Use it Up Journal

Hello you lovely artists!

My name is Anouk (@creanouk) I’m 26 years old and I live in the centre of the Netherlands. I’ve always been creative, but ever since I discovered art journaling 10 years ago there was no way back. Art is my therapy as it helps me to live with multiple illnesses. When I’m not creating I’m probably sleeping, reading a book or walking with my charming little dog Max.

Imagine, you have just painted a wonderful journal page. You’ve finally used those brandnew paints you where hoarding on forever, you have grabbed your favourite stencils and even put a bit of modeling paste on top. If you are like me you’ll have a paint pallet left full of those gorgeous brand new paints, dirty stencils are laying everywhere on the table and there’s a bunch of modeling paste left on your pallet knife. Your mind screams: clean it! And your heart says: use it! I try to listen to my heart. Because seeing my gorgeous paints rinse through the sink makes me want to cry. Haha.

In this video I like to tell you more about my ‘use it up’ journal, give you a little peek inside and show you how you can make an easy journaling page with a pre-made background made from leftovers.

For someone who suffers from multiple illnesses creating can sometimes feels impossible. With this little ‘use it up’ journal I can have multiple results with less effort. On days that I feel good enough to make art I like to go all out. Instead of cleaning my paint pallet or my stencils right away, I grab my use it up journal to create some extra backgrounds. It really is great to see the results after just one painting session. Don’t be scared of ugly pages, you can always cover things up or add more layers. Try to use it too clean as many of your dirty wet stencils, and you’ll be amazed by the results. One of my favorite backgrounds are made with pieces of leftover paint from my gelli plate.

I hope that I could have inspire you today to start your own little ‘use it up’ journal, if you haven’t have one already of course.

Lots of love,

Action Steps


Flip through one of your journals. Is there an abandoned background somewhere, a page you didn’t finished yet? Try to work on this page today for a little bit. Add some stenciling, inkt, stamps, ephemera or some magazine cutouts. Try not to have a certain vision of what you like your page to be, just focus on the process of making this page.


Make a journal page like you normally would do. But this time you’ll put a piece of mixed media paper or a second journal beside you. Use this for the paint that’s left on your pallet. Put everything you would normally clean in the sink on your page first. Stencils, modeling paste, gelli plate, brushes, cards, inkt ect. are great to clean on your extra page. You’re free to use a little bit extra when the leftovers run out, but remember to keep the waste as minimal as possible. When you’re happy with the background you can always take it a step further and make an journal page of it. Or you could keep it for another time.

Anouk Karssen

Anouk Karrsen is an all round creative from the Netherlands. For her, art journaling is a way to escape real life, and express her emotions.


  1. Jenna Ledford

    OMG, I looooooove this idea, Anouk! How smart! I am definitely going to do this. Thank you for this great idea. 🙂

    • Anouk Karssen

      Aah! Thank you! So happy that I could have inspired you!

  2. Sofia

    What a great idea ! I often use a sheet of paper for the paint, but I haven’t thought to use it for the modeling paste or the stencils at all ! Thank you for the inspiration.

    And I love your pages, sweet and colorful as I like ! <3

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you! Never waste a pretty stencil. Haha.

  3. Amber Coulter

    Gorgeous pages! Thanks for sharing Anouk!

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you for watching! <3

  4. Alyssa Rothwell

    Thanks for taking us through your journal!! Your pages are stunning and this is such a wonderful idea!!!

    • Anouk Karssen

      Your welcome! I always love to see other peoples flip throughs. And thank you for the compliment!

  5. Gilly Welch

    I love your process and the beautiful colours you use for your pages!

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you! I like to use colors that makes me happy! 🙂

  6. Mandy Grobosch

    Thanks for sharing Anouk! Gorgeous pages with beautiful colors!

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you! <3

  7. Sasha Zinevych

    Your journal is so beautiful! And I am so happy to see your tutorial coming out first, Anouk! How exciting! 🙂 <3

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you! It was such a surprise! I had bit trouble with the English but I had your wonderful flower tutorial in mind and how you rocked that English, and I thought I can do it just like you! <3

  8. Rebecca

    A great idea, truly inspired! Also love all your pages!

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you so much! I’m so happy that I could have inspired you! <3

  9. Phill Rushmere

    Awesome page Anouk, and what an excellent idea. Can’t wait to have a go myself!

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you so much Phill! The best thing about this project is that it makes you want to create all the time. Can’t wait to see your pages.

  10. Jenny Sehlstedt

    I have totally forgotten about this practice lately, will begin again. Your tutorial is beautiful. I can totally relate with health limiting your energy and I am all about the process too.

    • Anouk Karssen

      Thank you! It’s very hard to create when haven’t have a lot of energy. I hope this helps. Good luck! <3

  11. Talita Chaves

    Great ideia, Anouk! I’ll definitely start my own ‘use it up’ journal 🙂 Thanks for your tutorial! I love it! And your pages are so beautiful <3

    • Anouk Karssen

      Aah! Thank you so much! I can’t wait to see all your use it up pages!

  12. Maura Flood

    I will be starting my own clean it up/use it up journal soon. Thanks for this tutorial, Anouk.

    • Anouk Karssen

      This makes me very happy! Thank you! <3

  13. Heidi Lilley

    As someone who struggles with chronic pain, sitting for long periods of time to create is difficult, so I can totally relate to what you are saying. Like you, the idea of wasting paint makes me want to scream sometimes. This is a wonderful idea. I was just gifted a small junk journal type of journal I got in the mail yesterday, I now know what I will be doing with that, I will make it into my “use it up” journal for left over paints. Thanks for such a great idea. I loved getting a peek into your journals, they are so pretty.

  14. Rose Sheridan

    Ahh I love this, it’s always something I want to do, but now I know I *need* to do it. Thank you for inspiring me to begin

  15. Christina Cloud

    this is wonderful! I also suffer from multiple illnesses as well as a spinal cord compression, and yes, it sometimes feels impossible to make an art journal page, or even start one. I can envision this being something that I could do, and feel that I’ve accomplished something even on a bad day! Thank you so much!

  16. Christina Cloud

    Also, I wanted to say that these are such beautiful pages!

  17. Suzanne Earley

    Thank you Anouk! I often smear the leftovers on random pieces of paper, but I love the idea of having a dedicated journal for the extra paint and texture paste! <3

  18. Michelle Ward

    Anouk – your journal is amazing.

    I’ve had a use it up journal for a while now – keep slapping in bits of paint and stuff but struggle to do anything with it, Will give it another try!!!!!!! It would be ironic to waste my use it up journal – lol.

  19. Julia Bethmann

    I have a journal like this too, but never thought about ‘finishing’ the pages. Thanks for the idea!

  20. Ashley Rodgers

    Beautiful journal, Anouk! So neat to see your process. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Lauren

    these pages are SO SO beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing your ideas. I have tons of these pages, but it takes me forever to get around to finishing them, so im excited to dive in.

  22. Chelsea Corbett

    I love these pages! & what a fantastic idea. I am having to juggle multiple illnesses as well, so a small “no pressure” journal sounds amazing ❤️

  23. Marie Pierre Guerin-Murphy

    This is such an awesome trick, except that now I have an extra journal to carry around to get rid of paint on. But I love love love the idea and it’s already looking awesome 9 pages in. Thank you for the neat idea!