Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello Everyone!

It’s hard to believe that September is here already! We just had orientation at my son’s school. A day later, he decided he wanted to make cards that say, “Thank you for being my teacher.” My heart smiled when I heard what he wanted to do, so we got started right away. (Thank you to all of the educators, teachers, and support staff out there. You matter, and your work is so important!)

As my son created his cards, I could not keep my hands off of the art supplies, so I ended up making a background paper for this blog post. I used construction paper, crayons, and liquid watercolor.

For this blog post, I decided that I wanted to see what would happen if I used a stencil on top of this busy background. The stencil I chose is by Artistcellar, and is from the Sacred Geometry 2 Series. It’s called Seed of Life.

This stencil has fine lines. I didn’t want to cover up all of the color in my background, so I decided to use some Marabu Art Spray. This spray ink is acrylic-based vs. water-based spray ink, like Dylusions spray ink.

I liked how the color showed up, and the ink beaded up around the crayon. I got a little carried away though and sprayed a bit too much ink.

Instead of using paper towels to blot up the extra ink, I used a piece of 8 x 8 inch watercolor paper.

I pulled up the watercolor paper to check on the results of both papers.

As a mixed media artist and avid visual journal keeper, I love having a lot of papers to work with. I also am working on a series of 8 x 8 inch paintings, and this Seed of Life print will be a great start for one of those paintings.

While I am happy with the 8 x 8 printed version of the stencil, I could not see it well enough on my busy background.

That gave me the idea to use the stencil again with spray ink on the 8 x 8 inch paper, and make a print of it onto my background.

I used a card scraper to really rub the back of the wet stencil.

Here’s what things are looking like after pulling off my busy background paper. I think this is my favorite image of this whole bunch. I love those pink dots that happened.

Here’s a closer look at the print.

Those fine lines of the stencil are showing up much better now, especially since I dug the stencil into the paper by burnishing it with a plastic card.

Here’s how both of the papers looked at the end of my session.

In Summary, if you are going to work with a fine line stencil on a busy background, you may want to spray it with ink on a different paper first, then make a print of it onto your background. Burnishing with a plastic card is a great way to help the ink absorb into the paper, so the stencil lines are nice and sharp.

Spray inks and stencils are really fun to play with in a variety of projects. If you do not want your spray ink to be reactivated with water, Marabu Art Sprays are acrylic-based, which means they stay in place.

I hope you enjoyed this photo tutorial of my experiments and creative process.

Don’t forget to grab your Artistcellar stencils at 30 percent off until September 9th, 2019. Use coupon code BACKTOSCHOOL19. You’ll love the high quality of the material and the fantastic designs!

Sending Blessings,

Briana of

Hello, Everyone!

Do you ever go through phases where you become “semi-obsessed” with an art medium? Lately, I love watercolor paint. Oh, and stencils are pretty much always on my list so . . . I decided to try the two together. In the past, I did not have a lot of success with this combination, as the watercolor would seep underneath the stencil. Recently I saw an art tutorial by Josie Lewis on YouTube, which showed how she used a stencil to trace the design, and then fill it in with color. Genius! I am not sure why I did not think of this (or maybe I have), but that’s beside the point. Something struck a chord when I saw Josie’s video, so I went with it.

I decided to give this idea a try, as I love how Josie’s art looks when she’s done.

I will share a tutorial of what I did, then share my reflection of my experience at the end of this post.

Supplies Used:

  • Derwent Graphic H pencil
  • 140 lb. watercolor paper
  • Various watercolor
  • Small round watercolor brush (size 2 or 4)
  • Jar of water

Step 1:

Flip through your stencils and choose the designs you like.

Step 2:

Use an H pencil (a hard pencil, which writes lightly), to trace your chosen designs from one or more stencils.

I used three different stencil designs.

Step 3:

Paint in your traced stencil patterns using a variety of watercolor paints.

Step 4:

Allow the watercolor paint to dry and soak in that beautiful color!


Oh my goodness, did I dislike this process, while I was doing it! That feeling certainly told me something about the style of art I like to create.

I don’t enjoy creating precise art, so I just had to roll with my paint going outside of my traced lines.

Now that it is finished, I do enjoy looking at the result. I had fun creating a lighter value of a color by adding water to my brush. I also enjoyed playing with color and making choices based what I was being called toward, versus following some sort of formula. If I try this again, I will keep in mind that my work will not be precise. I also will try a smaller brush (like the size 2 or 4 round brush I suggested for you).

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial. Give it a try and see if you enjoy creating inside or outside of the lines!

Sending all good wishes your way!


