Art Class Techniques

Invite skills you learned in the classroom into your scrapbook pages with these fun layout ideas.

Art Pencils and Pens

Design by Jennifer McGuire

Art pencils and pens can be used to color stamps, to add a watercolor look, and even to paint. Create a watercolor background by scribbling with a watercolor pencil and spraying generously with water. Make faux-metallic embellishments by coloring die cuts, such as the butterflies on this page, using metallic pens.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Neenah Paper. Patterned paper: BoBunny Press (dotted), BasicGrey (wood grain, blue). Watercolor paper, stamps: Hero Arts. Die cuts: Sizzix (butterflies), Silhouette (title). Pens/pencils: Faber-Castell.

Paint a Background

Design by Candi Gershon

For a custom background, pull out your paints and brushes. Just be sure you have room -- and time -- to let everything dry! Brush paint onto a textured specialty paper; then press it onto your page to create a grunge look. Add designs in layers, allowing each layer to dry before adding more paint.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (navy, red), Donna Salazar (art paper), My Mind?s Eye (light red). Specialty paper: The Paper Studio. Font: Pea Sue's Print off the Internet. Stickers: Adornit-Carolee's Creations. Paint: Liquitex.

Watercolor Paint

Design by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Watercolor is an easy technique that creates beautiful effects on your pages. Just dribble the paint onto your background and let the colors blend, as was done on this layout to mimic the soft color of the flowers.


SOURCES: Patterned paper: BasicGrey. Watercolor paper: Cardstock Couture. Paint: Sakura of America. Stickers: American Crafts (letters), Crate Paper (scallop). Ink: Ranger Industries.

Woven Paper

Design by Kelli Crowe

A woven background adds subtle texture to your layout while making an interesting backdrop. Cut two pieces of 12x12" cardstock into 1" strips. Secure a strip across the top of a piece of base cardstock. Secure a second strip down the left side. Add a horizontal and a vertical strip, weaving under and over as you go. Use adhesive dots to secure.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (white), Prima Marketing, Inc. (yellow). Patterned paper: Anna Griffin (green), Autumn Leaves (pink), Echo Park (green, purple), KI Memories (blue, gray, pink), October Afternoon (red), Sassafras (blue, yellow). Pen: American Crafts.

Ink Mist

Design by Linda Sobolewski

Ink mists can be used to create an artistic background, but you can use them in other techniques, too. Try adding color to chipboard, spraying a masked image, or even applying it on something other than paper. Canvas is a great medium for spray inks.


SOURCES: Patterned paper: My Mind's Eye. Stickers: October Afternoon. Decorative tape: American Crafts (yellow), Sassafras (glitter). Stickers: American Crafts. Buttons: Sassafras (flower), Jenni Bowlin Studio (pearl), My Mind's Eye (all other). Brads: Crate Paper. Mist: Maya Road. Pen: Creative Memories.


Design by Vicki Boutin

Artist mediums such as gesso can add dimension to your pages. Cover chipboard with gesso to help it accept paint better. Stamp into it when it's wet to create a pattern and then color it with ink.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Core'dinations. Patterned paper: Crate Paper (orange, multicolor), Pink Paislee (green dot, yellow), My Mind's Eye (lined), We R Memory Keepers (blue dot). Stickers: BasicGrey (red mini), Doodlebug Design (brown), Making Memories (red). Chipboard accents: Maya Road. Die cuts: K&Company (label), Pink Paislee (tag), Crate Paper (scallop). Clip: 7Gypsies. Paper clip: BasicGrey. Buttons: Doodlebug Design. Stamps: Hero Arts. Ink: Ranger Industries. Paint, gesso: DecoArts. Pens: American Crafts. Punches: Fiskars. Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L.

Finger Paint

Design by Cathy Blackstone

Cathy got messy with finger paints on a page emphasizing her daughter's personality. She squirted the paint directly onto cardstock and then created colorful swatches. Finger painting works best if you switch colors before the previous one dries. Add white or lighter shades of the same color for a dimensional look.

Editor's Tip: Acrylic paint is a scrapbook-safe alternative to traditional finger paints.


SOURCES: Patterned paper: Junkitz. Font: Love Letter Typewriter off the Internet. Acrylic paint: Delta. Decorative tape: Heidi Swapp.

