The Magic of a Mixed-Media Map

I have a thing for maps. I collect them, draw them, study them, and, on occasion, actually use them. So when Suzanne McNeill’s new Art Lesson landed, I couldn’t read it fast enough—it’s all about using a mixed-media map to tell a story. She includes so many techniques and ideas for creating, using, and featuring maps in sketchbooks and art journals that you’ll be in map heaven.

Telling stories by way of a mixed-media map opens up new and exciting creative channels.
Telling stories by way of a mixed-media map opens up new and exciting creative channels.

I wanted to tell the story of my favorite drawing spots in and around Boston, knowing that this would be something I’d love looking at down the road—a great story for my future self. The journal I chose was large, to accommodate the features I wanted to include (I used a large Ranger Dylusions Creative Journal). I covered a vintage map with a layer of gesso, and when it was dry, I glued it into a spread and trimmed the map flush to the edges of the pages. You’ll love Suzanne’s ideas in the lesson for altering maps and using them as backgrounds.

If you’re covering a map with gesso it doesn’t matter what map you use—the images and words will be obscured.

Using a map of Boston as a guide, I drew the featured areas with pencil, then painted them in. The top was left blank so I could hand-letter a title. Using acrylic paint I painted the Charles River blue, then did the land areas in green.

Use acrylic paint, gouache, or watercolor to paint in details.

But as I continued painting, I realized that the opaque paint was obscuring the map, which I wanted to show. Using a baby wipe I took some of the still-wet paint off (thank you, gesso layer) and then mixed the remaining paint with matte Golden Artist Colors Open Acrylic Medium, so it was more like a glaze. It was too late to save the blue paint, so I shaded the river on the edges and dry-brushed white paint in the center to add a little interest. I also added some blue paint along the top edge of the page to frame it.

Since this is a mixed-media map you can incorporate a variety of techniques, such as stenciling and stamping, to create texture and interest.

By the way, if you have paint left over on your palette (I always seem to), grab a couple of journals or sheets of art paper or found papers, and brayer away. Instant backgrounds for future artwork!

Don’t feel guilty about wasting paint—use it to create the first layer of a great background in your art journals.

I first saw Suzanne’s incredible travel journals when she visited our offices, and I pored over them for hours, fascinated not only with her incredible artwork, but also her use of photos, ephemera, cut-outs, and accordion pull-outs. I especially loved how she highlighted details of a trip with drawings and hand lettering, and I wanted to incorporate those techniques. For each of my drawing spots I included a small sketch of something related to it: a coffee cup, a scenic view, a favorite food. I also included small photos. All of these work together to help tell the story, with the map as the perfect vehicle.

Details add so much to a mixed-media map. Even the simplest drawings add a unique style that is yours alone.

A mixed-media map is one of the most versatile tools for storytelling. A map doesn’t have to be a literal and exact rendering of a place; in Suzanne’s lesson you’ll see how she uses maps and timelines to tell a variety of stories. And you don’t need to travel to incorporate maps in your art journals—you can map your neighborhood, your morning routine, the process of creating a collage, or your favorite haunts, like I did.

To finish the mixed-media map, I lettered a title, attached the drawings and photos, adhered “you are here” markers to denote my landmarks (I used stamps from Studio Calico), and wrote in the locations.

I’ll probably continue to work on this mixed-media map, adding more details and elements.

One standout technique in the lesson is creating flaps to extend a page—a great idea, especially if you have extra journaling or images you want to incorporate, or you’re working with an odd-shaped map. I used this idea to create a small sketchbook (3″ x 5″), with a cover made from decorative cardstock. I copied favorite sketches and glued them onto the inside pages, then bound the little notebook with a pamphlet stitch. Next, I created a 1½” flap the same height as the book, folded it in half the long way, and glued one side to the back of the sketchbook.

Including flaps on an art journal spread makes the artwork interactive.

The other side of the flap was glued to the underside of the art journal page.

Use flaps to add journaling, drawn images, and photos.

