So you think, “Praise the Lord! Finally, I have this Bible journaling thing figured out!” Then you scroll through Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram and realize the creative world really is like a ginormous iceberg and we are only seeing the tip. Truth is, I don’t know if people will ever stop being able to think up new stuff.
Rest assure, this post is not about a new complicated technique or process. It’s not about a bunch of products or kits I think you should buy.
Here you will find some tips, tricks, and treasures I’ve discovered over the last six years, on my own creative worship journey. Some you may have heard before. But I hope most of what you read will simply assist you with where you already are in your Bible journaling journey.
Page Prep [Optional Process]
1.) The best way to keep your hand lettering and art from bleeding through to the other side of a thin Bible page, is to prep your page prior to working on it. If you decide to prep your page, I suggest, depending on the heaviness of the medium you’re using, laying down at least two layers of gesso, drying in between.
Note: This is not a requirement. I am very heavy-handed when it comes to art and writing. I’m also a hot mess and pretty clutsy. Due to these issues, I like to start with a clean slate when creating. I am personally not happy when I go to journal a verse and mediums from the back of the page have already bled through to the side I want to work on. However, page prep is completely optional and solely based on your preference.
2.) If using an applicator tool instead of a paintbrush (for gesso application), wrap your gesso tool in a wet wipe to prolong wetness for continued use over a short period of time.
Note: If you are working on a project or multiple projects that require time between coats or layers, this is a great way to keep the tool you’re using moist (if using a paintbrush, simply leave it in a jar of water between coats). You do not want to allow gesso to dry on your tool or brush, as it will ruin it for future use. However, if you don’t have time to completely rinse the gesso off, this is a great way to keep it wet for the second layer or an additional page. Note: This is a temporary solution and all gesso should be completely cleaned from your tool/brush when you’re finished using it.
Quick Clean Up
3.) Wet wipes are a great way to clean yourself up, clean accidents and spills, and use with gelatos [see Gelato Techniques], Neocolor IIs or other water soluble medium.
4.) On a personal note, I most definitely have a large roll of paper towels and a package of wet wipes on my art table at all times. However, my tip here is to always (and I mean, ALWAYS) have a spare. When I purchase paper towels and wet wipes, I choose to buy them in bulk. Not only does it save you money, but it also saves you the hassle of running out in the middle of a large, messy project. I pray you never experience this and find yourself frantically searching for your “grungy” towels to clean up your hot mess.
Getting Color On The Page
5.) Watercolor Wash
Using a larger paint brush and excess water, make long broad strokes, covering your entire page with your choice of watercolor paint.
6.) Smoosh Painting
This fun and easy process of laying water-based mediums down intermittently, requires a thin clear flat plastic, like what clear stamps are stored on, or you could even use a flat plastic clear wrapper. Paint your watercolor onto the plastic. Lay it on top of the page you are working on, paint side down. Smoosh the paint around the page by pressing against the clean side of the plastic. Simply lift and repeat to get your desired results.
Carefully place acrylic paint across the edge of an old gift card or credit card and scrape it across the page.
8.) Splatter Paint
As a fan of all things 80s and 90s, splattering paint is one of my favorite ways to get color down. You can dip your brush in watercolors or another watered-down medium, and gently tap the handle of the brush with your finger. Be sure to test this on a separate piece of paper, until you have figured out how much paint you’ll need on the brush and how hard to tap the brush to get the outcome you’re looking for.
9.) Gelatos, Distress Crayons or Water Soluble Pastel – painting or scribbling [see Gelato Techniques].
10.) Wax Oil Pastels – coloring, scribbling, or making art marks
The most common way to use gelatos is to rub the tip on a non-stick non-porous surface, add water, and blend. Then use the wet color you created as a paint. However, there are quite a few more ways to use them.
11.) Rub and blend gelatos into the page with your fingers.
12.) Blend gelatos with baby wipes (don’t use the same part of the wipe for multiple colors).
13.) Make diecuts out of gelato painted paper.
14.) Mix gelatos with water in a spray bottle to spritz color.
15.) Add water from a water brush to make a paint-like substance and dip brush in it, then flick onto paper for splashes and splatters.
16.) After embossing paper, rub with gelatos and use a wet brush to wash color across page.
I know that many people do not care for the look of their own handwriting. The next five lettering treasures on the list are for those of you, for whatever reason, prefer to forego hand lettering.
17.) Alpha stickers
19.) Label maker
21.) Old books
22.) You can attach tipins, journal cards, etc. with washi tape.
23.) Create a simple tab or pull-out from washi.
24.) Tape different patterns of washi (or the same pattern would work too) side-by-side on a piece of paper. Make sure you cover the area with enough washi. Then cut out a shape or design element [over the tape], maybe a wonky heart, and you’ll have a unique embellishment to use in your faith art.
25.) Use very thin washi or rip bigger washi into thin jagged strips to frame or mark your focus verse.
Basic Mediums You Can Use
27.) Colored pencils
28.) Stamps (clear cling or rubber)
29.) Watercolor paints
30.) Acrylic paints
31.) Spray ink
33.) Watercolor pencils
34.) Crayons (a wax pastel)
36.) Pens and Pencils (for writing and drawing)
Other Things To Use INSTEAD Of A Bible
My most favorite alternatives to use, instead of my Bible, are:
38.) Traveler’s notebook
Other great, equally effective tools used in creative worship are:
39.) Art journal
40.) Spiral notebook
41.) Composition notebook
42.) Journal or Diary
44.) Loose Paper (watercolor or mixed-media paper)
45.) Do not use the same paint brush with watercolor and acrylic paints. The reason for this tip is that acrylic paint is harsh on the bristles. Watercolor, being much more delicate, is best used on brushes that haven’t been eaten up (which acrylic paint is known to do).
The next five suggestions are great to add to your journaling pages.
46.) Old book pages
47.) Old Bible pages
52.) Waterproof archival ink (try to stay clear of alcohol markers, as they tend to bleed)
Books I Recommend
53.) Complete Guide To Bible Journaling by Joanne Fink & Regina Yoder [A must-have for brand-new Bible journalists]
55.) The Art of Bible Journaling by Erin Bassett
56.) Use and trace coloring book images into your Bible or journal.
Tip-Ins & Such
57.) Post-it notes
58.) Library cards
59.) Restaurant checks (servers write orders on them)
60.) Index cards
61.) Greeting cards
63.) Inexpensive light boxes are amazing tools you can use if you enjoy tracing.
Tabs & Clips
64.) Washi tape used as a simple tab or pull
65.) Ribbon or fabric tied to a paperclip
66.) Enamel discs on paperclips
67.) Embroidered patches on paperclips
(see Getting Color On The Page)
68.) Smoosh painting [watercolor]
69.) Scraping paint [acrylic]
70.) Splatter painting [watercolor or watered down acrylic]
71.) Needle nose plyers are my most used tool, other than gesso. I use them with diecuts, stickers, alphas, and more. When you are trying to place a sticker on your page, it is extremely helpful to hold it with the plyers, above the page, so you can choose appropriate placement before sticking it down.
72.) Traveler’s notebook dimensions = 11cm x 21cm (approximately 4.33in x 8.25in) These notebooks are easy to make yourself, using pretty card-stock and regular copy paper.