Tutorial – Forest Floor Textured Journal Cover Technique

Forest Floor Textured Art Journal - Altered Book

Forest Floor Textured Art Journal - Altered Book

Revisiting a “True Colors” Round Robin Journal Project

I was cleaning up my studio last night and came across a box containing artwork done collaboratively with other artists in a “Round Robin” style.  One of the projects in the box brought to mind a fun technique that I used to decorate the cover of a windowed board book journal.  I created this technique quite by accident when I was playing around one day, and I really liked the effect.  I thought I’d share the technique with you on my blog!

First, let me give you some background on the original project.  One of my very favorite books for mixed media art inspiration is “True Colors: A Palette of Collaborative Art” by  Kathryn Bold/Somerset.  To me, this book is a “must have” for anyone interested in mixed media. The book features a Round Robin Journal project where each artist involved created a journal with a chosen color palette.  The journals were mailed from artist to artist within the group and all of them were required to create a page or pages using the color theme chosen by the journals’s originator.  The books were heavily embellished by each artist and the pictures in this book are EYE CANDY!

"True Colors" Book

"True Colors" Book

One of my fav books, “True Colors”

One of the Artist Groups I belong to, Travelers H’Art and Capolan.org run by the talented Red Dog Scott runs collaborative projects.  I hosted a “True Colors” Round Robin Journal Project within the group.  Several artists signed up and each of us chose a color palette.  I chose “Forest Floor”.  Others in the group chose color themes like Rainforest, citrus colors, sunset, sepia and more.

I bought a board book to use for my journal which included a couple of pages with small windows cut out, giving artists an opportunity to create using those windows to highlight focal points on pages.  Before I could send the journal off to the first artist, I needed to decorate the cover and create the first entry in the book.

Forest Floor Journal Cover Close up
I’ve marked two subtle dragonflies on this close-up shot.Can you see them?

Want to know how to create this leafy look? 

Supplies needed:
•    Matte medium (I use Golden or Matte Medium)
•    Brush suitable for matte medium (don’t use your good paint brushes!)
•    12 x 12 scrapbook paper (rawhide texture) in shades of brown, tan, rust, olive and/or green – I got mine at Michael’s.  If you cannot find rawhide texture, you may be able to substitute other heavily textured paper.
•    Earthy-colored scrapbook or decorative papers
•    Scissors
•    Tissue paper decoupage paper, or other thin paper with images of dragonflies, acorns, feathers, pine cones, birds or other outdoorsy images.  You can buy this ready-made or create some of your own with tissue paper, StazOn Permanent Ink, and rubber stamps.
•    Craft acrylic paints in forest floor shades – browns, greens, copper, gold, bronze metallics,  and paint brushes
•    Distress Ink in browns, sepia, etc. (optional)

 Forest Floor Textured Journal Assorted Papers
Assorted Papers Used to Create the Forest Floor Layers

Instructions: (I’m really going to have to make  a video of my processes one of these days! Pictures just don’t show all the steps in enough detail!)
1)  Cut some leaf shapes from the rawhide paper, using the folds in the paper as leaf veins and stems.  You can draw the leaves in pencil first or use a pattern if you’d like or you can be FEARLESS and just start cutting out  leaves.

Forest Floor Journal - Dragonfly

2)  Cut dragonflies or other small images from tissue paper or other thin paper.  I like using tissue paper because of its transparent nature. Alternatively, you can use the top ply/layer of a patterned dinner napkin.

3)  Tear up a sheet of the  brown rawhide paper or other textured paper, paper bags, or other brown or green scrapbook paper into pieces…do NOT make them uniform shapes or sizes, but rip them into sizes ranging from 1/2 ” x 1/2″ on up, depending on the surface you are trying to cover.  Note:  These pieces of paper will be layered to represent the layer of pieces of leaves and other debris which often exists in the forest during autumn.

4)  Using basic decoupage techniques, apply the torn pieces of paper from step 3 onto the page surface.  Apply matte medium to the surface of the page where you want to place your first piece of paper.  Also apply matte medium to the back of the piece of paper.  Lay the wet paper onto the page surface.  Apply even more matte medium on top to seal/glue the paper down.  Continue to layer pieces of the ripped paper and the leaves you created in Step 1 to the page.  See the photo below.  I purposefully used pieces of paper in contrasting colors to illustrate this step (I used all shades of brown for the journal I created).  Add dragonflies or other tissue paper images, if desired.  Beware…once you put matte medium on tissue paper, it becomes very fragile and tears easily…you need to place the image on the page quickly.

 Forest Floor Journal - First Pieces Laid
This shows the first few pieces of torn paper and leaf cut outs, decoupaged to the page with matte medium.

5)  Once you’ve covered the page with decoupaged paper, let it dry completely.  If you are pleased with the colors and texture, you can stop at this point.  For my Forest Floor Journal, I elected to use washes of brown, olive, and dark green acrylic paint and Distress Ink in various shades of brown and applied them to the page until I got the effect I wanted.  If you want to make the leaves stand out more, you can add rust, orange, green or yellow paint to each of them.  I also added some copper, bronze and golden metallic acrylic paints using a paintbrush.

Copyright © 2012-2016 - Content & images by Misty Frederick-Ritz. Dandelion by Pexeto