Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello Everyone!

You may not know this about me, but I am a huge book arts fan. I love artists’ books, handmade journals, and the like. Today I am going to share an easy way to make your own mixed papers, single signature, art journal.

Here are the supplies you’ll need to gather:

The Cover and Inside Pages

I love hot press (smooth) watercolor paper. When Fabriano came out with this pad a year or so ago, I was thrilled! It works great for a sturdy cover.

Fold one sheet of 11x14 hot press watercolor paper in half, with the grain of the paper. In this case, the grain runs short, so make a “hamburger fold”. (See below)

Once your cover paper is folded, it’s time to get out those stencils and paints!

Scrape a few colors of paint on the outside of the cover.

As you work on the cover, have extra copy paper underneath your painting spot. Use this extra paper for the inside pages of your journal. You can even stencil on them as you give your cover a chance to dry!

Work back and forth between the cover (both inside and outside) and the loose sheets of paper for the inside pages. Pictured below is the second layer on the front cover.

Pictured below is the second layer on the back cover. I am using an 8B Faber-Castel Graphite Aquarelle pencil to do a stencil rubbing.

Pictured below is some stencil work and Dye-Na- Flow drips on the inside cover.

Scrape paint on the inside cover, over the drips and stencil work. Doodle on the outside of the cover with the Faber-Castel Graphite Aquarelle pencil. Then add a third layer of paint to the cover using a stencil and white acrylic paint.

Sewing the Signature To bind your single signature book, you will need a ruler, or a paper slicer that has a ruler on its surface. We are going to be doing a 5-hole pamphlet stitch.

First, you need to make a hole-punching guide, using a piece of cardstock, a ruler, and a pencil.

Fold the piece of cardstock in half lengthwise, or a “hotdog fold”.

Measure one inch from the bottom and one inch from the top, and place a pencil dot. Put a dot at the center of the punching guide. Put two more dots in between the dots you already have. (See below).

Label your marks from top to bottom, 1 -2- 3- 4- 5.

Reverse the fold of the punching guide, so the numbers are now on the inside of the fold.

Gather 5-7 pieces of artsy paper to be the inside pages of your journal. Fold them, and place the punching guide at the center of your papers.

Place the folded papers and the punching guide inside an open phone book or on a thick piece of foam.

Use an awl to punch the holes for sewing.

Thread a bookbinding needle with waxed linen thread. The thread should be about 2x the length of your journal. Be sure to tie a loose knot about two inches up from the end of your thread and also near the head of the needle.

Important Note: If you want the loose threads to be on the outside of your journal, start sewing on the outside in hole 3. If you want to tie off your sewing on the inside of your book, begin on the inside in hole 3.

Use your hand or clips to hold your pages in line with the sewing holes once everything is punched. The pattern for sewing is:

Hole 3 to hole 4
Hole 4 to hole 5
Hole 5 to hole 4
Hole 4 to hole 2
Hole 2 to hole 1
Hole 1 to hole 2
Hole 2 to hole 3

You will be making an inside to outside, outside to inside, weaving pattern as you sew. For simplicity, write the sewing pattern on your punching guide as: 3-4- 5-4- 2-1- 2-3 Choose to start from the inside or the outside of hole 3, depending upon where you want your final tied threads to reside.

TA DA! You bound a book! Congratulations!!!

For more art ideas and mixed media inspiration, be sure to stop by

Blessings to YOU!



Hello my Mushy little Arty Lovelies! 

I'm going to be honest with you here, I am constantly making art that I do not like or I am not sure if I like it, but I always have fun with the process and that is what counts!

Today's piece is one of them! I am not sure if I like it. But it was so fun doing it I will let it sit and see if it grows on me. I have a large hoard of canvases, canvas panels, cigar boxes, frames, wood... (you get the drift) of stuff I have worked on that I either just don't like enough to put on the wall or it was a mock up of something some one wanted commissioned. These things take up space and are a waste of expensive substrates. So I have decided to do something about it.

