Thursday, December 19, 2019


Hello, Cher Lashley here! Today I thought that we would do a bit larger project.  Though I am presenting this as a journal cover you could also just follow this process to create a canvas or design it on watercolor paper just adapt as necessary.  However, for me, this is a journal cover and being such, you will want to choose the elements for your design that really have meaning for you: ie, the collage papers that I chose to paint over included an antique ledger page with 'Balance' written in red at the bottom, a Chopin Prelude classical music score in honor of my piano playing friends and my love for classical music and a book page from a bird anthology (love of books and nature).  If you choose other stencils, they should also reflect aspects of your personality, as well as the colors you choose.

Even though this is a relatively easy design to execute this is not a fast project, it will take you some time due to the drying times in between steps.  However, I thought it was well worth it as the end result will be a journal made with your own hands reflecting you all the way through.  I hope that you do, too.

-  Recycled primed and stretched 18 x 24 canvas or watercolor paper
-  Utility or box cutter
-  Metal ruler
-  Liquid watercolor or inks: the following were my choices, but choose what's best for you
   -  Magenta
   -  Taxi (a cadmium medium yellow)
   -  Aqua
-  Coordinating fluid acrylics or a semi-transparent acrylic paint of your choice
   -  Primary Magenta
   -  Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
   -  Cobalt Teal
-  White and black heavy body acrylic paint
-  Large brush
-  Makeup sponges or daubers
-  Brayer
-  Black and white Posca Paint Pens
-  Collage papers
-  Matte medium or adhesive of choice
-  Paper Towels
-  Heat tool or hair dryer
-  Spray sealer
-  Gloss soft gel medium
-  Optional:
   -  Tissue or collage paper for bottom edge
   -  Coordinating ribbon for closure
   -  Label or recycled junk mailer words

Note:  you will only be using a portion of the stamps you choose to fill in stencil openings.  I used the following:
-  Art by Marlene:  Tail from seahorse
-  JOFY 53:  Cluster design inside egg flower


-  Note:  if using watercolor paper, skip to the next step.  
I used a canvas that one side had gotten dirty on a move, but if you don't have one, you could look through thrift stores to pick up one cheap or just buy a small bit of rolled canvas.  My journal pages were going to be 9 x 12 to which I added a 1/4" top and bottom plus one inch for cutting error.  Mark your measurements from the right side across in three places.  Using a metal ruler and a box cutter or sharp utility knife, cut down rulers edge, then, remove from frame. 
-  Remove stencils from their masks and align evenly along what will be the top of your journal at the right, middle and left, then, lightly mark where the two spaces will be.  Remove stencils.  
-  Slightly tilt canvas up.  Generously fill your brush with the yellow liquid watercolor or ink and apply, each in turn, to the marked off areas dabbing with a paper towel as the color travels downward allowing color to lighten in it's progression.  See sample.

-  Dry thoroughly with heat tool or hair dryer
-  Situate leaves stencil over the yellow colored area, then using a makeup sponge or dauber, apply the aqua through the openings being generous enough with the color that it will slightly bleed out giving it an almost abstract quality.  Lightly dab leftover color on sponge along bottom of canvas as shown.
-  Dry
-  Using a fine tip black Posca Pen doodle leaf outlines in quick strokes around each shape.

-  Lay PS088 or your choice of stencil over the right side area, then, sponge openings using magenta.  Again, lightly dab leftover color on sponge along bottom of canvas.
-  Repeat the above process with the PS126 using taxi in the middle and PS087 using aqua on the left. Repeat dabbing the leftover colors lightly along the bottom.
-  Dry
   -  Tip:  At this point you may want to spray your canvas with a spray sealer so as not to reactivate when working in other areas.
-  Using your box cutter or utility knife, remove painted area of canvas from frame.
-  Tear your chosen collage papers to a size that will fit under each of your stencils. Adhere these pieces under the watercolored stenciled areas with matte medium or adhesive of choice.
-  Using the masks from the stencils (the plastic area that surrounded your stencils before removal) apply your coordinating acrylic paint with a makeup sponge or dauber.

-  Dry
-  Align each stencil within it’s painted, masked area, then, outline with a fine tip black Posca pen.
-  Using the stencils from the left and right sections of your canvas place on stenciled leaves area about midway up from the painted images as shown on sample. Fill in the outside areas with a makeup sponge loaded with heavy body white acrylic paint. Fill in the interior shapes with your three fluid acrylic colors. Don’t be perfect. Allow the paint to somewhat run out from the design as this will allow you to doodle the shapes into the design making it more your own.
-  Dry
-  Lay your stencils back over the painted collage stenciled areas and fill in some of the areas with black paint or use a black Posca pen being careful not to fill in areas that your just finished multi colored stencils overlap.  This technique allows these painted collaged areas to recede to the background somewhat.
-  Again, lay the two stencils over your multi colored design areas and outline with a black Posca pen, then, mask the around the areas that you do not wish the stamped designs to overrun.
-  Choose two interesting design areas from your stamp collection. Brayer these areas with black paint and apply to open areas of your choice and allow to dry thoroughly.
-  Strengthen the stamped images by outlining with a fine tip black Posca pen, then, fill in some areas with a white Posca pen to add interest.  I, also, strengthened some of my white painted areas with the paint pen so there would be a bit of contrast between the whites to add depth.
-  Doodle around the interior painted shapes in different ways to make the design different from the other stenciled areas and more your own.
-  Optional:  Adhere a label to the front wherever you feel it fits into your design.
   -  Note:  I originally had a label, but the day I was to adhere it I received a junk pamphlet in the mail in my colors (wow) with words that were meaningful enough to use as my label. It was a great way to add another element of my commitment for next year to use more recycling in my work.
-  Optional:  Adhere tissue or collage paper to the bottom of the canvas with matte medium or adhesive of choice.
-  Spray entire canvas with spray sealer
   -  Tip:  It’s a good idea to allow your canvas to dry overnight at this stage.  Though it may feel dry to the touch, it is still ‘green’ and needs time to cure before adding the final sealing coats.
-  Sew in your signatures at this point if you are making a journal.
-  Turn the first page of your signature to lie flat on the front journal cover, then, fold flap inward approximately 3/4 to 1” and glue down onto that first journal page with a good, strong glue. Repeat the fold on the back journal page, meeting canvas to canvas and glue. Set clamps or heavy books along the edges and allow to dry thoroughly.
-  Mix soft gloss gel medium with water to a consistency of paint. Apply two to three coats drying thoroughly in between to add a sturdy protective layer.
-  Optional:  I chose to use a ribbon to keep my journal closed. I used a length of this same ribbon to adhere to the back folded over area to give it a nice finished look.

I hope you enjoyed this process for making a journal cover.  An art journaling teacher made the statement that once you’ve made your own journal, you never go back. I have a tendency to agree with her.  There are more than a few tutorials out there on how to sew pamphlets together to make signature, then, sew them into a journal cover.  This, too, is a bit time consuming, but the pride in having made your own and the strength of your project will more than make up for it.

Next week, I promise to have an easier, but just as fun project for you.  So til next time...Cher

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