Art Journaling Ideas

One of my favorite backgrounds. The stars are made from paper towels.

My love for art journaling began nearly 2 years ago. Being a writer most of my life is what led me to this way of journaling. I LOVE it!! And I can't believe how many wonderful artists there are in this field. I hope you enjoy this post on creative ways to add sparkle to your pages, links to other artists and more.

The first thing to think about is what size and type of journal you want. Here are just a few...

Strathmore journals
Spiral-my fave

As for the size of your journal...that really depends on you. I prefer the larger size but have used as small as a 5x7.

After you find your journal it's time to gather your supplies. Your options are endless.

Just a few supplies
Watercolors, acrylic paints, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, old patters....

I LOVE washi tape and stamps and word stickers and tags!

Foam stamps, paper doilies, masking tape, bubble wrap....

Even a styrofoam cup! You can use the top or the bottom for cool circle effects.

I don't know what I'd do without these....

I pour my paint in the small Mod Podge in the center. This just makes it easier to use and mix my paint.

The totally awesome thing about art journaling is that if you are/were a scrapbooker you probably already have all the "fun" little goodies that add the perfect touch to your pages. Pattern paper, stickers, rub-ons, chipboard, ribbon, lace and flowers can all be used.

A page out of my Faith Journal

If you asked me what one thing I would never want to live without when journaling I would say INK!

Ink is soooo cheap nowadays. Most of this was a dollar.

Along with ink I must have stamps!! So many uses with each one....

Backgrounds, words, numbers, card-making, letters,,,,so many uses. Most of these were a dollar.

The circles were made with a paper towel end and black paint.

Another supply I use often are paper doilies. They add the coolest look to your art page.

Paper doilies are available in the baking section of Wal-Mart, Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

Remember these from art class? A box of 12 is under 2 bucks.

See these toilet paper and paper towel tubes? Just put paint around the rim and "stamp" onto your pages, canvas's whatever. One of mu favorite effects.

One can never have to much bubble wrap!

And I love using plastic forks. The background below was created using green acrylic paint and while it was wet scratching a plastic fork in it.

Lettering stencils have become a staple in my art journals...they make AWESOME titles!!!

Here is an example of watercolors on the cover of my first art journal. It's my favorite. Light and airy.

And while we are talking about don't have to deck yours out...but it sure is fun! My favorite journals are spiral bound. I usually add ribbon to mine.

Okay, back to painting. Acrylic paints are perfect to use in your journals. There are dozens and dozens of colors to choose from and they are so cheap...sometimes you can find them on clearance for 25 cents!

Acrylic paints are richer looking than water and can give a messy look to your page...which I love:)

The messier the better I always say.  This is my cover from a class I took with Melody Ross. Lots of cool stuff going on here. Foam stamps {the letters and the star}, pattern paper, markers {used to outline the letters}, rub-ons and stickers.

Another page using acrylics.

Sometimes it's fun to use just one color in a few shades on your page.

I use vintage girls in EVERYTHING!! You can find them in old magazines, on-line and if you are lucky at yard sales...I once found an entire box filled with dozens of image for a dollar!!!

I take the images, tape them on copy paper then make several copies so I can re-use the images over and over again.

Like I said before....there are 100's of things you can put on your pages...the options are endless.

Got masking tape?

See all those white spaces? Before I painted my page with purple acrylic I laid down4 strips of masking tape, painted over them....

Then after they were dry, ripped the tape off. A sweet, little journaling spot was left. Love it!

I LOVE stamping images on paper then cutting out and using in my journals...the wings on my girl is really a butterfly stamp...then I cut it in two.

Which reminds me...some days I create pages just  for fun. I go in my studio without an agenda and just play. This is the best way I know to learn and grow, try new techniques and's so nice to have lots of pages done so you can write whenever you want to.

Feathers have special meaning to me. I made these out of cardstock, markers and pencils.

I LOVE Robin Marie Smiths style...super bright and colorful. This page was inspired by her work. Art journals are the perfect place to play and try new things!!