SO I am starting out with a canvas board for a mock up I did for a wall mural for a Mexican restaurant.

(Nope didn't get the job, but I was their 1st choice! They just thought I should only charge $200 for over a weeks worth of work.) I had a blast researching the whole thing and even had fun with the mock ups; I have 4 panels worth of these. But now they are useless pieces that remind me that people don't realize that custom art is worth at least minimum wage. OK enough griping. 

I didn't want the paint on the board to go to waste so I just pulled my favorite stencils

from Artistcellar and went to town using some acrylic paints, the Dina Wakley being the boldest of the colors. I love the mudgy kerfuffle that the canvas turned out having!

I wish I would have scanned it as it was for future use, blug, hindsight is 20/20.

I then kept looking at the canvas until I decided what I needed to paint and got busy.

At this point I was having a blast painting

and I was trying to figure out where to add more shadows with the General's Scribe-all in black, I took a good look at it and put it aside because I though "who would want to see this?" and I got up all pissy and was stressing about what I would do for this blog. I got angry for enjoying myself! It took my half a minute after I realized that to get back to having fun, that is what this is about right? it's not about what I think others will like, its about enjoying the process.

So I sat my bedoodle back down and had fun! I just went with the flow, adding more color with the Dina Wakley paint, shadow with my General Scribe-all and used one of the water series stencils and paint to bring my figures into the foreground and my Faber-Castell Pitt Pen in black to add some shadows.

I don't know if I will keep this or if I will cover it with paint and make something else, but I had fun, and the colors energized me. I have to remember every piece does not have to be something someone would buy, sometimes I just have to create.

If you want to see the video of my process, here it is:

Big Hugs and Mushy Stuff!

Shana Banana!


“I have never been able to understand the artist whose image never changes”-Lee Krasner, Abstract Expressionist Painter

When I feel adrift, I return to Art History. There I find comfort and direction. Reading Lee Krasner’s quote started me thinking about the evolution of our work.

Do you ever review your body of work? Do you find you can re-experience a particular time in your life just by looking at your colour selection, composition and the materials you chose? Art journaling clearly gives us a sense of time and place. And I feel work beyond journaling can take you on a similar voyage.

Usually when I begin to work I have an inkling of where my journey will take me. But this time I really didn’t have a finished piece of work in mind, so I decided to let my supplies influence my direction. Building on my last Artistcellar piece I wanted to continue exploring the use of Rubber Cement as a resist. Last time I chose a heavy watercolour paper. I now went to the extreme…my cherished smooth and silky Mineral Paper. I was excited to see if the new substrate would enhance the resist.

Using the Artistcellar Seafoam stencil I once again applied Rubber Cement. But this time instead of using my fingers for a mottled finish, I brushed the cement in an even layer through the stencil and allowed it to dry overnight. Removing the stencil was easy, the clean-up quick, leaving it in pristine condition.

Punchinella, circular and hand cut stencils at the ready, I covered the Mineral Paper. I used both a dry brush and wash technique of various watercolours. When dried I added the metallic acrylics. I varied the density and disregarded the placement of the rubber cement.

The final step was the removal of the resist. The Mineral Paper held the cement in place which made it a little difficult to remove. What simply peeled off the watercolour paper held fast this time. But with a little perseverance, all cement was removed and I was left with an interesting array of colour and form. As with past projects, the Mineral Paper held up beautifully. No tearing or buckling. The paper is just fantastic and a MUST for any artist.

The final pattern reminded me of the post-War Abstract Expressionism movement…and I knew what I need to add to complete the image. Some time ago I purchased a fashion photo of a woman in a lovely flower print dress and hat. From her pose she could easily be gazing at an interesting piece of art. Could she be wondering…Is it Art? What do you suppose her answer would be?

When you view your work can you see a shift in perception? Do innovative and interesting influences appear over time? What images are constant…giving you a secure base to allow you to dream and experiment. And do you ever wonder, looking at the world around you…Is it Art?


