Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello friends! 

I've had this graph paper composition notebook laying around for a while. I use it for planning/drawing comics, making lists, and everything in between, I love sketching on graph paper! However, I never liked the weird, splotchy, black and white covers of composition notebooks. If you also want to add a personal touch to any boring sketchbooks of yours, here's how you can!

Supplies you’ll need:

I forgot to take pictures of the very beginning, but I started by sanding the cover of my book to make it easier for the paint to stick. I also wrapped the pages in paper towels so I wouldn’t get any paint on them. Then, I covered everything with a coat of white gesso.

I sanded this layer again with some really soft/fine sandpaper, then put on a second coat of gesso. After that was dry, I sanded it too.

I’m sanding between every layer to try to minimize brush strokes - while the heavy acrylics and gesso make it easy to cover up the dark pattern underneath in only a few coats, they also leave some pretty big brushstrokes and I want a smooth look. Make sure that your paint is dry all the way through before sanding or you might take little chunks off and make it even bumpier! It also helps to wipe off the dust after with a baby wipe or wet paper towel.

Now for the fun part- the color! I wanted a summery pink, so I mixed blushing, fuchsia, a bit of lemon, and white all right on the page and blended them together. Pretty! 

I wasn’t feeling it though, so I decided to mix them first and change it to a more even and lighter color. I also put a few layers of gold on the binding edge strip. Using tape to get a nice neat edge would have been a great idea (if only I had thought of it before tediously painting it by hand…)

Now for the stencils… I think I’m going to use my favorite quasi flowers (from the Quasicrystals series) with gold. I got some ideas for possible future covers while looking through stencils; I think that if I had a darker book, a silver base with celestial in dark blues and purples would look stunning, or turquoise greens with a coral stencil in a contrasting copper… 

Using a sponge and taping the edges down is the best way to get a neat edge! I dabbed on more magenta, white, yellow, and gold. The gold smells wonderfully pepperminty. The back, by the way, looks the same, but lighter and I used the infra dots instead.

And now we’re done! Almost. I put a coat of Decoart Media satin varnish over everything to seal it and keep my paint from scratching off or getting dust in it. I also gave it another quick and soft sand to make it a little matte-er after.

Nice. Spice up those journals!

Oh hello again!

This week I have been really busy filming - I'm a teacher in this year's Ever After with Willowing Arts! My theme is Alice in Wonderland, which you know I'm very excited about.

To keep with the Alice in Wonderland theme, I decided I wanted to paint intuitively  on a huge piece of watercolor paper. 

I had so much fun creating that "poster" last time, I decided to give it yet another go. I started with some 12 x 12 Artistcellar Stencils. I love these Sacred Geometry stencils, and they pair nicely with the Diamond Series stencils as well!  

From here, I'm just building up layers with the same DecoArt Media Mister in "Carbon Black" except now I'm also adding in 6 x 6 stencils and pocket stencils! 

Quasicrystals, Blocks, Chakra Series Pocket Stencils, and Labyrinth Series stencils play a big role in the mood here!

Now, for the really adventurous part... I mixed up some fluid and high flow acrylics with DecoArt Pouring Medium and poured paint directly on the poster. 

If I had planned ahead for this part I would have worked on a big canvas and not watercolor paper, but hey! We are painting intuitively here, after all. 

This is probably one of the messiest yet most satisfying things ever! The hard part is waiting for it to dry, which takes 24 hours or more.

But, with a little patience I was able to return to it and add small details with Posca Paint Pens. Here, I'm adding some leaves and the quote, "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."

That's it! 

This was so hard to photograph because the pouring medium leaves things a bit glossy which looks incredible in person! (If you would like to sign up for Ever After 2018, visit: )


Hello Readers!

I have been doing some experimenting and playing this week. How about you?

Would you like to play along with me?

Here’s something fun you might like to try.

Supplies Used:

Step 1:

Get your watercolor paper, stencil, texture paste, a plastic card, and a baby wipe ready.

Apply molding paste or texture paste with a plastic card or palette knife. Smooth the paste over and through the Shooting Stars stencil (or stencil of your choice). It feels like you are frosting a cake, as you smooth out the paste.

Step 2:

Wipe stencil with a baby wipe right away and/or rinse under running water to remove the paste.

Step 3:

Let paste on watercolor paper dry completely. Check after 10 minutes or so. If the paste does not stick to your finger when you touch it, it’s dry.

Step 4:

Get your Distress Crayons and Gelatos ready to go, as well as a jar of water and a paintbrush.

Begin to apply colors of your choice, directly onto the dried, textured watercolor paper.

I made a couple of discoveries here. The Gelatos and Distress Crayons blend together nicely.

Also, I find it so fun to apply water to water-soluble, colorful art supplies! It’s magical!

Step 5:

Continue adding color and water to your heart’s content.

Step 6:

Add a fun border if you’d like!

