Saturday, March 30, 2013

My First Handmade Book

I have always been interested in notebooks and journals. I can't resist buying them. I have so many of them and I often don't use them as I am too afraid of spoiling them by writing something in them. I just love to have them. Don't get me wrong though. There are notebooks and/or journals that I do use. I've even got a board on Pinterest dedicated to Notebooks and Journals! I also have an interest in making books too. I have borrowed many books from the library on book making and have messed about  making basic single signature books, but it wasn't until a friend put me onto a Youtube video on how to make a basic case bound book, that I really wanted to try something a little bit more challenging.

I don't have fancy book making equipment, but for a beginner, you don't need it. I used printer paper, bought a little bit of coloured paper and cardboard (at a total cost of 90c) and grabbed my pencil, ruler, cutting mat, X-Acto knife, a needle and thread and some PVA glue. The average crafter will have most, if not all of these items, I'm sure. So, with that, I sat down and got started!

Stitching the signatures together took the longest amount of time, but after that, everything came together fairly quickly. I'm really pleased with how I did for my first go at this and I'm afraid to say that I think I might just get a little bit addicted to making books now! I'm very keen to get started on another one and to learn more techniques.

I learned this technique from SeaLemonDIY on Youtube. She has some great tutorials for book binding. If you're interested in learning how to do this technique, watch the video below. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Happier Ending

You may remember a week or so ago I blogged about when things go pear shaped. My efforts to create a beautiful journal page were thwarted by one final stupid mistake, which resulted in my gessoing over the page (several times) to cover it all up. I learned, that day, that sometimes it's best to just leave things alone and that not everything needs to be finished in one day.

This week, I managed to salvage my page. When I sat down to work on it, things just seem to fall into place. In actual fact, I had been adding little bits here and there since that fateful day, but I found myself on a roll after a while and went with it.

So, after I had covered everything with Gesso, it didn't seem to be enough to cover the hideousness which lay beneath. I smeared Gel Medium all over the page and stuck down various bits of text from old books, stuff I had printed out, anything. Once that had dried, I added another thin layer of Gesso, just to add some tooth to whatever might happen next and also so you could still see text coming through. Then I left it for a couple of days. I found some Youtube videos on Image Transfer and thought something like that might look pretty cool on the page. After several failed attempts, I finally summoned up the courage to put one on my page. I did this process by printing an image, using an inkjet printer. Some may argue that this doesn't work, and that it must be a magazine image, a toner based image (from a photocopier) or a laser print image. An inkjet image worked fine for me. Anyway, I spread a layer of gel medium down on my journal page and placed my image face down over the top. Using a popsicle stick (because I don't own a bone folder), I scraped over the top of the image, firmly but not so hard as to rip the image. Then I pulled the image off the page. This was a bit messy and I was left with a half stuck down, shredded piece of paper, but after some gentle rubbing with my fingers, I was able to get rid of the excess paper and was left with a faded and grungy looking image, which was exactly what I wanted.

Again I walked away and left it for a day or so. When I came back to it, I had just purchased some new paint, so I began to add some browns to the edges and this is when everything started coming together. I added more printed text, I found my Washi Tapes, I added some collage butterflies, I added some stamping, and stenciling and finally, I thought that adding one of my Resin Papers would be just the thing to finish everything off. I was so happy with how it had all just fallen into place. I was even more pleased at the different elements I had included on the page. Collage, Image Transfer, Washi Tapes, Stamping, Stenciling and Resin Papers. This was a much happier ending indeed.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

How To Make Resin Paper

Recently, I've seen a new Art Journaling (or even Scrapbooking) technique on the net, and I wanted to have a go at this myself. So this weekend I have been experimenting with making Resin Paper, and today I documented what I did so I could share it with all of you!

You Will Need:
*Two part Epoxy Resin, or Ice Resin. (I used 2 part Epoxy)
*Measuring Cups
*Popsicle Stick
*Kitchen Sponge
*Rubber Gloves
*Craft Mat (or greaseproof paper/baking paper)
*Some printed images and/or old book pages

*Make sure you have your craft sheet, or baking paper, wax paper, grease proof paper under your project at all times. The resin will not stick to this. Some have even suggested using a kitchen trash bag. Placing a resin coated image directly on your benches could result in damaged surfaces. Placing resin coated images onto paper may cause your image to stick to the paper and ruin your project.*

*Step One: Measure 2 equal parts of your Resin and Hardener in separate cups. It is important that you measure accurately, otherwise your resin may not cure (or harden) properly and will remain tacky.

