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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

"Choose Happy" Art Journal Page

by: Candy Colwell
September 1, 2015

Art journaling is all the rage. As we explore our own creativity, we can experiment with all sorts of mixed media mediums, paints, stencils and other materials to make our art journal pages our own.

I think a lot of people are not comfortable to try art journaling because we are not all gifted painters or doodlers. But, you don’t have to be! Here are some little tips and tricks to help you create your own beautiful art journal page that does not require painted faces or lots of involved doodling.

All you need is a magazine image (person), printed napkins, scraps of fabric and DecoArt’s host of Media Line products. Let’s get started!

Items needed :

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Blue Green Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Naphthol Red Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Hansa Yellow Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Dark Grey Value 3
  • Traditions Artist Acrylics 3oz - Hansa Yellow Medium
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Hansa Yellow Medium
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Translucent 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
  • Andy Skinner Stencils 6x6 - Whirlpool
  • Gelli Prints
  • Art Journal Page
  • Magazine Image
  • Stickles
  • Glossy Accents
  • Stazon Jet Black Ink
  • Alphabet Stamps
  • Patterned Napkins
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Black Marker Pen
  • White Paint Pen
  • Palette Knife
  • Assorted Brushes
  • Baby Wipes
  • Seed Beads
  • Pop Dots
  • Ribbon Scraps
  • Rhinestones
  • Water Spritzer Bottle
  • White Cardstock
  • Scissors

Instructions :

I began this art journal page with a blank 9” x 12” spiral bound art journal page, a magazine image of an adorable little girl in a tutu and crown and a second generation or “ghost” print from a gelli plate. This gelli print was one I had previously made on inexpensive copy paper. I also love using Deli Paper. I used various stencils and acrylic paints to create the gelli print image. I always keep my gelli prints so that can be used in backgrounds.

Tear away the edges of the paper so that it will blend into the art journal background better.

DecoArt Media Matte Medium is a wonderful product that dries clear and can be used as glue and also a sealer. Brush and smooth out a generous amount of DecoArt Media Matte Medium on the art journal page. Lay the gelli print over the Matte Medium and burnish it in place, removing any air bubbles or creases in the paper. This adheres the gelli print background in place. Brush a coat of DecoArt Media Matte Medium over the entire page to seal it. Let air dry or gently heat set.

So that the gelli print will seem to have originally been done on the spiral bound art journal page, use a Palette Knife and DecoArt Media Gesso to cover the gelli print paper edges. Randomly add Gesso to create texture and blend the paper edge into the gelli print. Don’t just limit the Gesso to the outside edges. Blend the Gesso into the gelli print image in a few places to better meld the images gelli print to the journal page. Let air dry or gently heat set.

Place Andy Skinner’s 6” x 6” Whirlpool Stencil in random places on the art journal page and using a Palette Knife, scrape DecoArt Media Molding Paste through the stencil. Don’t always use the entire whirlpool image on the page. Have some of them going off the edges of the paper.

In this photograph, you can clearly see how the Gesso and added Molding Paste images incorporate the original blank art journal page and the added gelli print.

To blend the white Gesso and Molding Paste edges with the colorful gelli print images, start with colors that will match the gelli print image. In this case, I began with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Blue Green Light blended with Titanium White and a spritz of water. Using a baby wipe, I wiped the green randomly around the edges of the page and also added paint inward to pull the color inward to the gelli print images. Gently heat set. Next I mixed DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Hansa Yellow Light and Medium with a spritz of water and repeated what I had done with the green paint. Finally, I mixed Naphthol Red Light with Titanium White and a spritz of water and wiped it randomly on the surface of the art journal page.

To lighten the area where I was going to place the magazine image of the little girl, I lightly wiped DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White over the center of the page using a baby wipe. Gently heat set.

Here is a photograph of the art journal page at this point. You cannot tell that the gelli print was a separate paper. Through the magic of DecoArt’s Media Gesso, Molding Paste and Fluid Acrylics, the page has lots of texture and the colors all blend together as if everything was done at the same time.

Cut out the magazine image of the little girl and glue her in place in the center of the page using DecoArt Media Matte Medium. Then brush over her with Matte Medium to seal her.

Here is a photograph of the little girl jumping for joy on the art journal page.

Find some napkins that have fun, colorful flowers and butterflies. Remove the ply backing from the napkins, leaving just the tissue thin top piece. For more stability, I brushed some DecoArt Media Matte Medium onto a piece of white cardstock and placed the flowers and butterflies onto the cardstock. Then brush over the flowers and butterflies to seal them. Gently heat set and cut out. (You can also cut out the flowers before you place them onto the cardstock).

The butterflies on this page are meant to look like little balloons. So, lay them onto the page for placement. Next, one at a time, add small pieces from a Pop Dot to the backs of their wings to give them a little dimension. Run a bead of Glossy Accents down the center of the body and also on each Pop Dot piece and glue them in place on the page. Next, using a Permanent Black Marker, I drew the balloon “ties” from the little girl’s hand to the butterflies, adding little bows at the base of each butterfly. Finally, place a bead of Glossy Accents down the bodies of the butterflies to add more dimension to them. Let air dry. 

For the flowers, I used whimsical images that I stacked together; one a gold-yellow color, the other shades of orange. Draw around the edges of the flowers with a Permanent Black Marker and add a little detail to the top petals to better define them. Add a touch of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Quinacridone Gold to the Gold Flower to bring in the orange hues. Stack the cut out flowers by using a Pop Dot in between the layers. Apply some Glossy Accents to the centers of both flowers and add seed beads as a dimensional center. Set aside to dry. (Glossy Accents dries clear.)

