How to Paint a Journal Cover

How to Paint a Journal Cover - Buy several plain journals, learn how to paint them with this tutorial, and give them away as gifts this year! via littlegirldesigns.com

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One of the treats of going to The Hello Sessions last month was getting some creative time at the end of the day. When I walked past the room with tables set up and small blank sketchbooks at each place, I turned back around and made a beeline for a chair. The strange irony was though we were supplied with a great assortment of paint colors, stencils, and brushes, for several minutes I just sat there. Maybe I was hoping for some sort of tutorial.

On a side note, it was so interesting to see how several of us sat there trying to figure out how to start while others dove in confidently with their idea. It kind of reminded me of elementary school art class. It also reminded me that I like clear parameters. But enough about me. After a bit, I noticed some blue masking tape and decided to try an experiment. It actually worked decently well, so now I’m sharing it with you.

A couple of things to note before we get started. We used kraft paper journals for our project and they worked well in terms of not warping with the paint. The only problem was the tape did peel back a bit of the paper at places leaving a less than smooth cover. For this project, I used a brand of plain journals that has a plastic-like finish. The tape does not damage the cover, though you will notice that it also does not provide a perfect masking line. I might use my husband’s stellar arteest masking tape next time. Because I decorated the edges of the shapes, the uneven paint lines were a little less messy looking.

Anyway, on to our project!

How to Paint a Journal Cover

You will need:

One plain journal, preferably with a plastic-like cover rather than kraft paper
Acrylic paint
Paintbrush
Masking tape
White gel pen

First, use the masking tape to tape off the journal as seen below. You could also get super creative and make a fancy design if you’d like. I just wanted simple shapes.

How to Paint a Journal Cover - Buy several plain journals, learn how to paint them with this tutorial, and give them away as gifts this year! via littlegirldesigns.com

Place the journal on a newspaper covered surface and paint. You could also use paper bags. I decided to go ahead and paint the edges of the paper too, but be forewarned. Since acrylic paint is basically liquid plastic, when it hardens, the pages “glue” together as well. It wasn’t a complete disaster as I was still able to open the pages, but just so you know…

How to Paint a Journal Cover - Buy several plain journals, learn how to paint them with this tutorial, and give them away as gifts this year! via littlegirldesigns.com

Let the paint completely dry. I absolutely love this color (Love Bird) and want to paint more projects with it. It’s so bright and cheery.

How to Paint a Journal Cover - Buy several plain journals, learn how to paint them with this tutorial, and give them away as gifts this year! via littlegirldesigns.com

Carefully remove the masking tape. As you can see, the edges were pretty jagged. At this point, you could use a smaller brush to paint the edges or do as I did and decorate the edges. For my other journal, I decorated the brown cover with designs so it wasn’t as obvious that the lines were not straight.

Pull out the white gel pen and have fun decorating your journal. Think about repeating patterns, fun shapes, maybe even a quote that you could write onto the painted area. By the way, the acrylic dries like a dream so it is very gel pen friendly. The plastic cover of the journal was not so friendly and the ink only smeared.

How to Paint a Journal Cover - Buy several plain journals, learn how to paint them with this tutorial, and give them away as gifts this year! via littlegirldesigns.com

So there you go! A quick tutorial on how to paint a journal cover. Decorating a plain journal is such a simple way to make a gift for someone. Add a pen or two, a gift card for coffee or a plate of cookies, and you’re set.

Hope you have a lovely {and creative} day!