Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

As I was putting away various supplies from my daughters' recent school projects I came across a small white gift box we picked up at a dollar store that was part of a package of three (My daughter used one to create a sarcophagus for her Egypt diorama). I figured I could use some stencils and paint to transform it's plain exterior into something more colorful and fun. 

Here is what I used:

I started with a thin layer of gesso and then put a few drops of a few colors of acrylic ink on the top of the lid and the bottom of the box and then smooshed (yes, technical term) the two surfaces together to mix the inks. Before the inks were completely dry I placed a stencil onto the surface and used a baby wipe to rub off excess ink. It left a beautiful texture.

After tearing a page from an old dictionary into strips I used gel medium to glue them to the edges of both the lid and the main box.

I wanted to create a more weathered appearance so I used a resist technique I learned from artist Claudine Hellmuth. I used my finger to gently rub petroleum jelly onto the surfaces in thin loose lines. Don't cover the entire surface, just in a few places you want the original surface to show. Then I took white paint and watered it down to a milk-like consistency. Lightly brush this over the entire surface and you will see the petroleum resisting the paint. After the paint is completely dry take a baby wipe and rub off the petroleum. It will look like your surface is old with peeled paint! In the picture the surface on the left was left to dry longer than the one on the right so the white is more vibrant after I wiped off the petroleum.

To finish the design I added more layers and marks with a homemade foam stamp, the side of an old gift card and a small paintbrush. When everything was dry I brushed a thin layer of fluid matte medium to seal it and give it a uniform finish.

Lastly I cut a few rectangles from some of my homemade collage papers and glued them to the inside of the box and lid with the fluid matte medium to give the finished gift box a little more flair. 

I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to have to make a little book to go in this little gift box! Please share with us if you make one of your own.

Hello beautiful souls,

I love gifting. I know I have told you this before, but I will tell you again. Making beautiful things for people is my favorite thing. I just think lovely thoughts about the person for whom I am creating the piece and I am never disappointed when I am done creating. My friend Dodie's birthday was on Monday. She is a Pisces. I ordered her a special "Flow into Self" Pisces soap bar from crystal bar soap and wanted to make her something to match. I contemplated doing a pretty gift bag, but you can't exactly put that on your wall so... wall art it is! I began with a nice scrap piece of wood from my old work place that is 4"x6". I painted the sides with some acrylic gold paint and set the wood piece aside for later.

Next I took a 4x6" watercolor paper and the hemp flower stencil and sprayed some dylusions vibrant turquoise and crushed grape.  OMG, these sprays are SO PRETTY and SO VIBRANT! I love how bright they are!

I wanted to soften the harsh lines so I sprayed some mists of water and let them drip and run. I filled in the white spots with some aqua water color paint as well.

I put Pisces planet in the background which is, Neptune. All of the photos were blue so I went for a blue watery theme. I began making a space for my planet with some white and a Pitt Pen.  The look is really nice. If you layer once you can see the colors and patterns underneath. I gave it two layers of white before I began working on the top.

I wanted to give the planet a little raised texture so I used texture paste and the 12x12 fire coral stencil.  

I bubbled up some of the texture paste and added a lot of different mediums to give the planet life like: Ocean acrylic paint, lapis paint , distress inks, charcoal pencil, soft pastels, viva decor pearl pen, watercolors, and shimmer water colors.

I used my created Pisces image and cut it out on my cricut machine on some heavy watercolor paper. I did the fish in "galaxy" colors with white spatters, glow in the dark paint spatters, pearl pen, and a gold outline.

I sprayed some tiny wooden stars with glimmer mists, outlined the edges in gold, and glued them to the base.

I glued on my pisces fish, hammered in the saw tooth back, furniture pads and finished her all up! Here is the finished design.

What are your favorite gifts to create?

Love, light, and creativity,

xoxo Genea

I can never have enough small notebooks and while I am tempted to buy up every beautifully designed one I see at the stores I find that if I make one myself I am much more likely to use it. Here's an example of one I made recently. The book structure is called a Dos-a-Dos and it two books in one!

