Getaway Notebook: Mixed Media Techniques for Paper Crafts

When I was at the Creativation trade show this past January, I noticed that mixed-media is a really hot trend and one where basically artwork of one or more medium has been employed. Found objects can be used in conjunction with traditional artists media to attain a wide range of self expression. 

I think this trend is so popular because it's a great way to use up left-over supplies and trinkets to create unique art. I took a class while at the show and I loved it because there were no rules! Just layer paints, paste papers, embellish with stickers and finish off with pretty silk ribbon. There's really no formula for creating mixed-media projects. I actually thought about naming my project a "junk journal" or "collage notebook." Pretty much anything goes, but here are a couple of the steps I took to create my cute little handmade journal. These aren't really detailed instructions because I want you to come up with your own ideas for a mixed media piece of art. Just use my idea as inspiration for your own!

A key to creating a project like this is to make sure you have time to let paints or glues dry in between layers to ensure that your project will have structural integrity. I used several different paints and layered the colors. Then I stenciled some designs on the inside of the book. I finished it off with stickers, left over from scrapbooking, a random bead, and some silk ribbon I found in a drawer. You can use just about any kind of paint you have available. I swooned over all the Gelatos® paints in the Faber-Castell art booth at the show and wished I'd had one of each color to take home and create all kinds of fun things!

To make this book, I started with a 9" x 9 1/2" piece of sturdy cardboard for the cover. You can find this at a scrapbooking store or craft store like Michaels. I scored the cardboard twice, using an xacto knife, at 4 1/2" from each side; this gave me a 1/2" spine which would allow me to layer with some papers inside and not be so squished together. I'd need a way to attach my inside pages to this little book so I used a piece of invisible elastic thread and wrapped it around the spine of the book (see photo) and tied it in a knot. This would allow me to slide in the inside folded pages. 

For the inside pages, I cut pieces of paper 8" x 8" and folded them right down the middle, layering about 10 of them. I used some heavy scrapbook paper and even created a small "pocket" on one of the pages by cutting a 3" x 4" piece of heavy card stock and carefully gluing three of the sides, leaving the middle open to stash tickets or notes in. I also cut some notebook paper and pasted it on some of the embellished pages to create a place to journal about my Mexico trip.

This would be a great project for kids and adults alike. This same idea could be adapted for a notebook you already have, a piece of cardboard that could be framed, or a canvas. Make sure to use a sturdy, yet flexible glue when attaching heavy objects. I used Supertite Multi-grab 360 adhesive. 

I'd love to see pictures of your mixed-media projects so please email me if you'd like to show-and-tell! Find other fun mixed-media, DIY and craft projects here.


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