Art Journaling with Ephemera

Napkins can be used as a background for your journal pages. I purchase them at the my local party supply store, it seems like the best price, and they change the selection with the seasons. To use the napkin peel off the back. You can apply the napkin to your journal page with gel matte medium or slightly water downed glue. Always use a brush you don’t care about as the glue will ruin the brush for painting. I use a foam brush which you can try washing.

Tissue can serve as a back ground element or a way to color or soften  another element that you are adding, such as a photo. You can find small packs of tissue squares in your local art supply or craft store. Artist tissue comes in large sheets. You can achieve an interesting look as the tissues will run and blend into each other when you use the gluing medium to adhere them to the pages. If you work quickly you can peel off part of the artist tissue and it will leave some of the color behind on the page. Tim Holtz sells rolls of tissue with different designs which can also be used as backgrounds also.

Deli paper is a great element for your art work. Hold the paper up to the light, look for the non shiny side, this will be the side you will work on. Deli paper can be used as a sturdy tracing paper. Find an image you want to trace, place the deli paper shiny side down, use an extra fine Sharpie to trace with. Glue the image to your page,using an old credit card gently rub out any bumps or ridges. When dry you can paint the traced image with acrylics. I have also used Pitt markers (type B) to color in the image,they give a more translucent appearance.The deli paper can also be stamped with an image using archival ink to prevent smearing or running when painting or coloring. When using the ink or markers on the deli paper thoroughly dry before applying to page. All inks and markers used with this process should be permanent,non water soluble.

Maps, post cards, envelopes, sheet music, ephemera packs that are sold with scrapbooking supplies, book pages,images cut out from scrapbooking paper or magazines and journal cards can also make a nice addition to your pages. You can add some artistic touches to these items by inking around the images, stamping over part of the ephemera or adding some paint mixed with glazing medium.

Create your own ephemera by using gel prints. Gelli plates come in all sizes artist trading card, small shapes, round and square, and large.These prints can be used as backgrounds or the papers can be torn to add interest to your composition. I will be posting about Gelli plates soon.


These are some few ideas of  types of ephemera. Once you start the quest you will never look at any paper in the same way. Place mats at restaurants, circulars, junk mail to name a few will make it’s way into your paper collection.

The top image is a journal cover that I decorated with Ephemera and Gelli prints.

Pictured below is some of the magazines I like to use for images. Nylon is inexpensive and they have great photos of faces, Sommerset Studio has free artist paper in each issue, Daphne’s Diary is a treasure of beautiful images.

journal cover

magazines  (1)

4 thoughts on “Art Journaling with Ephemera

  1. What great ideas! I have a lot to learn about gelli prints…I know nothing about this. I will start looking at paper differently now. Thank you for this blog!

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Do you have a video of using deli paper for tracing? I’m a little confused with the instructions (I have a brain injury, so I usually need detailed information).
    Thank you! I am so enjoying your website!!


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