Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Scrap Border Journal Page Tutorial

Every tiny scrap of scrapbook paper, painted paper, lined paper, junk mail and doodled paper is fodder for a scrap border art journal page.  An artist tends to see the potential in unlikely sources and materials...even the grocery list.

This is a technique that beginning journalers can use, but  also appeals to veteran journalers as well. The scraps, colors, patterns and textures you choose make it your own.


1.)  Apply a light watercolor wash to your page.  I just use Prang watercolors. Artist grade watercolors would be even better. (I don't recommend Crayola brand watercolors for this, as they seem to have a more waxy content, and it's difficult to get a pen to write over them.)

Light watercolor wash-didn't show up on my scan very well...
Yellow, red, blue, and a bit of orange. Green created by overlap of yellow & blue.

2.)  Collect your paper scraps. I sort through them picking scraps which have colors that coordinate, but also include scraps for contrast as well.

3.)  Some scraps of painted papers (from when I am cleaning my brushes off) may have just a few strokes of paint on them. (below) Add some highlighter to them to make the colors on the page really pop.

4.)  Arrange some of your scraps along the outside edge of the page. I don't usually put collage in the 'gutter' side, as this makes the journal more difficult to close with the addition of extra thicknesses of papers.  Choose different sizes and shapes, coordinating and contrasting colors. Try a variety of 
arrangements before gluing down.

Cut and tear an assortment of colorful papers and arrange
them into a border. Try different arrangements before gluing.

Hint: If you accidentally disarrange the scraps and can't remember how you had them placed, (as I invariably do) take a picture with your phone when you find an arrangement you like.  Refer back to the photo for the original placement of the scraps!

5.  Glue down scraps. Add more highlighter if you like bright colors!  You can add highlighter to the background or the scraps, or both.

6.)  Then doodle and shade the border arrangement.  You can add all types of swirls, patterns, dots and shading. I use a Sharpie pen (not a Sharpie permanent marker-- it will bleed through the paper. A Sharpie pen will not) As I was gluing the scraps down, I came across some leaves that I had drawn and painted; so I cut them out and added those to the border also.

7.)   The result is a lovely decorated page that you can journal on.  Add text in your own handwriting, with stamping, or computer generated text.  Journal your thoughts, a quote, or whatever you did that day. 

script added in the top border; hand-drawn text on the page
is a quote from Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

When my grandson was little, an "adventure" was when we would put a few toys in his wagon, along with a blanket, and some snacks. Then we would go outside for a walk, stop to play on the swings, and find a nice tree to play under. We would read books and play with his little cars. We still like to have adventures, but they have to be a bit more exciting the older he gets! This page makes me think of those times with my own children, and with my grandchildren.  Memories captured in a journal...

Please let me know if you try this technique, I would love to see the results!  You can also see other tutorials in the side bar~ click on the tea cup.

Linking to the Art Journal Journey Challenge for March 2016:
"If You Go Down to the Woods." 


  1. This is a great post. I love the final finished page, and I love the idea of using bits and pieces to make the border. Hugs!

  2. Oh Dianne what a brilliant tutorial - I love using scraps so I will definitely be trying this! I would love it if you would link to AJJ and share this tutorial and your Winnie the Pooh quote, for as we know his adventures took part in the 100 Acre Wood! Hugs, Chrisx

  3. What a lovely page and tutorial Dianne!
    True adventures are in the head -- I think!

    Thank you for joining Art Journal Journey !
    So glad to have you with us!


  4. This is a great tutorial of your process Dianne! Thanks for sharing it - I'm going to go home tonight and give it a try!

  5. I agree with Chris. Please add it to AJJ and think about using something similar for "memories," whenever you have to create for Norma.

    I love this tutorial, even though I don't journal. This is truly a wonderful way to take your pages to a new and "brighter" future. I like the idea of leaving the gutter side clear, even when working in an altered book.

    BTW, I have also used the technique of taking a photo (sorry, I don't have a cell phone) for future reference, or to see if my composition could improve. It costs nothing and makes us better artists to see what others would see.

  6. Love the scrap border, a fantastic idea. Thanks for joining us at Art Journal Journey, hugs, Valerie
    BTW, Rehab here is always 3 weeks of consecutive training, with 6 hours of training each day, including food and drink!

  7. I enjoyed this very much, it was fascinating to see how you got to the final complex border. It's a great idea.

  8. This is so cool...thanks for the step by step. It really helps inspire me when I see the process.


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