Making an Art Journal from a Kid’s Book, Pt 1, The Cover

I found this kid’s book at a thrift store for a quarter, and thought it would be really fun to convert into an art journal. I wanted a place where I could try out new techniques and products, without worrying about what the end product looks like (if I was giving it as a card, for instance.)
I started with homemade Gesso, and here’s the recipe:
1/4 cup plaster of paris
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white acrylic paint (buy it at a craft store, or if you have leftover white acrylic house paint, you can use that as well.)
1/4 cup Elmer’s or other white glue

Add the Plaster of Paris to the wet mix of the other ingredients slowly, and stir really well until it’s all well combined, with no lumps. I recommend that you put it in a good sealed container (with a screw on lid), so that it doesn’t go dry.

In previous weeks, I’d put some leftover paint on the cover and today, I covered the front of the kid’s book with the homemade Gesso and wiped the edges of the book and my Dollar Tree cutting mat (that I laid under the book) with a dry baby wipe. Keep your dried baby wipes, as they are perfect for this kind of clean up.

I separated a napkin that I bought at either the Christmas Tree Store, or got from a friend…I’ve had it a while. To separate the napkin layers, attach a piece of washi tape to the edge of the napkin on the back, and pull it so the layers separate. If there are more than two layers, you have to do this more than once.
I put matt Collage Pauge that I bought at Hobby Lobby on the book with a foam brush and then applied the napkin to it and trimmed the edges that overlapped the edges of the book. (after if was dry)  Then, I brushed a layer of Collage Pauge over the front.
I had bought a couple colors of Nuvo Mousse and have to say, don’t like them, as they are really dry, and one I had to add a significant amount of water to get it to be pliable. I used a little wooden stick from the Dollar Tree to mix it.
I combined some Texture Luxe in Pearl from Faber Castell to try to tone down the pink that was Pink Flambe from Nuvo Mousse and it was still really bright pink..
I also added some pink mica powder to it from the Dollar Tree, LA Colors eye shadow, that should have made the Mousse more sparkly, but really didn’t…(and I added a lot to the mixture.)
I used a chicken wire stencil to add the pink Mousse, and laid it on the front with painter’s tape that I had rubbed on my clothes and skin to ensure it wouldn’t rip the background when I took it off. I hated the way the pink mousse looked with the chicken wire, so wiped it back off before it set. I took the palette knife and added pink mousse to all of the small pink tulips, as well as the flowers on the left side in the pot.. I added some yellow Mousse as well and hated it, as it was super bright once dried.
I wanted to accentuate the colors of the naplins, so used Ranger Archival black ink to rub the ink pad around each of the edges of the book, and then used a Sharpie to get into the spots that were hard to reach. I used a Tim Holtz blending sponge to make sure the ink distressed the front edges of my book. The archival ink is important to use when doing layers, as it won’t re-wet or smear.
I hated the yellow mousse on its own, but once I cut out new vases from the napkin and recovered the vases that had yellow mousse on them, the yellow wasn’t so annoying. Every place I laid the yellow mousse, I basically cut the images again and covered over it. That includes the table, as half of the napkin front has one type of table on it, and the other half has a different table, and I didn’t like that. So I cut out two of the same tables and laid them over each other.
I wanted to add dimension to the flowers, so once they were dry, I added Crystal Effects that was from an old bottle that had thickened. I used the end of a spoon to get it to come out and then dripped it onto the flowers. Once it was dry, I really liked the effect.
I had an old stamp that a friend had given me with the word dream on it.. I stamped “dream” several times on yellow tissue paper from the Dollar Tree and cut the words out and laid them on a diagonal on the bottom section of the book and added another dream at the top near the center. I added another layer of Collage Pauge over the entire front cover and called the cover done.

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