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Wednesday, 29 July 2015


A brief history of mono-printing and some technical information.

** Psst! If you don't have a brayer go to the hardware store and grab the cheapest foam paint roller that you can find (a small one), it will work just fine!**

Free and Easy Mono-printing Methods

1. Plastic Bag Printmaking with Alisa Burke:

2. Mono-printing with recycling. Any smooth, non-porous surface can be used as a mono-printing plate. Things I have used include: plastic packaging from stamp sets, plexiglass,a glass cutting board, glass from a photo frame* and a non-stick craft mat. This video demonstrates the basic principle, and suggests other surfaces that are suitable: 

People have used this technique for hundreds of years, with printing plates made from wood, stone, tile, glass, ceramic, marble, and metal. Have a look around your house and garage and see what you can find that might work.

*Safety First: Leave the glass from a photo frame as a last resort, PLEASE. To make it as safe as possible, use masking tape on the edges and place an X from corner to corner on the non-printing side. Make sure the surface the glass is on is flat, with no humps or dips. There is always a chance that the glass will crack and cut you. 

Gelatin Printing Plates

Because of the soft surface, a gelatin printing plate can pick up more details than a rigid surface like plexiglass. This makes it perfect to use your stencils on. You can make one very inexpensively and kids really love it as well.

Basic Gelatin Plate and How To Use:

 Gelatin & Glycerin Plate: The Hectograph

Download a full PDF with the recipes, instructions for making and storing from the Files section of the Facebook Group.

The Buy-rather-than-DIY Option: A Gelli Arts Plate

  • Permanent and Stable
  • Stores at room temperature, no risk of molding
  • Durable, won't wear out
  • Both sides are perfectly smooth
  • Can be expensive and hard to get outside of America (I paid $70AU for an 8x10 plate approximately 18 months ago. This plate retails for about $30 in the US)
  • Can't be melted down and re-poured if accidentally damaged
The Gelli Arts YouTube Channel is a goldmine of ideas and techniques, no matter what you use to mono-print.

Lots more mono-printing tutorials are saved in this You Tube playlist

One last video that demonstrates the enormous potential in a mono-print series made with paper masks:

Saturday, 18 July 2015

My Art Journal Covers

This is a few of my art journals. I work in many different books as well as on loose paper. I am showing these ones to show the variety in their covers.

I use the envelope journal as a kind of keepsake diary, so I want to be able to take it with me if I go away to put ephemera and memorabilia in. I made the cover as simple as possible so it would go in a bag easily. Here is a great Coptic Stitch tutorial:

Here is the tutorial I based the above book on:

 Here is the tutorial I based the above book on:

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The future of Journal Journey

I am home with a sick child, and the forced break from normal has allowed me to think about where we go from here? I more specifically, Where do I take us from here?
When Journal Journey was born there were three of us to share the load, create lessons and participate in the Facebook group chat. Life being what it is, my fellow Guides had to prioritise health, family and paid work. Now I find myself in the same dilemma.
Returning to full time work was supposed to be a temporary change, but another opportunity has presented itself and I am very excited to be taking on a new challenge in my job. I simply no longer have the time to put together the lessons as they have been.
I am not giving up on Journal Journey! I just want to have more time to participate in the Facebook group because all of you are the reason I enjoy it. So I am not going to be doing the PDFs, I won’t be doing my monthly lesson any more, and the lessons will be considerably shorter.
My new plan is this:
  • Every weekend I will post one technique video and one page prompt.
  • That post will be pinned to the top of the Facebook group for the week.
  • I am encouraging you all to share the Art Journal resources that you are enjoying! Videos, blog posts, tip and tricks, post them all.
This way I can spend some of my weekend PARTICIPATING in the Journey, rather than just writing blog posts. Truthfully, I haven’t Journalled in over a month now, and I MISS IT. This is the reason you haven’t seen anything from me, I haven’t created anything. 
Thanks for understanding! Big hugs...

Saturday, 4 July 2015

July Week One and Two: Journal Covers

Halfway through our Journey, and time to turn our attention to the outside of our journals. There are some things that you should consider when planning what to put on your journal covers.

The raw material: What are the covers made of?

MDF (medium density fibreboard) or plywood panels
Give MDF two light coats of gesso to seal the wood. If any moisture gets into MDF it swells and disintegrates. Other than that, you can do almost anything with a wood base because it’s sturdy and inflexible.
Want to recycle? Chipboard sheets from the back of sketchbooks make great covers. Or you can cut cereal box card to the size you need and glue them together. Use a good thick PVA glue (e.g., wood glue) or a gel medium and weight them overnight under some large books or a pile of magazines. This prevents any buckling and ensures a good adhesion. I would suggest having at least six or seven layers of cereal box card glued together to make a cover heavy enough to take some texture and paint. Binding the edges with masking tape helps make the cover more hard wearing, and be sure to give raw chipboard two light coats of gesso before adding paint.
3-Ring Binders:
You can also use a normal 3-ring binder as an art journal. If it has a shiny finish use some light sandpaper to rough it up a bit before adding two light coats of gesso to prepare the surface for paint.

Colour and texture

Do you like the feel and look of fabric? What about a shiny, glass-like effect? Maybe rough and sandy are more you. All of these textures can be used on the outside of a journal.
Do you want to keep your journal on a shelf with other books? Keep the dimensional effects flat so the decorations don’t get caught on other books on the shelf. Want to go all out with embellishments but not sure how to store or display your journal? I use a decorative easel :
AJ cover

How is your journal bound?

If you are working on loose pages and want to bind them all together into a book, you can use hinged rings, a DIY-binding system (e.g., the Zutter Bind-It-All or the Cinch). You will have to take the holes in the covers into account when planning what you will put on them.
Here is my Pinterest Board devoted to the covers of art journals. Have a look to get some ideas about what you like and don’t like:


 Mixed Media Art Journal Cover using Die Cuts and Texture Paste:

Placing a Stamped Image onto a Textured Substrate:

Creating Texture with Tissue Paper:

Using Hot Glue to Create a Textured Design:

Masking Tape to Create Texture and Making a Small Journal with a Very Simple Binding:

Spiral Bound Journal Cover (flat texture):

Donna Downey Style Art Journal with a Fabric Cover:
This is a how to make a journal from scratch tutorial. She makes some mistakes during the making of and leaves it in to demonstrate what not to do and why, but also to show that mistakes are not the end of the world or your project, you can work around it when things go wrong!