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An Altered Journal Bit Of Fun

A close-up, angled view of the new
textured surface on my 3rd journal
I've been using sketchbooks as art journals for a while now.  For me, they are a way of documenting my ideas for art and business (instead of just using them to practice art).  I first started utilizing my sketchbook as a journal a few years ago when I found a sketchbook at a thrift store - and the sketchbook had been covered in fabric with a pocket for pens etc.  LOVED that!  (didn't love the colors of the cover.. but it was unique!).

My next sketchbook-turned-journal was a cheap (and I mean CHEAP!) sketchbook with rather awful paper in it.  Horrible for artwork (anything wet would almost destroy the pages) but lOTS
of pages and perfect for note-taking!   I ended up decoupaging the cover with papers I had originally used as drop-cloths for my artwork.  I LOVED the result!!

The original journal cover
of my new (3rd) journal
Front cover with some silk
scraps decoupaged onto it
Now I'm on to my 3rd art journal.  I've been carrying it around for a month or so now... and while I've loved the color, I did NOT like the lack of anything interesting on the front! (I found this journal in a box of old craft supplies.  I've had it for YEARS. It actually has quite nice paper!)

So I spent a bit of time on Pinterest (omg I love that site!).  I found people are doing the most amazing things to their journals... but I need something functional as well as pretty.  I liked the idea of adding to the front, but it needed to be able to fold open on itself and not interfere with my ability to write or create art in it.

First, I took inspiration from my previous journal... the idea of decoupaging.  But this time, I wanted to use a few silk scraps from my rather large collection.  I laid them out until I found an arrangement that pleased me and allowed for additional decoration.   I then adhered the scraps with Mod Podge and let it dry.

Lace Doily - this is what
created the flower's texture
Part of a paper doily
Next I wanted to add a bit of texture without adding a ton of bulk.  Inspired by the front cover (and corresponding article) of Somerset Magazine and some pictures from Pinterest, I decided to make my own texture paste and then see what kind of items I had lying around.. which would add texture.

FYI - I got the recipe off of pinterest.. and there are a ton out there!  But they are all pretty much the same.. a powder of some sort (baking soda,

baby powder, plaster of paris, sand, etc), some paint, and some glue.  I
ended up using about a half-cup of baby powder, 2 and a half tablespoons of white paint, and about 2 and a half tablespoons of school glue (the white kind we all used growing up!).  My mix was actually too runny... like gooey toothpaste.  Next time I'd use less paint and glue!!  But it did work.
Front cover with baby powder
texture paste added

I used a lace doily for the top texture.  The paste was too runny to give me the nice lace-look, but it did create the series of wonderful bumps (reminded me of shark's teeth, or sunflower seeds).  I used a paper doily for the bottom section and that looked decent.  And then I cut out leaf-shapes from a piece of cardboard and used that for the leaf shapes.

While the leaves were still wet, I used a knife to cut veins into the leaves. The leaf on the far right was  a thinner application of the texture medium - and dried too quickly.  I tried cutting veins in with a knife but the knife just skipped across the surface.... that texture medium is pretty strong stuff!! Which brings up another good point - once dried, the medium is VERY hard to remove!!  So be careful applying it (and try not to be sloppy) and then if you are sloppy, try and clean it up immediately!

Once the texture medium dried, I painted on top of it using a mix of cheap acrylic paint and water.  And then used a moist paper towel to rub the paint back off from the texture which really highlighted
My finished journal 
the texture.  I kept adding and taking away until I got a look I liked.  I also added a bit of glimmer mist spray to give it a bit of shine.  The final step was to spray it with a polyurethane to help protect the cover.

I LOVED playing with the texture medium!! It's something I would definitely do again - and may work with to create a few wall-art pieces!  It has inspired me to want to go a whole new direction with my art.  But in the mean time, I have a much more interesting journal cover to look at!

**A quick follow-up!  I've been using this journal for about 3 weeks now.  A few of the higher surfaces (like the leaf edges) have been rubbed off and one tip of a leaf has chipped off.  Overall I am quite pleased with how this is holding up!  I am VERY hard on my journals (as I am with most items in my life..sigh).  So it's nice to know that this texture will hold up to my abuse.  I plan on using the texture mixture on other journals - and maybe on an upcoming (non-silk) painting!


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