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Create texture in your art journal using minimal supplies

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I am here today to show you how to use texture in your art journals. And not just texture using layers. We will experiment with texture pastes as well as layers using stencils and paint.


  • Art Journal
  • Texture paste
  • Stencils (home-made or purchased)
  • Paint (watercolour, acrylic or whatever you have at home)
  • Acrylic inks
  • Palette knife or credit card
  • Paint brushes
  • Collage papers (tissue paper, magazine pages, gelliprints etc)


For the first technique I will be using a gessoed page of my junk journal. I’ve added the gesso so that I can use wet mediums without the risk of the paper warping and absorbing too much liquid.

I am adding texture paste (in this case plaster paste) straight through a stencil. Be sure to clean your stencils quickly after using pastes through them otherwise they will be gummed up over time. Once the texture paste is dry, I am going to add some crackle paste to show another type of texture.

My next step is to glue on some tissue paper with matte gel medium for another type of texture. The beautiful thing about tissue paper is that is disappears into the background like it was always meant to be there.

Now for some colour I am using watercolours to create drips. The teal matches the tissue paper perfectly, and it always goes perfectly with indigo. The watercolours I am using are from QoR, and they are just so pigmented, they are my new favourites if you want to invest some money into watercolours.

My final step is to add some journaling which I have done off camera because I felt it was a little personal, but I used a messy writing technique where I wrote over the top of each line to create an abstract hidden journaling section.

The second technique I am going to share involves paint layers, collage and stencils. It will be a colourful background that makes the stencil pop.

For this spread we will again start with a pre-gesso’d background just to cover up the existing page and to reinforce the paper. Then you can get started with your acrylic paints (or any other medium you might have on hand) and make a blended, abstract background. This technique is the first texture layer. You can also add acrylic ink drips for another texture layer.

Once the paint is dry, start adding collage papers for yet more texture. I’m using offcuts and pieces that were sent to me by a fellow art journaler. I like to use gel medium when I collage as I like how it seals the papers to the page.

Next I have used a Dina Wakely face stencil that looks great with black paint on the colourful background. And then I blend the leftover paint into the background.

Ink splatters are my go-to technique. I make them so often my page doesn’t feel finished without them.

And the last step is to add some phrase stickers as the journaling component. You could easily write your own, or leave it off completely.

Take action

Grab your art journal, paints and texture paste and experiment with texture. It’s a beginner’s technique that looks far more detailed.

Thanks for watching my tutorial today, I hope I have given you some ideas for using texture in your art journal. I love the dimension and interest these simple techniques add to my art journal spreads. And by adding a few stencils to your stash, you can use these tips as a basic recipe for your art journaling arsenal. Each stencil and colour palette will create a completely unique spread.

Tanyalee Kahler

Tanyalee is a mum to three grown up kids, a wife to her childhood sweetheart, a full time graphic designer and a part time crafter/art journaler. She loves growing veggies to feed her family, she loves raising her fur babies (cats, rabbits and guinea pigs) and she loves spending her spare time just pottering around her house. Tanyalee LOVES being at home more than anything else – as long as her family is nearby.