Briana of


Hello Everyone!

It’s summer here in Minnesota, and I have been feeling inspired by plants! The other day, as my son and a neighbor friend ran around the yard, I quickly grabbed a large sheet of paper, some spray ink, a fern and some other plants that I had printed with on my Gelli Plate.

Here’s what I got done in the about five minutes of playtime I had before my attention was needed elsewhere.

Although I like these colors, I thought I might experiment with one of the 12 x 12 inch artistcellar stencils. I was looking for a contrast to the organic shapes of the plants. Since I love circles, what better choice would there be, other than the Square Rose stencil from the Sacred Geometry series?

For some reason, I did not realize these came in the 12 x 12 size. I am quite excited for this! I invite you to check them out on the artistcellar site!

When I received this 12 x 12 stencil, the beauty of the back of the package struck me. I snapped a photo to share with you, just in case you want to see.

In case you are not familiar with spray ink, I took a photo of my gallon plastic bag that holds a bunch of them.

Since I frequently teach mixed media and visual journaling art classes, I have learned that this is an easy way to transport those bottles. It also made the quick grab that I needed to do while my son was playing, quite feasible.

I ended up using a blue Adirondack Color Wash spray by Ranger Ink. I am not sure if these are still being made, but you can also use Dylusions spray ink or Marabu Art Spray. Marabu Art Spray is permanent once dry, where Dylusions spray inks move with water.

So, I sprayed the beautiful Square Rose stencil with blue Adirondack Color Wash.

I was so curious to see the bright colors through the stencil lines, once I removed the stencil. Are you ready for the big reveal?

You’ll have to hold on a second, because first I want to show you how to mop up some of that wet ink.

Take a roll of paper towels (or kitchen roll, as some people say) and roll it over the wet stencil like this.

Once the extra ink is absorbed into the paper towel roll, you can lift the stencil and see clean lines.

Here’s what my paper looks like now with the fern next to the sprayed stencil.

Now, there is still a bunch of ink on that stencil, so you can do a final step of cleaning the stencil, while also creating more paper for collage, or a background in your journal.

All you need is a baby wipe and a surface.

One major reason I love artistcellar stencils so much, beyond the wonderful designs, is the thickness and quality of the stencils. Wiping them with a baby wipe is a breeze. I love that.

All clean, and here’s my extra paper I can use for doodles or collage or whatever!

Thank you for being here and reading this post. I hope that you feel inspired to just try some fun things with stencils and other art supplies, or maybe even a plant or two!

Sending Blessings your way!

-Briana of

Greetings to you! Thanks for being here to read this post.

Today, I am sharing a bit about the wonders of alcohol ink and how to use it with a stencil.

Supplies Used:

About Alcohol Ink

If you don’t know about alcohol ink, it’s a fluid and vibrant medium. It is dye ink that is acid-free and dries quickly on slick surfaces, such as glossy paper, Yupo paper, and glass. Read more about this exciting medium hereCaution: This medium does contain alcohol, which means it is flammable and should not be airborne. There is also a strong odor, so it is best to use alcohol inks in a well-ventilated area. If you ever feel light headed or start to get a headache, please walk away, get outside and breathe some clean air.

Tutorial: Using Alcohol Ink with a Stencil

Step 1:

Choose a stencil to place on top of your Yupo paper. Here I am using “Big Sister’s Room” by artistcellar. This stencil has nice open spaces for the ink to “play” in.

Step 2:

Drop some alcohol ink from the small bottles onto the surface. Choose several colors. Take a pause in between each color to observe what is happening. Alcohol ink has a mind of its own.

You may choose to cover all of the white space, or leave some areas open.

The ink will seep under the stencil. That is okay and nothing to worry about.

Step 3:

Find a corner of the stencil and slowly lift it off of your surface.

Take a look at how the colors and lines of the stencil created interesting areas on your surface.

TIP: If you would like to clean your stencil, you will need to use Isopropyl Alcohol that you get at the drug store. You can soak your stencil in a low dish of alcohol or wipe it with an alcohol soaked paper towel. Be sure to be in a well-ventilated area.

Step 4:

Choose a variety of Sharpie markers (which are also alcohol-based), or other alcohol-based markers, such as Copic, Winsor & Newton ProMarker, etc.

Step 5:

Create designs with the markers on your surface.

TIP: When you use a light colored marker, be sure to clean the tip off by making marks on a separate piece of scrap paper until the original color looks clean.

Step 6:

Continue to draw and doodle to your delight!

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you feel inspired to try something new with your creative supplies!

Sending Blessings,

Briana of

Hello, Everyone! I hope you are doing well today!

