Hello folks, this is Nancy bringing you a tutorial for a stenciled art journal. Creating your own journal is such fun and using The Crafter’s Workshop stencils gives you so many ways to add design to the covers!

Stenciled art journal cover with TCW stencils Nancy Lefko

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

Supplies Used:

6″ x 6″ and 12″ x 12″ Love to Fly stencils TCW 640s/TCW640

6″ x 6″ Heart Key stencil TCW642s

12″ x 12″ Life Remembered stencil TCW627

TCW stencils for art journal cover Nancy Lefko

12″ x 12″ Star Quest stencil TCW639

TCW star quest stencil for art journal cover Nancy Lefko

cereal box cardboard

fine grit sandpaper

The Crafter’s Workshop white gesso 


acrylic paint: vanilla, burnt sienna

baby wipes

Scotch® Quick Dry adhesive

fluid chalk ink: deep lagoon, burnt sienna, yellow ochre

masking tape

fine line permanent marker: brown

miscellaneous papers

phone book


waxed linen cord

yarn darner needle

corrugated cardboard


Cut cardboard from cereal box to the desired size for your journal, utilizing the side of the box as the spine. Cut additional pieces for front & back cover and spine and adhere to inside of journal to reinforce. Sand the gloss from the cardboard and wipe off the dust.

Cut cereal box into size for journal and sand off gloss finish Nancy Lefko

Paint with 1-2 coats of white gesso, inside and out, and allow to dry.

Paint cardboard with coats of white gesso Nancy Lefko

Paint inside and out with vanilla acrylic paint.

Paint inside and out of journal cover with acrylic paint Nancy Lefko  Mask off areas on 6″ x 6″ Love to Fly stencil and using deep lagoon & yellow ochre fluid chalk ink add design to cover.

Mask off areas of TCW Love to Fly stencil and add design to cover with fluid chalk ink Nancy Lefko

After adding the design, I decided the background was too pristine, so I “grunged it up” a little with burnt sienna acrylic paint and a baby wipe for blending.

Stencil design on journal cover Nancy Lefko

Trace around outside of heart design with a fine line marker.

Trace outside of heart design with fine line marker Nancy Lefko

Outside edge of heart design traced with fine line marker Nancy Lefko

Using 12″ x 12″ Life Remembered stencil and fluid chalk ink, add design to the spine.

Add design to the journal spine with TCW Life Remembered stencil Nancy Lefko

Decorate the back cover with 6″ x 6″ Heart Key stencil and the inside covers with the 12″ x 12″ Star Quest stencil.

Fluid chalk inks and TCW stencils add design to inside and back covers of journal Nancy Lefko

Back cover of journal decorated with TCW stencils and fluid chalk inks Nancy Lefko

Inside cover of art journal with TCW stencil design Nancy Lefko

Apply fluid chalk ink to all outside edges of journal and the spine edges as well.

Stenciled art journal cover using TCW stencils and fluid chalk inks Nancy Lefko

Create seven signatures, consisting of five pages each, using miscellaneous papers.

Journal signatures made with various papers Nancy Lefko

Use a template and an awl for making holes in signatures; done easily while working in an open phone book. Make corresponding holes in the spine of the journal.
Use a template and an awl to make holes in journal signatures Nancy LefkoBind the journal using waxed linen cord and a long stitch. Tutorials for the long stitch binding technique are readily available online.

Bound journal with signatures of various papers Nancy Lefko

Long stitch using waxed linen cord and long stitch Nancy Lefko

Dry brush bits of corrugated cardboard with vanilla acrylic paint.

Dry brush corrugated cardboard with acrylic paint Nancy Lefko

 Add touches of fluid chalk inks to the cardboard bits, and using a quick dry adhesive, adhere to the cover. Let dry.

Adhere cardboard bits to cover using quick dry adhesive Nancy Lefko

Finished journal spine decorated with TCW stencils Nancy Lefko

Add a stenciled dragonfly from the 12″ x 12″ Love to Fly stencil to complete the journal cover.

Finished art journal cover with stenciled designs and embellishments Nancy Lefko

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial.

I think once you begin to make your own hand bound journals you’ll find that you can’t stop!

See you next time!



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