Art Journaling 101

Hello and welcome to my first ever how-to. On today’s episode we will be learning how to make something called an Art Journal. An art journal is like the truest form of a scrapbook, in that it involves literal scraps and books. I’m a big fan of up-cycling, and not at all a fan of throwing away sentimental items. So many times I have found myself staring at a pile of what, to most people, looked like actual trash.  Things like concert tickets, movie ticket stubs, public transit receipts, wristbands, etc. were all piling up but I insisted I just needed to find somewhere to put them. Insert: art journal.

For all of you TL;DR people, here is the gist: find an old book, dictionary, encyclopedia, yearbook, or even your favorite novel that you’re okay completely defacing. Open up to any page and transform it into a nostalgia collage. Paint over the words and pictures, or cover the page entirely with construction or scrapbook paper. On top of that add photos, quotes, the “trash” I discussed earlier. Voila, art journal!

For those willing to stick it out for a more in-depth how to:

  1. Find a book: I am a loyal Disney fan, so I decided to go with this book of all of the Classic Disney stories: img_0916but really any (ideally hardcover) book will do.
  2. Buy your crafting supplies. I would recommend starting off with a few acrylic paints (Walmart, target, craft stores), mod podge (same), a pack of construction paper and/or scrapbook paper (craft stores have better variety of these), scissors, paint brushes and sponges (I use brushes for painting and sponges for mod podging), and anything else you like to craft with! Glitter also never hurts.       img_0929
  3. Paint (or don’t) the book cover. I chose to paint the cover because I loved the title but didn’t love the colors. img_0932 Boom, much better.
  4. Decide what options you like for page-covering. Throughout my book I have chosen to paint over some pages entirely, to cover pages with construction or scrapbook paper, or to leave the pages as they are and just add to them. Here are some examples: img_0942 ^^For this nerdcon page I took a piece of scrapbook paper and mod podged it onto the book page. (mod podge is basically glue that you apply with a paint brush or sponge to the entire surface you are attaching to). From there I gathered my sentimental “trash” and mod podged it on top of the scrapbook paper.  img_0936 ^^I’m a big Alice in Wonderland fan, so I wanted to keep this page intact. I decided, instead, to glitter over the images themselves, so that I can keep the picture but add some craft.  Once again I just went with good old mod podge and spread it onto each color section individually and applied the glitter.img_0935 ^^this is a good example of something to do when you want to do some art/crafting, but don’t have actual pictures or paper items you want to add in the book. A good friend gave me some flowers and I wanted to save them, so I found a good related quote to pair them with. I used acrylic paint (bought at Walmart) and a sharpie. ~fancy~   img_0934^^^ Another option that I really love: if you find a page with words that you can find useful, you can do a variation of what are called Black Out Poems. For this you pick out the words, sentences, or phrases that you like, and then blackout the rest of the page with paint or sharpie. This page was inspired by a night this past October when friends and I walked to a nearby park and just played on the playground. It just was a good night that I wanted to remember, so I (you guessed it) mod podged a picture of the park up top.

So there you have it. This is a really simplistic kind of overview of a how-to. That’s kind of the great thing about art journals- it’s hard to explain how to make one, because you very literally make it into whatever you want it to be. I had trouble with conventional scrapbooking because I could never make my pages look like the perfect pinterest examples. This is absolutely not that.

If you would like more info, more examples or ideas for pages, where or what to buy for supplies, or even if this was just a terrible how-to, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer anything I get, (or for my nerdcon fam reading this, you can find me in the facebook group and I’m totally here to help!).

Happy crafting and DFTBA,



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