Here's what I used:
The watercolor paper will be my cover so I start by putting a thin layer of gesso on both sides. The next layer is the Night color which I spread over the paper with an old hotel key card. This was done on both sides. Now it is time for stencils! I used the Shooting stars stencil twice on each side with two different colors. Small accents were created with the Infra stencil. The paper was then cut down to 9x4.75 and using a ruler and bone folder I scored lines at the 3inch and 6inch lines to be able to fold my paper into thirds.
Prepare the inside paper by folding the paper in half and creating two signatures with ten sheets each. The signatures were then stitched to the cover using a simple three hole pamphlet stitch. I put the completed book under heavy weights overnight to help flatten it more and now it is ready to tuck in my purse ready to be filled with lists, ideas and drawings!
I hope this inspires you to create a little book this week and I encourage you to do a quick web search for more beautiful Dos-a-Dos books. I hope you have a creative week!

As a follow-up to my last post about using those stencils in your stash, I thought I would continue the story of how I turned my stenciled and painted paper into mail art! If you look on Instagram at the hashtag #artistcellarstencilchallenge, you’ll see the blank address side of the following mail art cards I am about to share with you. (And it’s not too late to post your art with your unused stencils. We’d love to see what you’re up to!)

Supplies Used:

I facilitated a workshop at our monthly Visual Journal Collective meeting this past February. We meet at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. It’s an awesome and amazing place. If you come to the Twin Cities, you’ve got to check it out. They have an inspiring shop filled with handmade books, zines, cards, pens, books, stamps, paper, and book making supplies.

My purpose here is to inspire you to make some mail art and send it to family, friends, or other mail art fanatics!

Here are the results of the post cards I created:

The above post card is one I sent off as part of the Secret Message Society post card exchange.

Here’s my final post card, which I sent off to one of the participants at the February Visual Journal Collective meeting.

It was pretty awesome to hear that the recipient’s birthday is February 27 (2/27), and the mail art arrived in her mailbox on 2-27. I love such synchronicities, don’t you?

Can you spy the Star Coral stencil in the background of the above mail art post cards? I love stencils soooooo much!

In summary:

Use your stencils and art supplies.
Make someone’s day by sending some art in the mail.
Enjoy your life.

May it be so.

In Gratitude,


“As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.” – Charlie Chaplin

Valentine’s Day has arrived, flinging open the door to love. But when jotting down names on your Valentine card list, did you add yourself?

An article published in a local holistic magazine titled “Self-Love” caught my eye. Drawn from the wisdom of Charlie Chaplin, the article was inspiring as well as thought provoking. So often we think of others and their needs before our own. Shouldn’t self-love, or if you prefer to call it self-care, be part of our daily nurturing practice? Isn’t getting to know our authentic selves the best gift we can give to others? What is wrong with falling in love with ourselves?

I have once again decided to study Tarot. I have added Tarot to my “when I have the time” list for many years. Taking the lead from the article, I decided to make a journal as a gift…and maybe a physical prompt…for myself.

I really love the small journals currently on sale. This little book manufactured by C.R. Gibson and is similar to others I have altered. For me, journaling is more about note taking, list making and snippet saving. Similar to the other journals, the book has small folder attached to the back cover. It’s perfect for hiding away little bits of ephemera.

The cover is dusky blue faux leather. I lightly sanded it and the applied a thin coat of gesso. When dried I attached a piece of rubber stamped tea stained paper with matte medium. I have been experimenting with a variety of stamp inks, dyes and paper. I decided against using the paper covered in wax as I wanted to try hand colouring the image.

My choice of stencils was an easy one. I masked out part of Steampunk Lace stencil. It fit perfectly at the corner of the cover. Echoing the Tarot card, The Wheel of Fortune, it will be a constant reminder of karma and the fluidity of life. I built the colour with layers of Dylusions Paints and Spray using brushes, a sponge and paper towels.

Surrounding the stencil and stamped image with swabbed and splattered paint, I was nearly finished. I added the words “Carpe Diem” created from the same paper as the woman’s face. I coloured the woman’s eye and lips with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist and a brush, giving the image a bit of shine.

