A Mixed Media Christmas Album, by Natalie Elphinstone

Ed’s note: This is the final in the series of three guest posts by Natalie Elphinstone. The other two can be found here (Working with Neutrals) and here (When You’ve Got Way Too Much To Say). Enjoy!

There are many different varieties of Christmas journals out there, probably the most popular being Ali Edwards “December Daily” and Shimelle’s “Journal Your Christmas” where the idea is to keep some kind of record of what you do in the Festive Season. But today I’m not going to share ideas on what you can include in your journal, I thought instead I would show you how I put together my front cover. Along the way I’ll show you how to use a variety of different wet mediums that you may not have tried before.

The base of my journal is a Spiral Notebook by Basic Grey. It’s got lots of great inserts, but it’s front cover is designed to be augmented so starts off as plain chipboard with a splash of colour just near the spirals. Obviously that was not going to cut it, so I set to work.


Step 1: I measured and cut a piece of October Afternoon Make It Merry paper to cover the chipboard. I adhered it using Gel Medium which is great for this kind of thing. It’s a thick sticky gel like substance that dries clear and can be used as both an adhesive and a sealer, similar to Mod Podge. It sticks super-strong so will be perfect for ensuring my paper doesn’t peel off half way through December! I applied it using a paintbrush for even coverage, just make sure you wash it soon after otherwise you’ll never be able to paint with it again 😉


Step 2: I used a palette knife to spread some Impasto Paste through my favourite star stencil. Forgive my home-made container for it… I broke the original one many months ago! This product is similar to texture paste, and is super thick (like the consistency of butter) so will give you a very raised design, if you have the patience to let it dry! My brand dries clear but you can get varieties that stay white.


Step 3: Once dry I painted the whole thing with a layer of Gesso. I did this for two reasons, firstly because my Impasto Paste dries clear and I wanted to make sure you could see the stars, and secondly because it’s going to act as a sealer so I can add even more wet mediums on top. If I didn’t add the Gesso and went straight to my next step, the water would warp and buckle the paper underneath. After this photo was taken I used a wet wipe to dab off some of the excess Gesso so you could see more of the paper design underneath.


Step 4: Everybody’s new favourite toy… Gelatos! Gelatos look and feel like lipbalm, but they’re water soluble. I used my three colours and scribbled with each one in a different section of the cover. I sprayed it with water to dissolve the colour, then smeared and smudged it around just with my fingers. You can see how it’s settled in the lower parts and left the raised stars relatively blank. Perhaps I could have stopped there… but it is Christmas after all and this is the perfect time to add some glitter!


Step 5: To get the glitter to only stick to my stars I first retrieved my stencil and laid it back down over the design. I then used a paintbrush to smear on some wet glue (any PVA-type glue will do) through the stencil and sprinkled it heavily with extra-fine glitter.


To finish off I simply added my embellishments. This mainly consists of stickers from the October Afternoon Make it Merry collection, some of which are raised up on foam tape for extra dimension.


Unfortunately I didn’t think to take any photos of how I coloured my numbers, because they were a mini-adventure on their own. Again it was a process of painting the plain chipboard numbers first with Gesso as a base and then adding layer upon layer of Twinkling H2O’s to build up a nice vibrant hue.


Are you making a Christmas album this year? I would love to come and check yours out so please leave a comment and a link. Yes you can read that as “I might have finished the front cover but I’ve not done anything inside and I need the inspiration”!!

Have a Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂
— Natalie E (blog; instagram)


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