Making Art Journals with Children

It’s a given that when my granddaughters come for a stay over we make some kind of art.  This time we made Art journals, or they can just be used as a notebook (the paper inside is lined).  It begins with inexpensive notebooks you can find at the dollar store.  These were 50 cents apiece, but last week I saw the same ones on sale for 10 cents!   So you can stock up on these for future projects if you want.

Below is a list of the steps in the process:

  • Paint white gesso on each cover.  Allow to dry.
  • Choose three colors of acrylic paint for each cover.  Put four or five DROPS of paint on the cover (less is more here).   Then, using an old credit card, move the paint colors around until the cover is covered with paint.  Try not to mix the paint too much, because you want the individual colors to show, rather than one mixed color.  Allow to dry.
  • Gather some favorite foam stamps (Michaels, Joanns, Walmart).  Using a Crayola black marker,  color on the foam stamp, and stamp anywhere on the cover you wish.   Use several different stamps if you want.  (Do not use a Sharpie or any permanent marker).
  • Use some acrylic paint (we used white, and some neon pink, green, purple, etc.) and brush some paint on some bubble wrap.  Gently stamp designs on the cover with the bubble wrap.  I also used some homemade cardboard stamps I had on hand.  Use anything you have that will make a mark.   It’s ok to stamp over your Crayola marker designs.   When you are pleased with your cover, allow it to dry.
  • On any paper you have, create a drawing and color it (or don’t color it).   Using Elmer’s glue or mat medium, place your drawing somewhere on the cover and adhere it well.   This makes the journal unique to you.
  • Our last step was to take some decorative paper trim (from the scrapbooking section of Michael’s) and glued it on the left side of the cover for a finished look.  This step is optional.
  • Once the cover is dry, spray it with Acrylic gloss clear spray OUTSIDE.  Allow to dry.

I got this idea from a you tube video I once watched, can’t remember.  However, I had already been doing this type of thing in my art studio.




Dream Catchers

I have always liked dream catchers.  When I’m out somewhere and see one, I usually buy it or take a photo of it and try to make one.  Recently, while entertaining some grandchildren, I decided to try and make one with them that would be inexpensive and not too difficult.  I’ll be honest, I got this idea from Pinterest.  It is nothing more than a paper plate with the middle part cut out, and the back side  decorated with markers.  One side of the plate had its own design, so we pretty much left that part alone.  I punched 12 holes on the inside perimeter of the plate as evenly as possible.   We then cut yarn about 3 yards in length and weaved it in and out of the holes.  This can be done randomly or using a pattern, such as every 3 holes.  Whatever works for you.  Tie if off when done.


I also punched three holes on the bottom of the plate for the “tails” and one on the top for a hanger.  There is one hole on each side as well for side “tails”.  (I have no idea what they are really called).  The tails are just yarn strung with beads, and feathers glued inside the beads.   I used hot glue. The shapes in the middle of the dream catcher are those foam shapes glued back to back.  (Get from Joann’s or Walmart) This did take about an hour and a half, but was not messy and they turned out pretty awesome.  You can use any type of things you have around to add to your dream catcher, such as shells, etc.  So there you have it, a non messy dream catcher to make with your students or grandchildren. (PS If you want to go messy you can use acrylic paint to decorate the plate.  And did I mention glitter?}