*Step Two: Pour your Resin into a separate cup, then pour the Hardener into the same cup. Resin must be poured first, then hardener, not the other way around.

*Step Three: Mix the two together for approximately 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the cup to ensure that the mixture is completely combined. Once combined, let it sit for another minute or so to settle.

*Step Four: Choose your image and make sure you have your resin handy and a small sponge. You will also need your gloves for this part. I used a printed image I had on the computer. I have an ink jet printer and the process works just fine. You can use pages from an old book, magazine clippings, anything you like. Some have even used scrap booking paper.

*Step Five: Using your mixing stick, drizzle some resin over the top of your image. Pouring the resin on could result in pouring too much, so just drizzle. A little bit of resin does go a long way.

*Step Six: Using your sponge, gently wipe the resin across the entire image, ensuring complete coverage. Make sure you are wearing your gloves as resin can react with your skin when it is still in a liquid state. (I was naughty and did not wear gloves and did this at my own risk) Apologies for the blurry photo. I was trying to sponge the resin and take the photo at the same time.

*Step Seven: Once you have covered the image with resin, flip it over and repeat the process on the other side.

*Your images should look like this after both sides have been coated with resin. I gently sponged over the top of the front of my image again just to smooth out the resin again.

*I hung my images up to cure. The curing process will take anywhere between 12 - 24 hours. Until then, your project will feel tacky to the touch. Others have left their images on their craft sheets (or baking paper, etc) to cure but I didn't want to risk the slight chance that it could stick to the paper and tear. Provided you don't coat your image too much with resin, there will be no drips to worry about, if you choose to hang your images up. Just make sure you don't get your peg on your image.

Here is an image I made up yesterday and it shows you the amazing effect it can have on your papers. The resin reacts with the fibres of the paper to give it a transparent appearance. The image has a wonderful clear coating which is durable and leaves you with endless possibilities when included in your craft projects, art journaling or scrap booking. It has even been suggested that these would make great transparencies for overhead projectors! 

I had so much fun with this project and I plan on making a few more resin coated images yet! I'm already conjuring up some journal pages I can add them too. I hope you have a lot of fun with it too. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When It All Goes Pear Shaped

Sometimes there are days where you have an art journal fail. Today was one of those days for me and boy am I annoyed. I spent yesterday setting up a new page with off cuts from backgrounds I had created but not known what to do with. I had been inspired to try this particular page by Donna Downey. So today, the glue had dried and I was ready to start work. I added this, and I added that, and was quite pleased with how things were coming along. I reached a point where I wasn't too sure how I should continue. It was at that point where I should have walked away... But I bought some new Gold Lumiere paint. I was dying to use it.

 ...I should have just walked away...

So! The top image is the layout I wanted... The bottom image is what it looks like now. Not a happy camper. I don't even know what to do with the layout I have now, so I'm just going to leave it. Inspiration will strike later I'm sure. In the meantime, I'm doing what I should have done before investing many wasted hours into my original page, and I'm walking away. I guess we all have days like this. It's all part of being an artist. I have learned, however, that I can't force a page. I wanted to do a page today, but on reflection, I shouldn't have done a page today. My best pages are created when I don't really try and just let it happen.

Wordless Wednesday: Out and About Pt 2

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Well, That's A Bit Creepy...

I woke up very early this morning after having quite a disturbing dream. It's not unusual for me to have strange dreams or nightmares. I love dreaming. No matter what kind of dream it is, I'm usually quite fascinated that my mind is capable of producing such imagery and thought. However, this morning was particularly creepy and it took me a long time to get back to sleep. Aside from the fact that after a while, I was actually lying there thinking about how I could actually put this dream into a journal page.

This is a new thing for me. I've never used emotion in my art. I've never put thoughts onto a page. I've always just started a page and whatever happened after that was, well, whatever happened! I used to write my dreams down all the time, many years ago. After the birth of my daughter, I found morning routines more of a priority, and by the time I remembered I hadn't written down my dream, I had forgotten most of the details and didn't bother writing it down. I think it's something I might just start doing again. Anyway, I thought that this particular dream might be quite interesting as a journal page. I had already prepared a page for another project, but wasn't entirely happy with how it was going, so I gesso'd over the top of it. There had been quite a bit of texture on the original page, layers of paper, oil paint and ink, so I thought this would be an added feature to the darkness of the page.

