I recently made some abstract painted backgrounds for a class I’m going to be teaching at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. I will be demonstrating how to make mixed media pages for journaling with acrylic paint, watercolor paint, assorted markers and Fiskars gel pens. I embellished my sample pages further with decorative scrapbooking paper, stickers, paper tape and rubber stamps. The binding rings I used in these samples are by 7gypsies.
I hope these samples inspire you to take a class with JoAnn or experiment with mixed media journal and planner pages on your own!
Paper crafting supplies include things you use in scrapbooking, rubber stamping, journaling, card making, planners and more. Paper craft companies make coordinated lines of products that are designed to look great together. Recently I made samples for a promotion at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in which I used only products sold in their store. Within that criteria I did a little mixing of brands. I’m continuing to work on the journal prototype because I’m still having major fun with it. I’m developing some templates to help combine the Heidi Swapp journaling products I was demonstrating with making a custom planner. I’m bringing in more product that I already own from other brands. It’s challenging to get the different product lines to harmonize together but it’s satisfying and fun too. I’m getting some results that please me, anyway!
Awhile ago I wrote about making a planner out of a sketchbook. This helps me keep track of my work because I can take notes and make sketches in the same book that is my planner. I try not to go anywhere without it! I have designed and purchased some rubber stamps to help me incorporate planner pages into my sketchbook.
Over the last several months I have been battling severe depression as the result of an abusive relationship. An ex-boyfriend gradually used emotional abuse techniques to persuade me to think there was something wrong with almost every part of what made me myself – my work, my hobbies, my goals in life, my family, my friends, my financial acuity, my physical appearance, my lifestyle, even how I packed for camping trips. Over time I internalized these criticisms and came to believe I wasn’t worth anything.
I’ve been fighting hard and using lots different tools to combat the depression. One reliable mood-lifter for me has been the acronym G.R.A.P.E.S. Here is what each letter stands for.
Being Gentle with yourself
I read on a depression support web site that you should try to incorporate at least one activity each day that fits into each of the six letters in G.R.A.P.E.S. I’ve come a long way since I counted making it through a day of work in the Achievement category, but that’s how it was for quite awhile.
I’m doing much better now and surrounding myself with people who support me and seem to think I’m ok the way I am. I want to keep maintaining my progress so I have redesigned my planner page to remind me to schedule activities covered by G.R.A.P.E.S. I also included a line to check them off to track my progress.
On the page shown, the left column is for items that should be done some time during the week. The right column is for appointments and scheduling. I used letter stickers to spell “G.R.A.P.E.S.” at the top. The number stamps and ruled line stamp are by 7gypsies and the month of the year and day of the week stamps are by my own Carolyn’s Stamp Store.
1. Download and print out one of the faux postage templates.
2. Tape a piece of acetate over the printed template.
3. Using a metal ruler as a guide and with the self-healing cutting mat underneath, use your mat knife or X-acto knife to cut out the squares on the template. You will cut through both the acetate and paper layers as you do so.
4. Remove the paper from the acetate. Now your template is ready to use.
Make the stamps
Tools and materials
Dye-based rubber stamping ink
Light colored cardstock
Faux postage stencils
Rubber stamps in a spring theme such as flowers and butterflies
Word rubber stamps for backgrounds
Tiny faux postage rubber stamps or other tiny word and number stamps
Decorative edging scissors
1. Tape a piece of light colored cardstock down on your work surface. Tape your acetate faux postage stencil in place over it, hinging it at the top with tape so you can lift the acetate between steps.
2. Squirt a few light analagous colors of rubber stamping ink on a palette. For example, light yellow, ochre yellow and light orange, or light pink and light peach. Sponge these colors inside the openings in the stencil while blending. Try to get the colors lighter toward the middle and darker toward the edge.
3. Lift the acetate (this is so that you don’t melt the stencil) and dry well with a heat tool. Stamp a word stamp as a background in a light taupe or light tan color. Dry the ink again.
4. Outline the inside edges of each opening with an analgous color of colored pencil – for example orange with the yellow inks, magenta with the pink inks.
5. Select a stamp for the main part of your image and stamp it toward the middle of each opening in burgundy ink.
6. Select some tiny faux postage stamps and stamp them in black around the edges.
7. Cut stamps apart with a decorative paper-edging scissors.
Following are the stamps I used in each sample.
