Layering vellum and transparencies to produce soft layers

Hello all, Vanessa here, a little later in the Season this time around! Riet’s post last week gave us all so many ideas for creating interactive pages and my tutorial today will carry on in that vein. We will be doing three different types of interactive pages using transparencies and vellum. This one is photo heavy. please feel free to read through ll the steps before starting. As always, the first step is to gather your materials.

Rotating title page

The cat is of course optional! You will need your journal, a cutting mat, some thick transparency (I am using Dura-Lar, but you can use thick vellum), Exacto knife and pens. Not pictured: a brad fastener which will let you rotate a piece of paper and an awl for piercing a hole.

Next, using a a round bowl or plate as a template cut a semi-circle in your page. Remember to put the cutting mat beneath the page.

My page is made from watercolour paper which makes a nice contrast to the fragility of the vellum or Dura-Lar. Now as I was experimenting for this tutorial, I made a mistake and cut the horizontal line out before putting my brad in. So don’t be like me: measure out the middle of that line, pierce a hole using your awl and when you cut out the semi-circle leave an edge around the hole where the brad will go. Just pretend that the hole is in all my subsequent photos!

Then, using the window you have cut as a guide, cut a line from the centre top to the centre bottom of your window.

Make a template using the bowl or plate you used in the first place and place it on top of your transparency. Use this circle as a guide to cut out a bigger circle from your transparency, leave one big notch so it looks like a Q. Make sure your circle is wider than the template. It doesn’t have to be perfect because it will be hidden.

Now place your transparency under your cut window and insert the tab through the slit that you have cut on the outside of your window like so.

Here is how it looks from the backside. Make sure the transparency doesn’t touch the spine of your book or the folded edge of your accordion book. Trim if necessary. Once you have the position of the transparency right, using your awl, pierce a hole so it aligns with the one already on your page.

Once the vellum is in place, use a pencil to lightly trace where the window appears on your vellum when the tab is all the way at the bottom of the slit you made.

The idea will be to rotate the transparency so that on one half you see the title and on the other a character from your fairy tale.

I have placed the letters of my title within the top semi-circle I traced with my pencil. For the other half of my semi-circle, I took out my Mucha tarot and traced a combination of two of the ladies on the cards.

I love Dura-Lar because it has a milky transparency to it, it is durable and you can write on it with pencil or pen. It is also very useful for making stencils because you can wipe it clean. I used my Exacto knife to cut out certain elements of the background – always keeping in mind the edges of my semi-circle – and to help make the title pop out. You will notice that there is no hole for the brad in my transparency. That was a fail on my part, I didn’t think it through! In the end I was able to save it, but things are a little misaligned.

I tested out a few backgound papers to see how they looked behind the figure and the title as well.

I settled on this pink paper which I glued to the following page in my book. You only need to put a piece where the window in your top page is. You can also paint the background.

Insert the tab of your transparency in the slit you made and put the brad in the holes. Test out the rotation once or twice, trim the edges as needed. You may have to make the slit longer to see both halves of the drawings you made. Once you are all set, glue the top page to the bottom one, keeping away from the edges of your transparency, so it can move freely.

With a few minor adjustments, it should rotate…kind of like in the video.

Layered three dimensional transparencies.

For this second type of page, we will play with depth, vellum and transparencies again, but in a more static manner. The first thing I did was photocopy some figures onto vellum. This time I used my Starchild tarot as inspiration for my Lady of the Moors.

I also pulled out a few interesting pieces of vellum or transparencies.

My dimensional page will have three layers. First, cut out a window from the top page. It can be any shape you want but the two first windows are the same size and the third one is bigger.

Here are my three windows. The piece of paper that cuts through the bottom one is a flap I have in my journal.

Next, I cut out my figure and played around with the papers to see what kind of widow I wanted to have. I also used a magazine scrap to add dimension. My window will look like this:

The top pieces are the trees and the two golden flowers. I glued these to the backside of that first window like so:

The second window will hold my Lady. I re-purposed a Project Life page protector. I put my Lady inside and stapled her there. Then I sewed on those lovely sequin leaves. I added a few sequins, because why not, and then ran the page protector through my sewing machine to close it off. You could also use scotch tape to seal it.

I positioned my page protector so that the staples holding my Lady are just hidden by the frame of the window. This is the backside of that second window. I stapled the whole thing because I love stapling things and it is sometimes so much faster than gluing. You could also use cute washi tape to hold this in place.

For the bigger bottom window, I placed the vellum piece with the stars, again gluing it to the backside of the third window. You can see a quick look at the first two interactive pages from this tutorial in the video.

Rotating peek-a-boo page in an accordion book

If you followed Misty’s tutorial, then you may be working in an accordion book this Season. Although  you can easily adapt the first two interactive pages to fit your book, here’s a quick one just for you. I cut a circular shape out of this gelli print I made.

On the backside of this circle, I put in these lovely collage bits by none other than Katie and which are coming as a free printable on Thursday.

This time, I thought about the brad beforehand! Pierce a hole with your awl, through the centre of your circle and through the page where you will put it. Measure from the hole to the edge of the circle and cut a line just a bit smaller than the circle you are using.

Cut out this windshield type shape. Test out the position of the circle and of the brad, making sure the circle is slightly bigger than this window.

Then assemble it all so that the collage bits peek through the window when you rotate the piece like so: 

Action Steps


Create a rotating page. It doesn’t have to have a title, you could explore duality like good/evil, day/night, hero/villain, etc.


Make use of the transparency of the vellum: trace figures on it, print photos on it, cut it into interesting shapes


Create a layered window page. Experiment by making the top window smaller than the other two, or by covering one of the windows with a coloured vellum.


Make a peek-a-boo page using both sides of a piece of paper.


Vanessa is an archaeologist and an artist. She oscillates between these two poles of her personality and explores the many iterations of her reality in her art journal. She loves to share her art and process with others.


  1. Katie Smith

    I love these ideas Vanessa!

  2. Sasha Zinevych

    You are just a golden mine of creativity! These are so cool!

  3. Eleanor McComb

    I’m dying over here. I feel like I need to start a whole new journal just to use these ideas from yours and Riet’s tutorials this season.

  4. Elizabeth D.

    So many incredible ideas! I can’t wait to play with them all. xx