    • PLUM
    • ROSE

Hello Creative Beings! Because I need a little more balance in my life and motivation to practice meditation, I decided to make a meditation banner using Artistcellar pocket stencils Chakra Series, ATC cards and Splash Ink.

To start this project I punched holes in all four corners of each card and got out my trusted Splash Inks in Magenta, Yellow and Blue then painted 7 ATC cards with each Chakra color starting with purple for the Crown Chakra. To make purple, I mixed magenta and blue according to the color chart in the Splash Ink package. Then, I mixed up an indigo blue for the third eye chakra, light blue for the throat chakra, green for the heart chakra, yellow for the solar plexus, orange for the sacral chakra and lastly, ruby red for the root chakra. I was able to mix all of these colors easily with only three colors using Splash Ink.

Next, apply gloss medium over the stencil with a palette knife using a scraping motion. Lift the stencil carefully from the card and put the stencil in a bath of water to make cleaning easier. I chose clear gloss medium to scrape over the stencil onto the ATC cards so the color will come through after drying.


Cover all cards with the gloss medium using a different Chakra stencil. Set aside to dry until the gloss medium is completely clear. I use this drying wait time to clean my stencils thoroughly.


After the medium was bone dry, I brushed on titanium buff and titanium white acrylic paint over the entire card.

When the paint is just dry enough to touch, use a baby wipe to gently remove the white paint from the chakra to reveal the color underneath. Do this step with all cards so all color is removed off the gloss medium area. Touch up areas on the card if some of the paint was removed from around the chakra.


I inserted antique brass eyelets and connected the chakra cards with antique jump rings. You can also use ribbon or thread to connect the cards.

Once all the cards were connected I mixed a wash of Splash Ink and brushed it over the cards and wiped off the excess color for an antique look.

Here is the finished banner hanging on my bedroom wall next to my mirror. I plan to use it every morning during meditation to start the day and when I travel, I can fold it up and take it with me. Namaste :-)


  • Splash Ink Acrylic Mixing Colors
  • Artistcellar Pocket Stencils Chakra Series
  • Strathmore Artist Trading Cards Illustration Board
  • Golden Gloss Medium
  • Holbein Titanium White and Titanium Buff Matte Acrylic
  • Eyelets
  • Jumprings
  • Standard hole punch
  • eyelet setter

Hello again!

Today I wanted to paint a funky faerie -- I started with a simple background on Mineral Paper using Prima Confections watercolors and Artistcellar stencil series in Diamond Series and Sacred Geometry 2. For this background, I just used a little bit of paint on a Koi waterbrush. I took care to pick up different colors of paint and not overlapping the stencils. I also added a few splatters and drips here and there. 

I really adore how the mineral paper reacts with watercolors and I loved the results when I picked up my stencil each time. 

Once the paint was dry I started drawing a funky faerie using a Scribe-All pencil and then filled it in with some more watercolor.

Now my  imagination started going wild with the story on this faerie. Ornery? Definitely. Ever wonder where that button went from your shirt? Or perhaps you knew you had some extras in the drawer over there... but they're gone now. It was definitely her. Her name is Petunia and she is a button thief!

Using Liquid Glass I glued some buttons down to the page for her eyes, and then I sewed them with dark blue thread. I tied them off on the outside so that she could have eyelashes. 

I finished her with some white highlights here and there with a Uniball Signo pen and a little bit of Ice Stickles glitter... because every faerie *needs* a little bit of sparkle, right?


Hello again! I am excited about the project I'm sharing with you this week as it combines two of my favorite things. Hand-lettered quotes and beautifully designed stencils. The supplies I used are my Art Journal, black water-proof pigment ink pens (like Faber-Castell Pitt Pens), Cathedral Series Four-Stencil Set, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils (or the Inktense Blocks), small paint brush, pencil and a kneaded eraser.

First step is tracing the stencil into the paper to make the decorative border. Please notice that I am tracing a portion of the stencil first and then rotating the stencil and tracing a different part. This ends up making a symmetrical design that looks elegantly complicated. The magic of the Cathedral stencils!! Try "rearranging" the way you use your stencil images. Happy accidents will abound. 

