Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Rainbow Cactus Junk Journal Page with Shel C

Hello Friends! I am here to brighten your dreary Winter day with some rainbow cactus using my set of desert themed stencils. 



This year I have chosen a word of the year to guide me in what I need for my life. My word is 'serenity' and one way I am trying to bring it into my life is a daily art practice every morning. I made myself a junk journal...a real junk journal from actual junk. I make work on a page each day, practicing different materials and mediums. I play soothing music and have a nice smelling candle or essential oil diffusing. This practice has been really helpful to give me a calm start to my day. On a dreary Winter day where the sky is grey and overcast....I was feeling like I should make something the colors of the rainbow. That idea is where I started this junk journal page with my cactus themed stencils. 

I was really set on the idea of rainbow cactus. But I had no idea where I would be using them. So I decided to start by stenciling my various cactus on tissue paper using acrylic paint in the rainbow order. You know ROYGBIV. Or in my case. Ruby, Lemon, Cheddar, Evergreen, Marina, and Eggplant. I used some sponge dauber tools and a 12X12 piece of tissue stock.


The reason I really love to stencil my images on tissue stock is that they collage down on any surface really nicely. I prefer to use a brush with water around the outside edges of the image. And then I tear it out leaving a irregular edge. This type of 'fluffy' edge on the image makes it just melt into the substrate when I glue it down with fluid medium.

So now that I have a pile of rainbow cactus and it is time to start on my junk journal page for the day! This is my hand made junk journal. I used an empty cereal box to make the cover and added my word of the year, Serenity. Then I sewed in 4 signatures of folded papers that were just laying around on my desk and no longer needed. Why this type of art journal? I feel that it makes me less cautious as I am working in it. The pages are not expensive or even 'nice' paper. It may be harder to work with, but not at all precious. I can experiment as much as I want. I can rush. If it isn't perfect in the end then I really don't fuss over that at all!

I wanted some sort of background on my page that seemed dynamic and painterly. I decided to make some mountains and sky using a silicone paint shaper brush and heavy body acrylic paint. This gave me less control over my strokes and kept from me eliminating all the white space. At the bottom of the page I created a rocky area to plant my rainbow cactus by removing some of the paint through a stencil from my ATC Mix Up Desert Sights design. One of the 9 was inspired by the rocks in my back yard.

Once I had added enough variety of bright rainbow cactus to my background using fluid matte medium, it was time to add finishing touches. I added a sunshine stencil up in the sky. Then I  used a few gel sticks to add some shading. And a white paint pen for highlights. I also added black water soluble pencil and bled it out using water at the very end or my process. 

If you would like to watch this junk journal page being made from start to finish you can watch a video here. Thanks so much for visiting! Shel C


  1. What a great tutorial! I have these stencils and love them! ❤ Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you Wilma :) I hope you have fun making rainbow cactus this week!


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