Stamping in Piano Keys - Fun Mixed Media Element
From Rags to Riches - Chest of Drawers Makeover

Art Journaling Techniques - Background Noise and Reversible Collage Fodder



“The answer is blowing in the wind….”

Hi everyone.  Welcome to another of my posts for Gwen Lafleur’s Artist Tribe. Today I’m playing in my art journal and sharing a quick and easy way to add a little background noise to your art journal pages with Gwen’s Alphabet and Number stamp set and an idea for using embossing powder to make some fun reversible collage fodder.

My inspiration for this journal page came from a piece of Rossi Florentine paper from the fantastic collection of decorative papers in Gwen’s shop.  Isn’t it just lovely?  It just felt so light and airy to me, like all these thoughts, ideas, and answers just out there,  blowing around in the wind.


I’ll leave a list at the end of the post to all of Gwen’s products that I used to create this art journal page.  You’ll find the links to all of her Paper Artsy stamps, StencilGirl®️ stencils, BoHo Blends embossing powders, and her collection of Rossi Florentine decorative papers.


Background Noise:
I like to start my art journal pages with some collaged background noise. A quick and easy way to do this is to “pack“ a random collection of Gwen’s letters and numbers stamps onto an acrylic stamping block, ink it up, and then stamp away. When I “pack” my block, I mix letters and numbers together without rhyme or reason, allowing the designs to veer off in different directions around the block.  Sometimes I “pack” the block real tight to get dense coverage, and sometimes I keep it loose for a lighter touch. I like to rotate the orientation of the block from horizontal to vertical each time I stamp, creating a continuous stream of letters across the page.

I used this technique on the “mop up/clean up” rice paper below but tissue paper is also a good candidate.  Stamped rice/tissue papers are great to use in collage and/or art journal backgrounds.  The thin paper just melts away with a wet glue, leaving just the stamped images on the page.   I always have a stash of these stamped noisy background papers on hand, ready to integrate into my projects.  I like that while they are a neutral color that goes with anything, I also have the option of using watered down acrylic inks and Faber-Castell Artist Pitt Pen Markers to coordinate the colors with my project. 

To get a feeling of airiness for this spread, I began my background by collaging torn pieces from this paper into my journal.


Once my page was dry I dry-brushed over the page with a little watered down pale blue, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, and other neutral fluid acrylic paints.  This creates a veil over the collaged papers, pushing them farther into the background. 

Then I glued down a few pieces of my reversible Collage Fodder to add some more interest.

Reversible Collage Fodder:
Another technique for making collage paper is to create a stamped/embossed pattern on tracing or deli paper.  These papers are thin and translucent so they make excellent collage fodder.  The paper is also ‘reversible’ once embossed.  And sometimes I even like the backside of the paper better than the front.  This really come in handy when you are adding the paper to a window in your journal that is seen from both sides.

In the next pic, I’ve used VersaMark Ink to stamp a pattern using the octagon shape from Gwen’s EGL 07 set.  Then I covered the entire page with Gwen’s BoHo Blends Embossing Powder in Saffron and embossed it with my heat gun.  

Once the paper was cool, I masked the embossed designs and used the pattern stamp from Gwen’s EGL 19 set to fill in the spaces between the embossed designs, sprinkled it with the same embossing powder and embossed the second layer. 

If you’ve never made a mask before it’s really easy.  I just stamped the same shape a few times onto a Post It Note, (did you know they make Post It Notes that have a full sticky back now? Genius!)  cut them out, and stuck them on top of the embossed shapes on my page.   That lets me stamp over the image with another design without covering up my original stamp.

Isn’t the translucency of this paper lovely?  Just think of all the ways you could use it to layer in your art journal.

I took this piece of collage fodder one step farther by toning the backside with watered down acrylic inks.  Now the front and the back of the paper looks totally different.  The left side of the image below is the back side of the same paper.  Amazing that this is the same piece of paper, isn’t it?



The Focal Points:  With my background well on its way, I turned my attention to focal points.  For the main flower, I stamped one of the botanicals from Gwen’s EGL 19 set multiple times in a circular pattern onto rice paper and glued it down.  (I love using stamps in ways that weren’t originally intended.). Then I haphazardly ripped up some other scraps to form the stem and leaves.


I colored in the flowers with Posca Markers, creating my version of a hydrangea for a bird to perch on.  The bird was a leftover piece from another project that I had saved in my stash. I made her for another project but up to now hadn’t found the right home for her to nest in. 

I stenciled in the background with one of the designs included in Gwen’s  What Could I do if I Wasn’t Afraid to Try Stencil by StencilGirl and colored them in with Posca Markers and Faber-Castell Artist Pitt Pens.  As an afterthought I doodled my version of funky-whimsical flowers  just for fun.  


I wanted to include some of the Rossi Florentine paper that had been the inspiration for this page.  So I created a few flowers.  First I cut random shapes from a cyanotype scrap to form flower petals and I accented them with some of that gorgeous Rossi Florentine Paper from Gwen’s shop outlined with a gold paint pen.  Easy peasy!



Finally I added a few finishing touches to my page; a little glazing here, a few Posca dots there, and penned in my thoughts: 

“The answer is blowing in the wind….”


And my page is done!  Thanks for hanging out with me today.  I hope I’ve inspired you to get out there and make some art.


As promised, here is the list of  products I used in this journal page.

Stamps: All of Gwen’s stamps are hand drawn and made from deeply etched rubber by Paper Artsy.  So far she’s released 21 sets, each one uniquely themed with an assortment of incredibly detailed images. 

Stencils:  All of Gwen’s stencils are hand drawn for StencilGirl®️.  The stencils are cut from 7 mil mylar that is thick enough to be durable, yet thin enough for a seamless look in your art.  If I’ve counted correctly, Gwen’s currently has  58 stencil designs available to the general public and four exclusive stencil sets available to StencilClub members only.

Boho Blends Embossing Powders:  Boho Blends are Gwen’s embossing powders with Emerald Creek featuring eight travel-inspired colors; rich jewel tones, spicy hues that look good enough to eat, and amazing metallics. They're perfect for rubber stamping and card making, mixed media and art journaling, and much more.  

Decorative Papers:  Gwen’s shop has a whole section devoted to decorative papers that are drool worthy.  She carries a huge selection of Rossi Florentine paper, Chiyogami/Yuzen Japanese papers, and printed Rice and Mulberry collage papers.  Stop by her shop and take a peek at all of the eye candy.


Happy Journaling!


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