Hello you beautiful artist!
As we are approaching the end of the year it's a great time to start making and preparing your December journal or your journal for next year. I can't be the only one who is always late with making those journals, so let's do it differently this year.
For today's tutorial, I'm going to decorate the covers of my junk journal. If you are not into making your own journals you can play along in your art journal as well. Or you can grab an art journal with an empty cover, today is the day to make it pretty!
I have made this book with some leftover papers from my previous journal so I had already bound it. If you are making your own Coptic stitch journal from scratch my advice is to decorate the covers first. I find it a lot easier to work when they are separated. And if you don't make your layers too thick your needle would have no problem going through. You can always apply more layers when it's bound.
For the first step I recommend using a thin layer of gesso. I made the covers out of a piece of cardstock that's not really suitable for layers of paint, with a layer of Gesso you’ll have a nice base for your cover. If you are following this tutorial in your art journal you can always skip this step.
I like to work on the front and back cover at the same time so it will look alike. I'm a very intuitive journaler so I probably have no idea what I did with one of the covers tomorrow. When I work on them at once they will get the same vibe and it will fasten the drying time. It's also great to clean your brushes and stencils on the back cover. But I might be the only one who does that.
I build the foundation of my cover by adding some collage. You can use anything you like. My favorite things to collage with are book pages, music paper, magazine clippings, and washi tape. Glue them down with some matt medium or decoupage glue. Make sure that you apply a thin layer on top of your collage as well for some extra security.
Now it’s time to grab your acrylic paint and smoosh it around. I wanted to give my collage a matt finish so I mixed my acrylic paint with a little bit of gesso and applied it with a kitchen sponge for a soft texture. If you want to create a more rough texture use a pallet knife or an old gift card to apply the paint.
For my next layer, I use black acrylic ink. Let yourself loose and splash that ink around like it’s confetti. Make sure the ink is completely dry before moving on to your next page. If you don’t have any ink laying around you can also use watercolors or acrylics to add some splashes.
If I have to pick just one stencil to create with for the rest of my life, I’ll choose StencilGirl® Floral Frolics. It is one of my favorite stencils! It has so many patterns on it that no one will ever know that it's just one stencil. Apply the stencil with an ink dauber or a small kitchen sponge. To prevent the paint from running through the stencil, I like to dab my ink dabber on to my painting pallet first before I use it on my page. This way I know for sure that I don’t have too much paint on my ink dauber.
I glued down some lace at the edges and I let it stick out a little bit. This journal is going to get chunky over time so you want to give the lace some space to adjust your pages. The best part about a junk journal is that you can use your ‘junk’ in it. Did you ever use your used tea bag in your journal? No? Well, it’s a game-changer for your art! Teabags are a great way to give your page an extra layer and a nice vintage feeling.
Drink your tea and let your tea bag dry overnight. The next morning you can cut it open and remove the tea. You’ll have a gorgeous tea stained translucent paper to use in your artwork. Easy peasy!
Apply your tea bag with some matt medium or some decoupage glue, and you’ll be ready for our next layer.
Because of the Coptic stitch binding, this journal doesn't have a spine. To create the delusion of a spine I ripped apart some white cardstock from a cookie packaging and glued it down with glue. Underneath the cookie packaging of the front of the cover, I also glued down a book page with modeling paste from my scrap pile to give it a more interesting look. No cookies were harmed making this tutorial.
In my opinion, you can never apply to many ink splashes. So to spice up those tea bags I splashed down some white acrylic ink. I like to do this while the tea bag is still wet from the glue so that the ink gets a little activated.
My favorite step to complete a page is to add a nice layer of colored modeling paste through my favorite stencil! It's a great way to add texture, make layers, and make your page come together. For this cover, I used StencilGirl® Peony Blooms, isn’t it beautiful? I mixed up the two colors of the blue I used on the precious layers with my modeling paste to match the color tones. And applied it through the stencil with a pallet knife.
I always mix up too much paint when I’m creating colored modeling paste. A great tip to not spoil those golden goods is to grab some old book pages and just keep stenciling until there’s no more colored modeling paste left. Once they are dried you can use those papers in your next collage project!
For the finishing touches you’ll have to wait until your modeling paste is completely dried. For my finishing touches I applied some more ink splashes white, black and gold, a little string of twine, and a messing label with a scrap piece of an old book page in it.
And there it is, your own junk journal cover!
My name is Anouk, (Creanouk on Instagram) and I'm your guest artist of today. Very exciting! I started art journaling when I was 18 and I never stopped. I've been creative my whole life but I always wondered why there had to be so many limitations in art. Until I discovered art journaling. Now almost 10 years later I love to share my art and creativity with the world. I hope you liked my tutorial for today and I can't wait to see what you make!