Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.


And so began the journey for so many of our ancestors. For me, it’s always all about the story. I am fascinated by the motives behind a person making the decision to depart the land of their birth. What made them head off to begin life afresh in a distant country? Did they ultimately fulfill their dreams? Was the move as successful as they hoped? Given the chance, would they complete the journey again?

Ellis Island was, and is, part of the fabric of our family. So many of the stories passed on to me by my Grandmother certainly were the catalyst of my interest in all things relating to immigration, especially at the turn of the Century.

America. Die Goldene Medina. The Golden Land. A land of opportunity for everyone. A place like no other where every dream, every wish, could and would come true. Looking at the photo of an Italian woman taken as she waited at Ellis Island, I wondered about her story.

I have been using my Strathmore Mixed Media Journal quite a bit lately. With 140lb vellum finish paper that is acid free, it is quite a help in building a portfolio of backgrounds that I can use for future projects.

For this piece, I started with the Artistcellar Seafoam stencil and my water colours. I wanted the overall appearance to be bright and “golden” so I limited the pallet to tints of yellow, magenta and orange. I allowed the pattern of the stencil to dictate where the colours would fall, as well as where to use the flat or pearlescent paints. When dried, I stenciled using one of my all-time favorite Artistcellar products, the Halftone Dots stencils. This time I reached for my metallic acrylics and layered complimentary colours.  Again when dried, I finished the background with my Punchinella and metallic acrylic.

I assembled my images…the photo of the lady from Italy, a postcard of Ellis Island, a map and airship from the Lunagirl Moonbeams collection of collage sheets.  The last element was a clever bit of repurposing: an artist friend sent me a dryer sheet she used to mop up paint. I loved the rough edges of the sheet and the lovely texture. I am a believer in Synchronicity and her generous contribution was flawless! Just the colour I needed to tie everything together. The timing was perfect!

Looking at my finished work, I wondered, did the Italian woman find her “Golden Land”? What became of her life? I hope she did find all she wished for.

I feel fortunate, as I am sure many of you do, to be an Artist. Our work and imagination can take us wherever we wish to travel.  Art allows us the opportunity of self-expression and experimentation. Our Art allows us to venture to our golden land where dreams can come true.


Hello again! This week I decided I wanted to make a fun sign for my art space, affectionately titled the "Zen Den". I had a leftover dollar store Halloween sign and I decided to give it a boost of life. I started with a couple layers of black gesso just to get it good and covered up. Then, added a layer of white gesso that I scraped away a bit to give it a more "distressed" look.

Once the gesso was completely dry I used a palette knife to add thick, even layers of DecoArt Media Crackle Paste then I let it dry completely overnight. I have used a heat tool on this before and it works, but the cracks don't seem quite as dramatic as they do when you let it air dry.

Next, I used a Artistcellar Sacred Geometry 2 stencil with modeling paste to create the "moon". I let it dry completely and made sure to clean up my stencil immediately afterwards. If that modeling paste dries, it can ruin the stencil and I can't let that happen!

For the background, I mixed some Phthalo Blue (one of my favorite colors ever!) and Titanium white. I created washes, drips and splashes. You name it, it goes. There aren't any rules here!

Then, using a thin detail brush and some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic in Carbon Black, I painted a tree. A happy little tree.

For the sign, I mixed together some Dina Wakley "Umber" and titanium white.

I also added a thin layer of Dye-Na-Flow "Midnight blue" to the background... for fun!

To finish the sign, I added fine details with acrylic paint markers, white Gelly Roll pen and the Artistcellar Diamond Series Stencils. I just traced the stencil with the markers and it worked like a charm!

I hope you enjoy my Zen Den sign! I can't wait to hang it up.


Hello all in the wonderful world of arty fun-ness! I am back again to share what I have created using some more of the awesome stencils and supplies available here at Artistcellar!

I have been sick... I mean really sick, there is a bug going around and it was so bad I thought I had food poisoning! That being said it reasons to say I have felt less than creative.  I actually wanted to draw some stuff using the Faber-Castell Water Soluable Graphite that I got in my Design team box this month but I just couldn't get my muse to do her job, so that will have to come later!

Because I couldn't get anything to flow straight onto the void of white I decided to grab a few other items that were in the box this month, the Water Series stencils (which I ADORE) and the Generals Scribe-all pencils

I love to use stencils when my muse is in a funk just to get some texture and color on my page, I used acrylic paints and a make-up sponge to tap the color through the stencils just to fill the void that is a white page... I then went through and finger painted color willy-nilly until I saw something that I could work with.

Can you see it?

I outlined the fairy face then added in her features using the black scribe-all pencil. I added additional details using acrylic paints and gesso. I then used a damp brush to activate the pencil to make a nice wash look.

