Castle Journal Page

When my son was small, I lectured him on using items for the purpose they had been designed. Umbrellas weren’t parachutes, and  forks weren’t garden tools. I often think of those lectures when I re-purpose one item as an art tool.

I purchased a chipboard book–one that had a number of  thick cardboard pages shaped like a castle. Instead of attaching the pages with binder rings and making a book, I coated the pages with gesso, then matte medium, to protect and make them water-resistant.  When dry, they became stencils.  In this long journal, put three castle pieces high on the page, coverthe rest of the page with a blank piece of paper to protect it, and spray ink on the journal page.

castle-allTo create spray ink, I used Adirondack re-inkers, bottles of concentrated ink used to refill stamp pads. This brand is from Ranger, the company most people associate with Tim Holtz. I used two drops of denim and one drop of eggplant in a Mini-Mister,  added 10 drops of water, and sprayed across the top. You can mix re-inker colors quite nicely. (These aren’t alcohol inks). If you do this, use distilled water to dilute so the mini-mister doesn’t clog.

After waiting about a minute for the ink to dry,  carefully pick up the first layer and rearranged a second layer, using some of the pages used before as well as some new ones. This time, spray the left side with  a different color than the right, allowing the colors to blend or overlap in the middle. You can see the piece with two towers and the gate on the right repeated again on the far left. Repositioning the pieces makes the piece more interesting without looking repetitive.

castle21The spaces you cover the most often and consistently  are white, which will let you write on the page and make the most of the white space.

Inventing your own stencil is fun, often more fun than purchasing expensive ones.  A lot of every day items can be turned into stencils (or the opposite, masking pieces).

If you are fussy about the ring-holes showing, you can cover the book holes with tape. Or you can incorporate the pattern into the finished page.

Quinn McDonald is a journaler who works at the intersection of words and images. She teaches one-sentence journaling, inner hero journaling, and on Friday,  April 25, will teach a journaling class at the Minneapolis Book Arts Center.


8 thoughts on “Castle Journal Page

  1. Happy belated birthday to the Cooking Man–did he make a Pavlova with fruit for his cake? Love them; so light and yummy! But I do so love your repurposing the castle book for a stencil (and when you get tired of it you can make it back into a book)! Stampers have been changing things into stamps for years (my favorite piece of mail art is a small plunger labeled ‘stamp’ because it’s rubber at one end, wood at the other and if inked up it makes a great ring pattern–so it is a stamp! The label and postage were printed on the handle and it arrived in my mailbox ‘as is.’
    Kids’ balloons can be filled with stuff like rice or beans and made into stamps, too!

    • You are an idea machine! Cooking Man did not make any dessert for himself–I was out traveling (although I came home right before midnight) so we are doing a celebratory meal this weekend.

  2. I love the layered effect of your mask! Lovely soft colours. Torn paper makes a very good mountainous horizon.

    I am a firm believer in every object having multiple uses whle it functions and even more once it ceases to meet it’s primary purpose . . . but even I wouldn’t let kids leap of the roof with an umbrella . . . the railing around the deck which they jump off anyway, yes, but definitely not the roof.

  3. How cleaver Quinn! Are you the fairy princess in the castle or the damsel in distress?
    What a challenge indeed to teach a child how to use things properly & yet to be creative, especially when you are a queen of creativity! Thanks for my morning smile!

    • I was a damsel in distress yesterday when the @#$%& airlines could not get its act together to take off from DC in what they call “weather.” OK, so it snowed a bit, but the person who loaded the plane did a dismal job of organizing the job, we took off half an hour late (they had to de-ice the wings *separately*?) and I wound up bolting through the airport, only to have THREE gate changes–luckily that delayed the next flight so I caught the last plane out of DFW and made it home in time for the last four minutes of Cooking Man’s birthday.

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