Choose Or Create Your Journal

Journal52! Yeah!

Yesterday, by a stroke of amazing luck, I (Effy Wild) secured the rights to Journal52! The spooky thing is that when I first started my business back in 2010, I wanted (the domain) and planned on beginning a 52 spread challenge, but the domain name was already taken! Colour me gobsmacked when I discovered THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY that the domain and group were up for sale by the previous owner.

I jumped on that so fast, you have no idea, and here I am!

This was originally posted at, but I wanted to include all of you in this gorgeous (free) project, so read on, my lovely birds, and let’s get this year started off with a bang.

Hello, Journalers!

I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude at how beautifully we are all doing this transition. You are all completely gorgeous, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your patience and grace as this project and site changes hands from the lovely Chelle to me, Effy, and my co-admin, Sarah. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We are now over 10 400 strong and growing, and it is a beautiful thing!

Before we begin TOMORROW (whoa!), I wanted to provide you with a couple of options for your journal for this year of prompts.

Option #1: Sweet Trash Journal

The first option is a sweet trash art journal created from a composition notebook. I have a video here for you to enjoy in which I create one, and then another video in which I demonstrate working in it. The lined, thin paper can be challenging, but you’ll see that I totally dominate it with layers and gesso. 🙂

The Journal

View on Vimeo

Working In the Sweet Trash Journal

View On Vimeo

As you can see if you watched the video above, the paper can take pretty much anything if you glue two pages together and add some gesso. I love my Sweet Trash journal because it *isn’t precious* and I feel comfortable making messes in it.

Hand Bound Journal

Another option is to create your own journal out of watercolour paper, and to that end, I’m including a bookbinding tutorial below.

The book we will make together is the exact book we have used over the years in Book Of Days, and it has become the favourite art journal of many who find the technique easy and inspiring! The wonderful thing about binding your own journals is that you end up with something *custom made for you* in the size you prefer using the paper you prefer…


For making the book itself:

Watercolour paper (or card stock or whatever works best for you) in a size that, when folded in half, doesn’t intimidate you. (I’m using 16 x 12 inch 140 lb paper, but I demonstrate with 9.5 by 12.5 90 inch 90 lb paper. (Yes, I live in a country in which the metric system has been in use for *EVER*. No, I do not yet speak metric/centimeters/grams *lol*)

Binding medium ~ meaning thread or string of some kind. I’m using hemp twine I bought at the grocery store, It’s tough. It lasts. I love the rustic feel of it. You can use unflavoured dental floss, bookbinding linen, embroidery floss, yarn…just pick something that can take a lot of abuse. Someone suggested fishing line. That would work. So would guitar strings. Improvise.

A needle with a hole big enough to allow you to thread your binding medium.

A bone folder (which is, essentially, a piece of bone, ivory or plastic that is meant to be used in folding paper) or the handle of a pair of scissors or something else that will allow you to burnish the folds when you create your folios.

Canvas ~ primed or unprimed. I bought unprimed so I could demonstrate its use. Unprimed canvas is known as ‘duck cloth’ in fabric stores and is fairly easy to find. If you intend to decorate the cover with paint, you will definitely want to prime it with gesso. Cheap is great. I bought a tub from Walmart. If you buy primed canvas, or cut the canvas from a framed canvas, you can skip priming.

Bookbinding 101 – Part One

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Bookbinding 101 – Part Two


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Bookbinding 101 – Part Three

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Bookbinding 101 – Part Four

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Bookbinding 101 – Part Five

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All that’s left now is to decorate! Because it’s covered in canvas, you can use anything you’d usually use in a mixed media spread.

A Pre-Made Journal

A very popular option is to buy a Dylusions Journal or Strathmore Visual Journal and use that throughout the year. I find that the Dylusions Journal takes whatever I throw at it if you use gesso as your first layer. 🙂 I haven’t used the Strathmore Visual Journal, but I hear very good things about it.

Loose Watercolour Papers

You can also just journal on loose watercolour paper, artist tiles (if you want to work small), or an altered book (search YouTube for altered books as art journals and you will find a bazillion tutorials)!

What Am I Using?

Along with teaching Book Of Days, Moonshine (information coming soon), and Radiant this year, I will also be taking classes (like Life Book), and I intend to use one (or two, depending on how many spreads I end up doing) Dylusions journals. I like the Dylusions journal because I can either use the cardstock within as is for a nice smooth surface (great for markers, coloured pencils, etc) or gesso and throw all the mixed media things at it. I’ve got a brand new 8.5 x 11 sized Dylusions journal ready to go.

A Word About Tomorrow

You can expect to hear from me by 3 p.m. EST every Friday, and that is true for tomorrow as well. Since I *just* acquired this project, I was totally unprepared, however, I *will* have a prompt for you, and it will be fabulous.

A Word About 2016

Most of your prompts throughout the year will be text + image only, but once in a while, I will be sneaking in a video for you. HURRAH! In the meantime, if a prompt doesn’t particularly thrill you, you can always check out my YouTube channel to see if there might be something there that inspires you. I have a lot of videos just waiting for you! Here’s an example (and a beautiful way to bless our transition into 2016)!

And that’s it for now, my loves! I will see you tomorrow by 3 p.m. EST. In the meantime, please do join me in the Facebook Group.

Effy & Sarah

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