This Valentine’s Day…and every day of the year…be kind and loving to yourself. It’s the best way to share and honor your own truth and live authentically. Simply fall in love with you!  


“Many people think that patience is a sign of weakness. I think this is a mistake. It is anger that is a sign of weakness, whereas patience is a sign of strength.” -  Dalai Lama

Life of late has taken a turn in a not so wonderful direction. I appreciate we are often challenged by circumstances beyond our control. I am also aware that with Life’s every twist and turn there is something to learn. I think the lesson for me, here and now, is Patience.

Last year I created a series of Prayer Flags. They still fly on the pergola. Seeing them inspires me to embrace serenity mindfully. And their comforting cues usually do the job. I wanted to add another chiffon flag. This time I wanted to feature the virtue of Patience.

Finding solace in Art, it was a relief to gather up my supplies gets started. The first step was to prep the cardboard base. Because of the weight of the chiffon, just a light coat of repositional adhesive was needed. I rolled the fabric on to the cardboard and smoothed out the few air bubbles I found. I started work with a new stencil series recently added to my collection: Artistcellar Steampunk! It was the perfect choice…a pattern of gears and dials reminded me of clocks and the need to allow life to unfold at its own pace. Not mine.

I placed the Apparatus stencil on an angle and when dried flipped it to continue the pattern across the flag. The Steampunk Lace stencil fell beautifully into place just above the border. If you are like me, you find that certain stencils quickly become favourites. They are the ones that allow your creativity to fly. The Steampunk Series certainly falls into this category for me. And even with the many cut outs, the stencils cleaned up in a flash, not requiring me to exercise patience.  I have found that Artistcellar stencils are sturdy enough to take frequent applications of paint and cleanings. This is so important to me. I gravitate to supplies that I don’t have to baby. They let me to focus on the creation of my work.

I have also been falling in love with the Ranger series of Dylusions Paints. If you haven’t tried them, you don’t know what you’re missing. The tubs have a wide mouth which makes it easy to dip in your brush, or as in my case, a natural sponge. But what I love the most is the way they hold the vibrant colour, even on something as sheer as chiffon. I can’t wait to see my flag flying next to the Prayer Flags. But that requires patience.

I threw caution to the wind for the rest of the design and added the colours and stencils as they came to hand. The final piece of the design was the word that inspired it all: Patience. It was now ready to sew on to the dowel and add a string.

I take refuge in the fact that all things pass…the great, the good, as well as the dreadful. And I hope my gentle reminder floating from the pergola brings comfort on the days when the strength of patience is truly what I need.













It’s almost a new year, and I don’t know about you, but I had a really difficult time choosing a planner. There are so many options these days. Sometimes too many options feels stifling, do you know what I mean?

Today, I’d like to share an idea on how to “artify” your planner of choice. Of course, you’ll have to consider the type of paper the planner contains, but most of the following techniques work for a variety of papers, even composition notebooks.

Suggested Supplies:

Technique No. 1: Watercolor Paint and Water-soluble Markers

Use watercolor and water-soluble markers to highlight words or sections of the planner pages.

Technique No. 2: Water-soluble Markers and a Waterbrush

When you make marks with a water-soluble marker, and then use a waterbrush to move the color around, you end up with a nice variation of light and bright areas.

After you use the waterbrush with the marker, you can make a few subtle sweeps on another page to add a little color (see right side of above image).

Technique No. 3: Acrylic Paint

Scraping acrylic paint is one of my favorite techniques. I love the vibrancy of the color and the layered look. I also love to write on top of scraped acrylic paint. There is just something wonderful about the texture.

TIP: Matte acrylic or paint that is meant for layering, like the Dylusions Blendable Acrylic, would be best to work with. Golden paint can be too sticky, thick, and glossy when dry.

TIP: Use more than one color to get some variation on the page. (Above I used a pink and a red.)

I have the January pages prepped, and I love how the color peeks through the edges of the planner. Just imagine how colorful it will look by December! I am excited to see it.