Next comes the hand lettered quote. I turned to my trusty Pinterest board devoted to inspiring words and chose quotes that weren't too long. Using my pencil and kneaded eraser (because it erases cleanly, without smudges) I penciled in my words until I got to a general composition that I liked. Then I used my pigment pen again to ink in my letters and build them up with angles, thick and thin lines, and little embellishments. 

Final step is the color!! Grab your watercolor pencils or Inkstense blocks, choose complementary colors and begin filling in various parts of the design. The Cathedral series is inspired by stained glass windows so I wanted to use vibrant colors to convey that idea. Be sure to layer different shades of color to add depth. Don't worry about filling in the space completely with color. When you use a damp brush to "activate" the pigment you can smooth it out and fill in all the nooks and crannies. Gorgeous!

This project was kinda like making your very own coloring page. How trendy of us! Haha! As you can see from this picture I had Bob along for maximal creative zen relaxation. 

Happy creating!

Good day Artistcellar fans! How are you doing?

Do you feel like a little art journaling session is in order?

Grab your favorite supplies: a mixed media art journal, Artistcellar stencils, a few markers, acrylic paint, a brush, a jar of water, and the Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle set.

Today I’m playing with the Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle Pencils. I used one pencil in particular from the set-the 8B, along with the included paintbrush.

Let’s begin!

First, scribble some lines through the openings of a stencil. I used the Tracks Stencil from the Marked Series.

Tip: Blot with a paper towel before removing the stencil.

Remove the stencil to see the design.

To continue with the art journal pages, I used a stencil from the Halftone Dots series and some turquoise paint.

TIP: To get more on your background, clean the stencil with a baby wipe on the blank side of your page spread.

Now it’s time to add some journaling. I am a big believer in the power of writing, and I also love how handwriting looks in an art journal. What’s fun about the Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle pencils, is that you can easily blend out some of your words so it’s illegible to other people.

To make the writing even more difficult to read, I made a line grid over the words and added more water with the paintbrush.

Use markers to add patterns or anything else you want to include on your pages.

For me, this page spread is complete. I love creating backgrounds while playing and experimenting with art supplies!

Thanks for reading this post!

Blessings to you,


PS For more mixed media art ideas and inspiration, visit me at

Hello my lovely squishy arty friends! I am so excited to show you my playtime for this week!

I wanted to try something out with a couple items I got in my design team boxes, so I pulled the Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle pencils and a couple of the Dina Wakley Heavy Body Acrylics, I wanted to try 2 things, could I use the pencils as a cheater way to add shading while creating  a watercolor effect with the heavy body acrylics, and the answer is yes, yes I can!

It was so fun to try this out and see if it would work, I grabbed my homemade journal made with hot press watercolor paper and sketched out my alien with the HB and the 6B leads in the pack, using the HB for the rough sketch and the 6B to add darker shadow and lines.

I then used a plastic lid as a palette for my paint and mixed it with water until it was very thin, and filled her face with color activating the pencil as I went.

I love how the watery paint looks like water but I can layer it and not worry about lift or making mud, and the pencils activated and created the shadows I was looking for.

For the rest of the page I knew I wanted a Space theme but wasn't sure how to go about it, so I just decided to wing it, I made circles like a bulls-eye with the Aquarelles then filled them with the watery color, I then went and grabbed a make-up sponge and a couple stencils one from the Water Series and one from the Sacred Geometry 2 series just to add some random texture over the circles.

I then made another wash of color using black acrylic paint and painted over the background leaving glimpses of the background to create the stars and planets, then outlined them in white. I added a friend for her and I was done!

I love how this page turned out and love the eyes on my alien girl! I hope you enjoyed my process summary!

If you would like to watch the video of my process check it out below!

