How to DIY a Stylish Journal for Writing or Arting!

journal, journal cover, diy, woodubend, decoupage
DIY Journal Cover with decoupage & WoodUbend

Hello everyone!! I KNOW the "in" thing is tutorial videos but try as I might - that is just NOT for me. There is something about talking, painting and standing at the same time that is just beyond me. BUT I DO love to share techniques and one of these days when life gets back to normal - I will get back to teaching classes..... In the meantime.... I did a little project tonight that I'm dying to share with you. How adorable is that Journal cover?? It's going to be a Christmas gift for someone who I think will love writing and arting in it. Who's ready to get started???

I started out with a blank hard cover journal. You can find these at Michaels, Wal-Mart etc OR if you are making a "junk journal" a regular hard back book will work just fine! I decided to do a bit of napkin decoupage, add a touch of WoodUbend and I had some bits and pieces of wording from transfers I had used in the past. Let's get started!!

You'll need a good quality paint to cover your journal as It's going to get used a lot (we hope!) My go-to paint is Jolie and I chose Antique White. If you haven't tried this paint yet - the colors are gorgeous, the coverage is amazing and customer service on their website is outstanding. You can find Jolie Paint HERE

If it's your first time buying - use the code INF-PAINTINGLADY for 10% off your order!

No prep needed - just go ahead and give your book a good base coat of paint.

I chose a small woodUbend piece for the front of the journal that looks like a small picture frame. I'm afraid this exact WoodUbend applique isn't available in the USA BUT there are other absolutely adorable ones. You'll need one of the smaller ones and you can find LOTS of them on the WoodUbend USA website. Designs # 1399 and #1085 are florals that would work great. #2149 and #1440 are wedding/heart. There are TONS of choices!! The woodUbend was also painted with the Jolie paint. No primining or prep needed. Painting woodUbend is just like painting wood!

The next step is a bit of decoupage. Now there are ALL KINDS of ways to decoupage these days. You can even by ready made posters that you basically peel and stick BUT I think my favorite technique is napkin decoupage. Any kind of napkins will work. There are even pages for buy, trade and sell napkins. I kid you not. But here's the secret. First thing you have to do is SEPARATE THE LAYERS. There will be 3. You will think there are only 2. Unless you've bought yourself some REALLY cheap napkins - there will be 3. Now getting these 3 layers separated is a bit like trying to open those plastic bags in the produce aisle at the grocery store. Focus.... wet your fingers..... and blow on it if you have to. I promise it gets easier the more you do it.....

Once you have just that one top layer of your napkin - choose what parts of it you want to decoupage. A big question that always comes up is how to you get the decoupage paper to blend in with the painted surface. To get a good blend with napkin decoupage - use a wet paintbrush to draw around whatever part of the design you want and then gently pull it apart. Those torn edges will blend much easier than cut edges.

The basics of napkin decoupage (practice on a piece of cardboard or wood first if you want but I promise it's not that hard - you just have to be gentle.....) I used mod podge - always works well for me with napkins. so #1 - Paint a thin layer of mod podge on the area you want to decoupage. Just a thin layer..... #2 Gently lay your torn napkin piece on the area you've just painted with mod podge. #3 Gently tap the napkin so it's in place. You really can't touch it much. The napkin - especially when wet with the mod podge is extremely fragile Remember......gentle...... It is totally OK if the napkin is hanging off the edge. More on that in a minute. #4 Secret weapon - Plastic Wrap! Or a baggie works too. Lay the plastic wrap on top of the napkin and gently smooth out any bumps or wrinkles. It's magic - they just disappear. But do it quickly and then gently pull the plastic off and discard. Did you catch all those "gently's" ???? Now - don't touch it until it's dry.....

If your napkin decoupage is hanging off the edge a bit - when it is dry - just gently sand with a fine grit sandpaper. (There's that gently again) Be sure it is dry. If you sand it while wet - it will pull your decoupage off. I chose to decoupage 3 places - bottom corner, inside the woodUbend frame and top corner but the choice on where you decoupage is all yours!

To add a bit of pizazz - I used WoodUbend Trim # TR0117 on the spine of the book. You can use any trim that fits the width of the spine of your book. There are LOTS of choices right here on the USA website for WoodUbend. Each roll of WoodUbend trim is just a little over 80 inches long - that's about 10 books per roll!

Basics of WoodUbending: Heat your woodUbend with a heat gun or hair dryer. Once it's warm you can cut it with regular scissors to the length you need. Apply a good quality wood glue to the back of your WoodUbend and press it firmly onto your book surface. Warm it up one more time and make sure it is adhered well. Sand the edges with regular sandpaper and Voila!!!! You're done. It is just that easy to use!

I originally thought I would do a distressed look for this project BUT it was so pretty with the decoupage that I decided to go with a cleaner look. So I went ahead and painted the trim on the spine and touched up other areas around the decoupage before I moved on to the transfer.

The transfer was just an add on. You can write words if you don't have a transfer. I just used some left over bits and pieces I had. I DO have some easy to use rub on transfers for you for just $3.99 on my website. It's hard to find transfers that are just words!

Back to the transfer! This is such a small one - there wasn't much to it at all. Trim your transfer close to the letters and decide where your placement is going to be. Pull the white backing off and place the transfer sticky side down. Burnish (rub) with the wood tool that comes with the transfers (I like to use the edge of a spoon to be sure it's all "stuck"). Then carefully pull off the clear cover. If you are missing some spots - it is totally allowed to touch up with a sharpie marker. Almost finished!!

If you've staying with me this far (hope so!) you might be looking at the picture to the right and saying HEY - I see "halo's" around that decoupage AND around that transfer! They're about to go away......

I'm sure you know already there are several top coats for "sealing" your projects. When using chalk type paint - I am usually 100% a wax addict. (I'll tell you all about that some other time) BUT when I have decoupage and transfers going on - THIS STUFF is the BEST. It's a genuine matte finish, dries quickly and works wonders on decoupage. If you use a brush on water-based top coat - I can almost guarantee your decoupage will "bubble". Those bubbles may go away and they may not. With the Krylon Matte Finish spray - I have yet to get bubbles on decoupage. Spray your project with 2 -4 coats - letting each dry completely in between. One final touch - I actually did this before I sealed with the Krylon spray but some folks are adamant that "wax is last". I wanted to highlight the woodUbend details so I used Posh Chalk Patina (gilding wax) in Byzantine Gold. These yummy little pots come in 6 different colors and can be found here - on the WoodUbend USA website. The Posh Chalk patinas can be applied with your finger or with a small brush. Just brush it on and let it dry for the perfect finishing touch.

That's all there is to it! It took less than 2 hours to finish the whole project. I added a bit of lace and it's ready for it's new life as a Christmas Gift!

I hope you all have enjoyed this project! I am an ambassador and affiliate for WoodUbend, Posh Chalk and Jolie Paint. Please do use the links I've provided in the blog if you decide to buy the products I've described as I do get a small commission if purchases are made through those links. You are also very welcome to come on over and visit my website where you will find original art for viewing in the online art gallery and paintings (and more) available for sale in the online shop. You can also sign up for email alerts (no spam - I promise) but I will keep you posted on new projects, paintings and upcoming events. If you're ever in Edwardsville, IL, you will also find my paintings at the GoodWeather Art Gallery on Main Street.

Thank you for being here!

Happy Imagining!!

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