Additional ideas to “artify” your planner:

Use rubber stamps and colorful ink pads (or try water-soluble markers on your stamp)

Use colored pencils

Use water-soluble colored pencils and a waterbrush

Use stencils and acrylic paint

Apply color with Tim Holtz Distress Stains

Doodle with micron pens or Sharpie pens (the kind that does not bleed through)

TIP: Prep your pages one week or month at a time, so they are ready when you need them! This could be a simple creative practice that helps you use your art supplies and your planner!

Many Blessings to you as we enter the New Year!

-Briana of

I am back again with another twist on a handmade ornament project! This project can be sized up or down depending on the size of circle that is used. A larger size can be used as more than just a typical seasonal "ornament" but as a decorative accent for your living space. I have heard it called a Paper Ball Ornament. 

Here is what I used:

  • Handmade decorative paper (from a previous blogpost using Artistcellar stencils)
  • Circle punch (I used a 3.5 inch size)
  • scrap of cardstock the size of your circle punch
  • glue stick
  • string

Start by punching out 20 circles from your decorative paper and one circle from the cardstock. Cut a triangle from the cardstock and use that as your folding template. 

Fold each of your twenty circles. Then using a gluestick begin attaching them as shown in the picture. Use ten to create a long strip which will be the middle band of the ornament. The top and bottom of the ornament is created with five pieces each glued together to create a dome shape. 

Take the long strip and glue the ends together to form a ring. And then glue one dome on to make the top and the other dome for the bottom. Be sure to tie a loop with your string and thread it through the top of a dome before you glue it together so you can hang your ornament when you are finished.

Ta-Da! I love the shape of this ornament! I like how versatile it can be. Make it smaller for your tree and make it larger to create a statement piece for your decor. A great gift to make and keep! To see a quick video up close, click below. 


The gift-giving season has begun but I think that the plethora of ideas that pop up around this time of year can be applied year round. Giving a small token of our love and appreciation to a loved one is always a good thing no matter the time of year.  Today I bring to you a simple ornament-style project. To me, some ornaments do not need to just be displayed on a tree once a year. Some can adorn our homes, studios and sacred spaces and be enjoyed at all times. I'd like to think the designs I created this week can do just that.

Here's what I used:

I started out by tearing a old dictionary page into pieces and then collaging them onto the front and back of the ornaments. Let dry.

Then I painted each side with acrylic paint. Don't put it on too thick as you still want to see the cool texture from the dictionary pages. Let dry.

Using a complementary color apply stencil design to each ornament and, you guessed it, let dry. I put a few coats on as I wanted the colors to be super bright and vibrant.

Using an acrylic paint pen I embellished the designs with my favorite element, DOTS. I also added a word to the focal point of one of the ornaments. As a finishing touch I applied Inka Gold to the edges.

And there you have it! Easy-peasy and beautiful results. I think that you could further add a quote or special handwritten message on the back of the ornaments to give them a personalized touch.

I hope you have a great week. Take the time to surround yourself with loved ones and CREATE beautiful things.

Hello again!

I really, really loved the combination of butterscotch and black from my last project... so I couldn't help but incorporate it again! This week I started with a piece of matboard and sprayed Adirondack Color Wash in "Butterscotch" and DecoArt Media Mister in "Primary Cyan" through Artistcellar Labyrinth stencils. Once dried I added a layer of white gesso randomly throughout. Then, I used a palette knife to layer crackle paste. I let that dry completely by just sitting aside overnight. The thicker the layer of crackle paste, the more dramatic crack effect you will achieve! 

I came back to my project the next day with a Faber-Castell Aquarelle pencil and started drawing a simple sunflower design. To fill it in, I used Dye-Na-Flow ink in "Sun Yellow" and let it drip throughout (of course!). To add a little more dimension to the sunflower I also used DecoArt Media in "Titan Buff" and "Metallic Gold". 

Then, for the center, I used Dina Wakley "Black" and "Umber" acrylics

I finished it off with Inka Gold in "Gold" and Pearl Pen in "Black"

That's it! Have you been creating with the Labyrinth stencils?