Making an Art Journal Cover with Resin
Hi, fans of resin! Karen Bearse here, ready to have a play with this art journal cover tutorial. I have lots of fun things to experiment with, so let’s get started!
The base of my journal is an inexpensive traveler’s notebook. The cover of the book is made of kraft cardstock.
I created my first layer by gluing down various painted papers. To attach the papers to the notebook cover simply tear, cut, and glue. I used collage medium as my adhesive. It will be interesting to see how that works! The papers shown here are papers painted with acrylic paint, book paper and a printed page from a Dyan Reaveley Dyalog book.
I covered the top of the papers also with collage medium to make sure everything was properly sealed. Once that layer dried, it was time to strategize the next layer.
I knew I wanted the base of my book to be colorful with accent pieces as well as having ephemera with more of a vintage vibe. To achieve this, I played around with the tissue paper arrangement before mixing the resin. (Keep in mind that tissue paper becomes translucent in resin.) For extra detail, I tore pieces from a paper napkin which also added to the translucent look!
Note: Work gently during this step, as the paper will easily tear.
It is also a good idea to adhere the washi tape at this step. The tape I used is very sticky, but if you have some that is not, you can use a layer of collage medium underneath to help it attach.
In the next step, you will prepare the resin. Before you do that though, put a piece of parchment paper underneath the project and the cover, in order to protect the pages beneath it.
Before I mixed the resin, I had the ephemera I would be using close by. You don’t want to look for it after mixing your resin! It is also a good idea to keep a mold close by in case you mix more resin than you need. You can always cast the leftover into a mold.
I am using Easy Cast. It is a doming resin that is good to use on raised surfaces. I like working with this resin because it’s less likely to run because it mixes thicker. I also love the way it works with paper. It creates a softer set, which makes it more flexible, and therefore less likely to crack if the cover of the book is bent.
First resin pour
I followed the directions, pouring equal amounts of parts A and B into a mixing cup and stirring for two minutes. Next, I poured it into a second clean cup. With a new stir stick, I continued to mix it together for another minute.
Once the resin was mixed, I poured a bit of it onto my sheet. Using a piece of a kitchen sponge, I carefully applied the resin to my cover. If you are using tissue paper, simply wipe resin over the desired area and place the paper down. The resin will soak through, so use your gloved finger to push the pieces into the wet resin and position it.
Continue adding in the tissue. Next, you can add in the heavier paper and cardstock ephemera. Once you are happy with how your art looks, thoroughly cover it with a layer of resin. Then, allow it to sit for at least twelve hours. Here is a picture of how my cover is looking so far!
As you can see, after sitting for the twelve hours, the resin is nicely set. It has a smooth, plastic feel to it. I did find that some of the heavier elements, like the paper backed stamp and the cardstock witches, are partially sticking out of the resin. They are, however, firmly attached. When adding the next resin layer, I can embed them further.
For the third layer, start by placing the ephemera where you want it. I decided to experiment and add some color! You can see in the left-hand corners that the paper is stark white. I used an alcohol marker to add some interesting detail.
I also experimented with using distress crayons to create highlights, as well as using markers to distress the edges. You can see in the photo below how my corners now have a bit of color. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Second resin pour
After mixing a fresh batch of the Easy Cast, I added my remaining elements: the metal token, butterfly, clock, hand, and the stamped image. I did this by carefully wiping a layer of resin on the back of the items, then placing them onto the journal cover. I then added more resin to seal them. The pieces may move around a bit, so make sure everything is in place to your liking before leaving it to cure. You may even want to come back and check on your art journal cover in 20 to 30 minutes to make sure nothing has shifted.
Pour more resin on any areas that seem thin. The great thing about doming resins like Easy Cast is that they will naturally flatten out. I opted to add more resin on the token than I did in other spots. It sealed in nicely! I also went over the cover with a pin and heat gun to pop the large bubbles. Since it’s mixed media though, I really did not mind leaving the small bubbles as they added character!
Let it sit for twenty-four hours.
I am thrilled with how it turned out, especially since some of this was an experiment and I wasn’t sure how it would work. My cover set up beautifully. I was pleased with how well everything came together!
I was surprised to see the areas that I added alcohol marker or distress crayon to, came out great. There was no smearing at all! Adding a layer of collage medium over the washi tape avoided any beading issues and the resin went on top without a problem.
Using collage medium to glue down the first layer of paper worked well. It created a good solid base to work with. Since the papers were heavier, I think doing this with resin would have created raised areas, which could be fun! Adding collage medium on top of the washi also worked well. This means that any glossy ephemera could be covered first and the resin would just sit on top.
A word of advice — don’t test to see if your resin is done before the specified time is up. I left fingerprints on my project by not being patient. Next time, I will wait.
The resin went over my stamped title without issue. I used an archival ink stamp and colored it with distress marker. The numbers were stamped on copy paper and they ended up a bit translucent. The title was on card stock. Since it’s solid, it stands out more.
The heavier card stock images did not lie flat in the resin without two pours. I realized that if I wanted them to stay flat, I had to glue them down.
This was a fun art journal cover tutorial, and I will be doing it again! Next time I think I will add color to the resin!
Thanks so much for joining me today!
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