Thursday, March 25, 2021

Guest Designer: Juicy*S (aka Sarah Gardner)

My creative practice is a big part of my self-care. Art journaling is one of my favorite creative things to do. I work in my art journal in a mixed media style that can be a multi-stage process sometimes spread out over days. For me, junk journaling is the creative and intuitive process of art journaling with a little less pressure and commitment.

I always use what I call “art papers” as part of any junk journal that I make. This usually includes a heavy weight paper for the cover and several other different papers that will be pages in the junk journal. StencilGirl® stencils are a great way to add color and marks to these papers! This allows me to set up a color scheme for the journal, and gives me some ready-made backgrounds and marks to start from as I work in the journal later on.

For my art papers, I used Bristol for the cover, a security envelope, some scrapbooking paper (card stock), a piece of mixed media paper, and part of a brown paper shopping bag as my substrates.

Here is the cover and the security envelope.  I gessoed the Bristol before embellishing it to give it even more weight as the cover of the journal.

Here are the supplies and stencils I used:  For the initial marks I used graphite pencil, a Woody in light pink, and Caran D’Ache Neocolor II’s in Indigo, and Orange.  Then randomly sprayed on Dylusions Ink Spray in mostly After Midnight and a little Bubblegum Pink. I sponged teal, light turquoise, celadon and white acrylic through Rae Missigman’s Botanical Wildflowers, Frazzled and Ruffled Feathers mask, and her small Travel Note.

Here is the printed piece of scrapbooking paper, using the same techniques, stencils and colors, except for the Dylusions Ink Spray. I only used Bubblegum Pink.

Here are the last two prepared papers.  One is the mixed media paper, and the other is the brown paper bag, both of which are two-sided. 

The mixed media paper is a gel print on one side and a layered stencil print on the other.  For the stencil print I used Traci’s Circles Circles large stencil with that same mixture of pink, red and white acrylic over the paper I had randomly covered with the Dylusions Spray Inks.  The other side is heavily layered with gel prints using the same color palette. I used all the same stencils except for the addition of the large stencil from the Block prints December 2020 StencilClub collection. You can’t really see discrete shapes but it is a wonderful multi-colored paper that will be a great background for art journaling!

For the paper bag piece (photo 3 upper left corner), I had to throw in some Holbein Luminous Rose through Traci Bautista’sDeconstructed Zinnia Mask at the stenciling stage.  I used pretty much the same process, but finished with a mixture of red, white and pink acrylic through Rae’s large stencil from the September 2020 StencilClub Collection: Modern Botanicals. I also added some white through her ATC Mixup #2 Botanicals

The reverse of the paper bag piece is going to be my centerfold.  I used Rae’s Botanical Wildflowers mask and sponged a combo of red, pink and white over it to cover the brown paper.  Then, I used Caran D’Ache Neocolor II’s in Turquoise, Ultramarine, and Light Grey to color in the leaves of the stenciled image.

Here’s the step-by-step:

1.         Make some random marks and scribbles with a lead pencil and some water soluble crayons.

2.         Then, spray the papers with some ink sprays or shimmer sprays.

3.        Add a spritz of water to activate the water soluble crayons and dilute the ink sprays.

4.        Use one stencil and one color to add painty stenciled marks randomly over the page.  You can use a mask or a stencil for this.

5.        Repeat this process with two or three more stencils/masks and two to three different colors of acrylic paint.  I like to be sure to use a neutral (Celadon is my neutral) and some white.

6.        Here’s an option to further embellish your art paper:  Add stenciling of a coordinating color over your stenciled paper. This tones the paper down a little.  In this case, I used Mary Beth Shaw’s Layers of Scallops stencil and I now have a scalloped edge to cut as a unique feature of this page in my junk journal.

Now to assemble the journal:

I used some vintage ledger, book paper (dictionary and botanical), and wallpaper for some of the other pages in this journal.  I also have a piece of polka dotted scrapbooking paper, a piece of craft card stock, and some fine handmade paper in turquoise with gold printing.  All of these have to be cut to size to fit into the cover, so I just eyeball it and use a metal ruler to trim them down.  I don’t care if it’s precise, but if you do, you can use a paper trimmer, and even mark the pages with a ruler and use scissors. Don’t throw those scraps away!!!! These are collage papers that already match with your junk journal!  So handy!

Some of the vintage papers are pretty delicate and I don’t want them to tear during the binding process or when I’m using the journal.  So I reinforce these at the fold with some washi tape.

Arranging the papers so that the different “spreads” in the journal invite me to play is part of the binding process.  Once I have them arranged, I separate them into a couple different sections that will nestle into each other.  Then I have the cover, and two sections.

Instead of clipping the pages as a way to hold them together while sewing the binding, I stitch the two sections at the spine separately on my sewing machine.  Then, they easily hold together while I bind them because the papers are already secure.  As I was sewing, I decided to sew on a sari ribbon to act as the closure for the journal.

I use a simple pamphlet stitch for the binding.  I nestle the two sewn sections together, add the cover to the outside, and then start the binding process.  First, I punch three holes in the center fold with an awl. 

Then, using a needle and thread I go into the middle hole from the outside leaving some thread outside to tie at the end.  From the middle hole inside I stitch into one of the outer holes.  As I come around to the outside I go back in at the farthest hole and inside the journal I will finally go back out through the middle hole.  I like to have my two tails, on either side of the outside stitch and I tie a knot around this to secure the binding.

Wrap your ribbon and tuck it in to close the journal until you want to work in it.  I can’t wait! But I have to write up this blog post, so I will have to! 

Have fun!  Tag me so I can see if you make a junk journal like this!

Juicy*S  (aka Sarah Gardner)
Juicy*S Art


  1. I love this, wonderful journal. I will definitely check you youtube videos. Thank you.

  2. Love this, Sarah - the colors, the special touches, all of it - thanks!

  3. Such fun colours and enjoyable process from start to finish! Thank you for a generous explanation.

    1. Thank you Autumn for your sweet and encouraging comment!

  4. This is a great tutorial, one that somebody would pay for! It's thorough and well-explained! Thank you, Sarah!

    1. Thank you Melenia! Your comment means so much to me!


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