I am in love with the traveler’s notebook (TN) journaling system, as it’s built around this idea of individual inserts that you can use together and swap out when you’re done with them. I was once more into using a TN for all my planning needs. Lately, I’ve regressed to using my phone calendar and it’s easy note-taking system. However, I have so many ideas for art journaling – and TN’s are absolutely perfect for creative purposes!

This week’s project will take you through how to make a cover for your TN from a vinyl placemat. I got mine from the dollar store, but you may have one around the house that you aren’t using.

For full step by step instructions, be sure to check out the video tutorial I have up at my youtube channel!

I started by tinting the vinyl with alcohol markers, moving the pigment around with a sponge that had been dampened with rubbing alcohol. I also splashed some black ink on and blew it around with a straw. Once I was happy with the look and everything had dried, I took triangles of silver glitter paper from POW! and placed them on with matte Mod Podge.

Everything in this process of decorating the cover was quite intuitive. As I was working from building on texture and color, I just sort of went with it. I also knew I’d be filling this up with intuitive mixed media art, so thought it would be nice if the outside would give a guess as to what was inside.

I added some acrylic painted geometric illustrations with a brush, in white and black. Breaking up the geometric forms with some organic illustrations helped to harmonize the design. I also added some more color with Tombow dual brush markers. I just had to be sure to seal everything with a thick final coat of Mod Podge to protect it.

The inside cover was also tinted with alcohol ink, which I applied with a paint brush. I sprayed a clear coat of varnish to protect it from the elements before I started punching the holes for the elastic.

I found some 2 mm elastic in my stash in pale pink and blue and cut it to fit the journal size, threading it through the holes as shown. I also included a piece of elastic to keep it all together.

I made three standard size inserts, each cover cut from Curious Metallic card stock in various shades of silver. The inside stock is 90 lb Neenah, which will be good to use for whatever mixed media art journal effects I might want to apply.

I rounded all the edges of my paper with a corner chomper and am quite happy with the finished effect. Can’t wait to fill it up and swap out the inserts as I go.

If you’d like to see a full tutorial on how to make TN inserts, I have that available on my Youtube channel as well!

– Haley


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