I am about to share a technique that is fun to do, but takes a little more drying time. Are you ready?

Supplies Used

First, I typically like to use techniques that dry right away. I tend to be impatient when it comes to wet paint. If you are like me, it is possible to use a heat tool. Second, the textured result is so worth the extra wait time. I hope you’ll give it a try!

Step 1:

Mix up some modeling paste and acrylic paint on your palette. TIP: It helps if your acrylic paint is thicker than the inexpensive craft paint. In other words, a heavy body acrylic paint works best.

Step 2:

Use a palette knife to spread the modeling paste and paint mixture through a stencil of your choice.

Here I am using the Japanese Geometric: Seven Jewels stencil by artistcellar.

Note: I chose not to put paint through the entire stencil. I did this to keep within the round shape I had previously painted.

Step 3:

Remove the stencil by lifting from one corner. Set your painting aside to dry for an hour or more. Drying time depends upon your climate, as well as how much paint you used. Note: Rinse the stencil right away under running water, or place it in a tub of water. Do this to avoid the modeling paste from sticking to your stencil and drying there. This is one of the only times I “clean” my stencils. You could also try using a baby wipe, but it will likely be kind of a mess, with all that paint and paste.

Since I had extra paint on my palette, I decided to grab the altered book I just started.

Here’s a little BONUS sneak peek. I did the same technique described above, only in an altered book. I also applied paint to the right side of the page spread using the palette knife.

In case you are wondering about modeling paste, there are many brands on the market. It is sometimes spelled “modelling,” and it is sometimes called molding paste. Each medium has the same purpose of adding texture to a surface.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Have tons of fun with your mixed media supplies!

Creatively Yours,

Briana of


Hello! Hello!

I hope this post finds you well.

It is early summer here in Minnesota, USA, and I am feeling inspired by butterflies lately. I found the perfect stencil to play around with. It is designed by Tamara Laporte and manufactured by Artistcellar. The stencil is called, “Butterfly Wings,” and it is part of Artistcellar’s Signature Series stencils. This set is “Tam’s Whimsy Series”. You can find it on

Supplies Used

  • Butterfly Wings” stencil from Tam's Whimsy Series by Artistcellar
  • 140 lb. watercolor paper
  • black ballpoint pen
  • Pilot ultra fine permanent pen
  • Various colored pencils
  • China Markers
  • Water-soluble colored pencils (Albrecht Dürer by Faber-Castell)
  • Small brush
  • Water jar
  • Paper towel

Step 1:

Trace the butterflies using a ballpoint pen and/or a Pilot permanent pen.

Step 2:

Treat the outlined butterflies like a “coloring page” and fill in the shapes using colored pencils. I used a variety of pencils. Only some of them are water-soluble.

TIP: When you do add water-soluble colored pencils, use a small brush and some water right away. Otherwise you may forget which area is made to get wet.

Step 3:

Optional- Choose one butterfly to color in warm, water-soluble pencils and another in cool, water-soluble pencils.

Apply water to each one once you are done coloring them in.

Step 4:

Use your own mark making style and a China Marker to add designs around the butterflies on the background of the paper. Next, add some marks with a water-soluble pencil.

Step 5:

Add water where applicable, to the background designs.

Continue adding fun marks with different colored pencils and/or China Markers.

Step 6:

Add one final layer of water-soluble colored pencil around the main elements. (I used yellow.) Then add water with your small brush.

Step 7:

Enjoy your work of art!

Thank you for reading this tutorial. I hope you feel a sense of calm and relaxation as you trace, color, and add your wonderful marks to the paper!

Many Blessings,

Briana of

Hello Creative Ones,

I was recently reminded about how much I love the combination of words with art.

I am sharing a quick tutorial of how you can create a painted background, and then add the Virtues Words Pocket Stencils by Artistcellar on top.


  • Watercolor
  • Gouache
  • Dina Wakley Acrylic Paint
  • 140 lb. watercolor paper
  • Small round brush
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Water
  • Rag

Step 1:

Paint six loose rectangles on 9 x 12 inch watercolor paper.

Let dry.

Step 2:

Choose a rectangle and three of the Pocket Stencils by artistcellar.

Step 3:

Use a ballpoint pen to trace the word stencils.

Step 4:

Using Dina Wakley heavy body paint, or another acrylic paint and round brush, paint around the letters you traced.

Step 5:

Add any design details around your words.

Step 6 (Optional):

Cut out your card and give it as a gift to someone who could use some uplifting or encouraging words.

