Art journal blog

Create 5 easy grunge backgrounds in your art journal

Get Messy is an online art journaling school that teaches you to cultivate your creativity. Without perfection.

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In this post I’ll be sharing 5 easy ways to create grungy, gritty and textured backgrounds in your art journals. A lot of my own art journal pages start out with these techniques, because I love that raw, messy texture they can create. These backgrounds techniques can also be expanded upon and adapted to suit your art journaling style.They really are just a starting point for you to explore new textures in your work. If you’re new to art journaling then I especially encourage you to try out these methods because they’re basically fool-proof. None of them require you to be technical and even if you make a mistake, it’s still grungy!

To show you my 5 favourite techniques for making grunge backgrounds, I’ve got this handy video below! It’s all filmed in real life so you can see how each technique is done fully.


  • Rubber brayer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Black and white gesso
  • Acrylic ink
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Embossing heat tool (or heat gun)
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Sumi ink
  • Compressed air duster
  • Spray inks (i.e Dylusions, Shimmerz Paints, Lindy’s Stamp Gang, Heidi Swap, etc)
  • Gelli plate – 3” x 5” size (feel free to use any size you like)
  • Paint brush
  • Water


  • Rolled Ink Textures
  • Inks with Plastic Wrap
  • Inks with Compressed Air
  • Mists/Sprays and Paint Splatters
  • Gelli Plate Printing Directly On Your Page

The artist that inspired the ink and compressed air technique is Stefan G Bucher. He creates his amazing Daily Monsters using this method.

Have you gotten grungy in your art journals? I encourage you to try at least one of these techniques in your next art journal page. Don’t have quite the right supplies? Then improvise! The best part of creating grunge backgrounds is that we are striving for an imperfect messy aesthetic – which means there’s no wrong way to do this.

Once you’ve created a grunge background, be sure to share in on Instagram and tag us! We always love seeing everyone’s amazing work.

Torrie Gass

Torrie’s deep belief is that every human on this planet is creative in their soul. We were made to design, create, paint, play, imagine and share our inner artist with the world. It’s just a matter of letting ourselves tap into that resource within us. There is an inner artist/crafter/plant arranger/advanced organizer just dying to be let out. It’s just a matter of taking the time to discover who that inner voice is, and what they’re trying to say.