Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Altered Birch Magnets Tutorial

Altered Arts Magazine has a brand new blog, and I just posted my first tutorial over there! I hope you'll visit it here, and check out the quick and easy instructions for altered birch magnets. The blog is updated often with inspiring ideas from everyone at Altered Arts, so be sure to stop by often!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

{Altered Arts Magazine} Canvas Art Journal + Favorite Supplies

A fresh new year means a fresh art journal! For my first Altered Arts Magazine Design Team post of 2014, I decided to create a canvas journal using a quick and easy binding and lots of my favorite art supplies.

I started with a piece of 9 x12 canvas from a pad for the cover, and used Liquitex Matte Medium to add a collage of handmade papers, vintage sheet music, old player piano roll paper, book paper, dictionary pages, and some postage from a package I received from France. This process is so fun! Just grab a variety of papers from your stash, start ripping and tearing, and slap it down! Start with more neutral papers then add colorful prints, and finish with the pieces you want to feature.

In between each layer, add gesso, paints, pastels, or whatever mixed-media supplies you enjoy using. Just play, experiment, and have fun with it! Finish off with scribbles and marks from your favorite pencils or pens.

For the inner pages I chose to tear down a sheet of 22 X 30 white Stonehenge paper into 2 sizes that fit inside the cover. I love this paper for making journals because it's economical and will accept a variety of wet and dry media. The deckled edge adds so much texture.

I often just eyeball my sewing stations, but this Simflex Expanding Sewing Gauge is amazing for quickly and accurately marking the holes for binding. Just pull it apart and you have evenly spaced holes in seconds! Of course, a ruler works well too, but this is a fun tool to add to your bookbinding supplies.

My favorite thread for binding is 4-ply Irish waxed linen thread. This is royal blue, but the thread comes in an amazing array of colors, and can be found at Volcano Arts - a great resource for bookbinding and other art supplies.

I used a saddle stitch binding technique to sew the pages and the journal cover together. This stitch is so easy, and allows the pages to lie flat for easy access. The inspiration for the canvas journal covers and the saddle stitch came from a wonderful online workshop I took with Jeanne Oliver - A Journey of Letting Go. I highly recommend this e-course!

I also found a great resource for bookbinding tutorials on Youtube: Sea Lemon. Here's a link to her video tutorial of the saddle stitch. Very clear and easy to follow.

As I mentioned, I used many of may favorite supplies for this project so I thought I would share them with in case you want to try them too. I used Liquitex Matte Medium both as a glue for the collage papers and to seal the finished canvas cover. Gesso is always wonderful for melding the layers together and for mixing with other paints to create a variety of tints. I used 3 colors of Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics including Iridescent Rich Gold, Cerulean Blue, and Unbleached Titanium. 

The next layer included a couple of Sennelier Half Stick Pastels. These are new to me, so I just experimented with a couple by scribbling around some of the floral papers, and then smudging with my fingers and a baby wipe. This adds a soft and dreamy look to the collage. These can be a bit pricey, but you only need a tiny bit and the half stick set allows you to get more colors for your money.

The caption should actually say a FEW of my favorite pencils, because I have many! But these 3 are definitely top of the list. The Conte Sketching Pencil is wonderful for adding scribbles and scratches, and can be easily smudged with your finger or a bit of water. If you can only get one pencil, I recommend the Stabilo Marking Pencil in black and/or white. These hardworking tools will write on almost any surface including acrylic paint. Just scribble, then smudge with a damp finger or use a paintbrush for easy shading and highlights. I used white and brown on this journal, but I love them so much that I have multiples in every color!

To finish off the journal, I attached a length of vintage trim to the back of the cover with an antique brass safety pin, As you can see from the first photo above, I also added a safety pin to the other end of the trim, so it dangles on the front of the journal. I may add a charm or two later.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process, supplies, and inspirations behind my canvas art journal! Be sure to visit Altered Arts Magazine on Facebook and Pinterest for more inspiration, ideas, and lots of wonderful projects from the other design team members. Get a free bonus issue to download here, or subscribe to the magazine for only $10 before January 15th! In the meantime, make art...be happy!