This piece adds so much to my art journal spread, and I never would have thought to do it had I not read Suzanne’s lesson.

This mini sketchbook adds a special element to my mixed-media map, and looking through it reminds me of my sketching adventures.

I know you’ll be inspired to create your own mixed-media map and tell your own unique stories when you download this amazing Art Lesson. Happy mapping!

See more of Suzanne’s sketchbooks and read about how and what she documents in this guest post!

Discover the ways a mixed-media map can be a creative vehicle for storytelling in Art Lessons Volume 18: Using Maps in Sketchbooks & Art Journals by Suzanne McNeill.
Turn your sketchbook or art journal into a keepsake and add accordion pages, windows, and tunnels with the techniques featured in Art Lessons Volume 17: Sketchbook Stories by Suzanne McNeill.

How to Make a Color Journal

I started keeping a color journal a few years ago to record favorite colors and palettes. Little did I know how profoundly it would influence and inform my artwork, and change the way I perceive color and the world around me. No matter what type of mixed-media art you love, color is a powerful key player. Today I’ll show you how I create and use my journal, and how it’s made me more open to trying color mixing and different combinations of colors.

I use various types of journals for my color notes, some ready-made and some hand-bound. Paper is definitely something to consider; I prefer watercolor or mixed-media paper, but sometimes I throw caution to the wind and use a journal because I like the cover or the size. Yes, I am that shallow.

Currently I’m working in a Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook because it’s a nice size, has heavyweight pages, and a pretty, bright red cover. This book usually stays in my studio—I make color notes in my sketchbook/art journal, then transfer them later to my color journal. I like to have time to think about color, so I usually don’t create anything on the fly.

A common technique you’ll see in the book is a color palette based on a photo. When I’m out and about and see a color or color combination I like, I’ll take a quick snap and analyze it later to see what colors it reveals. Often there are surprises, on many levels.

In this photo of moss on stone, notice how blue the stone is, and how it plays off the complementary orangey-golds. I didn’t do any color correcting, but took the picture when there was an abundance of blue light. I remember the shades being gold and gray, and was pleasantly surprised by what the camera picked up.

Color journal inspiration
The complementary shades of blue and gold in this photo of moss on a rock pop next to each other.

I took this photo of the beach in Kennebunkport, Maine in November, past the peak autumn color time, when dried leaves were piled up on the sand. I was intrigued mostly by the textures in this vignette, but when I took the photo I realized the colors were incredibly beautiful and rich. That surprised me, because I’m not a big fan of earth tones, especially browns. Why do I love this palette? It reminds me of gray flannel and saddle leather, the feeling is very moody, and it makes me want to drink a big cup of hot cocoa.

Beach photo as color inspiration
I’m not much into earth tones, but I love the mood and colors of this photo.

When I created a palette from the photo with watercolor in my color journal, I examined the picture first on my computer screen so I could really see the details and nuances. I noticed pale pinks in the shells, deep slates in the stones, reddish-brown tones in the leaves, and one ochre pebble. After swatching the colors I realized that earth tones are more interesting and complex than I thought, and that adding a pop of an unexpected color (in this case, pale pink) can completely alter the trajectory of a palette.

Color inspiration palette in a color journal
I used the beach photo as a palette inspiration in my color journal, discovering hidden hues.

One of my favorite colors du jour is Payne’s Gray, which I discovered quite by accident when I couldn’t find black acrylic paint. I knew about the color but never really explored it, but when I brushed on this gorgeous deep shade of gray-blue I instantly fell in love. The color reminds me of stormy skies and landscapes at dusk, and I find myself using it a lot for monochromatic drawings, shadows, and backgrounds.

