Two Classes at Absolutely Everything in Massachusetts
Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Summer 2012 Show

Watercolor + Stamps = Scrapbook Page

Back in March Ali Edwards asked me if I'd like to provide a tutorial for her blog.  Ali is a blogger whom I admire very much.  Her style and my style are a million miles apart, but I read her every day because of her articulate discussion of memory keeping.  She manages to make memory keeping so very accessible for all and empowers her readers with her thoughts on why things work as well as how they work.  A girl after my own heart.  I was very happy to provide the following tutorial for her blog (appeared on her blog March 30, 2012).

Hi!  My name is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and I've been scrapbooking for almost ten years.  When I started scrapbooking back in 2003 it was really difficult to get my hands on scrapbooking supplies.  There weren't any stores near me and the internet wasn't what it is today.  Because of the lack of available supplies I found myself shopping at my local art shop and office supply store.  I made my own patterned paper, embellishments, and so on.  Interestingly, as more product became available to me, I discovered that I still loved making pages without almost any commercial products.  Today I thought I'd share how one of my home made pages comes together!

I started with 12x12 watercolor paper and a collection of small photos printed onto a single 4x6" canvas. 


 I don't always sketch, but I think it's a good way to start, especially when working with multiple photos.


 Sketching helps me clarify the image in my head.

Once I picked the sketch that I liked, I cut the photos apart and adhered them to plain white cardstock (from the office supply store) and then trimmed around them.  Now I have two filmstrip style strips of photos.


 Watercolor is one of my most favorite supplies.  It's inexpensive, versatile, and easy to clean up.  I used the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) to create some uneven stripes of color.


 I'm not always super careful about lining things up, but when I'm using a lot of homemade elements I find that a little bit of neatness goes a long way towards making the layout look artsy instead of messy.


 As you can see I stamped my title using a set of alphabet stamps I carved myself.  

I added the journaling right under my title.  I did draw some lines (back to that neatness thing) with a pencil first.  Once I had finished my journaling I simply erased the lines.


As you can see from the photo above I stamped a collection of chevrons in different sizes.  All the stamps are hand carved.  Carving stamps is something that sounds hard, but is actually quite easy to do.  And it's addictive!

Next I adhered my photo strips and cut off the ends so that the left edge of the layout was nice and neat.  I also added some stamping at the bottom of the page to bring the eye down through the journaling.


 However, I felt that the stamping was too dark.  So I took a piece of deli paper (you could also use vellum or tissue paper) and stitched it over the top of the stamping.


 I like the way it softens the stamping.  I also added stitching to the left side of the photo strips.

I have always said that paint splats are the rhinestones of the paint world.  And accordingly, I like to add them to everything!


 As you can see, I covered up my photos with some junk that was sitting on my desk in order to protect them from any errant paint.  

If you've never created splats with watercolor paint, you simply take a very wet paintbrush, saturate it with paint and then hold it over your layout.  Tap the brush and watch the dots fly!

Once the dots had dried I wasn't totally satisfied with the layout. 


 It just didn't "pop" for me.  So I decided to change the photos over to color.


Much better!  It's amazing to me what a difference color photos made to this layout.  They really helped the whole composition come alive!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my process.  

Thanks for stopping by!


P.S. My friend Kim owns a scrapbooking store & portrait studio here in Manhattan, called Portrait Bug. She has decided to liquidate the scrapbooking supplies and become a portrait studio only.  She is hosting a FREE last hurrah crop on the evening of Saturday, August 4th (register here).  Everything in the store will be on sale.