Beginning with Making the Art Journal

If you have taken the Marbling & More, Beautiful Backgrounds, or Embellishing Edges Workshops, the content in this lesson is also in there, as it serves as the base for HOPE JOURNAL. You may use any smooth watercolor paper, or journal that can take water media.

Journals web

Here is a video of a flip through of the HOPE JOURNAL to give an idea of the flow. In the class videos, I will be demonstrating the various techniques used in making the backgrounds as well as references to other journals.

Here is a photo of what you need to make  a journal out of watercolor paper:

Supplies for making journal

Here is the list of what you need to make a journal out of watercolor paper: 

  • 1 full Sheet of Watercolor Paper 22″ x 30″: Fabriano 140 lb, hot press (each sheet makes one 8”x10” journal)
  • Metal Ruler preferably with a cork back
  • Bone Folder (the side of a pair of scissors will work, but the bone folder is
    much better)
  • Push pin or awl for making holes in journal
  • Button or carpet thread, or bookbinding thread
  • Needle with a big enough eye for heavy thread to go through
  • Pencil
  • 2 Clips for holding pages in place while sewing (optional)

In the video below, I show how to make journal pages from a single sheet of 22″ x 30″ piece of watercolor paper. I first learned this from Teesha Moore’s Amazing 16-Page Journal Part 1 and  Teesha Moore’s Amazing 16-page Journal Part 2 YouTube videos.

The password for the video is: journal

Here is a PDF that shows the process. Click on the link:


Here is a video that shows how to sew your journal together after you have marbled some of the pages:

The password for the video is: journal

Here is a flip through YouTube Video of the Faith Journal:










  1. arturwallz

    Oh my goodness, This has been the easiest, and yet the most unique Journal book I have ever seen, let alone actually put together. Every measurement, every crease was exact. I am the worse at math and my first attempt was PERFECT. If this is an example of how this journal tutorial is going to go…. I am already in heaven. Thanks so much Valerie for such a clear, concise journal construction video!!!!!

  2. Patricia

    Just wondering……how do you get the basic color on the water color paper? Am I missing something?

    • Patricia, The step-by-step process of the backgrounds are taught in the Beautiful Backgrounds Class. There are a number of ways to paint the backgrounds. Sometimes I brush a coat of matte medium on the base and then after it is dry I paint on top with thin layers of paint (and water) using a brush, or paint sprays.

  3. Patricia

    Guess I put the cart before the horse here. I will play around with different things. By base, I am assuming that is the bare watercolor paper. Also, when do you use the gesso? I’m enjoying the videos and it’s helpful to go back and watch again. Thanks you!

    • Patricia, when using a lot of text or doodling, the bare watercolor paper is the ideal surface. With that said, writing with the Pitt pen can be done on any layer of paint, acrylic medium, or gesso. Gesso is opaque white, so I don’t put it over text unless I want to cover it up. It goes under text.

  4. Patricia

    I meant thank you. Retired teachers just can’t leave mistakes like that alone. Must give up my perfectionism when I do an art journal!

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