I hope that you enjoy painting your stripes, tracing your word stencils, and making art + words art for someone! (That someone could be you! These would make wonderful journaling cards, too.)

Many Blessings to You,

Briana of

Greetings Everyone!

Today I have a simple yet effective trick for you to try with your stencils.

First, choose an artistcellar stencil with some nice openings. I have chosen the Gonzaga stencil from the Labyrinth Series.

Second, get a nice 1-inch wide brushand dip it into some liquid watercolor. You could use Ecoline, Dick Blick, Dr. Ph. Martin’s, or children’s paint. Create a painted area on a piece of 9 x 12 inch watercolor paper.

Third, place your stencil over the area of liquid watercolor. Use a small stencil brush and a jar of clean water to scrub through the open spaces of the stencil.

Fourth, soak up the extra water with a paper towel.

Lift the towel to see if you’ve soaked up enough water.

Fifth, remove the stencil carefully, lifting at one corner.

Finally, take a look at the interesting effect of the water lifting the color from the stencil openings.

Let the paper dry and flatten out.

From here, I can see journal writing around the perimeter of the design.

I also am thinking about a collage border. Hmmm.

Or, perhaps writing inside the lines of the stencil would be fun, too! What are your ideas?

There are always many, many options to explore with mixed media and stencils. That’s why I love it so much.

Thanks for having a look at this simple, yet effective technique to try with your favorite stencils! I hope you enjoy it and have lots of fun.

Sending Blessings and Creative Vibes,

-Briana of


Greetings Everyone!

I am in studio clean up mode, and have been making some amazing art supply discoveries! One of which is a set of Art Graf water-soluble graphite that I purchased a couple of years ago. I recently taught Getting Started with Art Journaling at my favorite art supply store, Wet Paint, and they had some Art Graf out for us to play with. I am now totally obsessed.

Since I love doing crayon rubbings with stencils, I knew that something could be done with Art Graf and stencils.

Here’s what I came up with.

Supplies Used:

I placed the set of Art Graf, my sketchbook, stencil, a brush, and a jar of water out on my table.

Here’s what the set of Art Graf looks like:

I placed the Sri Yantra stencil under my paper.

I placed the paper back down, then rubbed a chunk of Art Graf over the area of the stencil.

Now comes the exciting part. Art Graf is water-soluble. So, next, I played with painting in various parts of the stencil rubbing.

I simply dipped my brush into water and started painting.

Here’s another look at my set up.

The ochre Art Graf (as well as the yellow, which I don’t have yet) is so rich and saturated in color!

I continued to play around with adding Art Graf as paint, or just water on the rubbing I created.

Near the end of my work time, I decided to add a little turquoise liquid watercolor over the Art Graf in the corners of the design.

Here’s what I ended up with when it was time to stop for dinner.

There’s a great video on Wet Paint’s website of the Carbon Black Art Graf in action. You can watch it here. The video is by Viarco. If you have extra time, I just discovered a 28-minute video on YouTube about Viarco and the making of Art Graf. It appears to be a Portuguese company, so the video has English subtitles. It is fascinating to watch. Go here, if you want to see more. (Oh, that yellow!)

May you make your own amazing art supply discoveries, and enjoy using them!

Sending Blessings and Creative Vibes,

Briana of



Hello Everyone,

I hope this post finds you well. I have been getting back into visual journaling again. Although I have been playing in my journals for years, I don’t always write about my life. It’s time for me to bring that back. I still will be creating fun backgrounds before I do the writing/journaling part because backgrounds are my favorite!

Today’s post is a quick tutorial for making a fun background page in your visual journal that you can then add a photo from your life (i.e. photo + washi tape), or some writing about your day, etc.


Supplies Used

Step 1:

Use 2-3 matte acrylic paint colors and scrape them across your pages with an old plastic card.

Step 2:

Choose one of your favorite Artistcellar stencils; I am using the “Arrow” stencil from the Traditional Japanese Series.

Step 3:

Using a stamp pad like Staz On, rub some color over the stencil and into the openings. TIP-Do this gently as to not chew up your stamp pad.

Step 4:

Use a baby wipe to spread that ink into the spaces of the stencil. Remove the stencil and have a look.


Step 5:

Find an interesting stamp and a black stamp pad.

Step 6:

Create a border on the top and bottom of your page.

Now your page is all set for you to add a personal photo, or to do some journaling about your life!

Way to go!

I hope you have tons of fun in your visual journal!

Sending Blessings,


P.S. I am teaching Getting Started with Visual Journaling at Wet Paint in St. Paul, Minnesota. The next available class will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2019. See the Events section on the Wet Paint site for more information and to register.

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