Free Project: Unforgettable Art Journal

HeadshotAfter watching the Cloth Paper Scissors DVD Workshops(TM) by Diana Trout (Playful Paper Backgrounds) and Dawn Sokol (Art Journaling: Pages in Stages), I finally came up with the perfect solution to my less-than-stellar art-journaling track record. If I combined what I learned from Diana and Dawn and paired it with the Photo Display Stand that we showed in our This Just In article in the July/August issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, I could have the perfect in-your-face art journal. (Make sure you scroll down to see the finished project on my studio table!

Take a look at the pages I created “in stages” a la Diana Trout and Dawn Sokol:

2010-10-22 001 001   2010-10-22 001 002   2010-10-22 001 006   2010-10-22 001 007
watercolor and alcohol drips   watercolor and alcohol drips   bubble wrap® and acrylic   bubble wrap® and acrylic
2010-10-22 001 008   2010-10-22 001 009   2010-10-22 001 010   2010-10-22 001 011
acrylic paint and fingers   acrylic and dried up brush   Watercolors and bubble wrap®   Watercolor and bottle prints

I really enjoyed the idea of working in stages on this journal. It freed me up to just create in the studio. And, because these are page backgrounds and not artwork backgrounds, I didn’t even have to work on composition and focal points. “Just get the color on the paper,” was my mantra.

I especially enjoyed using watercolors and plastic wrap. This is always one of my favorite techniques because it has that magical kind of reveal—I’m a sucker for those. Here are the before and after versions.

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Before   After   Before   After

Here are the steps to create this look:


Paper, watercolor paper, watercolor brushes, water, spray bottle with water, plastic wrap.


  1. Wet your paper thoroughly. It’s best to use a paper made for water media.
  2. Drip and paint random swatches of watercolor paint onto your paper. Use strong colors for more dramatic results.
  3. Spritz your paints to blend. Let the colors bleed into each other.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the wet paint and scrunch it up to create different textures. In the example on the left I tried to pull and twist the wrap to create a spider web effect.

2010-10-22 001 0052010-10-22 001 005My other favorite technique was a Rorschach-inspired experiment with a touch of salt—ok, a LOT of salt.

Here are the steps to create this look:


Paper, water, watercolor brush, watercolor paint, salt (I used Kosher).


  1. Wet two pieces of paper thoroughly.
  2. Drip, blob, paint watercolor in heavy puddles on one piece of the paper.
  3. Place the unpainted piece of paper onto the piece with the paint (wet sides together). Pull the paper apart immediately.
  4. Quickly sprinkle the paper with the salt.
  5. Let the paper dry completely and then brush off all of the salt.

You will get a speckled finish in the places where the salt dried. The amount of speckling will depend on the salt quantity and type. Use table salt for a little texture, or sea salt for great big spots. Mix and match salts for a range of textures in one piece.

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  The final project.

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To finish up my In-Your-Face Art Journal I created a 13th piece of paper with drips, water-spritzing, and salt-altering techniques and then punched out circles to create reinforcements for all of the pages. Then I cut the 12 months of the year out of an old Farmer’s Almanac and collaged a month onto each of the pages. A few punches of my trusty Crop-a-dile hole punch and I was able to easily attach the binding rings that came with the display stand. It still needed a little more embellishment so it got some. I stapled scraps of ribbon as page tabs, and tied some to the binder rings.

And, if you’re looking for a deal on inspiration, don’t forget that you can download a copy of Playful Paper Backgrounds or Art Journaling: Pages in Stages for less than $15 a piece, and no shipping! That’s penny-smart instant gratification.




Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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