To make her pop out I did a nice wash of gesso and water around her to push her into the foreground. I then went in with the white scribe-all and added some whimsical detailing to her wing and the flowers in her hair.

And then because this is my journal and it is for me, I try to put things I want to remember, so I just wrote a note to myself "sometimes it's hard to make a mark, but don't stop, you never know what you'll end up with."

I hope you enjoyed my quick overview of the use of Generals Scribe-all and the Water Series stencils!

Big Hugs and Mushy stuff to you!

- Shana Banana

If you would like to watch my process here is a link to the Youtube video!

Lisa here...

Congratulations to all of the Stencil Winners! I really wish we could send every one of you a set of stencils, but alas, staying in business might be a better option :-) I really appreciate every one of your comments, and I know the design team really enjoyed the feedback! So thank you. All the winners have been contacted and stencils have left the building. Congratulations to:

  • Angela G.
  • Jill C.
  • Felicia A.
  • JoAnne R.
  • Terri W.
  • Lisa Z.
  • Valerie

I hope you have fun with  your stencils, and be sure to share!

I have one last project for you, using the Artistcellar Halftone Dots series. It was born out of necessity, and out of a day of cleaning the studio. I found some Christmas themed coasters, the ones you find at the dollar spot at Target. Well, we couldn't have that! I decided to grunge them up a bit.

I started by taping them all together in a row (I had six of them) with some blue Painter's tape, on the backside. You can sorta see the edges below.

I used Dina Wakley's Media Paints in Turquoise and Lemon to cover the base. The used various contrasting colors through the different sized Halftone Dots Stencils, layering them messily. I made sure to stencil over the edges of the coasters onto the one next to it, so it looked like there was no edge. (Bonus! When you are bored, you can pretend they are a little puzzle and put them back together again.)

To continue the circle theme, I dipped the edge of a cardboard tube (in several sizes) in more paint of various colors, and stamped circles, again over the edges of the coasters. Lastly, I used my Fineline Applicator with black fluid acrylics, and "scribble wrote" marks all over them. Once they were dry, I separated them, and gave them several coats of DecoArt Media Satin Varnish.

 Viola! I now have a brand new set of COOL coasters for summer time and those sweaty water glasses!




Hey everyone, school is almost out and for this elementary art teacher I might be counting down the days along with my students. Teaching art is super fun y'all but I am t  i  r  e  d. And in this stupor I went and decided why don't I just work on 4 canvases at once. You know, just to keep things interesting. Ha!

I don't work in a series normally but each time I try it out I wonder why I don't work this way more often! It's like getting several pieces of art for the price of one. It is fascinating how things can flow and ideas can be worked out in slightly different ways on each canvas. Here is how I created one such series.

Supplies used:

My small canvases started with a light molding paste texture already applied and dried. I added black dots with the smallest Halftone dot stencil.

I then painted over that with a wash of turquoise and (using a technique I learned from Dina Wakley) I placed a stencil on top of the still wet paint and using a baby wipe I wiped off the paint showing through the stencil. What a juicy texture that makes!

I cut out house shapes from chipboard and used them as masks when I painted red all over the canvas.

Using white paint first and then several layers of yellow I added words to the houses with the pocket stencils.

Using the largest circles from the halftone dots I added white paint dots to the perimeter of each canvas.

Then more little details with yellow paint, acrylic ink and a graphite pencil.

Ta Da!!!! (Yikes! Look at that messy desk.)

Here's wishing you a creative week!


I wanted to show you a quick, fun way to customize your phone case. Of course, we're using Artistcellar Stencils and gelli prints. When my Dr Who Phone case started to fall apart, I went back to my old, clear case. After a Tardis phone case (way cool!) this plain clear case was boring me to death. So... I decided to spruce it up. 

You have to very carefully make a template first. The inside of the case is slightly smaller than the outside, but you can trace the outside and when you cut it out, cut it about 1/8"-1/16" smaller all around. Fit it and trim it as needed. Better to trim very slowly, because you can always cut more, but can't put it back. Get it so it's nice and snug. 

Now you can find some cool paper to use. I suggest regular weight paper as opposed to a cardstock thickness. My first attempt was with cardstock and my phone case didn't fit as well, I lost that bumper edge. First priority is protecting the phone! I have 9875429 gelli print papers laying around from when I play with new stencils, and it was really hard to choose, but I just picked this one made from the Seed of Life Stencil from the Sacred Geometry 2 Series.

Audition your template and find a nice design to focus on. Once you have the outside shape cut out, put it in the clear case. Now you can trace around your camera cut out, while it is in the case. You want to make sure that you are cutting the opening on the correct side of the paper. (Ask me how I know this. ie. second attempt ) To cut the inside opening, I used a very sharp Xacto blade on a self healing mat. 

