Roll the Dice for Mixed-Media Inspiration!

Looking for some mixed-media inspiration for the new year? We have just the ticket. Carolyn Dube’s artsy dice are a fun and surefire way to get your creative juices flowing. The concept is simple: write down different art prompts, techniques, and products you have in your stash on each side of each die; when you’re feeling stuck, roll the dice and create away! Learn more in Carolyn’s article below, originally published in the November/December 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

mixed-media inspiration
Mixed-media dice created by Carolyn Dube (All photos by Sharon White Photography)

Roll the Dice by Carolyn Dube

What stops me from creating most often? Me. I get in my own way. I judge. I criticize. I overanalyze. All of which trap me in my head and keep my creativity buried.

One day I started taking note of some of the defeating chatter in my head. It was guilt chatter. I imagined all the unused products and tools I had bought over the years ceaselessly whispering at me like disapproving relatives. There was also guilt because I wasn’t creating art every day . . . and I felt shame for all the projects that I’d meant to do.

There was obviously only one way I could stop all that chatter, and that was to make something and use those supplies. I started thinking, and then headed right back into the chatter of indecision. Which supplies are best to use? Which ones will work best with which? But the one that pushed me over the edge was: What if I use it all up? At that moment I realized how ridiculous all this was. I realized that to quiet the noise I had to remove all the decisions, so I created a set of dice. Each side of each die has a different product from my stash written on it: slide mounts, Dresden, vintage ephemera, bead gel, game pieces, brads, etc. I included all of the things that I have in abundance, and things I have been hoarding and saving for the “perfect” project. One die just wasn’t enough, so I made five.

I wanted more of a challenge, so I added a “no” die. All 6 sides have “no” statements to prevent me from using my go-to techniques: no paint, no spray ink, no stencils, etc.

But I still found myself trapped in my head, trying to decide what the art journal page was going to be about. I created another die with commands such as, draw a building or draw a face. Now there would be no excuse—no way that the chatter in my head would stop me from creating.

When I roll the dice and create art in my journal, it doesn’t matter if the art turns out pretty or nice. The goal is to quiet the mental prattle, get out of my own way, and get creating. Being limited by time and required to use specific items forces me to see things differently than I did before. The dice take me from being stuck to being creative.

The Rules of the Dice:

One roll for each of the dice
You have to use all the commands on the dice. But, when I roll the dice, my inner attorney comes out to interpret the dice as needed. When it says, “No paint,” I might use acrylic ink just like paint, since ink technically isn’t paint.

The art has to be created in 60 minutes or less. No dragging it out.
When I take too much time, I end up right back where I started, stuck and not creating. When I am really stuck in my head, I make myself create something in 30 minutes. That really pushes my creativity, especially when I have rolled something like bead gel and there isn’t much time to let it dry.

For this page I rolled: Use a photo slide mount, use Dresden, use vintage ephemera, use a napkin, no rubber stamps, and draw a grid.
For this page I rolled: Use bead gel, use a magazine, use vintage ephemera, add ribbon, draw a building, and no spray inks.

Carolyn Dube is an art adventurer and educator. She encourages you to get in touch with your creativity with the entertaining and inspiring tutorials on her blog that invite you to play and laugh along with her. Visit her website at

Click here to read Carolyn’s reasons why you should break the rules when creating art!

Plus, check out Carolyn’s video downloads for much more mixed-media inspiration:

Take your stencil technique to the next level with the new and unique stencil uses demonstrated by Carolyn Dube in this video workshop!
Junk, be gone! Take old papers, junk mail, and more and transform it into a unique and funky, functional journal in this video workshop.
How do you improve a collage that is going a different direction than you’d like? Learn with this video workshop from Carolyn Dube.
Learn new uses for extra supplies in your studio with this video workshop from Carolyn Dube.


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques

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