DIY Mixed-Media Art Journal Page

Hello everyone! It is Anna-Karin here today with a fun and easy mixed-media tutorial. I made an art journal page, but the techniques work for almost any type of project and are much easier than they might seem at first glance. For my page, I used dies by Tim Holtz®, focusing in particular on three Shadow Script Thinlits™ Die Sets. I was aiming for a pastel look, inspired by ice cream and summer. Choose whatever colors match your theme and inspiration!

One of my favorite ways to use dies is to embed die-cuts into the background of a project instead of layering them on top. This can be done in different ways, and I am going to show you one technique that creates a lot of texture and dimension without adding much bulk.


I love word dies because they are so versatile and can be used for almost any project. The Shadow Script sets  are fantastic because in one go, you get three pieces that can be used. I used the Standard Magnetic Platform to make sure the dies didn’t move. Place the dies as above, using the following Sizzix® “Sandwich”: Magnetic Platform, Cutting Pad, paper, dies facing down and second Cutting Pad.

Here’s what you get: a negative die-cut piece, the word itself and an outline. If you don’t place the dies inside each other, the outline will instead become a shadow shape. In this project we are going to use the outlines.

Working in my journal, I coated a page with gesso and let it dry. You can skip this, but I hadn’t yet decided exactly what to do. Plan where to place the die-cut words. I used words from all three Shadow Script sets: Shadow Script #1, Shadow Script #2 and Shadow Script #3.

Die-cut a bunch of butterflies in the two sizes from the Springtime Sidekick® Side-Order™ Set. Stamp the butterflies with a background text stamp. Adhere the words and butterflies to the page with Distress® Collage Medium (Matte). Add another layer of Collage Medium on top to make sure everything is adhered to the page. Let it dry.

Coat with gesso (this is why you could have skipped the gesso in step 3 above). Don’t cover the butterflies completely to allow some of the word stamping on the butterflies to show.

Paint with Distress Paint (I used Cracked Pistachio, Mermaid Lagoon, Picked Raspberry and Squeezed Lemonade), blending as you go. Before the paint is completely dry, wipe most of the paint off the words. As you can see, the paint will remain in the recessed areas. Wipe a bit of paint off the background to create a worn look.

Smear Distress Crackle Paint (Clear Rock Candy) into the words with a palette knife. Try to avoid getting too much Crackle Paint around the words, but if you do, you can wipe some off with a cloth. Add a little Crackle Paint to the background. Let it dry.

Smear Distress Crayons (I used Cracked Pistachio and Broken China) into the cracks. It is easiest to do this with your finger.

Stamp the background as desired with a script stamp. Add a shadow effect to the words and butterflies with a Distress Marker (Black Soot), blending it with your finger. I wanted a more defined black outline here and there and used a permanent marker for that. Add details to the butterflies as desired.

The crackle effect gives nice texture to the letters. If you want a grungier look, use a brown or black Distress Crayon. Or, for a lighter look, use a white Distress Crayon. If you want to see an example of that look, check out my Wrapped Journal Tutorial.

Here, I decided to add handwritten words, which make the page more meaningful. The stamped butterflies were watercolored with Distress Inks. Smear the ink on a nonstick craft mat, mist with water and pick up with a paintbrush.

Both the letters and the smaller butterflies appear to be baked into the background, which is a cool effect. It would work equally well on a canvas, card, scrapbook page or 3-D project.

Thank you so much for looking at this tutorial! I hope it inspired you to look at your dies in new ways and see the potential of making them a part of your project’s background.

Happy crafting!


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One thought on “DIY Mixed-Media Art Journal Page”

  • Tammy

    I love this Anna-Karin! Your projects are always SO beautiful and your tutorials are wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity!

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