The background stamp is by Stampington. Butterfly stamps are from 7gypsies then in black I stamped the following stamps from Carolyn’s Stamp Store:
Every once in awhile I like to participate in a challenge to stretch myself creatively. Canvas Corp is having a challenge called Joys of Spring, using the colors of these products:
I don’t own any of the products in the photo but I do own some rubber stamps by the Canvas Corp brand 7gypsies and I used a few of them in my project. I decided to make some seed packets like the ones in my previous seed packets tutorial only in the challenge colors. Here are the results.
If you would like to make some similar seed packets, here are some free templates that you can download and use.
Do you have any garden seeds left over from your spring planting? Seeds can make great spring gifts for gardeners, especially if attractively packaged.
Here is how to make a seed packet like the one shown above.
1. Download and print out the PDF file Seed Packet Template. Cut out the template and if you like laminate it for durability.
2. Take some decorative paper with a subtle pattern on it and stamp some background stamps on it in complementary ink colors to make it more interesting.
3. Place decorative paper back side up on your work surface. Place template on paper and trace around with pencil. Cut out envelope and fold in tabs. Tape or glue all the tabs except the top tab. Leave that one open so you can add seeds later.
4. Cut out a narrow strip of paper with a decorative scissors and stamp on it the word “Seeds” surrounded by small brackets. Glue it across the top of the envelope about an inch down or whatever looks right to your eye. Trim the ends if needed.
5. Punch out a flower shaped piece of decorative paper and punch out a paper circle for the middle. Glue circle on flower and glue flower to front of envelope.
6. Stamp large brackets around flower.
7. Turn the envelope over and cut out a piece of paper that will fit on the back. You can stamp it with a rubber stamp that emulates lined paper like I did in my sample or use paper with lines printed on it if you like.
8. Stamp the words “Species”, “Harvested”, “Location” and “Notes” on the paper, then glue to the back of the envelope.
9. When you fill with seeds, write out the information about the seeds on the back where indicated. Then glue or tape down the top tab or seal with a sticker.
Here are links to some of the stamps I used in this project:
For this past Father’s Day I made my Dad a blank 6 x 6 journal for a trip we took to Toronto and New York City. Dad wrote notes about our activities in the journal during the trip and we are slowly filling the book in with photos. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite layouts as we go.
Because the pages are 6 x 6 inches, I’m using a smaller than normal photo format. Using Photoshop, I am making 4 x 6 inch photo montages that I am having printed at a local drug store. I cut the prints apart and end up with images that are small enough to fit several on a 6 x 6 page. We took a LOT of photos and I’m adding a lot of embellishments, so this book will probably eventually turn into several books.
A client of mine threw out a bunch of old photos and negatives, so I saved some of the interesting ones to use in mixed-media artwork. The tiny negatives shown above have nothing to do with the subject matter of these two pages shown here but they are so small you can’t tell and I was intrigued by them as a design element. I decided to include some on these pages attached by tiny brads.
To unify the look of the pages, I downloaded some free digistamps and altered them into a frame graphic which fit my printed photos. I had the frames printed out on clear transparency film and layered the film over my photos with more of the brads. The “Beautiful” stamp and the decorative papers I used are from 7gypsies and the other rubber stamps are from my own Carolyn’s Stamp Store collection.
Here is a great handmade gift idea for someone in your life that loves to watch birds. A blank journal like my sample provides places for notes, sketches, photos, memorabilia and more. Here is how to make one.
Cut out two pieces of chipboard for covers. Make a collage of bird related images for the front cover. Cover edges of cover with decorative paper. Cover inside front cover, inside back cover and back cover with decorative paper.
To assemble front cover, cut out a piece of acetate and punch small holes. Punch small holes in front cover collage and attach to cover with brads. Make pockets and attach to both inside covers with double sided tape. Cut out a number of pieces of cardstock for inside pages. Embellish with brayered backgrounds, sponged backgrounds, decorative papers, Project Life cards and rubber stamps. Punch holes in all pages and covers and compile together with binding rings. Open rings and add new pages as needed.
Here are some sample page spreads to give you ideas for the interior pages.