Here is a typical looking page of mine. Lots of pattern paper, acrylic paint, ink, stamps, images and words. LOVE IT!

I found this bird image in a Missouri Conservation magazine! You never know where you'll find inspiration.

I recently starting using photos in my journals. Instead of the original I print mine out on typing paper.

Almost every single one of my pages is filled with Words. I love them! And I love the look of  printed Words and Phrases. To save time I spend 15 minutes or so typing inspiring Words, Quotes and Phrases on my computer. It's nice having a stack on hand especially on days when you need a creative boost.

One of my favorite journal pages

The main thing to remember about  your journals is just that...they are YOURS! You can put anything your heart desires in them. Use them for your ideas, dreams, goals, feelings, etc. 

Make your journals YOU!!

Check out these AWESOME art journaling blogs!

A Girl and Her Brush
Journal Girl
Art Journal Everyday
Nancy Lefko
Robin Marie Smith
Tammy at Daisy Yellow
Dina Wakely
Pam Garrison

** If you have a favorite Art Journaling blog PLEASE let me know!! I would love to add it here!!!:)


  1. Thank you, that was such an inspiring read.

  2. I like your site! Much "eye candy" !!! I am trying now to create Art Journal Rubber Stamps! I create fairies and mermaids, and thought it would be fun to have Art Journal Stamps with those themes in them......we will see if the idea will catch on.............

  3. Thanks so much Leslie! I've never done any art journaling so this page helped A LOT!

    xoxo Valerie

  4. Lots of great ideas, information, and inspiration here, Leslie!

  5. Hi Leslie,

    I'm getting my gesso on this weekend! hee hee You mention foam stamps - have you used acrylic paints on the wood mounted stamps? Does it gum them up so I wouldn't be able to use them for cardmaking? Just curious.


  6. fabulous inspiration and ideas -- thanks leslie --

  7. Well done! Thank you for putting that together!

  8. Very nice! Lots of great ideas... thank you! I'm going to have to go pick up some doilies. I haven't used those since grade school to make Valentines! :D

  9. Very nice! Lots of great ideas... thank you! I'm going to have to go pick up some doilies. I haven't used those since grade school to make Valentines! :D

  10. Love your work, thanks for sharing! Many great ideas for me who just started art journaling! Nilla

  11. Love all your pages Leslie, and I love that you inspired me with your class to start my own art journal...I need to work on it more as it is alot of fun and satisfying! :)

  12. really enjoyed reading this blog entry leslie, thankyou and your journal pages are really lovely :)

  13. Love your work, thanks for sharing. I'm going to try the strips of masking tape right away!

  14. thanks for the ideas! i cant wait to get started on mine!

  15. I love Art Journaling too! This is great

  16. Nice. I love the way you set up ypur blog

  17. Hi, I am new to art journaling :) Do you gesso ALL the pages before you work on them? Thanks!

  18. Hey there! I have a super awesome Art Journaling blog suggestion for ya . . . Traci Bautista, of course!! She's got several sites, but you can find them all by visiting her blog She's got a website (, a blog (, a digital goods site (, & two companion sites for her 2nd & 3rd books, & I hope this helps to inspire you! She's been inspiring me for about 7 years now!

  19. Thank you for all the great ideas! Here is a link to my favorite blog about art journals, she is pretty spectacular!

  20. WOW--LOVE your pages! What BEAUTIFUL & *inspired* work you do! :-) Hali

  21. I love it! Thanks for doing this!

  22. Hey, lovely blog and pages - a delight to visit :) will be popping back again and again! x

  23. Thanks for this info, I love to bake and a card maker too, but am exploring "my art journal" and appreciate all the info you have provided for someone who is not an "artist" but a plodder and hard worker, but I love seeing everyone else's art journals. Thanks again


I appreciate your thoughts and ideas...they inspire me!! I will be visiting you soon. Have a CREATIVE day!!

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