I decided to see what differences there were in different color mediums and brands labeled Payne’s Gray. This was also a great excuse to take a trip to the art store–always a win. In a spread in my color journal I compared two acrylic paints from different brands (Liquitex Heavy Body and Blick Studio Acrylic), and two same-brand watercolors from Daniel Smith, Payne’s Gray and Payne’s Blue Gray. This was my first time trying Payne’s Blue Gray, which has a stronger blue cast than its cousin, almost like an intense navy. I also tried out a Stabilo Point 88 marker in Payne’s Gray, and two watercolor pencils, Caran d’Ache’s Payne’s Grey and Derwent’s Blue Grey, which seemed to have a smidge of teal in it. Testing out various brands of the same color is a great for building a reference you can use again and again, especially when you’re looking for a precise shade.

Payne's Gray color mediums in a color journal
In this page from my color journal, I explored different types of Payne’s Gray color mediums.

Yellow is also not a favorite color, although I noticed the other day that it’s the most-used shade in my watercolor palette because I use it a lot for mixing. But pair yellow with gray and I’m all over it—the juxtaposition of the warm and cool tones is stunning. I decided to try out the Payne’s Blue Gray to see how it stood up to yellow, and loved the results. That hint of blue makes the yellow pop even more. Payne’s Blue Gray? Nice to have you aboard.

Payne's Gray color experiment in a color journal
After swatching Payne’s Gray color mediums, I used one shade for this watercolor painting.

Color wheels are great for mixing colors and creating palettes, and I use them often in my color journal. Sketch one by hand, or use a stencil—here I used Pam Carriker’s Hue Tint Tone Shade stencil from StencilGirl Products for a little watercolor color test. I wanted to see how many colors I could create, starting with the same color every time. For one wheel I started with hot pink, and for the other, turquoise.

I discovered how complex and rich colors become when they’re mixed with unexpected shades. For example, I got a vibrant chartreuse by mixing hot pink with yellow and green, and a pretty orchid by mixing hot pink with ultramarine and turquoise.

These mixed colors fill the outer row. For the middle row I mixed the color with black to get a shade. For the innermost row I mixed the color with white (I used gouache) to get a tint. This little exercise reminded me not to rely on safe yellow + blue = green formulas, and to experiment and play with color to achieve unique, interesting hues. Also, I’m not big on pastels, but I happen to love that inner circle of muted hues. Who knew?

Using a color wheel in a color journal
I use color wheels to do a deep dive into color mixing explorations.

I tend to get into color ruts, using the same colors and color combinations because it’s easy and I don’t have to think about it (turquoise and magenta, I’m looking in your direction). So when I want to jolt myself out of my stupor I consult my color journal, and I always find an exciting palette to work with. Using this technique I’ve truly broadened and strengthened my art practice. Besides that, it’s really, really fun. You won’t be disappointed.

This blog was originally published on 8/26/17. It was republished on 7/21/18.

The world of color is a great rabbit hole to dive into—try some of these terrific resources to get started, and see where your color explorations take you!

Art Lessons Color Explorations Series: Collector's Edition
In Art Lessons Color Explorations Series, Collector’s Edition, discover 12 individual lessons all about ways to use color. Each features a companion video.
Color Page by Page: Using Color Wheels in Art Journals video with Pam Carriker
See how many ways you can use color wheels in your art journals in the video Color Page by Page: Using Color Wheels in Art Journals, with Pam Carriker.
Acrylic Color Explorations by Chris Cozen
Become a master of color when you use the techniques and ideas in Acrylic Color Explorations by Chris Cozen.
Incite 2: Color Passions
Pages of color inspiration await you in Incite 2: Color Passions by Tonia Jenny, featuring 100-plus examples of mixed-media art inspired by color.

Free July Downloads: Seth Apter’s Collage Elements

We have something truly special for you today—free downloadable collage elements from our Artist of the Month, Seth Apter! Seth has provided some incredible collage elements for you to use in your artwork, and these images are perfect for art journal pages, collage, cards, tags, and books. All you have to do is download them, size them to your needs, and go create something!

Seth is one of those artists who loves sharing his knowledge, and we all benefit from his generosity. His signature techniques include building intriguing layers, turning ordinary books and photographs into artful pieces, and developing color and texture effects with acrylic paint—and he’s able to translate all of that creative wisdom so clearly. Many of those methods have become staples in my own work.

