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The Unexpected Collage

It was an unexpected collage that happened in today’s play that started out with intense frustration. Frustration that came from a computer challenge where I was at the point of either getting a sledgehammer or my art supplies to deal with it.

Sure, I got my frustration out through play but just when I thought I was going to have this amazing creature in my collage and it turned into something so FAR from that- let’s just say a toilet is involved.  Yup, that was like a head slap from my muse and it was just what I needed to shift my mood.

Curious about what acrylic gouache is? I’ve got a video all about it here.

Start by scribbling with Art Crayons, and I do mean scribble, all over some paper.  Any paper will do- especially one that has such small type on it you can barely read it!

Then rip it up into as many pieces as your heart desires. Big or little, they’re all good!

Using gel medium collage it on to a page.  This is when those random backgrounds in your journal come in handy.  Just pick one and start gluing!

I had hoped to get an elegant imaginary creature, but instead, I got a person sitting on a toilet reading a paper.  But if that’s what shows up, then let’s go with that!

To create the background, acrylic gouache was stenciled on using the Alternating Ovals stencil.

To bring in more color, yellow acrylic gouache was painted loosely around the shapes.

The title said exactly what I was feeling – whatever- but with a playful eye roll towards my muse since she sent me toilet person.  The word is from the Teenage Angst stencil and a bit of white paint quieted down the background.

You can write on Liquitex’s acrylic gouache but it has to be dry.  I didn’t want to wait for that so I used a Stabilo pencil to add some of my thoughts.

Once again, play and art supplies take the yuck out of the day.  By the time this page was finished, all the frustration from the computer had melted away.

So if you ever happen to get frustrated, try getting out your art supplies and just scribbling and ripping!

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!

The Marabu Art Crayon colors used were: orange, sunshine yellow, gentian, turquoise,  kiwi, rose pink, pomegranate, & cherry red.


How can you turn a plain cell phone case into something uniquely yours?  By using a clear phone case and putting any paper you’ve made in it.  In the video, you’ll see an inexpensive $6 phone case become. You’ll see the easy way to get the exact template you need to cut your paper and the little trick at the end to get it all to fit.

The super bonus of using a clear case and your own papers is that you can change it any time, as many times, as you wish!

Want to know more about gel printing? I’ve got a whole bunch of YouTube videos here and if you’d like to go deeper, check out my workshop, Gel Printing FUNdamentals.

You can use any clear phone case. There are lots of brands/manufacturers, and all I really look for is a cheap one that fits my phone.  Be sure that whichever one you buy, that it is for your specific size of phone.

The first thing you’ll want to do is pick some papers you love. I’ve grabbed a few since I couldn’t decide exactly which one I wanted.  How the template is used will make it very easy to see what the finished phone case will look like.  The stencil that was used to make these prints is the Cutouts Inspired by Matisse stencil I designed.

To make the template that is exactly the size you need, simply photocopy your clear case, and cut it out.  The full sheet of paper will be used as a big window to move around the prints to audition different areas.  This makes it so much easier to know where to cut because you’ll see what it looks like for you get the scissors.

When I put the phone in the case, the paper slid around.  That made the cutouts for the camera not line up.  So if that happens to you, take the phone out and reposition the paper.  Then hold the paper in place with one hand while you slide the phone in with the other.

Looking for more gel printing fun?  I’ve got a whole page of resources for getting started, techniques, and ways to use your prints here.

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Stenciled Letters

I had a bunch of requests for how I made the ransom style lettering using gel prints and stencils from my last blog post. You asked, and I listened! Here’s the video showing you all the techniques I used.  In there you’ll see how to stencil the speedy way if you’re doing a lot of it, how to use a pen to customize your letters, how to get texture into a letter, and more!

To get texture in a stenciled image or letter, try using Mousse.  It is thick so it makes it possible to get a crisp image.  Be sure to watch in the video how I clean up the stencil so that nothing gets wasted- and you’ll want to clean your stencil off promptly so the Mousse doesn’t dry on it.

When you’re doing a lot of stenciling, using a roller makes it go quickly. These rollers that I used are on the pricey side and I’ve been looking for a less expensive alternative. In the supplies at the end of this post, you’ll see a black handled set of rollers. They are WAY cheaper but I haven’t tested them out yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.

Why did I use a gel plate as my palette for the paint?  Because that reduces waste.  Once I’m done rolling on the paint, then I can take prints with the leftover paint on the gel plate.

The Open Ended stencil is different from the other alphabet stencils.  It has big open spaces that I designed to be filled in by you.  You can journal in them, you can doodle in them, you can do whatever your heart desires in there.

This stencil can straight and formal or loose and free.  Notice how different it looks when I draw loose lines in the numbers? It’s darker, stands out even on a busy background, and has a very different vibe than the letters above.  That means you can customize it to just what you need!

The rollers do make things go faster, but they hold a lot of paint. If you wrap them in a plastic bag and make sure it’s airtight (I used a rubber band) then they stay wet and juicy for several days.  That means you can come back and use them tomorrow without having to rinse them out.

Once you have your papers, then it’s time cut them up. You can cut out only the letters you need or you can cut them all at once.  I opted for doing it all at once just so it was done so the letters would be ready for lots of art journaling and mixed media play.

Here are all the As in one pile.  Lots of color and size choices.

But how did I easily get them all sorted? It could have been a nightmare but sorting as I cut the pages of letters I kept each page in alphabetical order.

Then I found a few “volunteers” to help me put all the cut in piles by letter by taking a stack and walking around the counter placing each letter on its proper pile. Notice the little envelopes under each one? Placing a single letter in each envelope keeps them organized for future use.


What did I do with the letters? I made a piece of art with my word for the year.  You can see that process here.  What I didn’t use is now a stash of easy to get letters since they’re already made and sorted!

I have listed 2 types of rollers here in the supplies. The black handled ones look very similar to the orange ones I used, but a whole lot cheaper.  I’ve ordered some of the black handled ones to try out- will update this post when they arrive.

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!