dry I placed a piece of gauze over the super, centering it, and glued the spine and the sides the same way as the super. If you leave the edges of the gauze a little uneven and shredded, it will give the cover some great texture and a rustic look. I sandwiched the book between two bricks to dry, leaving the spine exposed to help it dry more quickly.

Although the spine is being held together by the glued layers of mesh and gauze, the signatures of this romantic art journal still need to be sewn. Remember, there’s a second sheet of paper in each signature that’s not being held in place by anything—the glue does affect those sheets. This sewing method, called the French or link stitch, is easy—even if you’ve never sewn a book before, you’ll do well!

Make a template that will serve as a guide to where to punch the holes in each signature for the sewing. To do this, I cut a piece of copy paper to the same size as a book page and folded it in half. Along the folded edge I made a mark ½″ in on either side. We’ll be sewing over ribbons for this binding, so you’ll need three pieces of ribbon, each about 6″ long, plus a small scrap. The scrap will act as your measurement for the template. I used a piece of sturdy woven ribbon, but you can use any type of ribbon as long as it’s not too lightweight, and not stretchy. Satin, grosgrain, and twill all work well.

Mark the middle of the folded page and place the ribbon over the mark, centering it. Make marks on either side of the ribbon. Make a mark ½″ to ¾″ away from the top and bottom marks, place the ribbon alongside those marks, and mark the other side of the ribbon. You should have eight marks total, and six of those marks should be the “stations” where you’ll sew over your ribbon. In the template below, the Xs indicate where you’ll sew over the ribbons.

Fold the scrap piece of paper the other way so the marks are on the inside. Write ‘T’ at the top of the template, and write ‘T’ on the front of the book lightly in pencil. Slip the template into the middle of the first signature, matching tops, and hold it open at a 45-degree angle. With a thin awl, punch through the template and the signature at each mark. Remove the template and repeat for the remaining signatures. If your rows of holes aren’t perfectly aligned that’s okay.

We’ll be sewing with 4-ply waxed linen thread. To find how much you’ll need, multiply the height of the book times the number of signatures, then add about 18 extra inches. Thread a bookbinding needle with the thread. I like using John James #18 Bookbinders Needles, but a large darning needle also works well.

Following the template below, enter the bottom hole (#1) of the last signature from the outside, leaving an 8″ tail. Enter hole #2 from the inside. Enter hole #3 from the outside. Just before you pull the thread to tighten it, place the ribbon underneath the thread, centering it. To tighten the sewing thread, always pull parallel to the spine in the direction you’re sewing. Continue the sewing for the rest of the signature. You should end outside at the top hole (#8).

Here’s what your first row of stitches should look like:

Enter the top hole of the next signature from the outside, then enter the next hole down from the inside. You have two options here: You can go straight across the ribbon as with the first signature, or you can make a link stitch. For the link stitch, slip the needle underneath the previous stitch, as shown below. Then enter the next hole in the signature from the outside. Repeat this for all three ribbon stations, ending at the last hole on the outside. Tie the tail thread and the working thread in a double (square) knot. Leave the tail thread for now; don’t cut it.

Enter the bottom hole of the next signature over from the outside, and repeat the sewing. This time, slip the needle under the furthermost part of the previous stitch; see the diagram below. Enter the next hole from the outside, and continue sewing all the way up the signature, creating the link stitches at the ribbon stations, and ending on the outside at the top hole.

Before entering the next signature, do a kettle stitch. This helps keep the signatures in place. Slip the needle between the small stitch that spans the first and second signatures, pulling until you form a small loop. Take the needle through the loop and pull straight up to tighten. Take the needle through the top hole in the next signature and continue sewing until all the signatures are sewn. For the kettle stitches at the end of each row, always slip the needle under the stitch that spans the previous two signatures, then form your knot.

You’ll finish the sewing on the inside of the last signature at the top or bottom hole, depending on how many signatures you have. Take the needle underneath the last stitch and pull until a small loop forms.

Take the needle through the loop and pull down to tighten. Repeat, and trim the thread to ¼″.

Thread the tail thread with the needle and take the needle back into the bottom hole of the last signature. Tie the thread off the same way, slipping it under the nearest stitch and knotting it, etc. When you finish, your spine should look like this:

For the cover of this romantic art journal, I stamped some text stamps from the Prima Iron Orchid Designs Letters set in brown permanent ink.

While that dried, I sized and printed an image from The Graphics Fairy onto Jacquard ExtravOrganza inkjet printable sheets, then sprayed the sheet with fixative and cut it to fit the cover. (You can learn more about this transfer process in this blog post.) I coated the cover with matte medium, placed the image on top, and brushed on more matte medium to secure the fabric. Work fast; matte medium tends to dry quickly. I did the same for the back cover, using a different image. Obviously, placing the fabric over the mesh obscures the mesh, but you can still see the texture. If you paint or collage the cover, the mesh will be a great textural element.

When both covers were dry, I cut the ribbons into flag shapes and glued them to the cover with Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue. I added a vintage postage stamp and some embroidery to the cover. The stitching can be easily covered on the inside by gluing paper to the inside covers.

romantic art journal

Since I made this romantic art journal myself, I’m even more motivated to use it! I hope you have fun creating and using yours, and don’t forget to try Laly’s fantastic techniques for creating beautiful abstract florals. All the instructions are in the March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.

Take a peek inside Laly Mille’s beautiful studio in the Loire Valley of France in this blog post!

The March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine includes Laly Mille’s instructions on how to create abstract flowers in an art journal, and much more!
In the video Mixed Media Flower Paintings with Carrie Schmitt, discover how to use a photo as inspiration for an abstract floral painting.
Get tons of techniques, approaches, and advice for creating abstract art in Abstracts in Acrylic & Ink by Jodi Ohl.
Learn how to make art journals from scratch, then fill them with beautiful artwork in the video Backgrounds to Bindings: Beautifully Easy Handmade Books and Art Journals with Kari McKnight Holbrook.

