Pat Robair Journal Page Technique

Pat Robair, member of Journal with Minfdfulness 2016, a Facebook group, kindly agreed to share her art technique for a journal spread she recently posted to the group pages.

pats work

Pat Robair’s Journal Pages

Here our Pat’s instructions:

To prepare: Gesso plain, white cardstock journal pages. Let dry.

  1. Paint prepared pages with black acrylic paint.
  2. Glue on birdcage cut out and news “scrap”. I use torn pages from craft magazines.
  3. Randomly stamp with background stamps. Then use embossing powder to add depth and shine.
  4. Spread gold Modellier Creme (any gold acrylic paint will work) on a gel plate, using a brayer to smooth it out, then press stamp on surface to apply gold paint. Stamp a large musical stamp directly onto the pages.
  5. Finish the pages by using Liquid Pearls in different colors. I squirted it around the page and made circles with my fingers.
  6. The final step (when completely dry) is to spray the whole thing with “Heidi Swap” spray. The shade I used is called Tea.

All done!


Pictured here is all the supplies that Pat used in her journal spread.

Background Technique / Prompt 4


In my response to Prompt 4, “Select a Moment to be Present in”, Journal with Mindfulness 2016, a Facebook Group I chose a moment when I went outside my house to feed the birds. There is a tall pine tree where all the small birds live. My favorite is the friendly Chickadee. The Chickadee hopped on to a branch and chirped as I filled the feeder. I thought about how tough the little bird was, to be able to stand up to the harsh winter weather. A lesson in resiliency. The following photos and text describe the background technique I used that combined a stenciled image using white acrylic paint and watercolor.


The photo above shows the acrylic paint I used for the background. It is the Dina Wakley color, Sky. One of my favorite blues as you can see from the outside appearance of the tube! Since white paint will be used to stencil the image cover your whole page with a darker color you like.


After selecting a stencil, use white paint with a sponge to create the image. Move the stencil around the page. Use the center part of the stencil. If you stencil the whole image it will create a blocked appearance. Let only smaller parts of the image show on the painted journal page, leaving some areas blank.


Using watercolor and a larger brush add some shading to your background. Only add a small amount of paint at a time. Your brush should be wet but not soaked with water. If you have too much paint on the brush or background you can blot the excess with a paper towel. I created this page in a technique journal, I use the journal to record art ideas I have, color combinations, images, and notes from mixed media art classes I have attended. I use it as a reference when I am looking for an idea to use in my art. It is the hard copy version of a Pinterest board.



Gelli Plate and Artist Trading Cards

Artist trading cards are 2.5 inches by 3 1/2 inches (64mm by 89mm). These cards are used with any medium you would like, such as acrylic paint,water colors, or markers. Collage elements can be added to the cards or drawings. The ATCs are small pieces of art that can be traded with other artist. I also think they are a great way to try out new techniques and experiment with ideas. The Artist Trading Cards also provide a place to create some art when you are short on time.

For this article I concentrated on creating backgrounds using an Artist Trading Card sized Gelli plate. This size Gelli Plate is a good size to try to find out if you would enjoy creating prints.

paint and plate

I used Golden Slow Drying Acrylics and Dina Wakley Acrylics. You can use any acrylics you have on hand. The only thing you have to be aware of is drying time. If you are working with an acrylic paint with a quick drying time you will need to have all your supplies ready to make your print, so that the paint does not have time to dry on the printing plate.

rolling paint

I used a combination of two colors. The paint can be placed on a plastic sheet and rolled out before rolling it on to the Gelli plate. You also can put a small amount of paint directly on the plate and roll it out there. You will want to cover the whole plate, but you do not want an excessive amount of paint, as you will not get a clear impression when using stencils.

stencils on geli plate

There are other methods of making a marks on a Gelli Plate, but for this article I will be describing how to use stencils to make a print. You can use one stencil or a combination of more than one as pictured above. You can get two different prints from this set up. The first pull is with the stencil left on the plate. In the second pull you will remove the stencil(s) and then get the next print from the impression that was left on the plate by the stencil(s).

A pull happens as part of the process of placing a paper over the Gelli plate and then rubbing the backside of the paper. The pull is when you remove the paper and see the magic you have created. You can use copy paper, printing paper and watercolor paper when making a print.See the below photo and text for more information.

on top of stencil

The photo featured above shows the type of impression you get when a print is pulled with the stencil still on the plate. The object next to the plate is a Speedball Baren. This baren is used on the backside of the paper to help you get a good impression when you are printing. You can also use the palm of your hand.


The photo above shows the type of print you achieve when the stencil has been removed from the plate.

double print

This print is an example of a double print. One impression is created using the Gelli plate. By placing another stencil on the plate you can then print over the first impression achieving a double impression.

adding panpastels

For a final touch Pan Pastels can be rubbed onto the surface using a tissue or a cotton pad. Pan Pastels also sell special sponges and tools to use with the Pan Pastels.

atc giveaway

These cards were made with the Tim Holtz ATC Sizzix Die. It is a great way to create the ATCs as you can use any type of paper you want for the backgrounds.



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)


I love to collage. I find it very relaxing.

When I create a collage I use scrape booking paper, stationary, and magazines. Once I cut everything out I loosely arrange it to get an idea how the finished art will look.

I use matte medium to glue the papers to the surface. You can also use all purpose glue, watered down slightly. Stamping can be added in a few places to give interest to the piece.



Baby Wipes

Baby wipes can be used to apply paint to your pages. Apply just a small amount of paint at a time to the baby wipes,then paint away. The wipes can also be used to remove paint. The paint should still be wet. If the paper is too thin or delicate it will rip. I have ripped the paper by rubbing too hard. Clean up is easy, just toss when done!

baby wipe


Stencils are a fun way to add images to your journal pages. I uses make up sponge wedges to apply the paint. To get a clear image from the stencil it is best to tap off the extra paint. If the paint is flat on the sponge that should be just the right amount. You can get an interesting effect using two complimentary colors with your stencil. Multiple uses can be achieved with each sponge by cutting off the used portion.


stencil paint