Tear Paper

Design by Cathy Blackstone

A classic way to vent frustration, tearing paper has a scrapbook function as well. On her card, Cathy ripped pieces for a feathery finish. To tear a specific shape, sketch your design on cardstock and then follow the lines with a wet cotton swab. Gripping the cardstock between your thumb and forefinger, gently pull the cardstock toward you.

Editor's Tip: For a different look, pick cardstock with a white core (when you tear your design, each piece will have a white edge). Tweak the piece by chalking or inking.


SOURCES: Patterned paper: My Mind's Eye. Stamps: Hero Arts. Ink: Tsukineko.

Trace and Transfer

Design by Erin Clarkson

Vellum or tracing paper can make you an expert copycat. Try the technique with clip art as Erin did, or play with fonts, artwork, or even elements from photos or fabrics. Erin liked the flowers on a piece of decorative tape but preferred the design on blue, so she transferred them using tracing paper. She also made a piecing from palm tree clip art. To get the look, simply transfer the artwork onto cardstock and trim.


SOURCES: Cardstock, acrylic paint, rub-ons, brads, ribbon: Making Memories. Patterned paper: Scenic Route Paper Co. Decorative tape: Heidi Swapp. Pen: Sakura of America. Clip art: Barry's Clip Art.

Add Ink Blots

Design by Erin Clarkson

Erin plopped ink blots onto her page to see what developed. Classic ink blots feature a design folded in half to create a mirror image, but you can quickly dab on the blots with your fingertips. To create her inky border, Erin used liquid calligraphy ink. Substituting acrylic paint would give it more texture.


SOURCES: Cardstock, patterned paper, stickers, ribbon: Making Memories. Fonts: Guatami (definition) off the Internet, Arial (journaling). Rub-ons: Making Memories ("congrats"), Autumn Leaves (stitches). Ink: Winsor & Newton.

Scribble and Doodle

Design by Shannon Landen

Remember how fun it was to scribble in the margins of your notebook? Shannon doodled on her layout for an all-her look. Your designs don't have to be elaborate. Sketch simple hearts, stars, stick figures, and dots for a high-flying page.

Editor's Tip: To scribble on cardstock, try a pigment-base pen; for photos or slick surfaces, choose a paint-base pen or a pen made specifically for photos. If your scribbling skills are rusty, sketch in pencil first.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper. Stickers, plastic words: Making Memories. Chipboard letters: Li'l Davis Designs. Sequins: Doodlebug Design. Brads: Making Memories (solid), Queen & Co. (patterned). Pens: Staedtler (blue, orange, black on cardstock), EK Success (blue, black on sequins), Sharpie (white).

Tissue Paper

Design by Erin Roe

A cheap supply, tissue paper helped Erin re-create the look of waves washing up on shore. With a paintbrush, coat cardstock with decoupage medium, positioning torn pieces of tissue paper as you go. When you like what you see, apply a final decoupage layer over the top.

Editor's Tip: Some tissue papers bleed color, which can add colorful effects during decoupaging. Just wait until it's dry to attach it to your page.


SOURCES: Cardstock: KI Memories (orange), BasicGrey (white, black). Font: Woodring (journaling) off the Internet. Tissue paper: Paper Reflections. Stickers: K&Company (small), BoBunny Press (large). Brads: SEI.

Coat with Crayons

Design by Erin Clarkson

Remember coating your page with crayons and then going over it with black? Skip the hard work as Erin did with Crayola's Color Explosion Paper. You can scrap off fun designs to reveal bright colors underneath. Add to the all-black background with rub-ons, gems, and other basics.


SOURCES: Cardstock, gem, ribbon: Making Memories. Decorative paper: Crayola Color Explosion Paper. Rub-ons: Making Memories (white), KI Memories (pink). Flower template: ScrapPagerz.

Stamp with Foam-Core Board

Design by Shannon Landen

To create your own stamp, carve simple shapes into a piece of foam-core board with an embossing stylus. If freehand-drawing isn't your thing, you can trace wrapping paper, magazines, or patterned paper. Try a different stylus each time: A thin tip works best for intricate designs; a wider stylus creates more pronounced patterns.

Editor's Tip: Opt for spray paint with this technique. Other paint mediums dry too quickly or are too thick.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (white), Paper Reflections (black). Rub-ons: Li'l Davis Designs. Letter masks: Heidi Swapp. Spray paint: Krylon.

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