Using Book Paper in Mixed Media

A new year has begun for the Documented Life Project and we are excited to stretch our creative brains with more challenges. You can join Melinda and I on this journey and participate in any way you want. It’s still free and you can share what you do with the rest of the DLP (Documented Life Project) community or just do it for your own enjoyment.

Roben-Marie SmithThis year the original artists who put together the project are incorporating more teaching in various art techniques as well as bringing in guest artists to share. It’s a great opportunity to learn new creative skills and we challenge you to give it a try as you document this year with an art journal. Melinda and I will be sharing with you what we do as a way of encouraging you to try something new as well as helping us to stay committed to keeping up with the challenges. (Disclaimer: We won’t always get the challenges done on the week issued– because life happens. But we will catch up eventually. So just because you think you might not be able to do all of the challenges on time, don’t be afraid to start even if you miss a few. The whole idea is for you to create and learn new skills.)

For the month of January, the theme is: The Blank Page and How to Face It! A blank piece of paper can sometimes be intimidating making it hard to know how to get started. The first week’s art challenge for the blank page was to use book paper, which could be pages from a book, magazine, letters, basically anything that already has something printed on it. The journal prompt for the week was: Be Your Own Goal Keeper.

Instead of using the suggested journal, I decided to use a book cover I purchased at a yard sale. I took out the book pages (easy to do because they were tied in) and will add my own pages as they are completed. I will eventually make the cover pretty but have not yet decided what I want to do to it.

Book for Art Journal

I covered my blank page with book paper– from a book, magazine, and coloring book.

Page covered in book paper

I thought I had some wonderful book paper, parts of which I planned to have showing through in the end. I spread a light coating of gesso over the whole page letting much of the print underneath still show and let it dry. Using my finger I began smearing some acrylic paints around on the page. Still not sure what direction I was going to take this I pulled out my gelli plate and began adding various textured designs to the page. By the time I was done with gelli printing on my background I had completely covered all the book text underneath. I still wanted book text to be a part of the visible design so I gelli printed on more book paper and from it cut out the letters for the word “GOALS” as well as various circles and petals which I glued to the page.


I used a black sharpie to draw numbers on the small circles and a silver pen to embellish the number circles. I tore paper from the border of a gelli printed book page for writing the goals.

Goals DLP Mixed Media

My goals were inspired by the verse in John 10:10– “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Abundant LifeGelli Print Mixed MediaGelli Print FlowerGelli Print Letters


This year I am doing the pages with my kids as part of their homeschooling. It’s going to be fun to do it together and teach them new artistic techniques.

I tried doing my own book-binding with not the best results, but I think it will hold up for this project (I hope). I used an old sketch book and took out the blank pages and folded them for my new book. I sewed the binding then cut down a file folder as my cover. I will eventually decorate the cover, but I haven’t decided what to do yet.


I tried hard to follow some of the techniques from the Documented Life Project ladies because I know it will help stretch my abilities and help me think outside of my box more. I used old book paper, a scrap of notebook paper that my Grandma had written on, and some old magazines. I glued them down and then water colored over the top. I have a hard time with layering, so that is something I am trying to improve. Then I made some white circles with acrylic paint, and after they dried, doodled on top with pen. I didn’t like one of them so I covered it with my GOALS paper. Under the paper that says 2015, I wrote what my goals are for the year and taped it so I can see them. It’s not my favorite page, but I am proud of myself for trying new things (which happens to be one of my goals).


My Princess used a coloring book and a piece from the paper I had used as her book paper. Then she taped on her paper with her goals for the year. At first the picture she colored what too big to fit on her small book (the dog was on the other side of the present), but she used her creativity to find a solution and cut the dog out to glue onto Strawberry’s lap so it would fit!

DLP 2015-Week-1-Kids

Ninja Boy used a coloring book for his book paper too. He also taped on his goals for the year.

DLP 2015-Week-1-Kids


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