I did not have the color of ribbon that I wanted for this page, so I made my own by taking a piece of cream ribbon and painting it using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics’ Naphthol Red Light mixed with Titanium White and a spritz of water. Gently heat set. I tied my bow and glued it in place at the girl’s hand using Glossy Accents.

I added some “bling” to her crown by adding three rhinestones and some sparkle from Mercury Glass and Stardust Stickles. These products are great for adding lots of sparkle to draw the eye but not adding a lot of dimension when working in an art journal. I also added some Stardust Stickles to the wings on the butterflies to give them some added sparkle and more of a “happy feeling”.

I added some whimsical leaves to place underneath my bright flowers. This was done with a paint brush and first using DecoArt’s Media Fluid Acrylics Phthalo Green-Yellow. It was gently heat set and then I added a touch of DecoArt’s Fluid Acrylics Green Gold. I drew around the edges of the leaves and also gave them veins using a Black Permanent Marker. I later added some highlights to the leaves with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic Translucent White.

Then I glued the stacked flowers in place using Glossy Accents and here is a photograph of all of these pieces added in the previous steps.

To add some depth to the art journal page, I added some shadowing around my happy little girl. (First I added a fine black line around her edges to better define her using a Black Permanent Marker). Some people like to use charcoal or graphite pencils to add shadowing and it works beautifully. But, if you don’t have one of those, here is an easy way to achieve the same effect using DecoArt products. Mix DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Dark Grey Value 3, Translucent White and a spritz of water. Start out with a very light grey and gently brush around the edges of the little girl, wiping away any excess color. Repeat this step as many times as possible to achieve the darkness you desire.

In the photograph, the left half of the girl has been given the shadow effect and the right side had not. You can definitely see a difference.

To add the sentiment “Choose Happy”, pick out some scraps of colorful inexpensive material that matches your art journal page. Using Stazon Jet Black Permanent Ink, stamp the letters onto little squares of fabric. Pull the edges of the fabric to fray them.

Place the letters on the page and then one at a time, glue them in place using DecoArt Media Matte Medium. Then gently brush over them to seal them in place. Brush outwards so that the frayed edges will flair out onto the art journal page.

With a Black Permanent Marker, better define the letters stamped onto fabric by doing some detail work on them. I also added little dots made with a White Sharpie Poster Paint Pen. Heat set or let air dry. You could add another coat of Matte Medium over the flat surfaces of the page if you choose to do so to seal it again.

Be sure to visit Creativity Is Contagious for more projects and to learn more about Candy Colwell.


Love your happy journal page Candy. Love the happy colours and how,you blended your Gelli print with your final piece. Fabulous imagery too. Tracy x

Tracy Evans

September 1, 2015

Ohhhhhh ... Thanks you Candy for walking us through this amazing process. I adore the movement that the stenciled swirls give the piece (to go along with the wonderful little girl jumping for joy). Lovin' the bling on the crown too!! And to fabric letters ... such a happy idea!!!!! Love every bit of this project. -- Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth

September 1, 2015

Absolutely love your journal bright and cheery. I just know your little girl is jumping in a big puddle. So many little details. I love the whimsical feel of the whirlpool stencil. Thanks for the detailed tutorial. :) Kim

Kimberly Cobb

September 1, 2015

What a wonderfully detailed tutorial! I love how this turned out.


September 1, 2015

love this Candy, great techniques and ideas xxx

Brenda Brown

September 2, 2015

Oh Candy - this is one of the CUTEST most HAPPY looking journal pages EVER... just UTTERLY JOYFUL in every way. You did INCREDIBLE artwork here with your amazing imagination. The letters are just GENIUS and ADORABLE. Well... I'm smiling big.... this just made my day. LOVE it. j.


September 2, 2015

So bright and cheerful! Thank you for all the great inspiration ♥

Jackie QH

September 2, 2015

Thank you for sharing this fantastic journal page with us!

LaChelle Shown

September 2, 2015

Beautiful page. I love the bright colors and that photo of the little girl.

Karenliz Henderson

September 2, 2015

Absolutely stunning Candy. The little girl image is fantastic and really does make you feel happy. I love how you 'melded' the background to the journal, it is seamless and the butterflies as balloons - so clever!

Anne R

September 2, 2015

Super fun art journal page! Love all the texture and whimsical feel of the page. :D

Norma Gomez

September 3, 2015

This exudes wonderful happy energy!! Terrific project Candy with brilliant techniques and ideas. Nicola x

Paper Profusion

September 4, 2015

Candy, what a magical and fun page! The textures and colors are delicious and you really are taking art journaling to a whole new level! I love this page! Hugs!


September 5, 2015

Candy, what a magical and fun page! The textures and colors are delicious and you really are taking art journaling to a whole new level! I love this page! Hugs!


September 5, 2015

I LOVE seeing Candy's step-by-step process and learned so much here, especially the technique of blending the gelli print into the background page using gesso and texture paste to make it all come together. Fantastic!!

Annette Green

September 7, 2015

So beautiful Candy full of colour, love how it turned out xxx


September 7, 2015

Oh Candy!! How much fun is this?!! What a delightful photo turned journal spread! I love all the layers you have added- thanks so much for sharing! xx

Jackie P N

September 8, 2015

This journal page looks wonderful, Candy! Love every detail...especially the way you use color, it's so vibrant and lively :) Just brilliant!

Gaby Bee

September 9, 2015

Adorableeeee!! And such a scrumptious texture. Love love it!


September 11, 2015

merci pour ce pas à pas de ta magnifique page


September 12, 2015

I truly enjoyed looking at your work. I got inspried by them. Being a stroke suviour and new to journaling i find my self lookimg for pieces i love. Thanks for sharing

patrici hurst

September 15, 2015

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