Big Hugs and Mushy stuff!! - Shana Banana

Wouldn't you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express
Wouldn't you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh
All on board the train, all on board the train
All on board – Graham Nash

We are in a cycle of dark dreary days filled with rain and humidity. Not the most advantageous to inspire creativity on these late Spring days. I needed an escape!  I wanted sun! I wanted warmth! I wanted exotic locations! With a bit of imagination and the best tools at my disposal I magically escaped the monotonous and traveled into a world of colour and exploration.

Opening the box from Artistcellar that arrived at my door was like grabbing my passport and getting on board to an exciting journey! Included with the supplies was the CHRIS COZEN - PLAYFUL PODS SERIES stencils. As with all of the Artistcellar stencils, they are made to last and perform perfectly with a variety of media. Clean up is quick and easy, leaving the stencil in like-new condition. I have been hearing a lot about the use of Rubber Cement. It seems to be the “go to” everyone is discussing…from Google+ Communities to Workshop details that land in my Inbox.

I selected the Bodacious Pods stencil from the series. They reminded me so much of Moroccan pouffes…the lovely Ottoman footstools that take lounging to the pinnacle of relaxation.  In my collection is an exquisite image of Sir Francis Bernard Dicksee’s "Leila", which I purchased on a Digital Collage Sheet. The woman, painted in the Oriental style, at last found a home.

My idea was to give the art a rough, almost sun worn finish similar to the buildings I photographed in Marrakesh. I chose a heavy watercolour paper for the substrate.  I dabbed the rubber cement through the stencil with my fingers…varying the amount from thick to thin, hoping this application would produce a mottled effect when covered with paint.

The rubber cement dried relatively quickly, even for impatient me. As an impulse buy, I recently purchased  pearlescent watercolours. I go weak in the knees for anything with a shimmer, and the selection of colours looked scrumptious. I covered the paper with a wash. I chose all the gorgeous Bohemian colours available on my pallet: Hot Pink, Vermilion Orange, Cyan Blue, Turquoise and Bright Violet! I blended the colours using a tool new to me… The SAKURA KOI WATERBRUSH. If you haven’t tried it you must! The brush is made of flexible nylon fibers that are fed with water from a refillable reservoir. When I was finished blending, the paper was once again set out to dry.

With my fingers and an eraser I removed the rubber cement. The result was as I had hoped…patchy, worn, sun kissed, with a dazzling shimmer…just as I remember my travels in Morocco.  It would be the perfect home for Leila. I scanned the altered paper and revised the image of the woman. I wanted to keep as much of the paper without further alteration, so I only added Graham Nash’s lyrics…the inspiration for the piece…surrounding her.

Art, I am sure you will agree, can take us to the places as far and as wide as our imagination. With the proper tools at our fingertips we can re-experience the wonders of travels past. Or we can dream of places we’ve yet to see.  Either way, won’t you join me? All on board the train, all on board the train!



Hello again Creative Spirits! I love experimenting with new supplies and techniques especially when I don’t have a goal or project in mind. I thought it would be fun to try the DecoArt Media Crackle paste on one of the finished Mineral Paper sheets from my May 24th post. Mineral Paper comes in pads as well as origami paper which is a perfect size for the 6” Artistcellar stencils.

I applied a medium coat of paste on the mineral paper sheet over one of the stencils from the Kaleidoscope series (Sunflower) with a palette knife and lifted the stencil off carefully. I really liked the bright white paste and the texture was different than other crackle mediums I have tried.

While the paste was drying, the mineral paper buckled quite a bit then and flattened out again. Let the paper dry until completely flat before doing the next step. The cracks that had formed on the surface of the mineral paper looked really cool but was a little too pasty white for my taste.

I applied a wash of magenta and blue Splash Ink over the paste which really brought out the details of the cracks. I love the way the color settled into the lines and stained the paste just enough to make it blend with the background.

I thought of many ways I could use the finished sheet in a collage or a background for a card but I couldn’t help to fold it into a heart instead. I wanted to see how the crackle paste would hold up to folding and I was surprised that it stayed on the paper with very little coming off during creasing. I like the way the folded heart feels on my fingers as I move them across the surface. If you would like to fold this super easy heart, you can find the directions here.


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