Enjoy your art!

Thanks for playing along with me today.

Sending you well wishes, lots of colorful playtime, and other good stuff.

All of my best,

Briana of

“What would happen if…” – Daniel Keyes

Have you ever wondered "what would happen if"…and if you did, where did your thoughts take you?

As PBS has launched the Great American Read, I decided to revisit my favourite book, Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” a tale of what would happen if intelligence could be altered through surgery. I am captivated by the creative process. I enjoy seeing the preliminary drafts of a work as much as the final piece. Keyes’ “Algernon, Charlie and I – A Writer’s Journey” not only described his method of fiction writing but the inspiration for “Flowers”. I was in bibliophile paradise!

Motivated by my stack of hardback book covers I decided to choose a light coloured cover for my next project. Inspired by the story I made my own inkblot on tissue paper. Once glued to the board the rest of the elements fell into place. The bottom image transfer was copied from a 1950’s post card. Bit and pieces of paper were added building up the layers. I glued dried hydrangea petals across the composition.

Artistcellar stencils have a great selection of designs in their collection. I chose one from the Labyrinth Series. The Chartres stencil was a perfect fit. The maze like pattern not only added an interesting design, but enhanced a key component of the story.

To brighten the composition I added acrylics using only a portion of the Infra stencil. Again, with just a bit of painter’s tape as a mask you can achieve the look you are after. However you chose to use them, they are never damaged and clean-up is a snap….the essential quality I look for in stencils.

Hopefully my collage will give you a hint of what “Flowers for Algernon” is all about without giving too much away. If you aren’t familiar with the story perhaps this post will spark your interest. With a bit of luck it will also inspire you to explore your passions and journey to what would happen if…


  • DECOART: Blue Harbor
  • DYLUSIONS PAINT: Crushed Grape, Squeezed Orange, Bubblegum Pink
  • DYLUSIONS SPRAY: Bubblegum Pink
  • REEVES: Bronze, Gold

Hello again!

Today I'm working on Ampersand Aquabord!  This stuff is really cool to work with as it provides an awesome texture for watercolors, inks and even acrylics. 

I just had to play with some Artistcellar stencils!

I started with the 12 x 12 Artistcellar Sacred Geometry stencil, "Flower of Life" along with some Liquitex ink. - It worked like a dream!

Next, I layered with Golden Absorbant Ground medium and acrylics.

... and I also added extra fun with splatters and drips.

To finish off this painting I added white highlights with my favorite Uniball Signo UM-153 pen.

Overall, I loved working with the Artistcellar stencil alongside some of my favorite mediums and I'm so pleased with the end result of the painting.

What are some of your favorite mediums?

I am back this week to share a more in depth look at how I created the book I shared last time. The book structure is a combination of an accordion book with three-hole pamphlet stitched signatures.

Let's get started!

To start I used a 8.5"x17" piece of kraft colored cardstock and accordion folded it to have three "mountains" and two "valleys". If I measure from the left to the right there is a fold approximately at 1.5", 5", 8.5", 12" and 15.5". Finally I trim down the height of my book from 8.5" to 5". These dimensions will change if you are making a book to fit in a box. Just measure the inside dimensions of the box and decrease it by a quarter or half inch to give some wiggle room for your finished book.

Now is the time to decorate the cover! My first layer is dry-brushing white paint onto the cardstock. Dry-brushing is exactly what it says, using a DRY brush to loosely apply paint to the surface. This is a great way to add texture. Here is a short clip of me showing this technique:

On one side I used an old hotel key card to scrape thin layers of paint swatches across the surface. I then use the Quasi stencil to add more color and texture. The other side of the paper gets a few layers with the Halftone Dots Shadow stencil and one layer with the Quasi stencil

As a finishing touch I glue down (with matte medium) a few pieces of torn gel printed deli papers from my stash. 

Now it is time to create the inside pages! For this I gathers some old dictionary papers, vintage magazine papers, book pages, old photocopies from previous art projects. Just a variety of paper ephemera. These particular papers I have previously colored with acrylic inks. I was very inspired by Rae Missigman's techniques when she creates her signatures for her Pocket Journals. To find out what size I need to make the inside pages I measure my book at the section I will sew the papers onto and find my pages should be about 5x7 inches or smaller. to fit into the area. The following video shows how I tear down the papers to the size I want and then how I organize them into signatures, which is a group of sheets folded down the middle. 

The last step is to sew! 

I used black waxed linen thread and an embroidery-type needle with a larger eye. If you don't have waxed linen thread then use what you have! Embroidery floss works great! The wax just helps the knots to stay in place. I have even heard of people using dental floss too! This last video shows the entire sewing process from piercing the holes (with a small awl, you could also use a push pin) to stitching all three signatures with a final look at the finished project at the end. The video is 7 minutes long because I chose not to fast-forward it because sometimes seeing things in "real-time" helps create better understanding. 

