Creating an Art Journal Book Cover


Would you believe I have never created an art journal cover?!  Yep.  I never have.  I have been wanting to, but honestly with designing, raising a family and taking care of a house by myself pretty much, there isn’t enough time to create just for fun.  But, this time I made the time.  I took a few days off from working and just created…for fun.  I ended up doing TWO covers and a few art journal pages :).  This first cover I created is for my watercolor book.  This is where I play with watercolors, not so much art journaling.  Below is my artistic process and step-by-step instructions should you care to follow along.  I hope you enjoy!

Please note that when I used a product, I have linked it to a place you can look at it.  I’m not advertising these sites.  I just want to give you all an idea of what the product is.


  • Hard Cover Journal or Book
  • Gesso
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Twinkling H2Os
  • Assorted Stamps
  • Assorted ink pads
  • Assorted Stencils
  • Silks Acrylics
  • Paint Brushes/Sponges
  • Gauze
  • Punchinella
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Glitter Glue
  • Spray Ink
  • Gold Acrylic Paint
  • One Art Doll
  • Gelatos

Here I picked out my hardcover watercolor book.    I believe I got this one at Michael’s.  It has lovely hand made watercolor paper with loads of rough edges and texture.

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The first thing you want to do is Gesso the whole cover.  It’s sort of like priming a wall before you paint.  It smooths out the cover a little and helps adhere everything together a bit easier.  Make sure you let fully dry before going forward.

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Next I pull out a light blue Twinkling H2O.  Now, I have never used these before until I did this cover.  I recently bought them on clearance.  Three packs, which contain 4 different colors at 50% off.  I couldn’t pass that up, so I thought I would try them.  These are very hard inside, which surprised me.  You simply just add water to them either by spraying inside the little container or taking a wet paint brush and repeatedly moisten until you start absorbing the paint on the brush.  I’m not sure if you can call it paint, but that’s what I’m calling it lol.

It has very, very subtle color.  I’m not sure if you can see it on the image, but I painted the outer edges of the book and it does add a lovely luminescence to the book.  I think it’s a cool effect, but certainly not meant to start this project out with…maybe at the end of the project because the color just gets buried.  But, this is a work in progress.  I honestly don’t even know for sure what I’m going to be doing next until I just start doing it.

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Next I took out some lovely scrap papers.  I don’t really use scrap paper any more, but I have a LOT of it.  So, why not make use of it, right?  Add a little texture, maybe a little print in there.  Not sure at this point if the patterns/prints are going to get buried in paint, but we will see!  I tore up several paper and used Gessoed to get them to stick.  I didn’t want to Mod Podge because paint doesn’t stick as well to the surface.  The Gesso works just fine here.  I gessoed the back and front of the paper.

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I have these cute little vintage looking thread spools.  I bought them at a craft store, so they are not real vintage, so I didn’t feel bad using them as stamps lol.  I like the little circle with the hole in the middle they provided me.  I took my ink pad and stamped the bottom of the thread spool and stamped away on my cover.  Please, again, bear in mind that I am just grabbing off of my craft table…not always sure what I’m going to do next lol.


Here I have another new product I have never used.  I bought them also on clearance when I bought the Twinkling H2Os.  These are called Silks Acrylic Glaze.  They are small containers of acrylic paint, but they are kind of glossy and luminescent.  They too add a subtle gloss and luminescence to your work.  The difference with these are that they are fluid like regular paint.  I had fun using these.  The downside of these is you don’t get a whole lot.  They are small little jars versus larger tubes.  I mostly used Silks with a few of my stamps.

I have little lovely butterfly stamp I got at Michael’s for ONLY $2!  I love it!  Stamps are so expensive and love it when Michael’s offers their own stamps for so much cheaper!  I chose some fun Silks colors and painted on the butterfly.  Then stamped it on my cover.  The image doesn’t come in as clear were I to use a ink pad, but not too bad.  Bright, fun, glossy…

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I have this fun punchinella that got at Michael’s.  You will find it in the ribbon section.  You can find it at most craft stores and you can buy smaller stencil ones too with different shapes online. For those of you who don’t know what Punchinella is, it is just the wasted plastic after sequins are made.  I love the effect they give. You can stencil in how you want your circles to look on paper.

