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Welcome back to the Cherry Blog! Have you every seen the large, decorated letters often used in fancy décor? I love the look of them and the personalized touch they add to a room, so I tried five different ways to decorate them and I love them all!
First, I prepped the letters altogether to keep it easy. I painted the sides and tops of each letter with a layer of white gesso, then a coat of white acrylic paint. The gesso helps seal the paper mache and keep it protected, while the acrylic paint is opaque enough to color the letters white. With the ‘A’, I simple added a coat of matte gel medium to the top of the letter and pressed it down on top of patterned paper with a “painted” look! This page came from Vicki Boutin’s pre-made mixed media pad. Next, I roughed up the edges when I cut it out to give it more texture and then sealed it with matte gel medium.
For the ‘R’, I decided to go wild with a few packs of Prima flowers! I adore the look and texture these florals added to this letter. I painted the top of the ‘R’ with a layer of Prima’s 3D gel medium (needs to have a pretty heavy body gel medium to get a strong hold!) and then pushed the flowers into the gel, holding it firmly until I was sure it was secure. Starting with the large florals so that I was sure they had plenty of room, then filling in the openings with smaller and smaller florals.
Up next was the ‘T’ and I thought it needed some bling! I painted the top of the letter with matte gel medium and then covered it liberally with Wow Glitter in gold! Now, this one is a project to set up and walk away from as it takes quite a while to dry, but when you come back and shake off the excess glitter, it’s stunning! You can seal in the glitter once it’s completely dry with hair spray.
With the ‘S,’ I took on an ambitious idea to fill the letter with resin flowers! Using the Prima 3D gel medium again, I painted a thick layer onto the top of the letter ‘S’ and then stuck the flowers wherever they would fit, puzzling them together to fill in the entire space! This one might be my favorite because it looks amazing!
Now, for the Y, I wanted to try something a bit different. I dug deep in my stash for some Jane Davenport tissue paper and using a thin layer of matte gel medium, affixed it to the top and sides of my letter. I added another layer of matte gel to seal it in and protect the tissue long-term. It looks like the design was drawn directly on to the letter! Such a cool effect!
I hope these crafty ideas for decorating letters inspire you to give this project a try too! You can use your initials, spell a meaningful word, or even your kids’ names! To see this project come together, check out the process video below!
Laura Alberts, ACOT Design Team
Need some junk journal ideas? Try out a few of these 30 different techniques! I love that junk journals are so freeing - no rules, no right or wrong way to create them, you can just do whatever you want. You can include photos, notes, paintings, journaling, sketches, mixed media, etc. The possibilities are endless! They're really great for people like me who get bored easily and want to try new techniques all the time.
1. Practice your watercolor skills with florals! I started out with the stems, keeping them light. Then did the florals next, also keeping them pretty light. Then I went over the stems and the bottoms of the flowers with darker shades. If you're new to watercolor, I find florals to be the easiest to play around with!
2. Add a wood piece! Try to find one that is flatter, paint or ink it, and then glue it right in. It makes such a fun dimensional page!
3. Add some mist! Either spray a mist that is already packaged that way, or make your own. For this one I mixed a little water and Distress Oxide Reinker, and sprayed it lightly on my page. It didn't take long to dry, and then I added in a few drops of Stickles.
4. Stencil & ink - I love a good stencil for a background! I used some blue painter's tape to keep the stencil in place. This tape easily peels off without messing up your page. Then I blended a couple colors of ink using a blending brush and love how it turned out!
5. Washi tape is an easy and fun way to add a lot of color/design. I roughly ripped my pieces off, and lined them up in the middle of my page. I used a black and white photo so that it would really pop out from the colors.
6. Stencil & paint - yes you can use paint on a stencil! I used acrylic, and it worked great. Tape your stencil down first, and use more of a "pouncing" instead of "painting" technique. This way the paint won't get behind your stencil as much. Those cheap foam paint brushes work great for this. Remove the stencil when it's still a little wet and voila! I really loved how this paint popped on the black cardstock.
7. Stencil & texture paste - this texture paste was really fun to play with. I wanted to see how it would look using a stencil, and if I could add anything on top of it. I ended up using some black acrylic paint and metallic wax. It was so fun to experiment with!
8. Stencil & glaze - I loved using Vicki Boutin's Prism Glaze with a stencil. It's a little bit more fluid to work with, so a little bit of it seeped beneath the stencil, but I still loved how it turned out!
9. Catalyst silicone wedge tool - this thing is so fun! I swiped some acrylic paint across the page, not cleaning it off between swipes so that there would be a little mix of colors in each stripe. You really can do a lot of fun things with this tool, just have to experiment with it!
10. Mix up your mixed media! Because why not? I combined texture paste, prism glaze, and mica flakes and mixed them all together. Then used a palette knife and spread it on a stencil. The texture paste and mica flakes gave it dimension, while the prism glaze gave it a nice iridescent finish!
