DIY to Done: Watercolor Journal Pages


With a few watercolor paints (even the elementary school variety!) and the pages of an old book, you can create a gorgeous scrappy background for your next art journal page.

This year, I’ve taken up art journaling, and it’s been completely delightful, not to mention therapeutic!

In the process, I’m finding lots of ways to use old pages from thrift store paperbacks of my favorite Victorian novels as part of my spreads.

Today’s concoction is a beautiful patchwork page background made with nothing more than a few watercolors and pages from one of my favorite novels, Villette by Charlotte Bronte.

(SCRAPPY TIP: I got this copy of Villette at a thrift store for $1.00. At the rate I’m using it, it will “fund” numerous similar art projects in the months to come. Talk about bargain art supplies!)

Step 1: Tear up the pages.

We’ll start by tearing a few pages of Villette from the book and then tearing those pages up into smaller pieces. No rhyme or reason to the pattern. Just rip away! The more interesting the shapes, the better.


Step 2: Paint the pieces.

With a little water and your paints, just start blobbing color all over the individual torn pages. I used two colors on each of my pages so I’d get really interesting blends and bleeds in between. You could paint each piece with one color if you prefer, or try three! Or, dilute the color with a lot of water for a much lighter, more delicate look.

Let the results dry thoroughly.


Page 3: Assemble the collage.

In your art journal, turn to a new spread. (My art journal is made from an upcycled antique textbook, by the way.) With a bit of Mod Podge or thinned white school glue, plaster your dry painted page scraps all over the page. Again, no rhyme or reason is necessary unless you want one.


Step 4: Decorate the page however you want.

From here, the details are up to you. You could take a tissue paper or translucent scrapbook paper and glue it overtop so the color shows through your writing area. Or, you could do what I did and cut and glue opaque paper shapes for writing.

Next time I do this, I’m going to create some homemade liquid acrylics and do paint runs and stamping all over the place.


Step 5: Write your words (if desired).

In my case, I didn’t have a plan for the final piece, so I used a little Speedball india ink to outline the shapes and write a little poem about the new year, inspired by the bubble shapes I’d pasted down. Check out my art journal pinterest board for more inspiration.


And there you have it! I’d love to see your photos of your final result.


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