Painting Paper for Journal Covers

Why Make Your Own?

I love designing and making my own watercolor sketchbook journals. Why would I want to go through the lengthy process of making my own journal?
The first reason is I can make the perfect size and orientation to fit the subjects I like to sketch and paint.

Second, I can use my favorite professional watercolor papers. Third, I love designing my own journal covers. And last, but certainly not least; there is something so satisfying about sketching and painting in a journal you personally created. It is like completing a circle!

This post is the first in a series of four showing my step-by-step process of making a French Link and Kettle Stitch Watercolor Journal.  Today I will show how I painted the paper for my journal covers.

Painted Masa Paper
© Annie Glacken

Painting the Paper for the Journal Covers

If you ask me, painting or designing the covers for my journals is my favorite part of making my journals.

I began by thinking of what color schemes I wanted to use and then choosing the watercolor pigments. I mixed my colors on white plastic plates because I needed large puddles of paint ready to go. Once you begin painting, you don’t want to have to stop to mix more paint or you may end up with hard edges where you don’t want them. Here are my puddles ready to go:

Paint Prepared
© Annie Glacken

Next, I crunched up an entire sheet (21 1/4″ x 31″) of masa paper. I kept making more and more wrinkles and then wadded it into a ball and placed it in water.

Crumpled Masa Soaking in Water
© Annie Glacken

Painting the masa is a very messy business so I covered my table with a plastic tablecloth. After soaking the masa paper for a minute or two, I removed the it from the water and very very gently opened it up being careful not to rip it, and laid it on top of the plastic.

Wet Masa Opened Carefully and Laid on Plastic
© Annie Glacken

Now it was time for the fun part:  painting on my chosen pigments. I covered the entire paper with juicy color. It is important to note the colors will dry lighter so you may have to keep adding more and more pigment to get the saturation deep enough.

Wet Paint on Masa
© Annie Glacken

I spent the whole day painting masa paper in different colors. After they dried completely, I sprayed them with an acrylic matte spray. The reason I did this was to protect the paint from lifting later when I made the covers and sealed them. Here is the product I used:

These pieces are ready and waiting to be used for journal covers.

Permanent Rose, Aureolin, Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Violet
© Annie Glacken

Phthalo Blue Red Shade Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green, Hansa Yellow Medium
© Annie Glacken

Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)
© Annie Glacken

New Gamboge and Organic Vermillion
© Annie Glacken

Quinacridone Gold and Winsor Green
© Annie Glacken

New Gamboge
© Annie Glacken

In my next post, I will show how I made the covers using this paper for my journals.  Be sure to enter your email in the “Don’t Miss A Post” box up at the upper right so you can be sure to see the next posts in this series.  Your email will not be shared!



13 Replies to “Painting Paper for Journal Covers”

  1. Pretty paper. Can’t wait the next stage ;)). I wonder if silk paper (I think you call it tissue paper in US) works the same as masa…As fragile as it I suppose. Thanks for your demo.

  2. These are beautiful papers! I love that you make your journals. It’s not something I, myself, would enjoy, but I totally get it. I am the person who dyes fibers, spins them into yarns and weaves shawls. Like you say, it’s that full circle thing.

    • I used to raise sheep, dye, spin, weave, and rug hook too! Now I pretty much paint and do a little knitting. Thanks for the compliment on the papers!

  3. This is such an interesting process, Annie. It looks like it would be a nice way to loosen up and have some fun with color.

    • It is a very interesting process–you never know what you will end up with! It is a great way to have fun with color! Thanks for the comment!

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