If you want to take your art journal pages up a notch, you might like to try adding some different textures. Read on for five ways to create texture in your art journal.
When you’re creating an art journal page, there are a number of things you might want to think about including, like different colours, patterns, images, words, or various embellishments. None of these things is mandatory to include, of course, and it really depends what you’re trying to convey or achieve with the page.
But there’s something else that you might like to try adding to an art journal page to give it a bit of extra interest and another dimension, and that’s different textures. Different textures make art journal spreads much more tactile, encouraging people to touch rather than just look.
It doesn’t matter if you let other people look through your art journal or prefer to keep it private — even if it’s just you looking back in a month or year, different textures mean you’ll experience what you created in a different way than if you just look at it.
By the way, if you want to have a go at making your own journal to use in your art journaling, I have a PDF tutorial you can download by entering your name and email address below. (You’ll also receive my weekly emails, with exclusive tips and tutorials that don’t make it to the blog.)
So let’s take a look at five ways to create texture in your art journal.
Sand is surprisingly versatile as an arts and crafts supply. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend going down to the beach (if you have one near you) and bringing home some sand, you can easily buy different kinds of sand. Big bags of natural coloured sand are available anywhere you might buy a child’s sand pit from, and this is ideal for anyone likely to use a lot in projects. Otherwise, you can get coloured sand from craft shops. You can also get sand texture gels from shops that sell art supplies.
When you have some sand, you can mix it into clear-drying craft glue to retain the colour of the sand then use it in your art journal. Otherwise, you can mix sand into different coloured paints for a variety of effects. Acrylic paints work well for this.
Small pieces of different fabrics can be used to great effect. You could make a patchwork background with scraps, or create a landscape with green and blue patterned fabrics. Lace or ribbon are also useful for creating texture in your art journal.
Art journaling is a great way to use up scraps of fabric, so if you have any leftovers from sewing projects, make sure you keep hold of them for the future. It’s even better if you have fabrics of different textures and thicknesses.Simple white craft glue should be all you need to stick your fabric, lace or ribbon to the page.
When you tear paper, you end up with a really interesting edge. Layer up pieces of torn paper, with each piece of paper slightly smaller than the last, to create a great, versatile effect. Thicker papers are perfect for this, as are handmade papers that tend to have a little more texture.
Bear in mind that even if you have an idea of how you want your paper to look once it is torn, it can sometimes be pretty tricky to get it spot on how you want it. Don’t beat yourself up if this turns out to be the case as I’m sure you can make it work anyway!
Scrunch up a piece of paper into a ball and then open it out again. Thin some white craft glue with a drop of water and paint it onto the page. Stick the piece of paper down and paint some more of the glue mixture over the top. Let it dry and you’ll have created a papier mache effect.
You can also stick tiny scrunched up paper balls to the page to create a different kind of texture.
Heavy body acrylics are great for applying thickly as part of an art journal page or other artwork. Thick paint is best applied with a palette knife or something similar, like an old credit card or even a thick piece of card. Anything that you can use to scoop and spread paint is perfect (but make sure it’s not something precious, as at least a little paint is bound to dry onto whatever you use).
You can also mix some impasto gel medium into your paint to get a similar outcome. (Impasto is a technique often associated with oil painting, where the artist applies the paint thickly so it holds the brush strokes and other marks.) Heavy body acrylics are a great place to start as they don’t need any medium to achieve some great effects. Just bear in mind that thick paint may take a little longer to fully dry.
Don’t forget, I have a PDF tutorial for how to make your own art journal that you can download by entering your name and email address below. (You’ll also receive my weekly emails, with exclusive tips and tutorials that don’t make it to the blog.)