Using a spinner to move through seasons of life

Hello hello! I’m TC, back again, this time with a tutorial that introduces the use of a simple spinner element you can use for a fun interactive component. You could make this as souped-up as you’d like, and even use more than one on a page.

For this page I’d like you to think about the different seasons you’ve experienced. I wrote out some season as a reference for myself and came up with quite a few: solitude, contentment, gratitude, conflict, experimentation, etc. I picked three seasons to concentrate on.

Next, I created a spinner. On the spinner I made two different reflections of two seasons I chose to focus on. You could divide this into smaller portions and do more than two seasons if you’d like.

After this, I created a spread on the main page, this one with a focus on a third season. I made sure to include the cover of the spinner (the portion that holds the spinner in place) in this page.

Finally, I attached the spinner element to the page.


  • An extra piece of paper to make the spinner element
  • A brad
  • Adhesive
  • Some collage materials (book pages, music, patterned papers)
  • Acrylic paint in a couple different colors
  • Ink for splatters
  • Marker or ink for writing 

Start by making the spinner

Measure your page to get a sense of what size your spinner should be. I liked mine to hang over the edge so I could easily grasp it to make it move. Remember you need to also use a strip of paper that will hold the spinner in place and let it move freely. I made sure to incorporate this strip of paper into the main page so it wasn’t just a strip of blank paper on my page. Another thing to keep in mind is you don’t want the brad too close to the edge of the paper or it could rip out.

Go ahead and divide the spinner into as many seasons as you want to explore. I only did two, but you could do as many as you’d like. Get crazy and do four seasons! I used colors that seemed to express each season, and then I chose to write out the word that described that season. Feel free to take this your own direction. (You won’t see my completed spinner until the end of second video.)

Create a spread that reflects your current personal season

Although you may be moving from one season to another, think about where you are right now — not so much physically, but emotionally and in your general state of interacting with the world.

First layer of our main page: collage

Use collage materials on your page, book pages, old music, patterned scrapbook papers, whatever appeals to you.

Be sure to position your “spinner-holder” paper and incorporate this into your page, keeping in mind that your spinner will cover the edge of your page. You might want to be smarter than me and tape down this spinner-holder, otherwise you’ll end up holding it in place the whole time like I did. Annoying.

Next layer: color

Once you’ve got a few bits of paper down, go ahead and choose a couple colors that feel right to go along with you current personal season.

I tried to leave some white space towards the top, and concentrate my color towards the bottom and sides. We will add a focal point word later, so as you create be aware that we’re moving that direction.

Layer three: splatters and smudges

Because I had used some paper bits with gold pattern on them, I chose to use some gold acrylic ink to make some splatters. Then some of the splatters were too big and would have taken forever to dry, so I tried to dry them up with a paper towel. That smudged them…but I liked it! So I went for it and smushed some of that gold paint a few more places on my page.

Now, what season are you in currently?

When I thought about my current season of life, the word “curious” and “curiosity” kept coming to mind. There are other things I could focus on, (don’t start me on politics in the United States because I have THOUGHTS) but I decided to go with this. I chose to write out this word with a paintbrush and ink, but you could absolutely express it any way you’d like. I then added a few more splatters with the same ink, ’cause I just love splatters.

Time for the spinner

For our final step, grab the spinner on which you already worked out two (or more) other seasons of life. Assemble the spinner with the brad and the spinner-holder. Use a tape runner or some other adhesive to stick down the edges of the spinner so it can still move freely.

Here’s what those layers and shine look like close up. One thing I like most about using patterned papers and college goodies as a early layer it the surprise of them showing through later on, whether that’s the actual pattern or the texture they add.

And here’s both sides of my spinner, which I didn’t really go into in the video.

Side one…

And finally, side two…

I hope this has been helpful and you’ve got a new way to add an interactive element to your pages. Once you start playing with that spinner, you could go different directions with it: make a peekaboo window in the spinner-holder so you can see the hidden portion, make a Pacman shape so you could see two parts at a time, use a vellum or acetate overlay — lots of opportunity for creativity!

Because we do go through so many different seasons, I think it’s good to slow down and consider some of the seasons we’ve already come through. Reflecting this way can also reveal what season we are in currently and explain why we seem to feel so… (insert your descriptor here) so often lately. It can be a good reminder that if we’re in a hard season, it won’t last forever. And if we’re in a wonderful season, we can appreciate it that much more.

It’s been great to share with you, and I can’t wait to see what you create!

Action Steps

In your journal, see if you can push yourself to try something new!

  • Try using some special papers on your page. Don’t save up those pretties for “someday” — today’s the day!
  • Go wild with the splatters
  • Make a spinner and use it on your page
  • Instead of using a paintbrush, see what it’s like to use your fingers instead
  • Try your hand at writing with a paintbrush and ink


TC lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her favorite part of art journaling is following a feeling or idea and seeing where it leads on a page.

1 Comment

  1. Christina Cloud

    TC I love this idea! I don’t have any Brad’s but I’m going to buy some and try this! Your page is beautiful and I can already think of at least two ideas for the spinner!