July’s free downloads are fantastic collage elements created by Seth Apter. Use them in all of your artwork!
July’s free downloads are fantastic collage images created by Seth Apter. Use them in all of your artwork!

His monoprinting technique using canvas paper is one of my go-to backgrounds. Pressing a freshly painted scrap of canvas paper onto a dry painted piece of canvas paper results in exciting areas of sketchy color. I tried it here using shades of gold and dark red.

Something as simple as monoprinting with acrylic paint offers stunning effects.

Keep building up layers this way, and you’ll have a complex piece to which you can add stamps, stencils, ephemera, and more.

Layers add an incredible amount of depth and detail to mixed-media artwork.

Another technique using acrylic paint involves translucent layering. By building color with drops of acrylic paint, you can gradually shift colors without losing what’s underneath. It’s a fascinating process that I hope you’ll try.

Learn the subtle qualities of acrylic paint in Seth’s instructional videos. (Art and photo by Seth Apter)

In the video 10 Techniques for Painting Layers in Mixed Media, Seth has a bunch of tricks up his sleeve, and it’s fascinating how one idea builds upon another. One of my favorite techniques involves creating an ombré effect with acrylic paint. Instead of stopping there, Seth adds stamps, then more paint, then does a splatter effect.

Why settle for one technique when you can use five or six—on the same piece of artwork? (Art by Seth Apter)

Although I’ve learned so much from Seth, one piece of advice stands out above all others: Don’t be afraid to push yourself. So often we’re afraid of adding extra collage elements, or going for one more layer. I’ve learned that art shouldn’t be about fear and hesitation. Yes, sometimes I’ve crashed and burned when attempting to take my artwork further. But more often than not, I make amazing breakthroughs. And some of those mistakes have resulted in great discoveries as well.

So embrace the process, learn as much as you can, and create some incredible art!

Discover Seth’s secrets of getting layered effects in the video 10 Techniques for Painting Layers in Mixed Media.
Learn how to turn a simple deck of cards and into a stunning year-long art journal in the video Card Play: Mixed-Media Techniques for Small Works of Art.
Improve any collage you create using the ideas in Seth Apter’s Top 10 Collage Principles video.

On-the-Road Art Experiments: The Good and the Bad

Creating art while traveling is adventurous and exciting. But it’s also something you should carefully plan and prepare for, so you don’t get stuck with a supply disaster miles away from home. Here, artists Susan Andrews and Carolyn Fellman share their good and bad experiences with taking art on the road. Their expert tips will give you advice for testing art supplies and packing your travel art kit. This article also appears in the July/August 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

An accordion-fold book made from copies of sketches done on paint sample cards with a Pentel Pocket Brush pen and a Kuretake No. 8 Fountain Hair Brush pen. The copies were painted with Golden® Airbrush Colors. (All art by Susan Andrews and Carolyn Fellman; Photos by Larry Stein unless otherwise noted)
This book was collaged first with recycled and joss papers and then the sketching and painting were added.

On-the-Road Art Experiments: The Good and the Bad, by Susan Andrews and Carolyn Fellman

We have been having a very good time experimenting with brush pens in our portable art kits. These brush-tipped sketching tools offer the joy of wet media in a compact and easy-to-carry form. As with any good paintbrush, the line the brush creates varies with the pressure you apply. The effects you can achieve increase as you mix your media, and the pens pair beautifully with all color media. Vary the paper and format for even more options.

Experiment with tools

Water brushes

Our first experiments were with water brushes. Water brushes are simple, brush-tipped water barrels. You just squeeze the barrel to start the flow of water, and clean the brush by simply wiping it on a rag or paper. We used the water brushes as intended and enjoyed the range of effects they gave with water-soluble color media (watercolor paints, watercolor pencils, etc.).

Then we tried using the water brushes in a new way. Our thought was, if these brushes can handle water so well, wouldn’t they be just as good with paint? We filled the barrel with Golden Airbrush Colors and tried them as portable color brushes. The results? Interesting enough to continue the experiments, but a bit awkward and ultimately the brushes were too prone to leakage for rugged portability.