Some cases have a huge opening for the camera, some have a smaller opening. Mine had a large opening, and my phone has that pink stripe below the camera. I wanted to make the opening in the printed paper as small as possible so the original phone color couldn't be seen. If you look close enough, you can see that I missed the mark a little bit, but the next one I make will be slightly smaller. I made this in about ten minutes, and that's my excuse. 

I think it looks fabulous! And it's so easy to make, you can make one to match every outfit. Clear cases on Amazon run between $6 - $20 but think of the versatility!


If you make your own phone case like this, I want to see it! Have fun! 

Hello again!

I am really excited to be starting a new art journal today. I grabbed the small Dylusions journal and I've been wanting to decorate the inside cover.

When I saw the new Artistcellar Halftone Dot stencils, I knew I just had to use them in a fun and whimsical way! I started with a cosmetic sponge and  Dylusions paint in "London Blue" and I just covered the page. Then, I used the Halftone Dots: Shadow with Dylusions paint in "Vibrant Turquoise".

Once the paint was dry (it doesn't take long at ALL) I used a Halftone Dots: Midtone 2 with a palette knife and some black modeling paste. When the modeling paste dries, it stays raised up from the surface and provides the most amazing texture. 

I finished off with another Halftone Dots stencil, this time it was "Highlight"... with a cosmetic sponge and Dylusions paint in "Crushed Grape".

The cosmetic sponge really works beautifully with the stencil. 

Next, I tore out some illustrations from an old book, and used clear gesso to "glue" them to the journal. Once dry, I gave them a coat of Distress Stain in Walnut, and some gloss varnish. I really wanted it to be shiny, but if that isn't your thing, just go for a matte. 

I finished off with a black DecoArt Media Mister, some lace collage, ice stickles glitter glue and.... drippage! 

Overall, I love the fun and whimsical look of the dots not being perfectly round -- and I really loved how the stencils stacked and worked together. 

Now I really want to see what you can do with them. Wanna win a set? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think! We will pick a winner on May 11th and make contact through e-mail. Oh, and don't worry... if you already bought a set of Halftone Dots stencils you will get to pick another stencil series of your choice from Artistcellar.

Good luck!


One of my favorite things to use in my art are repeated elements.  Such an easy way to create rhythm, continuity and texture. One of my favorite elements are dots, circles, round things. Dots as texture is just yummy and is a simple way to add a bit of interest to anything you are creating. When I am stumped as to what I should add next? Dots. When I need a little texture? Dots. I have bubble wrap, sequin waste and other recycled packaging that I use to create dots. Recently I got my paws on the new Halftone Dots stencil I admit I squealed a teeny bit. Oh man, these stencils are a game changer. They are great on their own and even better layered one on top of the other. They don't quite line up which ends up being divine and they are not perfect circle dots which makes them oh so interesting to look at. Have I convinced you yet? Read to the end as there is a GIVEAWAY you need to be a part of!

For this weeks project I pulled out an abandoned canvas (please please please tell me you have those too!!) with a textured red background. Hmmm, what should I add next? Yep, you guessed it, DOTS. Keep reading and let me take you on a journey of my artistic process with oodles of pictures.

Supplies used:

Let's get started!

I applied two layers of acrylic paint with the two larger dots stencils (with a make-up sponge) and let the paint dry a smidge between layers.

I tore a sheet of dictionary page to create a landscape and attached it with gel medium. Using Dina's Night color I glazed the edges of the canvas to add depth.

The next layer is white paint and the next size down of the Halftone dots. I also added a green wash to the dictionary page landscape.

At this point I decide to put the focus of the composition in the sky. To define this focal point I used white paint to create a circle and tried out some metallic paint for contrast. 

I decided three angels would occupy the space and cut out dresses from more dictionary paper and heads from thin chipboard. I glued the dresses down with soft gel medium and added a wash of white to them. To the heads I started adding paint for the faces.

I ended up using alcohol to rub off a few layers of paint in the circle area and liked it better that way. I sketched in the arms, wings and faces of the three lovely ladies. I also added yellow around the circle area too.

I thought I would create their faces on chipboard and then attach them but scratched the idea and went ahead and painted them directly on the canvas. The following pictures show the evolution of the characters with their faces, arms, wings and crowns.

To further define the focal point I added a raw umber glaze to the outside of the circle. As a finishing touch for the angels I added gold leafing. 

So there you have it! I have a few finishing touches I want to add but am going to let it sit for a day or two to let it simmer. For sure I will be adding another layer to the outside of the circle with the smallest dots stencil to add more (you got it) rhythm, continuity and texture.