New Techniques for Abstract Florals

I’ve always been one to trust my gut, and it’s never let me down. When I first saw Laly Mille’s dreamy, layered artwork, I knew it was something special, and I knew readers of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine would like it too. When we were putting together the March/April 2018 issue, with mixed-media abstracts as the theme, I immediately thought of Laly’s artwork and asked her  if she’d do a feature on creating abstract florals. Lucky for all of us she said yes, and now you can learn how to create these very special blooms too.

I’m thrilled that she generously shared her techniques, because I would have spent a frighteningly long time trying to recreate them, with probably little success. As soon as the issue came out I couldn’t wait to try her methods, and at my first opportunity I opened my art journal and went for it.

For the first layer, Laly offers options: collage book pages, stamp images, or add sewing pattern tissue. Since I’d been doing a lot of book page collage backgrounds lately I figured it was time to mix it up. I stamped damask patterns in two shades of blue onto 140-lb. cold-press watercolor paper, thinking the classical designs would be a nice counterpoint to the free-flowing abstracts.

Stamping damask motifs as a background for abstract florals
To create a first layer for the background, I stamped damask motifs.

Over that went a layer of gesso, which I applied heavier in some spots than others. And over that went journaling in pencil. I purposely made my handwriting sloppy so you can’t really read it, but I like the suggestion of hand-written words. After that, more layering, including scribbling with water-soluble artist crayons, smudging them, and adhering photos of flower blooms taken from a magazine. Don’t worry—incorporating photos isn’t cheating, and these add a unique element to the piece. In the article, Laly gives you detailed instructions for every step, with lots of photos. The process is truly foolproof. I created a sort of swag design for my abstract florals.

Creating abstract florals with torn flower photos
These abstract florals start with water-soluble crayons and torn photos of real blooms.

Adding the next layer of acrylic paint was so fun, and there’s a big emphasis on working intuitively and not overthinking the process, which is incredibly helpful. I applied the paint with a brush and my fingers, and both techniques added a lot to the look of the piece. This is when you start to understand how these abstract florals are formed, and you see your piece really begin to take shape.

Creating abstract florals with paint
By adding different colors and values of paint, abstract blooms begin to appear.

More paint was incorporated, and this time drips were added with very thinned-down green paint. Laly also gives you a heads up on an important part of the process: pulling your artwork back from the hot mess phase. “At this stage you might feel like your page is very messy and busy,” she writes. “That’s okay.” Then she shows you how to fix it by adding more white, as well as other elements.

Adding paint drips to abstract florals
Adding drips of thinned paint or ink add to the dreamy quality of the piece.

I am so thrilled with these techniques, and I can’t wait to try them again, perhaps using a different color palette and other collage elements. When you try this project and put your own spin on it, I’m sure you’ll love the results as well.

Here’s an awesome bonus: Laly created a time-lapse video that shows her creating her artwork for “A Secret Rose Garden!” Be sure to check it out!

Abstract florals art journal spread
My first attempt at creating abstract florals was so satisfying, and I can’t wait to try these techniques again!

When Laly sent her artwork to our offices, I noticed that she made the art journal that held her abstract florals by hand. I was so enamored with it that I tried making something similar, and I’ll post the tutorial soon.

See how Tracy Verdugo interpreted nature in this beautiful abstract piece that incorporates inks and a gel open.

Have you discovered the joy of creating mixed-media abstracts yet? These resources are filled with techniques and inspiration for all levels!

March/April 2018 Cloth Paper Scissors magazine
Get all the tips and techniques for creating abstract florals in “A Secret Rose Garden” by Laly Mille in the March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.
Abstract Flower Painting video with Carrie Schmitt
In the video Abstract Flower Painting: Dramatic Drips & Layers with Carrie Schmitt, learn how to create loose and flowing blooms.
Abstract Explorations by Jo Toye
Discover ways to combine paint with mixed media to create stunning abstracts in Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting by Jo Toye.
Incite 4, the Best of Mixed Media: Relax, Restore, Renew
Laly Mille’s abstract florals grace the cover of Incite 4: Relax, Restore, Renew-The Best of Mixed Media.

Announcing the ‘A Stitched Collage Cityscape’ Reader Challenge Finalists

stitched collage
Portland Cityscape by Jenny Davis

We are pleased to announce the finalists for our A Stitched Collage Cityscape reader challenge. Thank you to all who participated in the challenge, and congratulations to the finalists:

  1. Terry Aske • New Westminster, BC, Canada
  2. Marilyn Huskamp • Agency, MO
  3. Katy Hurst • Spokane, WA
  4. Lynn Radford • New Brighton, PA
  5. Jennifer Mallory-Welch • Jacksonville, IL
  6. Patt Pasteur • Lincoln, ME
  7. Beth McSwain
  8. Marlene Leeson • Plevna, ON, Canada
  9. Paula A. Slater • Gardena, CA
  10. Carrie Giacolone • Monticello, UT
  11. Pat Hamlin • Bozeman, MT
  12. Caoline Kunimura • Grantsville, UT
  13. Sandy Densem • Broseley, Shropshire, U.K.
  14. Alexandra Martin • Hong Kong
  15. Jenny Davis • Lindsborg, KS

Finalists, please send your artwork to us by March 30, 2018.

F+W Media, Inc.
ATT: A Stitched Collage Cityscape
2 Mill and Main Place
Maynard, MA 01754

Please remember to include your S & H fee with your art.

Thank you very much.