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
What type of journal do you use and how do you prepare the pages?
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?
They are Bienfang watercolor brush pens and they are permanent when dry.
Where do you get your stencils?
I look for everyday items that I think will make an interesting pattern. I also use die cut scrapbook papers, paper doilies, crocheted doilies and lace and purchased stencils. I also make a lot of my own stencils either by hand cutting with an Exacto knife/ scissors or using my soldering iron to burn them through a piece of clear acetate.
Stencils and Background Papers
Where do you get your collage items?
I make my own and I sell them here in the shop.
Spray Inks and Spray Paints DIY
What do you use to glue collage items down with?
I use several different things. 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 clear glazing liquid. 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 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.
What type/ brand of paint do you use?
For art journaling I use any and all paints. I use house paint (I have several colors in gloss), craft paint, Liquitex, Golden’s, Daler Rowney, etc. etc.. My favorite paints are the Liquitex heavy body in the tubs. I really hate squeezing out paint. I buy what is on sale and in the colors I need. I do a lot of mixing so I don’t have to have a lot of colors. When I am painting a painting I try to use only artist quality paints but I can’t say a few craft paints haven’t found there way into a painting. I leave the stress and worry to the museum archivists lol. As for my art journal though I will use anything that I can get my hands on and will stick to the page.
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:
And this is the journal that I made from her tutorial:

I get a lot of email requesting specific Q & A so I am going to start placing those along with my answers below!

Question: {Feb. 2012}

I love your latest video on 2/4/2012, Art flip.  I have a couple questions that I hope you don’t mind answering.  What do you put on your journal pages to keep them from sticking together?  I use a lot of acrylic and my pages are forever sticking.  The pages I saw were also a nice gloss. What do you use?

Also, 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 love your work and wait expectantly for your new videos.


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 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.

Thank you and I hope this advice helps!



What music do you use in your videos and is it royalty free?
This one is not a question I have been asked, but I figure if you are an art journal artist odds are eventually you are going to want to make videos and post them to YouTube. One of the most annoying things is finding decent music you can legally use.I now use music from Dan O’Connor exclusively for my YouTube videos. I purchased the entire package from Dano which allows me to use them in my videos without having to worry about copyright issues. I don’t have to add a credit to him at the end, but I usually do. If you can’t afford to purchase the entire package {it was a good deal at 77 songs for only $50.00} you can still use his songs. Just give full credit to him and his online community at the end of your video.This is his website where you can find music, purchase a single song or the entire package: I was happy to purchase the package because I feel it is supporting another artist, giving me the opportunity to have nice music in my videos and I still like to give him credit and promote him. I wish more music artists would offer something like this for those of us who create art videos and want to offer our viewers something nice to listen to as they watch us create.

As I get more questions I will add to this page. If you have a question about something you have seen in one of my videos feel free to ask me a question below.

Happy Creating!


  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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