Thursday, September 14, 2017




How about a fun tutorial using Andy Skinner's wonderful Skuldoggery and Birds and Bones stamp sets?

Barney "the Bird Brain" is waiting for you over on Andy's Blog!

Who is Barney "the Bird Brain"?  Well, here's a hint ... he's just hanging on a door!

Here is a sneak peek at this fun and easy project.  Head on over to Andy Skinner's Blog for a complete pictorial tutorial.   

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Greetings art fans! 
I've been having so much fun with a new project and I wanted to share it with you.

Recently I got together with a couple of my art buddies and we decided to play with our "take" on creating Shannon Green's Unicorn Papers and Journal.  Never heard of it? Me either! You can see her YouTube video HERE and HERE to see how she constructed the basic pages. Layers and layers of paint, pattern and FUN!

This is the cover of my little journal. I LOVE IT!  More about how I constructed it at the end of this post. 

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I shared with you how to coffee stain your own book pages? Click HERE to refresh your memory on that. That was my first step in working on my own Unicorn Papers Journal. This is not a mandatory step but I really love how my pages turned out with this as the base. The pages actually feel more like material rather than paper after you complete the layers.

This journal started out as a 42 page (back and front) paperback devotional. But you could use anything. I coffee stained my book pages because I love the feel of them and the aged look before I even began working with them.

Here is what things looked like in the beginning. I decided on the colors I wanted to use to create my "rainbow" of color. Let me say that DecoArt's NEW PREMIUM ACRYLIC PAINT TUBES are PHENOMENAL and definitely live up to all the hype they've received! 

The colors are rich and creamy and work to perfection. I also used some of DecoArt's bottled acrylic paints. They are wonderful as well ... but OH! Those new Premium Tube Paints! They are thicker and for this project, I liked them the best.

Anyway, you start with a variety of acrylic paint colors arranged to your liking.  Have a hotel key or straight edge and a plastic palette ready to go.  AND...UNDERNEATH, don't forget to have a piece of scrap paper not only to protect your work surface but to get all sorts of yummy, wonderful abstract colors as you're working.  SAVE THOSE SCRAP PAPERS!!!

Next, squeeze out big dobs of paint at the top of your plastic paint palette. They should be touching but not overlapping. Then using your hotel key, lightly scrap the paint downward to the opposite side of the palette. Let the paint flow down from the hotel key leaving a trail of color.

Once you have done that,use the edge of the hotel key to pick up some rainbows of paint and then start randomly swiping it across your coffee stained pages.  You will get all sorts of randomness. This is just the first layer so don't be so concerned with covering every inch of the pages with paint. The pages in this picture are only the first layer of paint.

Next, take a piece of wax paper a little larger than your book pages. Squeeze some DecoArt Titanium White Acrylic Paint or Gesso onto the wax paper and spread it out with the hotel key. Next turn the wax paper, paint side down on top of each of your painted book pages. Press the white paint into the book pages. You get a wonderful random white layer on your painted layer. Reload the wax paper with white paint and repeat the process until you are happy with all of your painted book pages.

Here is what your pages will look like at this point. Onto the next layer ...

NOW the REAL FUN begins! Adding another layer of pattern and more color! Choose anything you like to create texture. Anything from stencils, stamps, bottle lids, bubble wrap, sponges, rubber drawer liners; you name it.  Dip those pieces into your rainbow of paint on your palette and start pressing them randomly onto your painted book pages.

Here are your pages at this point!  Aren't they wonderful? So much color and FUN going on here!

Now it's time to embellish the pages in whatever manner you choose. I started out with a magazine girl for my first finished page. I will take you through the steps I did on a few of my beginning pages as I am working through my art journal to help you along your journey.

I chose a magazine girl and cut her to fit my page. Then I started tracing around the stamped flowers with a Fudeball Permanent Black Ink Pen. After that, I used a very small brush and painted DecoArt Titanium White Acrylic Paint around my flowers and dotted in the centers for more interest. 

Next I used an exacto knife on a pad to cut around some of the flowers so that my girl could slip underneath them and I wouldn't lose that detail when I glued her onto the page.

Contining to add more layers and detail; I added various Washi Tapes from Jane Davenport and some other random ones. I added more black pen markings as well.

I added a sentiment from a magazine and inked around it to finish off the page. I also used my finger with some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black paint on it to finish off all of the edges of the page.  I will do that on every page as I love how it frames everything.

Some pages can be really detailed while others can be simple.

An example of a simple page ...

I began with this page with all of the basic layers on it. The black stamps are Seth Apter's from his Ink Spots and Pathways stamp sets. Aren't they cool? I just love this background! Again, the black paint around the edges of the page.

Here is the finished page.  I simply glued my magazine girl in place and added a magazine sentiment which I framed with a black permanent ink pen. Simple ... but the background makes this page!

No magazine people on a page?  Okay. Here's an example ...

I added some DecoArt Media White Gesso to this page in the center. You'll see why in a second.

I stamped this lovely butterfly onto the center of the page using Permanent Black Ink. I also stamped a sentiment underneath. I started filling in the butterfly using another fun medium, Dr. Martin's Radiant Concentrated Water Color and a fine brush. 

Just look how the white gesso allowed the butterfly to POP against an otherwise very colorful background. I edged the page with black paint and added some random stamping of Andy Skinner's very versatile peeled paint stamp from his Industrial stamp set. LOVE THIS STAMP! A few black paint bottle lid circles and it's finished. Simple yet very powerful. 

One more page example and then I'll show you the construction of the outside cover.

This page features a stamp from Dina Wakley's Silhouetted Women stamp set.  It was stamped with Permanent Black Ink.  Now what to do?

I added another magazine girl to this page and also did a little heat embossing. Using Seth Apter's circle stamp from Pathways, I first stamped in black and then in Saffron Permanent Ink.  Immediately I added some Clear Embossing Powder over the ink, removed the excess powder and heat set it. I repeated this three more times randomly on the page.

And here is the finished page; framed in black paint.  The sentiments are from Dina Wakley's Face In The Crowd stamp set and are stamped with Permanent Black Ink.  I also cut around the stamped image and slipped the girl into the page. I like how those figured intersect.

And now for the cover ...

Remember when I told you to SAVE THOSE SCRAP PAPERS? Here's why!!!
Just look at all of the color, pattern and possibilities here.

I chose this small piece of randomness for my journal cover. To the left you see the paperback devotional journal all double taped and ready to receive it's cover. I cut the paper a bit larger than the journal so I would have "wiggle room" when covering the journal. Then I cut off the excess paper.  Finished, this will be an 8 1/4" x 5 1/2" journal.

Here is the journal cover in place; along with the black paint edges.

I glued my little unicorn girl in place a little below the center of the cover. Once dry, I added black pen work around the little girl and added some glitter glue to her because she's a "magical unicorn".  The shimmer of the glitter glue really plays off of the brilliant colors on the cover and the black edging really pops everything.

  Finally, I computer generated the letters for the cover, cut them out and glued them in place. I did some black pen work around every other letter to complete the look.

Once all of my pages are finished, I will glue them into the book.  If I have trouble with the staples in the center of the book coming apart, I will do some sort of stitching in the center to hold everything together.  This is such a fun project!  I hope you'll give it a try.

And don't forget to pull out those DecoArt Premium Acrylic Tube Paints and bottle paints!  You will LOVE your results!