Friday, February 26, 2016

Make Your Own Expermenting Journals by Giving Old Planners a New Life!

Hello and servus!

Claudia here to bring you another inspirational post as OCC's "Resident Guest Designer"!

If you - like me - are a hopeless hoarder of notebooks and planners and - like me - can't cope with throwing away half or un-used planners from the year before, you may like this post as I am trying to give one of them a new life as my new "experimenting journal".

With "experimenting journal" I mean what it says: not use it or create in it with a finished and presentable journal page in mind but to experiment and use it as a working tool - try out new markers, paints, how one works on top of the other and such things. Do some doodling exercises. Practice drawing or handwriting skills....or simply throw on some paint, glue on scraps...just to be creatively "movin'" to stay in the flow.

I had only just received my awesome Brett Weldele "Creepy Trees" stencil (I finally managed to buy online without having to pay a fortune for shipping costs) and I knew I HAD to use that one!!!

So the first thing I did was cover the front cover with a layer of black acrylic paint. Once that was dry I worked over that with some DecoArt Americana acrylic paints  that I stippled on wet on wet and let them mix during that process.

Stippling a new colour tone over an other one that is still wet creates a lovely blending effect:

During the whole process of stippling on and mixing colours the trees stencil was being held in place firmly! As it is made from a rather rigid material I had no bending or smudging from paint creeping underneath (as it happens sometimes when using paints that are too fluid or masks or stencils that are made from softer material)!

Next I stamped on some texture using an opaque white stamping ink and an Andy Skinner stamp with a scratch pattern.

I added some finer branches using a 3rdEye stamp and black archival stamping ink to create more depth:

 Before I put on the idea-ology word stickers I also stamped on some small scrip patterns here and there. The word stickers were outlined using a white gel pen to help blend them in.

 I also drew a thin white outline around the cover's edges to repeat the white outlines around the word stickers.

Some white and orange DecoArt Media Mister paint was sprayed on to create beautiful splatters and drip lines.

 For a finish I also sprinkled on some bright green using the Liquitex splatter brush. I covered the two word stickers with paper strips during that process.

I used my fingers and the paints I had used on the cover to tone down the bright neon orange colour of the rubber band that holds the planner shut! (and as I am writing this post I find that I forgot to do so with the little ribbon that is used to mark the page you're on).

My plan with this old altered and barely used planner is to hopefully also share some of the experiments I will be making in it from time to time. I will have to glue together pages to make them more sturdier or maybe also gesso them first...but the main aim is to use this as a place where to create without the hindhought of showing (or showing off) but to discover new paths for the creative journey.

Maybe that would be something you would love to try too...and of course I would love to see part of your journeys shared with me as well ;)

Hugs and happy crafting,


  1. Beautiful cover. Love trees and the colors just make them pop.

  2. Such and Awesome treatment to the cover ..Loved the various technique used ,Thanks for sharing !

  3. Fabulous Claudia, love the depth, contrasting colors, splash effects and and ... especially experimental joy!! Hugs Kerstin xx

  4. Wow Claudia! I can always rely on you for inspiration when I'm in the doldrums. I love hat you have done, I have 4 Kraft card journals mocking me, now I know how to tackle them x

  5. What a beaut cover, and what a great idea to use old planners!!!!

  6. Fabulous cover to your planner!!

  7. Great idea for those that save planners. I don't, however, I am a pack rat with emphemera, so I could use a gently used spiral bound watercolor booklet and practice in it. I do love how you decorated the exterior. I have plenty of stencils to choose from, so instead of writing about it, I should get to work, for I do need a place to experiment and write down what happened and use it as a reference. It would be great to just practice doodling in also. Thanks for the idea..., or should I say, thanks for the reminder to make one.

  8. Wonderful project and tutorial Claudia!

  9. Stunning and now I'm looking at that stencil in a new light which means I'll have to buy it!
    Donna xxx

  10. Now, once again at your instigation, I have to buy a new tree stencil. The addition of the tiny branches really does add more depth.

  11. Great idea for those planners...I think I may have a few:)! What a gorgeous mysterious look to it! Love this!

  12. I so love anything with trees and oranges so THIS project is just INCREDIBLE eye candy to me Claudia. Wow. Just love the way that stencil looks with the paints - might just have to order it!!! This journal cover just came together perfectly and is just TRULY a HEAD TURNER. Love it. j.

  13. Fantastic! Just loving the cover of your journal and the techniques you used. The Andy Skinner stamp with a scratch pattern has just been added to my "I must have list and has the tree stencil.

  14. Ohhhh that tree!!!! Claudia-I envy your tree stamps and stencils and such! This is such an original idea and concept and one I am willing to try! Fantabulous book and thank you for the tutorial! Hugz! ~Niki

  15. This looks fantastic! Gorgeous layers and colours.
    Dot x

  16. Really fabulous Claudia, I love the result and your cover!!!!
    Hugs, Coco xxx

  17. Your talent knows no bounds Claudia - what a fabulous creation!

  18. Wow, a fabulous project, love love it!!!
    This art book cover is really great... and I love your process Claudia, thanks for the detailed step-by-step. I thought I had already left a comment on this?.. But can't see any message from me, so better two comments that not at all I think for some beautiful artwork seen/read and really enjoyed! Hugs Coco xox


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