Thursday, 24 March 2016

More Flags

Here are a couple more mixed media flags. The one above has a sun printed background with scraps of fabric and paper. I used a freezer paper stencil to add the silhouette in black fabric paint and then free machined around it.

The flag below stated out as a scrap which I was cleaning my brush on. It was painted with acrylics in matt and opalescent colours. I used a dragonfly cookie cutter to stamp the images.


I have just bought Jane Davenport's book "Beautiful Faces" and have been trying out some of the techniques in coloured pencil over a collaged and painted background.

Mini Altered Stamp Book

I used postage stamps with people on them to make this mini zig-zag altered stamp book. The background was painted to match the stamps and then collage and paint pens added detail.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Tip-in Journals

I often collect and exchange postcards, ATC's and journal pages through the Swapbot website. When I receive artworks through the post I paste each one into a blank tip-in journal. Today I'm going to show you how to make one.


  • Thick card from boxes or packaging
  • Thin cardstock
  • Double sided tape and/or tacky glue
  • Paint (optional)
  • Coloured papers (optional)
  • String (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Brads and eyelets (optional)
First decide how big your journal needs to be. Postcards are usually 6 by 4 inches or 5 by 7 inches. Journal pages can be any size, Here I'm making a journal for A4 size pages.


You need to cut the thick cardboard packaging into 2 rectangles, each a little bigger all around than the size of the pages you'll be sticking in.

You can decorate the covers inside and out in any way. One of the quickest ways for small books is to cover them in pretty paper.

Larger books might be easier to paint or print onto. Any decoration can work. 

Painted inside cover

Outside covers Gelli printed

Use 2 thin pieces of cardstock for the spine. I just use regular scrapbook cardstock. You can use plain, coloured or patterned. It needs to fold easily so stay away from embossed or glittered card.

1st cut the cardstock to the same height as your pages (297mm for A4). Keep the full width of the card (usually 12 inches for scrapbook cardstock). It will be a little shorter than your covers of course.

Next use a bone folder to accordion fold the cardstock with the folds running vertically along the height of your page. You'll need to tape/glue the 2 pieces of folded card together to make a longer folded piece.

I use glue on my card because it it stronger and also double sided tape to hold it whilst the glue dries. You need to add your tape/glue to every other fold. Start by leaving the 1st one unglued and then glue the next, miss one and glue the next and so on. See the pictures below.

Fold the accordion back up. Here's how it should look.

Assemble to book

You now need to tape/glue the accordion spine to the book.  Start with the front cover face down (inside cover uppermost) and attach the spine so it is flush with the right side of the cover. Centre the spine vertically. See below.

Now you need to stick the spine to the left hand side of the back inside cover as show below. As you line the spine up with the edge of the cover you should have a gap between the covers when it lays flat.

The basic book is now finished and you can add pages immediately or whenever they are ready.

Variations and closures

You can leave you book at the stage above but it will tend to spring open when full. This is fine if you want to display the pages inside.

You can make your book stay closed with either a restricting tie on the spine or with a closure, or both. The easiest way is to add a closing ribbon right around the book. You'll need 3 to 3.5 times the width of the book for your ribbon or string. Just stick the ribbon straight to the book. Make sure you do this with the book closed and leave a little extra room around the spine so the book can expand. You can add beads or charms to the end of the ribbon.

Leave a little space for expansion

Or hide the ribbon under the cover.

You can add ribbons just to the spine section in the same way to stop it opening too wide. Don't forget not to make them too tight.

To make the spine stronger and to stop it opening too much you can add a string through the covers and all the pages. You can do this before assembling the book or after. You'll need a really sharp awl to make the holes.

You can use brads, eyelets, strings or elastic to make other styles of fastener.

Adding pages

To stick a page in just put some double sided tape along one of the accordion spine flaps. Don't stick it too close to the inside edge of the spine because this will make it difficult to close. When you get your next page just stick this new one back to back with the first, with the accordion spine between them.

Add tape to an accordion flap

Stick the postcard in