Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Magic Box of Cards for Art Journal Fun by Anna Friesen

Hello to all you creatives! It's Anna Friesen here, showing you a sweet little project that has been on my want-to-do list a long time: a little box full of pretty artsy cards. Each card has an art technique written on the back.

Let the fun begin! 

When you're in a creative rut, facing a big white blank page in your art journal or even a canvas, grab this box, shuffle the cards, and start with the first technique! This might just free you up and get your muse going again.

Five Steps:

1. Create thirteen double-sided backgrounds, in three different color schemes.

2. Cut 4 - 3 1/4" x 5 1/4" rectangle cards from each background, equalling to 52 cards, just like a deck of playing cards.

3. Decorate one side of each card with fun stenciling and doodling, sewing all the edges when finished.

4. Add the snips of paper with the techniques to the back of each card.

5. Decorate the box.

Step 1: Create the backgrounds.

First set

Second set

Third set

I simply used a brayer and paint to cover each page with luscious color.

I made 4 time lapse videos of this brayering process HERE. They might be a little boring, but feel free to check them out. :) If you do watch them, take note of where I chose to put color down, and how I add color to the brayer. Also, a very important tip, is to add white often, so the colors will stay sharper and not go muddy on you. Unless, of course, you want such tones. Break a leg. :)

This is the stencil I used for the whole project. So beautiful and versatile, loving the folk artsy vibe! 
I just used three different areas of the busy design , not the whole 9x12 sheet.

The stenciling techniques are quite basic, but I'll walk you through it, as I did put a little twist on it in some areas. :)

I wanted a sweet design to create a pattern, so I masked off the unwanted area around this flower/heart flourish with masking tape.

I decorated this set of papers first. With the first and second sheet in this set, (I made four in this set), I first decorated the whole sheet, but in the other sheets and the other sets, I cut up the papers first, then stenciled #allthethings, like my fellow StencilGirl designers put it. ♥♥ :)

White paint to start. I lined up the stencil with the edges of my table or the paper itself, making sure the corners were square, so I wouldn't end up with a crooked design. I'm sure there are more scientific methods of aligning stencils, but this worked for me. :)

Next I took my new water based Sharpie paint pens, extra-fine tip, and outlined the shapes and added dots in a few coordinating colors.

For this sheet, I used layers of paint. On some of the shapes, I first used white then went in with purple, or first purple then white.

More dots, but this time with a thicker paint pen by Daler Rowney.

So for the next sheet in this color scheme, I first cut up the paper, then decorated with stencils and dot doodles. #lovemesomedots

Set 2

Second set I masked off a different area of the stencil, as shown in photo below.

I stenciled in white paint, then added little touches of yellow to the tips and middle of the flower. 

With each sheet in this color set, I chose to work a different area of the masked off piece, and in a different layout on each little card. It was like making a little art journal page with each one. So ADDICTING and rewarding.

For the one top left card, I used pink in the middle instead of yellow. So many different ways you can approach this, and you'll get ideas too, when you start working on each one. Trust me. :)

I love how stenciling in a second color over the first one (I use cosmetic sponges) adds these beautiful outlines to the shapes without trying!

Set 3

For this color set, I masked off a different part of the stencil, and stenciled in white in different ways. In one I left out the rectangular "frame" around the four-petaled flower. 

In another one, I set the stencil at a different angle, lining them up (kinda - not expecting perfection. No protractor put to use here! :) )

Bahama Blue by Americana craft paint for some, Party Streamer by Martha Stewart in others. 

Doodled with the Sharpies and the Daler Rowney again. 

And there they are, all decorated. Sewing comes last. Fun fun! I used teal metallic thread and some orange on others and left the ends long so they can dangle, creating funky interest and texture. :)

Step 4: Type out techniques and glue to each card.

 Use your favorite techniques, or look up some lists online. 

Print out on cardstock or just plain copy paper would work too.

Freehand with scissors and glue to the back of each card.

Step 5: Decorate the box.

I purchased this little wooden box at Michael's. I simply painted it a coordinating yellow called Sunny Day, with the button in Bahama Blue. Both colours are by Americana craft paint.

Added dots to the button with a white paint pen.

Then I cut down one of the cards to fit the black insert on top, using a glue stick to attach it. 

And that is it!

 There are of course other ways you could use these cards, but making this a game with your art friends would be a hoot. It would be interesting what you all would come up with, using the same techniques in the same order. 

Thanks for visiting StencilGirl Talk! I hope you feel inspired to pull out an old forgotten box you kept and put it to use.

 Au revoir, until next time!

Find more of my work at www.artfulstories.blogspot.com

♥♥♥  Anna  ♥♥♥


  1. These are delightfully pretty! I love them!

  2. Great idea...love your pretty designs & colors.

  3. I love them Anna ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Great idea to break a rut! I would love to know what you wrote on all those cards!

    1. Hi, Tina! I will write up a post about the techniques one of these days and I'll try to remember to let you know. :)

    2. hi Anna, did you get a chance to do this?

  5. What a fantastic tutorial! And you found elements in the stencil that I didn't even know were there!!! BRAVA!

  6. Makes me see my stencils with new eyes!

  7. Very nice! I enjoyed reading and seeing this lovely project. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you for the tuto. It's so beautiful.
    I'll use my stencils in an other way, masking tape is a good idea.

  9. Gorgeous project, Anna. I loved following your thought processes while brayering,

  10. Love your work. Could you advise on some websites that have the technique phrases to use, please.

    1. Hi Candace! I plan on blogging about the techniques soon! I'll try to remember to let you know when it is live. :)

    2. susan debourguignonMarch 26, 2023 at 3:28 AM

      hi Anna, did you get a chance to do this? thanks!

  11. You are amazing Anna .. Such a great idea for journaling!! 💜

  12. I am so far behind with DLP at the moment .. Have been away for five weeks and this technique of creating multiple backgrounds in one sitting will help me to catch up .. Thank you 💗

  13. Totally love this project! I'm SO far behind with DLP too. Great journaling idea.

  14. Lovely! Just watched all 4 videos. Would you share the technique phrases? I am just starting this type of thing and I think they would be enormously helpful.

  15. Make your book title unique and exceptional by utilizing a figure of speech, as above. magic show las vegas

  16. Anna, this is so inspirational and beautiful! Thank you for sharing these lovely cards and project with us. Jessica’s stencil is perfect for that. I like your sewing and threads too. When I clicked to see the braying process it said the video was private, so it likely needs to be changed in the settings.

    1. susan debourguignonMarch 26, 2023 at 3:27 AM

      i just had the same issue


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