Cartridge pens

Our experiments got a great boost when we added cartridge brush pens to the equation. Cartridge pens combine a very good brush point with the workings of a very good fountain pen. The cartridges provide control and prevent leakage; and what a smooth, steady flow of ink they deliver! What possibilities of line and tonality with the mere application of pressure to the brush. Used in combination with a water brush, the ink is capable of subtle gradations of color if the water is applied immediately.

Susan uses a Pentel® Pocket Brush pen with permanent ink to sketch in and on a found book. (Photos by Robert King)

Experiment with paper

It’s fun to work in a variety of paper formats. Susan keeps a shelf of small, band saw-carved altered books with theme-based content—flora, fauna, book reports, night travel, repast, Buddhas, etc. when working close to home. The books are gradually filling with her observations and technical experiments.

For more far-flung trips, we pre-gesso paper and fold a variety of book forms at home to get us started. Susan sometimes likes to create a portfolio of blank cards, cutting and adding paper as necessary.

At our destination, we shop for art papers and also salvage maps and tourist brochures to work with as we go. Papers with a slick surface work best if lightly sanded, so we tuck a small scrap of fine sandpaper in the art kit.

Think about what you are most comfortable using and carrying around, and try it out with your travel art kit. If a blank book feels cumbersome on a trip, try making your own folded books and test them out. They can be made with any dimensions and any type of paper. Be sure to consider how large you like to work while still being comfortable.

These paste-paper folded books were prepared before the trip and are very easy to travel with.

Prepare your travel art kit

Try it out. We suggest you pack a portable art kit and try using it near home for at least five days before you actually take it on the road. Refine the kit as you complete each day. Add what you think you need; take out what you didn’t use on your last outing. Really consider your comfort level.

• Write it down. Take notes on your experiments, and date and number your pages as you use them so you can restore your chronology and remember what you tried.

Think ahead. How will you place an image on the page? How will you secure your work in a flapping breeze? How will you protect still-wet pages for transport?

Use chalk. Try laying some guidelines with chalk before committing your ink to the page.

• Pack some extra bits. Be sure to pack some rubber bands, paperclips, and wax paper sheets in your travel kit.

Take a camera. A camera is invaluable for documenting the scene when a sudden shower sends you running.

Sketches done with a Kuretake water brush filled with Golden Airbrush Colors and then painted back into with craft paints.
An envelope portfolio and sketches done on paint sample cards. The cards are the perfect size to fit in a travel art kit.

Susan Andrews and Carolyn Fellman have shared studios, travels, and projects for 20-plus years. Known collectively as The Oiseaux Sisters (French for birds and pronounced “wah-zoe”), they migrate seasonally from New York to Florida. They teach at both ends of the road and spend part of each year traveling and conducting workshops all over the world. Visit their website at

Want more ideas for creating art on the road? Click here for Jane Davenport’s helpful tips!

Get ready for summer creating! In the July/August 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, you’ll find ideas for prepping your journals and bringing your art on vacation, plus so much more.
Whether you’re traveling to Europe or to a local café, Jacqueline Newbold’s Art Journals On-the-Go video will help you discover how much fun it is to record your life journeys with watercolors.
In Art Lessons Volume 17: Sketchbook Stories by Suzanne McNeill, learn how to turn your sketchbook or art journal into a special keepsake that captures your on-the-go adventures.
In Art Lessons Volume 18: Using Maps in Sketchbooks & Art Journals by Suzanne McNeill, discover how to use maps, both hand drawn and paper, to help tell your on-the-go travel stories.

Jane Davenport’s Altered Book Art Journal

When I embarked on creating a year of Art Lessons for Cloth Paper Scissors, I decided to make a special journey of it. I created all of the tutorials in one altered book art journal for the Supply Stash Series.

I love creating in books! Having one spot that spans a multitude of moods and months, that I can open and shut and easily move with me, appeals to my creative soul.

In Jane’s October lesson, she shows how to work with Hero Arts Ink Daubers and Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow to get flowing, layered effects.

There are three types of art journals that I like to use: my 9 x 12 Jane Davenport Canvas Journal with watercolor paper (from American Crafts), my own handmade journals with sheets of watercolor paper and found papers, and an altered old book that I use as a journal.

For my Art Lessons I decided to go with the third option, and I selected a cloth-covered book published in 1965 titled You are an Artist by Fred Gettings. The book paper was nice and thick, so it is was robust enough to paint on. The subject matter suited my purpose also, with passages about art and creativity peeking through paint.

Why draw with colored pencils? As Jane says in her December lesson, “Pencils are difficult to erase, which encourages you to learn to live with your marks.”

The binding and spine were good and strong. I often use older books with damaged covers, and although they can be salvaged and made sturdy, a book spine that is already in working order is a bonus.

You should check that the book you are going to work with for your altered book art journal isn’t a valuable first edition or something special from someone’s beloved collection.

PanPastels offer vibrant color and encourage artists to loosen up. Jane offers fantastic tips and techniques for working with this unique material in the February lesson.

When you are working in an altered book, you will be adding paint and collage and texture, which all add bulk and put pressure on the cover over time. For that reason, I like to remove a third to half of all the pages. I keep the torn-out papers and use them for collage if they are interesting.

I also like to stitch in some smooth watercolor paper, so there is a combination of the original pages and fancy paper throughout the journal.

For her April lesson, Jane worked with watercolor markers on watercolor paper in her altered book journal to show how to use the markers for washes, pops of color, and details.

Old paper needs some help to deal with all the paint, watercolor, ink, and pastels that are going to be swirled on top of it, so I usually prepare the pages with a mixture of gesso, matte medium, matte acrylic paint, and clear gesso.

I add a few drops of each medium on the paper and mix it right on the paper. This variation in the recipe for each page means the texture is a little different throughout the book. You can change the transparency of the mixture by adding more or less matte medium, so that the text or photos on the pages are muted. I apply the mixture loosely, so that I have lots of variety before I even start creating. Make sure to let pages dry before adding gesso to the reverse side.

The strength and beauty of Derwent Inktense blocks are revealed in the January Lesson, as Jane uses the blocks in a variety of ways.

You can see the end result throughout the Art Lessons series in my altered book art journal. All the Art Lessons combine to make one of my favorite journals!

Happy Creating!

Jane Davenport is a professional artist, online workshop leader, and the author of Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces and Fabulous Figures. Jane’s mixed-media art supply collection with American Crafts is available in the U.S. and Canada at Michaels stores, and on her website. Jane’s website features a free mixed-media workshop series tips and techniques; see it at See more of Jane’s work on Instagram (@janedavenport) and on YouTube.

See the new products Jane debuted at this year’s Creativation show in this blog post!

Let Jane Davenport show you how to get the most out of your supplies with the Art Lessons Supply Stash Series Collector’s Edition. An entire year of lessons, plus a bonus lesson, are included in one download.
See where it all began! Jane Davenport’s The Whimsical Face tells you everything you need to know to begin drawing faces. Download this video today and add portraits to art journal pages, paintings, and more!

Total Abstraction: Paint Your Own Abstract Masterpiece

Photo by Sharon White Photography

“Summertime is all about the sunshine and the outdoors. It’s our chance to put away the dark palette of winter and pull out some light and bright colors. After viewing an exhibition of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series, I was enchanted with his cool and fun palette of colors. In this project I borrow both Diebenkorn’s linear style and his color palette to play with. With only a few materials and free range to use your most favorite colors, you can spend an enjoyable afternoon creating your own masterpieces. After all, who doesn’t like some playful stripes to liven up a wall or two?” – Chris Cozen

Project Details

Artist: Chris Cozen

Instructions: The instructions for this project can be found in the Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Techniques included in this project: Creating a mixed-media abstract piece, incorporating washi tape with paint, painting abstractly, integrating line and color, creating a cohesive color palette.