For this page, I used acrylic paint and oil pastel. The teddy bear is something I found on Google Images. I splattered a little Indian ink over the page too, just to make it that little bit more grungy. I have blurred some of the text. Although I want to share my page with my readers, I do want to keep the text just a little bit private.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Water Colour Techniques Pt 2

As promised, I had a go at another water colour paint technique yesterday, using paint and rock salt. I soaked my page with water and quickly put my colours down. I gave it one last spritz of water and sprinkled some rock salt over the top. I probably could have put a little more salt on, but for a first attempt, it turned out quite well. One side worked a little better than the other. I think the paint had already set onto the page by the time I spritzed the second time. I've used water colour paper for both projects.

I left the salt on until I could see no more wet or damp spots on the page or around the salt rocks. Again it was a fairly warm day, so it only took a few hours to dry. The salt also came off very easily too. I just used a tissue to brush off any stubborn pieces, or carefully used my nail to pick off the extra stubborn bits.

Once again, I'm not sure what I'll do with this page, so it will get added to my stash and probably used in another journal page project.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Water Colour Techniques

Yesterday I was hunting around looking for background techniques for art journaling. I've completely run out of paint (acrylic) so I have to try and utilize what I have left, which is pretty much water colour paints and oil paints. I remembered hearing about a water colour paint technique where you fill your page with colour and before it dries, cover it loosely with Glad Wrap (cling film). I decided to give it a try and was pretty pleased with the results! Not sure what to do with the page so for now I'll just add it to my stash. The next technique I'd like to try is using water colour paints and rock salt, and then maybe both at the same time!

Edit: I left the cling film on the painting until the paint was completely dry. It was a warm day here, so I left it on for about 6 hours. The paint was dry, but the actual page was still a little damp. I have read though that you should leave the cling film on overnight.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How Did That Happen?

Sometimes the best pages happen when you don't put much thought into them. I'm not really sure how this page came about. I sat down to look through my art journal and found a page that I had prepared a background for but not moved on with the rest. I decided I didn't like the background and gesso'd over it. The rest is history.

I used acrylic paint, Dylusions sprays, Indian ink and oil pastel for the background. I hunted through my ephemera and found the cute little creature in a festival guide. I thought he would be perfect for my background.

Overall, the page took about 2 hours and I have to say it's one of my favourite pages. However, I tried another page today and that was a big old fail. But that, my friends, is another story.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Killing Time

This past weekend, my daughter came down with a tummy upset so we didn't end up doing a great deal at all. As we spent a lot of time being quiet and taking it a little easy, I dragged out my watercolour paints and filled a page with colourful squares. It's vibrant and playful colours brought a smile to my daughters face.

The following day, I decided to add lots of doodles to the squares, first drawing them in black fineliner then going over the top with my white Signo pen. Neither of the pens cooperated with the watercolour background very well. My pan paints must be a little too chalky so my pens dried out very quickly. Overall, I'm still happy with how it turned out.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Milk Art

Last night, my daughter and I were having a look on Pinterest (one of my favourite websites) and found an amazing tutorial on Milk Art. We decided that this was a project we just had to try, so today, we had a rummage through the cupboards and got everything ready.

All you need is a plate, or shallow dish (preferably square or rectangular), some milk, food colouring and dish washing liquid.

Place a small amount of milk into your dish. Enough to fill the bottom of the dish should do. Then carefully drop your food colouring into the milk. 

Take your dish liquid and pour a small amount into the centre of your food colouring, then stand back and watch the reaction between the milk and the dish liquid! My daughter thought this was amazing!

Here is a 10 second video we took of the reaction. It's REALLY cool!
*UPDATE 3.4.2016: The video link seems to be broken somewhere along the way, so I shall remedy this as soon as possible*

I have to thank and credit Flutter Flutter for this tutorial. I believe she may have found it somewhere else, but this is where I found it. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I have fallen a bit behind in my Lettering course of late. I've become a little bit sidetracked with other projects, but I'll be back on track by the end of the week. I have been working on this journal page, along with some other Mail Art projects, for the last couple of days. This page was inspired by some of the floral mandalas I have been putting on postcards lately. I haven't done an Art Journal page since the beginning of the year, so it was nice to work on this one.

I started by tearing out some old pages of a 99c copy of Wuthering Heights I found at the second hand store. I glued them into my journal and used my pan water colour paints to brighten up the page. Once that was all dry, I proceeded to draw my floral mandala with a Sharpie fineliner pen.

I might try another one of these using acrylic paint to colour the background. But I need to get cracking on my Letter Love 201 course again first!

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