Art Journal FAQs

I get lots of questions on my videos and I end up trying to find links or look up other videos to show frequently. I thought instead I would create this page where many of the common questions could be answered.

What kind of caulking do you use on your art journal covers?
The actual brand I buy is here. Any cheap kitchen / bath caulk will work. You want to look for the following items:
  • dries clear
  • paintable with latex paints
  • water cleanup

DAP Kwik Seal Plus 5.5 oz. Kitchen and Bath Adhesive Caulk with Microban

How do you prepare a book to be altered into a visual journal?
I use an old book, typically a school book where I can find them. I have a video that explains what I look for and how I prep a book before journaling in it here:
What type of varnish do you use and why?
I use four types of varnish. The first three are all the same product but with a different finish. I buy this by the gallon as it is more economical and I use a lot of it. The fourth is a special product I use over most oil based products.

  1. MinWax Waterbased Polycrylic Clear Gloss: I use this for book covers and for abstract paintings. It takes a beating well and wipes clean with water.
  2. MinWax Waterbased Polycrylic Clear Semi-gloss: I use this inside of my art journal to protect pages and make the colors pop.
  3. MinWax Waterbased Polycrylic Clear Matte: I use this on journal pages that have faces and for portrait paintings. I do not want the faces to have shine or glare on them.
  4. Dorland’s Cold wax medium: I use this when I want a soft touchable finish. I also use this over oil based paints such as paint sticks or oil pastels.
What are those colorful brush pens you use?
13 Color Set
They are Bienfang watercolor brush pens and they are permanent when dry.
Where can I get that flower stencil you use?
DCWV 12"x12" Template: Flowers, , hi-res
My most often used stencil and one of my most frequently asked questions is how to find this stencil. You can purchase the stencil here [not an affiliate link].
Where do you get your collage items?
I make my own and find them at thrift stores, the flea market, get them in trades / swaps
What do you use to glue collage items down with?
My main adhesive for collage is matte medium from either Golden or Liquitex. I also use several other things such as: If I am using something thick like cardstock I generally use Liquitex gloss or matte gel medium. If it is tissue, napkin or thin pages I use matte medium. And if it is magazine pages I like to use Yes! Paste which is like a glue stick in a jar and really sticks well. If I am gluing something more dimensional I will use Aleen’s tacky glue.
What are those pretty sticks of color you use that shimmer?
Shiva Iridescent Paintstiks
Shiva artist oil paint sticks in the iridescent colors. They are creamy and give just the right hint of shine to your art. Right now they are selling them in mini sizes with select colors. I would love to collect more of the colors as they last forever.
Where can I get a watercolor palette like yours?
Airtight Leakproof Palette, 33 Wells
I use this one and you can get a smaller version also [not an affiliate link].
What type of adhesive do you use to attach things to your covers?
If I am attaching something 3D like costume jewelry or dominoes I use a product called E6000. It is a heavy duty industrial adhesive that can be found in most craft/ art supply stores.
Where can I find sequin waste or punchinella?
I recommend a variety pack of multiple sizes. I found a seller online on Etsy. Her name is Bonnie Rose and she has an affordable variety pack.
How I Made My ‘Little French Art Journal’
A while back I found this video with instructions on how to make a quick and easy art journal. This is the video I followed:
What do you put on your journal pages to keep them from sticking together?
If my pages are sticking together I use a variety of things to fix that depending on the page. If the page has elements that will smear {like watercolor or graphite} then I use a spray varnish {clear} lightly over the page in a matte or semi-gloss.If my page is not going to smear {nothing water soluble on it} then I will use cold wax medium and wipe it on with a clean cloth and allow to dry. Then once dry I can buff it to a shine or leave it as is for a matte finish.

And if I want to pages to be glossy I use a gloss varnish over them. Not a gloss gel medium as that may remain sticky. But an actual varnish medium. And allow it to fully dry before closing the pages.

I want to try using the Shiva paint sticks, and have bought some.  Can you tell me how to clean up your hands once I’m done using them? 
I only use the paint sticks in the iridescent colors and they don’t stain my hands. I just use soap and water. If I am using them heavily though I will put plenty of moisturizer over them first.Also there is a product you can purchase to coat your hands before you paint that creates a barrier between your skin and hands. You can also just wear gloves and I would if I were using oil paints heavily.


  1. What a great post, Christy! Thanks for this. xx

  2. I repeatedly refer to this FAQ sheet. Thanks.

  3. This is one of the MOST valuable pages anyone has ever put together (I have referred to it often but never commented so thought today would be the day!). Thank you for sharing all this info – you are making a difference in the lives of artists everywhere!!

  4. I see that you are now binding your journals with a different method where each hole is bound separately and it looks as if it is knotted around the outside binding. How do you do that? Thanks!

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