Photo by Chris Cozen


  • Cradled gessoed board, 6″ x 6″ or 8″ x 8″
  • Fluid acrylics (I used Golden® Artist Colors in Teal, Titan Buff, Cobalt Blue, Hansa Yellow Light, Bone Black, and Pyrrole Red.)
  • Paintbrushes, an angle or flat brush and a fine-tip brush for details
  • Low-tack tape (I used Duck Brand® Clean Release® Painter’s Tape.)
  • Pencil, No. 2
  • Ruler
  • Washi tape or thin strips of collage paper
  • Golden Artist Colors Semi-Gloss UV Topcoat
  • Silicone or rubber scraper (I used a bowl scraper I found at a kitchen store.)

The Fall 2018 digital and print issues of Cloth Paper Scissors feature great inspiration like this, plus much more!

Found-Paper Dresses: Turn Papers into Frocks

Paper Dresses
Photos by Sharon White Photography

“A small project like these dresses is a great way to use up some of my smaller scraps of paper. I look for inspiring papers everywhere, and have found great patterns on the insides of envelopes! Think about the composition of the piece, and how the different patterns and colors on the found papers work together. Don’t be afraid to leave areas that are less busy. Using a combination of calm and busy patterns in the dress will showcase the beauty of the recycled papers.” – Jennifer Collier

Project Details

Artist: Jennifer Collier

Instructions: The instructions for this project can be found in the Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Techniques included in this project: Sewing paper, pleating paper, working with found papers, creating sewn button loops, constructing a garment from paper.


  • Found or recycled papers, such as old maps, book pages, letters, sheet music, etc.
    • One 16″ x 11″ sheet
    • Three 10″ x 2″ sheets
    • Two 11″ x 8″ sheets (This sheet is for the back of the dress and the unpleased side of the front.)
  • Sewing machine with a zipper foot (I always use a zipper foot for this technique, so I can get a really narrow seam. It is also essential for one part of this project.)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Thick string or cord, approximately 10″
  • Tape, clear
  • Dress templates
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Buttons
  • Optional:
    • Pins
    • Glue

Gather your favorite found papers and discover great ways to use them in the Fall 2018 digital or print issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Juice Box Printing: Monotypes from Recycled Materials

“Years ago, when I was unable to go to my studio because I was recovering from surgery, I realized that the inner material of a juice box could be a good surface for printing. This printing process is quick, simple to learn and to make, sustainable, and the finished print can be an unforgettable gift for a dear friend. With only a few juice boxes, leafy branches, printing ink, brayers, and printing paper, it is possible to make wonderful prints.” – Rosane Viegas

Project Details

Artist: Rosane Viegas

Instructions: The instructions for this project can be found in the Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Techniques included in this project: Monoprinting with recycled materials, blending printing inks, printing with leaves, and printing without a press.


  • Aseptic packages with metallic interiors, such as juice boxes, in a variety of sizes
    • NOTE: The packaging can be cut into shapes for different effects.
  • Craft knife and scissors
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Towel
  • Papers for printing (I used Lana paper, size A4, but any printing paper will do.)
  • Metal-edge ruler
  • Pencil
  • Kraft paper (I used size A3, which is approximately 12″ x 17″.)
  • Protected work surface (I used newspaper.)
  • Branches, leaves, and twigs (I prefer thinner and straighter plants, such as ferns or willow branches, but you can use other leaves and plants that are fairly flat.)
  • Brayers
  • Palette, to spread the ink (I used a glass plate.)
  • Block printing ink, 4–5 colors (I used Charbonnel Etching Ink in Orient Blue, Sanguine, Turquoise, Blue Lake, and Raw Sienna.)
  • Tissue paper
  • Weights (I used 2 full glass bottles, capped.)
  • Spoons (I used wood and metal spoons.)

