Handmade Journal

Hero shot. Two images showing the outside covers of the handmade journal. On the left is Artful Thoughts and Theories, on the right is Breath Notes.
Handmade Journal featuring Eileen Hull’s Sizzix Journal Die #661903 and TCW Stencils – 8 3/4″ x 4 1/2″

Have you ever had so many thoughts that they just crowd your head and your poor brain feels overloaded? I’m pretty sure we’ve all felt that way sometimes. Recently, we were gifted this lovely journal kit from Sizzix designer, Eileen Hull, and I found a way to help my brain by making a dual sided journal to capture all of my thoughts and ideas. Aside from art which is my number one passion, I also love to write, walk in nature, and take notes to help me remember things. I mostly bullet journal these days as it seems that’s all I have time for, so I knew I wanted to create something that was easy to use, easy to carry, and multi-functional. I had also spent hours combing the interwebs for a traveler style notebook that I liked but I couldn’t find one that I just loved, so I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this opportunity! I decided to create a dual-sided, multi-purpose traveler’s notebook that gives me the flexibility to flip the inserts in and out, depending on where I’m going or what I’m doing. A traveler’s notebook or journal is the perfect solution for me.

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

I have recently fallen in love with Dina Wakeley’s gloss media sprays, and purchased a few in my soul palette colors which I used to spray the die cut mat boards that form the journal’s front and back covers. Warning: Please learn from my mistakes – Do not use too much wet media on mat board as it will separate the layers!

Close up image showing the dried gloss media sprays on the inside covers of the journal.
Eileen Hull’s Sizzix Journal Die #661903 and Gloss Media Spray paints on the inside covers
Two super close up images showing the divine patterns and marks of the gloss media sprays.
Look at those gorgeous effects the gloss media sprays produced when dry!

I also used the gloss media sprays on the outside of the journal cover. These paints dry with a gloss finish, which makes them super easy to draw over using acrylic paint pens. I used my uni-ball Signo black pen with stencil TCW2314 Punch Card Slimline Stencil to create some marks across the journal cover. These randomly scribbled marks add tiny moments of depth to the cover design.

Close up image showing stencil TCW2314 Punch Card laying on top of the dried journal cover. A black uni-ball signo pen lays on top of the stencil. Some stenciling marks are shown on the journal cover.
Black uni-ball Signo UM-153 was used to outline stencil TCW2314 Punch Card Slimline Stencil

To add some depth and dimension, I used TCW9008 Clear Modeling Paste with a palette knife through TCW936 Messy Writing stencil.

Close up image showing a jar of TCW9008 Clear modeling paste next to the cover. The modeling paste has been applied with a metal palette knife through stencil TCW936 Messy writing (also shown in image).
Close up image showing TCW936 Messy writing stencil with TCW9008 Clear Modeling Paste.

Once dried, I used TCW9006 Gloss Gel Medium to seal the layers before proceeding.

Close up image showing TCW9006 Gloss Gel Medium which was used to seal the journal cover before proceeding.
TCW9006 Gloss Gel Medium was used to seal the layers before proceeding.

Using a stiff bristled brush, I dry brushed TCW9002 black gesso over the dried and sealed modeling paste. This allowed me to retain some of the background color in places, while preparing the surface to add additional layers of colors and mediums.

Close up image showing a jar of TCW9002 Black gesso and a dry bristled brush sitting on top of the now dry brushed journal cover.
TCW9002 Black Gesso dry brushed over the gel medium and modeling paste.

One of my favorite products to use for adding shine and additional sealing properties is colored wax. I love using these Art Alchemy waxes by Finnabair. Using my finger, I lightly smudged a range of colors across the journal cover to accent the messy writing stencil design. The wax shows up wonderfully against the black gesso and adheres wonderfully to the ‘tooth’ of the gesso too.

A white plastic basket containing a range of Art Alchemy metallic waxes by Finnabair (from Prima Marketing) sits adjacent to the lightly waxed journal cover.
Colored metallic waxes were added for definition, shine, and additional sealing properties.

Now, it’s time to prepare the decorative elements for the journal. I wanted to make these smaller pieces resemble brass or metal, so I first used TCW9001 white gesso for texture, then walnut ink for color, and TCW9011 matte gel medium to seal the ink.

White mat board pieces to be attached to the covers for decorative elements were painted with white gesso and Dr Ph Martin's Dark Walnut Ink, then sealed with Matte Gel Medium.
TCW9001 white gesso created texture and TCW9011 matte gel medium sealed the decorative elements.

I used shiny copper brads in different sizes to attach the decorative elements to the cover. I also used TCW9011 matte gel medium under each decorative element to help strengthen and hold it in place.

Image of the completed 'Notes' cover of the journal showing the decorative 'brass' elements attached with shiny copper brads.
Close up image of the completed ‘Notes’ side of the journal cover.

For the opposite cover of the journal, I decided to go with an inspirational nature theme. Using matte chalk acrylic paint and a cosmetic sponge, I used TCW243 Ferns stencil to add two fern fronds to the cover. I outlined the dried fronds with a black uni-ball signo acrylic paint pen. The fronds looked a little lonely and forlorn by themselves, so I used TCW862 Maidenhair Fern stencil with a green pitt artist brush pen outlined with black uni-ball signo pen to add a couple more fern fronds to keep them company.

Image showing Magic Moss chalk acrylic paint on a plastic lid palette with a cosmetic sponge and palette knife. The black uni-ball signo pen and the green pitt artist brush pen lay next to the lid, adjacent to the cover showing the stenciled ferns.
TCW9005 white modeling paste was used to stencil rocks using TCW357 Cell Theory stencil.

Now I wanted to create the ‘ground’ with some dimension and variety. Using TCW9005 white modeling paste and TCW357 Cell Theory stencil, I stenciled some ‘rocks’ as the ground. I used Chunky Embossing Powder from Lindy’s Gang to add to the texture and heat set it using my heat tool.

Image showing white modeling paste jar and chunky embossing powder jar adjacent to the cover which has had both products applied to it.
Chunky embossing powder helped add texture to the ground and rocks.
Image showing the jar of matte gel medium and the bottle of liquid acrylic ink in dark walnut next the the journal cover which has had both products applied to the rocks and ground.
I used the same acrylic dark walnut ink to color the rocks and ground and then sealed it with gel medium.

Using a black and a gold uni-ball signo pen, I stenciled TCW873 Orb Mandala stencil onto the cover, then added the decorative elements.

Remember I said earlier not to use too much wet media on mat board? Well I did use too much and my cover edges ended up separating, so I used washi tape and TCW9011 matte gel medium to seal the edges and glue them back together again. I used elastics in the middle for the book binding holders, and I added a closing mechanism that can open and close from either side (because I made it a double sided journal) and it can also double as a book mark when the journal is open. When the journal is closed, you flip it vertically 180 degrees to open the other side!

If you’d like to watch a super quick fly-by video (1:03 seconds) of this journal creation process, please hop on over to my YouTube Channel @TealHareCreations.

Michaela Butterworth
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

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