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DIY: Aesthetic Winter Journal Spread this New Year

DIY: Aesthetic Winter Journal Spread this New Year main article image
Posted on December 28, 2022 by Katsiaryna Sipakova

I love art journals. They are honest and soulful, and in most cases very therapeutic. 

This time I wanted to add some space for reflection to my winter spreads, so my pages combine art journaling with a bullet journal approach. 

Spread No 1:

winter art journal

Spread No 2:

aesthetic winter journal

List of supplies

  • Art journal (mine is 21 x 21 cm with 300 gsm paper)
  • Paints (I used acrylic cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, raw umber, Persian turquoise, titanium white, and red)
  • Brushes
  • White paint marker (I used Posca) or gel pen
  • Fine liners
  • Water-soluble crayons (I have Derwent ink blocks)
  • Wooden decor elements (snowflakes, birds, trees, etc.)
  • Book pages
  • Acrylic matt medium (or transparent glue)
  • Double-sided tape (I used a clear thick one)
  • Vintage handmade lace 

mixed media art supplies

Background layers

I made two spreads and their first layers are a little different in technique and the essence they hold. Let me call them Spread No 1 and Spread No 2 for convenience (see them above). 

On Spread No 1 the background layer is very simple. I just covered it with acrylic paint using winter-themed colors and tones: cobalt blue, Persian turquoise, raw umber with a touch of ultramarine blue, and a lot of white, of course. I prefer titanium white because it is opaque when not mixed with water or mediums. 

The amount of white you use depends on how light or dark you want your page to be. I wanted lighter tones, but it is always a good idea to have some contrast. 

Then I added thin stripes thorn from an old book page. 

acrylic background on paper

On Spread No 2 I wanted to add more “hidden senses” to the background, so I’ve built the background in several steps. 

I started by gluing in the pieces of old book pages. This is one of my favorite collage elements, so I always have several books in stock to source pages from. 

You may use random pages from books, magazines, or newspapers. Or you may want to choose the ones that talk to you through the words on them. For example, I would not use a page with a story about some crime, severe medical condition, or crisis for my journal spread, because I want these pages to feel positive and recharging. But this is my personal attitude. 

I like using matt acrylic medium for sticking collage pieces to the page. It is transparent and elastic when dry, and perfectly compatible with acrylic paints. I use a palette knife to apply the medium and flatten the piece. To mute the yellowed book pages, I covered them with thin layers of white paint. 

collage old book for art journal

Then I wrote some phrases with words of gratitude. Even though they may become invisible under the new layers, it adds more positive vibes to the whole spread and has a therapeutic effect on me. Of course, that influences the overall mood and tone. 

Next step – outlining the book page pieces with an ink block. It looks very dark when dry, but later when I start applying paint will give us the vintage effect with a tone that is close to raw umber. 

Finally, I added the paint layer using the same colors as on Spread No 1. The trick is to blend the edges between color spots and blend the outline made with the ink block, but not mix all colors in one. 

Adding wooden elements

In fact, these elements do not have to be wooden – you may use ones from cardboard, plastic, metal, or even thick paper (which I used too). I’ve got mine in a set from a craft store, but you can make some snowflakes or Christmas-themed elements yourself using Creative Fabrica products. 

Originally, my snowflakes, birds, ornaments, and trees were plain wooden, but I’ve painted them white and red: white to harmonize with the overall color scheme and red for bright accents. 

winter mixed media art journal pages

For me, it looks nice when the elements are not just glued flat to the page but are floating over it. To implement this effect I used double-sided tape (nano tape) about 2 mm thick. It is totally transparent and not visible even under the elements with small holes. 

If you do not have such tape I suggest using folded pieces of paper. You can either paint them in the color of the background or glue them to the solid back of your decorative piece so that it will not be visible from the outside. 

Before sticking everything to the pages I recommend playing around with all pieces to find the best place for each. Once decided, start gluing or taping them one by one to their spots. 

nano tape double-sided

A space for wishes or affirmations 

In Spread No 2, I wanted to leave a special space for writing – real and meaningful, not decorative. However, I still wanted this space to look nice and interesting and stand out from the page. So I literally made it pop out. 

I used a piece of watercolor paper and painted it the same colors as the main background. Then I tore off the edges – that gave my paper an organic shape and a fine white border. Then I made two smaller pieces in the same manner just for decoration. 

All of them are placed on the same thick double-sided tape as the wooden elements. 

thorn edges

Adding fine details

I could not go for the winter art journal spread without fine white details. 

On Spread No 1, I used a Posca white paint marker to write some words. They are barely seen but still add movement, marks, and interest to the pages. Besides, I know what’s written there – and it makes them more meaningful to me. 

Then I drew some white swirls – symbolizing cool winter winds and frosty patterns on windows. 

Then I decided to add some “snow” – drops of liquid white paint made by carefully shaking a brush. That is a typical way to make the effect of a gentle snowfall. Also, I added a few small asterisks with my white paint marker. 

On Spread No 2, I moved right to adding the “snow”. 

winter themed fine details

Making it warmer

With blue and umber background tones, white snowflakes, and red birds, my winter journal spreads looked rather cool. Though the words I wrote there added warm thoughts, I still wanted the pages to feel and look warmer. But I didn’t want to add warm colors. 

In my crafty boxes, I found vintage handmade lace which I once saved from being thrown away. And that was a good fit to warm up my art journal and make these winter spreads even more soulful and cozy. 

vintage lace winter art journal spread

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Love this idea! It's stunning :)

KaSia Design's profile picture
KaSia Design

December 29, 2022


Thank you, Linnea! :)

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