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Make Your Own Art Journal

Art journal with Zutter Binder

Using a binder and a few pre-decorated pages you can get an awesome art journal made in just minutes!

I recently bought Zutter binder so I decided to put it in use and made my own art journal. I love the finnish product so I decided I will share it. Here is what you will need:

Watercolor paper – Brand on the picture above I use on most of my projects. I love the quality, thickness and also the price is awesome.
Brush – it is for mod podge so it doesn’t have to be the best quality
Mod Podge – I used both matte mat and gloss depending on the page
acrylic paints – any would do
Distress ink pads and spray inks from Rangers – Love, love these. They come in any color you can imagine and for blending they are just the best for this because they don’t dry very fast. However, if you don’t have these or don’t really want to buy them you can pretty much use other inkpads or mix and match…
Blending tool from Rangers – To use with ink pads.
Stamps and Stencils – For decoration of the pages. Any will do as there is no rule what the journal should look like. I love nature ones so I will use these. Inkadinkado has beautiful background cling stamps I love using a lot. (you’ll also need a stamping block if you don’t have one at home already. Make sure the size of the block is bigger the stamp you’ll be using.)
When it comes to stencils, there is so many on the market by so many different companies, some prettier than others. I love Tim Holtz stencils but for this project I mainly used Recollections stencils from Michaels stores. They came out with large packs of cling stamps and added 4 stencils in each pack! (if you have a half price coupon for Michaels it is definitely worth the money!)
Black Sharpie Pen
Scrapbook paper for the cover of the journal and left over of some kind of patterned paper for flower petals
2 pieces of cardboard – size depending on how long you want the journal to be.

tools needed for project

Now when you have all your tools and materials we can start making pages. To make these can be so much fun. You just play with your paints and inks. There is thousands of different ways to use the materials and there are no rules and no right or wrongs! 

These are my pages. Some are made only with ink pads with help of a blending tool to blend colors together nicely and then layered over with stencils using same blending tool as well. Other pages have an acrylic paint background and are again layered over with stencils and inks. On few background pages, I also used spray inks. I love using these because they blend colors together almost all by itself after you apply some water over the ink. 

art journal pages

When I had my pages done, I cut all the pages in half, but you can skip this step if you have enough pages. Then I eliminated the ones I liked a little less and used them to apply large stamps over the top and then cut out the image and glue it to a nicer page I had made. Some pages I didn’t even used stamps and just cut out some petals and circles and then glue it into the desired shapes (in my case – flowers) and then drew over it with a sharpie pen to define the flower properly. 

Art journal pages

I also glued the scrapbook paper onto the cardboard after I decided what shape is my journal going to be. I like round corners so I made two of these on one side of the cardboard and left the other side with sharp corners. (that is the side that will be binded together) 

For the cover of the journal, I picked a black stripy paper from Heidi Swapp. Its very pretty and a little glittery too. You will also need another patterned paper for the inside of the journal. That one will be cut into exactly same size as the cardboard paper is and will be glued by mod podge to the cardboard (make sure you put it on the right side of the cardboard. If you cut the corners, it may be a little confusing, but this site of the page goes on the inside of the journal.

The top page, the stripy page, I’ve cut about an inch on each side of the journal bigger than the cardboard and also covered with mod podge and glued to the cardboard from the side that doesn’t have a paper on it yet. Then just tuck the paper that is left hanging over the cardboard over into the other side to make sure that the journal is snugly wrapped. When you do the back cover of the journal remember the sides are reversed (only if your corners are cut.)

Now is the time to use your binder tool. I used the Zutter tool but there are others on the market that you could use. 

Sort out all your pages for the art journal the exact way you want them to go and then just simply follow instructions of your binding tool to make them into a book. When I was done I’ve started decorating the pages inside a little more. I used my sharpies to draw random designs to the page and made a little text around them. I also printed some photos and added them to the pages. There are endless possibilities of what your journal could look like. Wish you luck and let me know how it went!

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