I hope this inspires you to create your own!

Greetings to you all! I hope you are doing well.

Today I would like to share some photos from a recent exploration with Dye-Na-Flow. I adore this product. It’s like liquid watercolor in some ways. I just read on the Artistcellar site that you can put this in a water brush and paint that way, too! Brilliant, I say!

So, here’s what I did.

First, I made a collage using torn pieces of a vintage ledger page.

Next, I made some splatters all over my paper. This was really fun, by the way.

Then I started to spontaneously paint a figure.

I love how the magenta and midnight blue blend together.

I wanted to add a pop of color, so I used the sun yellow Dye-Na-Flow.

Finally, I thought the figure needed a bright green ground to stand upon, so I added that, too.

The final steps (see above photo) included stamping an eye, the date, and adding my signature.

I don’t know what it is, but I like it, and I enjoyed playing with Dye-Na-Flow!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Briana of

“I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life. All mystery and magic.” - Houdini

Do you believe in magic? Are you intrigued as I am by stage magicians? Even if I know the secret to the trick, I still relish the performance. Mystery and magic. I can’t get enough of it.

For my next Artistcellar project I wanted to experiment with a supply I haven’t used in a long time. I have always liked adding embossing powders to my art. There is something about the transformation from powder to a liquid metal effect that I find sublime. I recently purchased a set of Seth Apter’s Baked Texture Embossing powders. With names like Chunky Rust, and Vintage Beeswax I couldn’t wait to create with them.

My other recent obsession is image transfers. I have been attaching images to an array of papers. The results widely vary. But when they work, it’s like holding a bit of magic in your hand. Most of my transfers have been produced from photocopies of engravings. The lines hold well to the substrate. I wanted to try a halftone photo. I decided to try my luck with a photo of a woman in a top hat I saw in a book. Because I wanted a transparent finish I transferred the photo to a tea bag. After a bit of soaking and rubbing, I was pleased with the results.

Using an old library book cover for the substrate I began the collage. I glued a piece of joss paper to the cover and layered the image transfer on top. While it was drying, I covered a selection of papers with embossing ink using my Open Work stencil from the Blocks series. I especially liked the colour and texture I got from the Ancient Amber powder on the tea bag. I also tried the powders on a piece of parchment paper. As the powder set, they lifted from the paper and I glued them to the design as free standing jewels. I liked the old carnival poster effect of the piece. I completed the work with tissue paper from my last project, a bit of French newspaper I covered with Vintage Beeswax powder, and papers infused with real beeswax.


Every time I create I dive into all that is magical and mysterious. The magic has been the discovery of a new way to use a supply. The mystery often times is just the process of creation. My hope is that you follow your inspired heart. It can guide you to places and people who will forever enchant your life.


  • PLAID ACRYLICS: Sunflower, Inca Gold
  • DECOART: Sunny Day, Blue Harbor, Sea Glass, Desert Turquoise
  • DYLUSIONS PAINT: Vibrant Turquoise, Cut Grass, Fresh Lime, London Blue, Crushed Grape, Squeezed Orange, Bubblegum Pink, Postbox Red
  • REEVES: Bronze, Gold
  • SETH APTER - EMERALD CREEK EMBOSSING POWDER (Ancient Amber, Chunky Rust, Vintage Beeswax, Patina Oxide)

Hello again!

Sometimes when I approach my art journal I like to look at it as a place for simple self reflection. Not everything in this place has to be an amazing work of art, right?

So today I pulled out some of my collage papers and used matte medium. Then I used the Artiscellar Diamond Series Stencil: Flanders and the Artistcellar Sacred Geometry 2: Seed of Life with black DecoArt Media Mister.

This created a really subtle effect because I purposely got the stencil a little too-wet.

Once that was dry I used Pan Pastels with the Artistcellar Blocks Series stencil. Pan Pastels and stencils are a match made in heaven!

To finish off, I added some lettering with a white gelly roll pen.

"Be Gentle. You are meeting parts of yourself you have been at war with."

Hello, my name is Kirsten and I LOVE making books! After my last project making a beautiful little gift box from a plain ol' box from the dollar store I had the idea of creating a box to go inside. 

Here's what I used:

  • cardstock for the main book structure
  • various collage papers, including some printed will a gel plate and stencils
  • gesso and paint
  • favorite Artistcellar stencils to decorate book
  • waxed linen thread and needle
  • awl or something to poke small holes
  • Ribbon and washi tape

The main structure is an accordion which is painted with gesso and paint with a dry brush, stencils and collage papers.

Inside the book are two signatures made from several pieces of collage papers sewn into the accordion with a three hole pamphlet stitch. 

The folded book fits inside the book and stays in place with a ribbon secured to the bottom of the box with a piece of washi tape.

I hope this little project inspires you to create something this week!

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