Here I chose a yellow ochre ink stamp that is round called Mixed Media Inks by Donna Salazar which were on clearance when I bought them.  Not the prettiest colors, but then again, I love all colors.  They are round and easy to hold.  I just stamped on the stencil onto the cover.


Here I am just playing around with stamps and stencils.  I chose this lovely little peacock rubber stamp by Inkadinakado…don’t you just love peacocks?  I also chose this lovely Ginkoba leaf stencil.  For the stamp, I used an ink pad, but for the stencil, I used some bright green acrylic paint.  I tend to buy my paints either in a big box of assorted colors on sale.  I think here I got about 30 colors for $20 on sale.  But, I also buy Folkart Acrylic Paint or Americana Acrylic Paint, which you can get for around a $1.00 each.  You wouldn’t believe how much paint I have lol…I have about four bins full!

And, so far so good…you can still see a bit of that paper in there.

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Now I am going to add some texture to the cover.  I pulled out some bubble wrap and some gauze…yes, the bandage kind lol.  I just chose some colors and started adding texture.  Then more stencils, of course…gotta have a little fancy in there lol.

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It’s slowly starting to come together!  It’s got texture, color, interest…so far so good!


It’s glitter time!  Now, I’m not a girly girl.  I don’t usually do shimmer, glitter, luminescence.  But, when it comes to art journaling?  I have to have shimmery and glittery!  I took some glitter glue I got at Michael’s.  They have their own brand of assorted colors for only $1.00 each!  I grabbed some red and started adding little glitter dots all over.  I used a silvery glitter glue and traced my flourish stamp with it.  Make sure it’s all dry before you proceed!  It may take a while if you use as much as I do!

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Now for a little spray ink mist.  I have had this brand forever.  I decided to use it up.  I don’t care for the color all that much, but mostly I want some more texture by spraying lightly on the surface.  I like other sprays better than this one and not even sure they sell it anymore.  I don’t want to waste it, so I am using it up!  If you don’t know, I am in love with spray.  I like the look of the little droplets of color on everything.  I’m borderline obsessed lol.

As you can probably see what I mean by things “disappearing” or getting “buried” by paint.  My little butterflies are gone but that light touch of pink in there.  I’m not redoing them though :).

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I have these tiny letter stamps, again, I got at Michael’s I believe for $1.00 or $2.00.  I then stamped the middle of my book for fun, the word “journal”.  The little crescent moon type stamp I got in Paris.  It’s actually quite old.  There were tons of them at the flea market and I beat myself up every time I stamp that I didn’t grab more.  I don’t make a whole lot of money, so I tend to horde it for something I really want, even if I don’t know what that quite is yet lol.  I’ve learned to grab while I can lest I never get the opportunity again, as long as it’s within reason.


I’ve gone back here to my Punchinella.  I really liked that look with the touch of yellow, but this time I wanted to go gold.  I grabbed my gold acrylic paint and sponge and started stenciling.  I love the little circles in gold.

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Now here comes the harder part…my art doll.  Art dolls can be really fun, but difficult to do or make look right.  Especially when you are creating as is with no chance of going back if you make a mistake.  I did an outline and cut out an art doll shape.  Then I gessoed her on the cover.   Once she was dry, I took my Gelatos and started coloring her in.  I seriously LOVE Gelatos.  They are smooth, blendable and you can add water using a watercolor brush to make them look like watercolors.  Here I just mostly used my finger to blend the colors in.

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I want to add a body to her, so I pull out more scrapbook paper, stamps and a piece of lace.  I cut out body shapes out of the paper, I used the lace on the middle of her body and various stamps I got cheap from Michael’s. I also took some texture type stamps and stamped on with various colors on her dress.  I used my Gelatos to write on the back side of the cover with various words.  Then, I grabbed a white out pen of all things and outlined her.  I wanted more white added than the white gel pends can offer.  And, we are done!!!

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So, what do you think of my first art journal cover for my watercolor book?  I hope you enjoyed my little art journal adventure!  Thank you for reading.

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