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Are you a fan of keeping an art journal? It’s an expressive way to gather all your thoughts in the form of visual tits and bits. And thanks to stencils, you can create amazing designs and patterns within minutes.


If you haven’t tried art journaling before, remember that there are no rules. All you need to do is be yourself. Use the colors you want and make your life easier by getting custom stencils that suit your unique style.


In art journaling, stencils can be used to create patterned cutouts. They can also be used along with baby wipes to make texture by erasing paint. Some other mixed media project ideas include combining the stencil prints with pressed flowers, and much more!


If you don’t already have an art journal, we recommend you get one with heavy mixed media pages. Combining various methods and materials amplifies the effects created by stencils.

1. Create rustic and smudged effects with dry paint

A stencil brush creates beautiful and ‘fluffy’ effects. To get beautiful textures on the page, we recommend you use dry paint. The best way to go about this is to use acrylic paints, since they are thick and adhere well.


  • Take a bit of acrylic paint out onto the stencil brush.


  • Don’t use water, make sure the paint is thick. If it’s too dry, you can add just a drop of water to help it stick to the bristles (and onto the page as well).


  • Grab the stencil and put it over your art journal page. You can prepare a colored background in advance too - using waterproof ink. But that’s optional, as you could even use solid colored construction paper for the backdrop or simply leave the page blank.


  • Move the brush around in swift circles. Don’t repeat too much over one area. Go over the pattern elements you want to see on the page.


  • Remove the stencil once you’re done. You’ll notice a ‘fluffy’ and ‘smudged’ texture on the page. It creates a stunning and timeless vintage-themed charm.


If you use watercolors or any other thin painting medium, it won’t stick well to the brush. It will also leak and spread on the page, distorting the shapes.

2. Combine natural textures with your stencils

Natural textures are always a win. Especially if you’re a nature lover, you shouldn’t miss the combination of pressed flowers and leaves along with your stenciled designs. This is another technique to achieve a classic backdrop.


  • Grab a long patterned stencil to create borders along the sides of your art journal pages. You could use thick paint for a heavier look or even waterproof ink to apply paint through the stencils.


  • Take tiny pressed flowers and leaves and stick them on the corners as well. If not over the stenciled design, you can try sticking them to other areas of the page too.


You could try another variation as well. Instead of sticking the petals and leaves themselves, you can use them as natural stencils. So, for example, you could grab a tiny leaf and put some paint on your stencil brush. Next, press the leaf against the page and move your brush over it.

3. Cut out scraps of different shapes

Now let’s explore something more modern and fun. Playful designs almost always have patterns and colorful 


You can use your stencil to cut out interesting shapes for the backgrounds in your art journal. Patterned backgrounds can sometimes take a lot of time and effort. So if you love to have well-designed pages, here’s what you can do instead:


  • Pick some sheets of wrapping paper. Even old ones lying around in your house would work. If that isn’t available, you can try construction paper or old newspapers instead. This is the perfect chance for you to get active with recycling ideas!


  • Grab a stencil and a pair of tiny scissors or a paper cutter. Fix the template onto the sheet and think of the shapes like tiny cookie cutters. Carefully let your scissors or cutter dive into the sheet and cut out the stencil design.


This idea can work in two ways. You can use the sheet with the cut-out as a background layer for your art journal page. In another case,

4. Create negative space

We all use paint to fill in patterns and shapes using stencils, right? But what if you turn around the entire situation? Here’s how to try out the negative space technique in your art journal:


  • Cover the entire page using waterproof ink or watercolor.
  • Next, put the stencil over the page and rub baby wipes over the template.
  • Remove the stencil and you’d have created a beautiful pattern!


This technique works like a charm with stencils that have tiny repetitive patterns. It suits other types of designs too, but it’s quite effective on intricate patterns because otherwise, it’s difficult to get it accurate.

5. Use buttons and other embellishments

Take the accessories game to the next level by pasting embellishments onto your art journal page. Combine your stencil design with buttons or even pieces of paper to bring more texture to the page of your journal.


Here’s our pro-tip! You can grab the buttons, sequins, and other stuff and use them as stencils and props. So all you have to do is put them against the page or paste them next to your stencil-painted designs. Use a cotton ball to rub the paint against the stencil and the buttons/props. You can also place the embellishment inside the stencil and then paint over it. You’ll end up getting the texture of the element along with the design!


There are no rules to art journaling. However, for mixed media projects, it’s best to get a journal with heavy paper and strong binding. But stencils can make your journey easy for sure. So remember to have fun and don’t forget to explore our vast stencil collection. We’re sure you’ll have plenty of choices for your art journal!