Instructions for creating stunning prints on your kitchen table are just a click away when you purchase the digital or print Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

How to Build a Painting

Painting and photo by Sandra Duran Wilson
Photo by Sandra Duran Wilson

“When I become a hunter-gatherer and seek out unusual materials for my artwork, I discover new sources of inspiration. This project can make cleaning out the garage or storage closet fun and exciting. I love using up leftover products from other projects. I find that they spark my imagination, and I feel more freedom to experiment because I am not wasting expensive art products. This freedom liberates your imagination and may inspire your best painting ever.” – Sandra Duran Wilson

Project Details

Artist: Sandra Duran Wilson

Instructions: The instructions for this project can be found in the Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Techniques included in this project: Turning home store supplies into art materials, working with acrylic paints and mediums, layering paints onto stones, creating an abstract mixed-media piece.


  • Unprimed canvas or heavy muslin fabric
  • Scissors
  • Wood panel (I used a 12″ x 9″ x 1½” wood panel.)
  • Protected work surface (I used plastic wrap.)
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Plastic key card or palette knife
  • SimpleFix® Pre-mixed Adhesive & Grout
  • Golden® Artist Colors Gloss Medium and Soft Gel (Gloss)
  • Palette
  • Acrylic paints (I used Golden Artist Fluid Acrylic Colors in Green Gold, Jenkins Green, Diarylide Yellow, Pyrrole Orange, Sepia, and Paynes Gray, and Turquoise (Phthalo), Paynes Gray, Pyrrole Orange, Diarylide Yellow and Sepia, and Jacquard® Lumiere® Artist Acrylics in Pearl Turquoise.)
  • Synthetic paintbrush (I used a 1″ brush.)
  • Stone pebble tiles (I used leftovers from a remodeling project. The tiles come with a mesh backing.)
  • Spray bottle with 70% rubbing alcohol
  • Krylon® Marbelizing spray (I used Gold Chiffon.)
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • DecoArt® Metallic Lustre™ (I used Orange Flicker.)
  • Brayer
  • Plastic wrap
  • Heavy weights (I used books.)
  • Paper towels
  • Optional:
    • Gloves
    • pH neutralizer (I used Krylon Make-Acid-Free!™ Spray.)

Discover ways to expand your mixed-media supply stash with this project and so many others when you get the digital or print Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Fanciful Creatures in Paper Clay

Photos by Sharon White Photography

“I love seeing the unique personalities of my little beasties develop throughout the creative process. Paper clay allows the one-of-a-kind, handmade quality I desire to show through. It is an easily sculpted material, and so versatile because so many surface textures and decorations can be used. I never tire of experimenting and trying out new artistic applications for this air-dry clay!” – Katherine DuBose Fuerst

Project Details

Artist: Katherine DuBose Fuerst

Instructions: The instructions for this project can be found in the Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Techniques included in this project: Sculpting with paper clay, creating an armature, shaping wire, stamping on paper clay, coloring paper clay with acrylic paints, creating faces from polymer clay.


  • Ruler
  • Wire, 18-gauge (I used black wire.)
  • Wire cutter
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Masking tape
  • Paper clay, one 16-oz. package (I used Creative Paperclay®.)
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Assorted sculpting tools (I used pottery and clay tools along with some dental tools.)
  • Decorative rubber stamp
  • Paintbrush
  • Polymer clay, to sculpt a face (I used Premo! Sculpey®.)
  • Rubbing alcohol, 91%
  • Sandpaper, medium and fine grit
  • Emery board or nail file
  • Drill and a 1/16″ bit
  • Super Glue®
  • Damp sponge
  • Acrylic paint (I used Plaid® Folk Art® Premier Acrylics.)
  • Acrylic extender or retarder (I used Golden® Artist Colors Retarder.)
  • Cosmetic wedge
  • Varnish (I used Liquitex® Matte and High Gloss Acrylic Varnishes.)
  • Optional:
    • Mirror
    • Flexible silicone face press mold or pre-made face molds (I make my press molds with EasyMold® Silicone Putty by Castin’ Craft®.)

Creating your own menagerie of little beasties is only a click away when you get the digital or print editions of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, Fall 2018.