Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fun in Prepping for Altered Journals

On Friday we went to the garage sales. Always a delight of sounds, textures, and a mish-mosh of thoughts, plans, and ideas. WHAT will I discover that I can wear, read, watch, listen to or make into something? It never fails that I find SOMETHING.

This Friday all 5 of our grandsons (8-14) went with us plus my husband and daughter from Madison, Wisconsin. What an excursion!

Besides a LOVELY blue sweater and a fantastic 16 x 20 frame with re-useable canvas I found some old hard-page children's books. Right away I thought of that book (a few blogs ago) called Collaborative Art Journals. A fast and furious way to start one is to gesso or otherwise change the pages in these books to make them your own. No worry about binding or making your own paper or anything. 25 cents! It's worth a try!

I started by using Cheap Joe's Black Gesso and just covering the dries to a mat finish. Then for a few pages I tried some sort of "abstract" changes to the background that might be fun as a background. The first one at the top is wet black gesso and I laid 3 cotton strings over the wet pages, closed the pages and drew the string out one at a time. This revealed some of the bright color below the gesso. I also dropped a few drops of alcohol onto the book pages to make the circles.

Then I tried adding color over dry gesso with liquid acrylic paint (yellow) and then closing the pages to make identical opposing imprints. The tiny "vein like" texture was so much fun and a surprise.

The gesso takes longer to "cure" than I expected and so I am just doing a few pages at a time and letting them air dry over night or even for a few days. I am thinking I'd like a theme for the book...that's a traditional way to start. I might devote one page to each grandchild putting photos and collaged items on that remind me of that child. Another might be "impressions" of our north woods cabin...a "cabin journal". So much fun to think about.


  1. I agree! What a wonderful, creative, and blissfully inexpensive project. I'm going to have to try this.

  2. Wish I could find some old hard page childrens books - this project is just fascinating...I love it! Let us see the finished book.

  3. Great idea, Ginny.

    I'm sure you could make your own book just using heavy paper - there are book binding supplies at Daniel Smith and other places on the internet, if you cannot locate the old children's books.