I'll be sure to share the final result on my blog so keep in touch!

And now for the GIVEAWAY! Each of us on the Design Team has the opportunity to give away one set of the Halftone Dots to one lucky person who leaves a comment. So, leave me some love in the comment section and maybe you'll walk away with these fabulous stencils. Hooray! (ahem, be sure to comment on my fellow designers' posts as well for 5 more chances to win!)


Woot Woot! These NEW Halftone Dots Series stencils are soooooo great!

This is Briana from I am currently teaching a class called, “What Is Art Journaling?” through my local Adult Community Education program. Last week we were talking about using stencils in the art journal, and guess what? I brought the NEW Halftone Dots Series stencils along to let my students be the first to try them! The Halftone Dots Series stencils are now student tested and approved by beginning adult art journalers! Yay!

Going along with the art journal theme, I created a silly page spread to share with you today.

I have a question for ya’ll. Are there any pickle lovers reading this? What’s your favorite kind? Do you like sour dill? Kosher half-sour? Sweet pickles? Or maybe hot pickles are your preference?

No matter what kind of pickles you prefer, you just might want to save the label from the next empty pickle jar at your house. (Soak the glass jar in hot soapy water to help release the label’s glue.) You, too, can make some pickle pages in your beloved art journal with a few easy steps and art supplies!

First you’ll want to gather the following supplies:

Since I have already been kind of “chatty”, I am going to post the stepped out photos below.

Step 1: Spray Ink over Halftone Dots Series stencils

Step 2: Scrape acrylic paint over part of your spray inked and stenciled pages.

Step 3: Use Matte Medium to glue down your pickle label.

Step 4: Use a Giant Bamboo Brush Pen and Dye-na-flow to do some journaling about pickles.

I wrote, “I like pickles, yes, I do. I like pickles, how about you? Do you like ‘em sweet, or somewhere in between? I prefer them sour, but that’s just me!”

Step 5: Do some hand lettering about pickles with a Sharpie.

Step 6: Use yellow Dye-na-flow to fill in around some of the main shapes. Use a Uni Posca Paint Marker to color in and around some of your lettering.

I hope you enjoyed this “pickle pages” art journaling tutorial! Be sure to leave a comment below for your chance to WIN a set of Halftone Dots Series stencils! Writing your favorite kind of pickle with your comment is extra credit!

Have an amazing day!


YES!!! It's finally my turn to share! I was psyched when I saw these Halftone Dots stencils! They are so "perfectly imperfect"! As you can see I have been playing with them quite a bit and have already stained them from use.

But because of the pliability and strength of the Artistcellar stencils I am able to use a toothbrush to make sure the stenciled image stay clear, thank you for an awesome product!

The top 3 things I love about this stencil set?

  1. I love how the dots are not perfectly round,
  2. the way you can use them by 'stacking color' if you choose and
  3. the 4 different dot sizes are perfect!

Ok here is the fun! I wanted to try these a few different ways with different mediums and substrates.

The 1st thing I did of course is grab one of my Art Journals, this one is my Strathmore mixed media paper journal painted with my Dina Wakley Heavy body paints and a black DecoArt paint.

I used the stencils to create the background using random placement of the stencil.

I then went on to create my fairy face using the Dina Wakley paints layering thin layers of color so the background still ghosts through.

And some journaling to release a bit of stress.

The 2nd item I created, I used the Mineral paper that I love with watercolors to create a piece inspired by the Wizard of Oz.

I can totally see using these stencils again for a flowery field or even trees, it was so easy to use the watercolor bleed under technique (refer to my last blog post) to create such wonderful depth and color variation. I probably did 4-5 layers of stenciled color letting each layer dry before applying the next, and because I used the mineral paper, I was able to soften the lines easily with a damp brush.

I can't wait to play with these on the mineral paper some more, my brain gears are grinding!!!

The last item I decided to make is a small wall hanging for my bathroom wall, the substrate is pressed particle board from a  repurposed sign I had laying about. For paint I used DecoArt chalky finish paint, Matte Medium, watercolors and scrapbook paper.

I used the stencil this time in more of a pattern instead of being purposely random.

The finished piece is such a jumble of pattern and color it makes you read it, I love it!

So that is how I have played with this set so far, does it make you want them? if it does, go order some, or you could try to win a set by commenting below! That's right! Just give us a comment let us know what you think! Is your mind racing at how you could use them? Tell us!! The winner will be chosen on May 11th so cross your fingers!!

And don't forget to check out the other gals posts! 

P.S. there will be videos for the above projects so keep an eye out over at my YouTube channel!

Big Hugs and Mushy stuff!!!