I had so much fun participating in a sketch challenge recently that I decided to make an effort to enter more. RubberStampMadness magazine is currently running a Filmstrip Challenge which appealed to me. Above is my entry. There are still a few days left before the deadline if you want to get in on the fun – here are the entry guidelines.
Though I’ve been rubber stamping for well over 20 years, I haven’t done a whole lot of coloring in of rubber stamps. This project helped me to get some practice and was an opportunity to experiment with mixed media.
The first thing I did was to cut out a bunch of 2 x 2 inch and 2 x 3 inch pieces of scrap paper which would become the individual “frames” in the finished artwork. Then I stamped images on them in black waterproof ink.
The next step was to give each section it’s own background color with decorative chalks and old eyeshadow. To apply I used Q-tips, sponge tip makeup applicators and Fantastix by Tsukineko which are a great help in getting color into tight areas around the edges of the stamped images.
Next I sprayed the paper pieces with workable spray fixative to hold the chalk in place, then I coated them with a thin layer of matte medium and let it dry. The workable fixative allowed me to brush on matte medium without the powders smearing and the purpose of the matte medium is twofold – it’s the glue I will use to attach the images and words I cut from magazines, and it keeps the markers I’ll apply later from smearing the black ink that I stamped.
The next step was to figure out words to put in the word and thought balloons I had stamped. It would be a lot of fun to tell a coherent, planned out story with this format but I couldn’t think of any ideas for a story so I did what I often do, I relied on the random and let my subconscious guide me. Cutting out pictures from magazines has been a reliable way for me to tap into the subconscious part of my brain for decades. I picked up some discarded magazines that I hadn’t cut up yet and went through them looking for words that piqued my interest. Along the way I cut out appealing pictures – some I put aside to use in other projects and a few I used for this one. I grouped the words on my work surface into combinations that appealed to me and matched the words or groups of words with images. Some of the results make sense to me, some don’t and it’s likely the ones that mean something to me won’t mean the same thing to others and vice versa. That’s one of the fun things about art!
I then glued the cut-out images and words in place by brushing the backs of them with matte medium and smoothing them in place with an old credit card. One way to reduce the risk of wrinkling the paper is to coat both sides of the pieces with matte medium and let dry before wetting the backs again to apply. It’s extra work but it’s worth it for good results. You can speed up drying with a heat tool so your work session isn’t interrupted. (It sounds funny to say “work session” – this was play!)
If you prefer instead of gluing in cut-out words you can write words in the balloons or use word rubber stamps or stickers.
My next step was to take each section and highlight the stamped images with a little color here and there and add some texture to the backgrounds with stencils from The Crafter’s Workshop. I like the way some of the textures vaguely suggest the “dot gain” effect that you often see in comic books. My coloring implements for this project were Sharpie markers and Prismacolor pencils. Both will color just fine over the matte medium but if you want to use different media, do some tests on scrap paper first to see if the surface will accept the color. I could have made masks to protect the areas I did not want to stencil on but to save work I relied on my eye to tell me where to stop. I only went onto the white word areas on a couple of spots so I decided to touch up these areas later with acrylic paint to disguise my mistakes. If you decide to sponge ink through the stencils you will need to make masks.
I glued the individual “frame” pieces down on a piece of archival cardstock with Yes Glue. Then I got out a tiny paintbrush and touched up the white areas and I liked the way the bright white looked so I added white highlights here and there all over the artwork where I thought it needed it. I liked the effect, it added a little extra “pop”.
The next image shows what my artwork looked like before I scanned it and added digital enhancements.
After scanning in the image, I opened it up in Photoshop and added a layer for a faux filmstrip effect which I made from a couple of these free digistamps. I may print out this “filmstrip” layer on clear transparency film and mount it over the original artwork with brads or eyelets to display it.
In June of this year I took a trip with my Dad to Toronto and New York City. I knew ahead of time that we would be traveling on Father’s Day, so I made a gift to present to him on the trip – a handmade journal for him to write in each day, which he did. The journal was designed so that after the trip we could add photos and ephemera and perhaps write more about our memories. I’m in the process of getting both of our photos printed so we can start working on it. I expect this will be a long term project and we will enjoy the time together that we spend on it and memories of the great trip we had. Below are photos of some of my favorite parts of the journal, as they looked before any content was added. In the future I’ll be sharing some our favorite layouts as we get them done.
Here are some links to products I used to make this journal: