DIY Art Journal Tutorial

Happy Sunday! I thought a tutorial a would be a great way to begin "Art Journal Sundays" here at Soul Whisper Arts.  Today I will be showing you how I make my DiY Art journal.

When I first discovered the art of visual journaling I fell in love. Journaling and art, two of my loves combined into one! Could it get any better? 

Out of necessity and impatience I did some research on the web and decided to make my own art journal.   


Here it is! I used a marble notebook, decorative scrapbook papers,  magazine images and ribbon.  And the best part? Since I had the supplies on hand in my craft stash, it didn't cost me anything! I've owned several yummy store bought journals since, but this is one seems to be my favorite!  

Now on to the the supply list! To make your own journal you will need:

1. Marble notebook...some covers are floppy so make sure your notebook has a good sturdy cover. 

2. 5-6 sheets of coordinating decorative scrap booking papers you love. 

3. Washi Tape of your choice

4. Decoupage glue...I use Modge Podge. 

5. Acrylic paint colors of your choice, white acrylic paint

6. Pencil for sketching (I use stabilo in black) and paints for her face if you are painting on your cover (I use Shiva Paint Sticks for my girls face in this project.) or a focal point image from a magazine etc. if you prefer.

6. Black ink pad 

7. Stamps of your choice

8. Ribbon 

9. Empty paper towel roll for more stamping

10. Gift smooth collage elements and remove air bubbles

11. Low grit sand paper 

12. Large zip loc bag   

13. Heat gun or blow dryer (because I'm impatient)  

14. Sharp pointed scissors

Now that we've got our supplies it's time to begin.   

1. The first thing I do before beginning to alter my cover is to insert the inside pages of my notebook into a zip loc bag. The large bags are the perfect size for a marble notebook. It helps to keep your pages clean inside while you work on the cover.  

2. Next it's time to sand the cover to give the Modge Podge something to grip to. Once the covers are sanded, I give them a wipe with a paper towel to remove any dust.  

3. Now it's time for the fun part! When it comes to this of this process I try to just have fun and I approach it the way I would a layers.

Tear your pages into small pieces and glue them onto your notebook cover flattening each piece down and removing air bubbles with your old gift card as you go. Laying your notebook flat allows you to work on the front and back cover at once.   

Once each side is covered, layer a coat of Modge Podge over the whole thing and let dry. Repeat this process for the inside of your journal covers to give your book a finished look. 

4. Once the cover is dry on the inside and outside, begin loosely applying paint colors of your choice over the collage on the outside of your journal.  I have no plan when I do this except making sure I use colors I love. Just go with the flow until you like it! Add stamps and washi tape. This is a good time to use the paper towel roll. Spread some white paint on the bottom and stamp! The white adds a nice contrast. I tend to leave the inside of the covers unpainted once I cover them with paper.

I keep a heat gun close by to dry in between layers of paint. 

6. The next step is to decide on your focal point. Once your background layers are done, you can really go about the next step however you'd like. You could stamp a quote or use an image and text from a magazine like I did for my first one. For this project I decided to really personalize it and paint a girl on the cover.   

I sketched her out with my stabilo pencil and used Shiva paint sticks to paint her face. Although they take 24 hours to dry, they are super creamy and easy to work with. Well worth the wait!

I use my stabilo pencil to draw in her face details and white acrylic paint for the whites of her eyes. I added a flower cut from scrap booking paper for her hair. 

7. Once you are satisfied with your cover design, ink the edges with a black ink pad to give it a distressed look. I use my finger for this. I dip in ink and rub the edges until I like the look. Let dry. 

8. At this point I give a good few coats of acrylic sealer. This is better done outside. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

8. Now its time to add our ribbon closure. I'm not fancy at all when I do this. I simply poke a hole in each side of the cover with the point of my scissors. I push the ribbon through (this can be a pain depending on the width of your ribbon. Case in point..this lace I chose. I was determined though and finally got it through!

 I eyeball it to make sure they line up (some what) and tie a know to secure it in place. 

And here she is all done!

I hope you guys enjoyed this quick and easy project! I love the idea of being able to turn something as simple as a marble notebook into a functional piece of art that I can document my hopes and dreams in.  

Join me for my next week's "Art Journal Sunday" where I'll be showing you how I turn those flimsy notebook pages into hardy canvases for my art journaling! 

If you guys have questions or comments, leave them down below. I'd love to hear feedback!