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Vintage Collage Journal

By: Bumblebees and Butterflies
July 5, 2018

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Vintage Collage Journal
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I love using old books as a journal and haven’t had one on the go for a while so I decided to go buy myself a couple from a local book charity shop and picked up three for £1 each, I love a bargain! I altered the front cover for another design team project using a Victorian cabinet card and bits of ephemera so I decided I wanted to get back to some vintage creations and thought this altered book would be a good place to get going on them again. I have lots of old book papers, maps and Tim Holtz ephemera as well as vintage photos both original, printed and bought printed ones so I was excited to get going.

Items needed:

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titan Buff
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Burnt Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Clear Matte Medium
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Modeling Paste - White
  • Old book from a charity shop
  • Selection of paint brushes
  • Stamp set (Andy Skinner Steampunk, Textures)
  • Stencils
  • Dark brown charcoal pencil
  • Heat gun
  • Palette knife
  • Collage photo and ephemera


I glued some pages together and sealed them with white gesso and when it was dry I used matte medium to adhere some of my ephemera and torn book pages making sure I sealed over the to of them with it. Give it a blast of the heat gun and then leave it to completely dry.

Instruction #1 - Step 173
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If you have pieces of the papers overhanging the sides don't worry about cutting them off yet, wait until they are perfectly dry and do it then.

Instruction #2 - Step 229
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TIP: I place a piece of waxed paper behind both of the pages I am gluing or painting on which protects the pages behind from paints or mediums as you go up to and over the edges of the pages. I also make sure I have a piece between those pages I am working on if I close the book and put it under a heavy box to flatten out before going onto the next stage or when I have finished.

Now the pages are dry take the white gesso and a palette knife and scrape some over the pages with a couple of thick patches.

Instruction #3 - Step 383
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Take the heat gun and give it a blast until you have dried the thin areas but the thicker patches of gesso have a skin on them but are still squidgy underneath. Now take a stamp and press it into those squidgy areas. Priming it with clear embossing ink can help prevent the gesso sticking to your stamp. You will get some lovely texture from it. Dry those patches off now.

Instruction #4 - Step 462
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I like to build up these layers of gesso and texture and repeat it again at least once or more if required.

Instruction #5 - Step 587
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I like to use different stamps too.

Instruction #6 - Step 658
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For the next layer I took two stencils, a number one and a mixed media design one and applied a mix of texture paste and gesso through them.

Instruction #7 - Step 769
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I dried the surface of the first layer of stenciling before applying the second layer so that it didn't get spoilt.

Instruction #8 - Step 888
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I still had a little of the texture mix left over so I used my finger to blend a little around some of the edges and give it a more cohesive feel.

Instruction #9 - Step 980
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Whilst I left it to dry I started to gather some more ephemera and a photo for my focal elements and I layered and glued them together ready to put on the pages.

Instruction #10 - Step 1056
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To bring some depth into the background and the textures I wanted to spray neutral colours over the pages. I have lots of distress sprays that I rarely use these days so I decided to try out adding some media acrylics to a couple and see how I fared!!!! I began with Titan Buff in Antique Linen distress spray and tested it on some absorbent art paper. In the photo below the first smaller spray was just the ink, the second spray had some of the titan buff added and the third spray had even more added. You can see the colour changed and became more milky by the third spray so I heat dried them and then sprinkled on some water, left it for a few seconds to soak in and then dried it off with a paper kitchen towel. The antique linen ink being water based came out of all three of them so I need to do some more experiments here......

Instruction #11 - Step 1130
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....but I went ahead and used the mixture and had some raw umber and burnt umber on my palette and a brush and water spray in hand to experiment with. I achieved what I wanted with colour pooling in the recesses of the stamped textures.......

Instruction #12 - Step 128653
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.....and some subtle colour changes across the pages.

Instruction #13 - Step 1371
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Now to finish it off. Add the collage, take a dark brown charcoal pencil and add shading around the two collage areas and then around the pages themselves and hey presto we're finished.

Instruction #14 - Step 14A
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Instruction #15 - Step 14B
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Thanks for stopping by to see what I have been creating in my new journal.

Instruction #16 - Photo Staged 258
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Hugs Brenda xxx


That a fantastic journal page. I have way too many "irons in the fire" with my art, but I'm going to add another "iron" with this project. I love it.

Gigi Black

July 11, 2018

Wow, all of these layers are just amazing!

Kate Crane

July 13, 2018

Love these pages. Am getting some inspiration for a new book i have just started!

Sue Hibberd

January 30, 2019

Great work, love them and shared them! Very inspiring.


May 26, 2019

I am inspired! Thank you


January 31, 2020

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