Greeting Card Art Journal


I’m meant to be recording tutorial videos this week, but have been kindly handed a cold and laryngitis… so I’m catching up with some of the things that don’t need a voice to action! This is another project that has sat in the corner of the studio for most of the year that I decided to finish for my altered art demo day last week. I’ve upcycled various greeting cards that were saved from birthdays and Christmases into a functional and hard wearing art journal.

Here’s how:

IMG_4123Choose a large card, and use a stencil and embossing paste to add your cover detail. Allow to dry. Cut the card to size, remembering to add your spine width to your overall dimensions. Score the fold lines for the spine (see pic above).
IMG_4124Paint gesso over both sides of the cover, allow to dry and repeat.
IMG_4128Add your choice of colours using acrylic paints, blending wet into wet to create a weathered leather appearance. Finally, once all is dry add gold gilding wax lightly to highlight the embossed areas.
IMG_4130For the inside pages, cut several cards to the appropriate size (around quarter of an inch smaller than the cover) and gesso both sides. The first coat may not stick well to glossy coatings, but the second coat goes much better.
I then used my Gelli Plate to print patterns over all the pages, using acrylics. The pages are held in place using a thin wire run down each crease and hooked over a card band top and bottom firmly stuck to the inside of the spine. This means that you can easily remove and replace any of the pages to work on, or swap order. The sample page shown above shows stamping with archival inks, lettering with Sharpies and Gelly Roll pens, and napkin decoupage to add the images of the roses.

4 thoughts on “Greeting Card Art Journal

  1. Great work! I recently completed a mini-album made of recycled materials, and the pages were made from last year’s Christmas cards (full details on my blog). It’s a great use for old greetings cards which are generally made of nice quality, substantial card, which takes gesso and art work really well. I love frugal projects! Your art journal is really beautiful, and I love the cover you have made.

    I found that the gesso didn’t really stick very well to shiny card, and tended to come off – I had awful problems initially with the pages sticking together and removing the gesso, and later the paint. I solved this problem by painting the pages with a light dusting of talcum powder, using a large soft brush (a solution I found online – others have clearly had this problem too!). As for the gesso not sticking well, if you lightly sand the shiny pages this gives a better surface for the gesso to stick to.

    I am keen to make more books like this! You get a really good feeling from making something beautiful from materials that most people throw away without a second thought.


  2. This looks a great project, Neil! I would like to see some of the other pages, too! I didnt understand quite how you placed the wires and stuck them down, etc so that you could easily remove pages…but lm sure l could find my own way of doing them! Happy Xmas!

  3. I love this journal, but I didn’t understand how the wire bit worked, going off to see if I can find out how you did it. Thanks so much for sharing this and all the other stuff throughout the year. Happy holiday and best wishes for the New Yrea

    • If you look closely at the open page, you should just be able to see a sliver (florist) wire along the centre. Now look at the top down picture – the wire hooks over the black card loop by about half an inch, and it’s the same at the bottom.

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