My Top Ten Art Journaling Picks

I thought I would compile a list of my art journaling must haves along with several tools in my wish list. I use these every time I create and have found that having the right tools make all the difference.

1. Gesso

Gesso is perfect for allowing paint or sprays to adhere to any substrate. I use it to cover backgrounds, stencils or to mask mistakes. It can easily be spread with a palette knife or credit card. To create texture it can be built up in layers or put on thick. Everything sticks to gesso so what is not to love about this stuff?

2. Paper Scraps

I NEVER throw away paper scraps and perhaps that is why my crafting space is over crowded. But what is a girl to do when she is on a budget? My crafting budget for the year is $0. I am not joking. Since we moved I have stopped working so I am using what is in my stash. We moved almost 3 years ago.

Paper scraps are abundant and great as background texture or accents. I use them by clustering strips together and setting a frame for my focal points. I try to pick paper scraps that match the color scheme for my layout but if there are none I use gesso.

3. Vintage Photos/Ephemera


Searching the web for free vintage photo downloads is a great way to build your digital library. I prefer images of children and digitally altered images. If the photo is black and white I like to add a bit of color with paint. I also enjoy working with purchased packs of ephemera.

4. Die Cuts

I don’t own these Celtic motifs but they are top on my wish list for die cuts. Motifs are a great way to help create background texture and interest. I cut several at one time using scrap paper and then store them in my stash. At a later date it comes in handy to have something already cut. If I don’t like the paper I just cover it in gesso and paint away. The motifs can be cut into more than one piece giving you ‘two for the price of one’.

5. Stamps


Stamps are one of my favorite tools for creating background texture and of course, they make great focal images and accent images to any journal page. I couldn’t do without them. In fact, I have so many stamps my goal is to include some of those neglected and forlorn stamps into my journals sometime this year. Some of my favorite stamp companies are PaperArtsy, Stampers Anonymous, and Stampington and Co.

6. Paints and Sprays

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If you have followed me long enough you know that I use paint and sprays in almost every project that I create. Drippy paint is my favorite!! My go-to for paints  are the Fresco Acrylic Paints by PaperArtsy. Their colors are vibrant and have a range of transparencies.

The sprays I use most are Dylusion Sprays, Lindy’s Stamp Gang and Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist.

7. Texture Paste

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Currently, I use Grunge Paste but I also have several tubes of texture paste that I got at a discount store. Grunge/texture paste is perfect for use with stencils. A favorite technique of mine is stamping into the paste and then adding paints and Treasure Gold.

8. Stencils


Stencils are a easy way to add texture by using gesso, paint, sprays, texture paste, inks…virtually any medium. I don’t use my stencils enough but I love it when I do. Crafter’s Workshop has a great selection of stencils along with Stencil Girl and Prima.

9. Embellishments

Lace, twine and fiber are great ways to add texture to any project. I also use chipboard pieces, stickers, metal and anything else I find around my craft area to add dimension. When it comes to embellishing the more the better.

10. Inspiration

Pinterest is one of my favorite sources for inspiration as I am sure it is for many of you. I also frequent my favorite artist’s blogs searching for eye candy. Whatever gets the creative juices flowing that is what I do. I have a hard time creating if I am not in the mood so getting prepared is essential.

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