11. Add a border with some doodles! You can keep it simple, or make it more intricate. I love the Kelly Create fine pen for this.
12. Add some hand stitching! I punched out some circles, and poked holes in them. (A thimble is handy!) Then threaded these circles together to make a cute little border around my photo.
13. Add paper strips - this is a simple way to add some texture and color! Choose your papers, rip/cut them, and align them how you want. I like the look of ripped edges, so I simply just tore those off of each end.
14. Use a doily as a stencil! I would suggest using a medium that isn't too wet. I used wax which worked great! Then you can use your colored doily on another page as well. Win-win!
15. Texture paste + flakes - I used a stencil and painted on some texture paste. This stencil was kind of intricate, so using a foam brush worked well. Then while it was still wet, I sprinkled on some mica flakes and Stickles. This made a really nice textured background with a hint of sparkle!
16. Fold a pocket! I cut a sheet of 6x6 paper, and tore the bottom of it. Then I folded up the bottom third for a little pocket type of look. This created some fun dimension to the page and really made my photo stand out!
17. Tissue paper heart - I scrunched up and painted some tissue paper for a really fun affect. I just used regular gift tissue paper I had lying around. Painted it with some watercolors first, then added a little bit of prism glaze. After it dried I glued it on my page in a heart shape. I put my photo on top of it and it really made it pop!
18. Ombre background - I used three acrylic paints to create this, starting with the darkest on top, and ending with the white. I overlapped each row of pineapples just a tad so that they blended together. Tapping lightly with a foam brush kept the paint from seeping under the stencil.
19. Splatter background - I used a couple brushes and watercolors to create this background. I loaded the brush up with water and color, and gently tapped it around the page. I used several colors and a combination of lighter and harder taps to get different sized splatters. It helped to use watercolor paper and taping all the edges down with painters tape. This way the paper wouldn't move or warp. After it was done I slid it into my junk journal. I love how it turned out!
20. Use a sponge! I really love this technique as it makes it super easy to blend. I sponged on some ink through a stencil, and also on a watercolor resist tag. Any kind of make up or craft sponges would work.
21. Distress crayons - I used these to make a whimsical background on this page. I wanted some of it blended, and some of the crayon showing through as well. I used a little spray bottle of water to spritz my page as I blended it with a mini blending tool. And added more crayon scribbles here and there as well.
22. Alcohol ink - in order to add alcohol ink to your junk journal, you'll need to do it on yupo paper first. I put a paper towel down around my yupo paper to catch any run off, and started out with a few drops of pink alcohol ink. Then I used the Tim Holtz Air Blower to spread my color around. The Statue Alloy added a nice metallic touch to it as well. Once it was dry I cut around my design and glued it onto my junk journal page. This is one of my favorite pages!
23. Stamping - for this page I created a simple stamped background using 3 different distress oxide colors. I wanted more of a muted look, so I stamped these leaves and florals very lightly. Using a small acrylic block made it easy to stamp randomly all over the page.
24. Hidden journaling - for this page I used a big pocket to tuck in a few things. I wrote out the poem I used for my mom's funeral, but wanted it to stay tucked safely somewhere. I found this pocket in the Vicki Boutin tags pack, and it worked perfectly. I sponged some ink on the bottom of it, and also sponged ink on a stencil for my background.
25. Stencil & watercolors - you can use watercolors with a stencil, just be sure to not use too much water on your brush. I taped down my stencil and very lightly painted on a few shades randomly over it. I let it dry a little bit, but not all the way. Be careful to remove the stencil so it doesn't smudge anything.
26. Using waxes with a stencil - I used the Prima waxes and brushed them over a stencil with a blending brush. These go on so smoothly! I did three colors and overlapped them slightly on my page.
27. Embossing glaze! I dabbed Distress embossing ink on a brick stamp, and stamped that on my page. Then sprinkled on two different Distress embossing glazes, one color at a time. After shaking off the excess, then heating it, it made a really nice embossed background!
28. Distress crayons + watercolor brush - this was a fun technique! Tape down a stencil, and color it in with the Distress crayons. Then take a watercolor blending brush filled with water, and go over the crayon, blending it in. I left some of mine not as blended as others.
29. Acrylic paint - line up dots of a few different colors of acrylic paint. Then brush them over to one side, not cleaning off your brush between two of the colors you want blended together. So for example I wanted my pink and red mixed a little. Then I cleaned it off before using the aqua.
30. Create a cute pocket with a glassine bag, Mod Podge, and paper. I ripped the edges of the paper first, then painted the Mod Podge on both sides of the paper and adhered it to the bag. Tuck in some photos, notes, sketches, whatever you want!
So there you have it - 30 ideas and techniques to add to your own junk journal.
Don't have a junk journal? Get started in one of these!
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