Monday, May 18, 2015

Stenciled Album Tutorial

Hi friends! I hope you had a good weekend! We have a new fun Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, and it is another letter-based challenge, namely XYZ. The end of the alphabet made me think about school and I made a mixed media album cover. It is a tutorial too. 

I've been wanting to make an album about my son's school years, so that he will remember his friends, teachers, routines and different events and things that happened. This 8 x 8 in mixed media album by Graphic 45 is the perfect home for these memories. It is big enough to have space for a lot of photos, while not being as overwhelming as a 12 x 12 album might have been. I had such fun decorating the cover with stencils, paint, pastes and dies.

Start by giving the album a coat of gesso, with a palette knife. I wanted to keep the canvas spine clean and masked it with masking tape. Do the same on the back of the album. 

Paint the album with Dina Wakley's paints, Sky, Lime and Tangerine. The blue is going to be our sky, the green our grass, and the orange, I just added for fun (and since it goes great together with the other two colours). Before the paint is completely dry, remove some of it through the Medium Dots stencil, using a baby wipe. 

When the paint is dry, stamp here and there with an alphabet background stamp. I don't know how many times I have used this stamp by Tim Holtz, it is probably my most used stamp.

I made my own alphabet stencil with the Homemade Alphabet Sizzix die by Eileen Hull. Die cut it from masking paper. If the masking paper is a little too sticky, press it against your clothing once or twice first. 

Apply Prima's White Crackle Paste through your stencil and leave to dry. The cracks will appear as it dries.

I used the wonderful City Stories Stencil Girl stencil, by Cathy Nichols, to build my scene. This stencil has so many different designs, you could make many different scenes with it. Mix a little black paint into Modeling Paste and apply with a palette knife. 

Continue building the scene until you are happy with the design. The hard thing with this project was waiting for paste to dry, so I could add more. I coloured the paste brown, for the trees, yellow for the sun and dots, turquoise for the car and blue for the circles. 

Paint the houses. You'll cover up most of the paste, but don't worry.

Reposition the stencil and reapply black paste on the houses, where it had been painted over.

I decided to make my cover a little more grungy, partly so that no dirt from handling the album will show, since I am planning for this album to go into Anton's own book shelf. Mix water into black paint and give the album a wash. 

Wipe off most of the black paint. It will sit in the cracks and around the stenciled areas.

Dry brush a little black paint here and there and around the corners. 

The back of the album looks like this. Since some of the black wash seeped through into the canvas spine, I glued Linen Ribbon along the spine to cover that up.

The album contains a great mix of papers: kraft, cream and some with pockets. I will share some of the pages when it is all done.

I just love these little houses and the trees. The Urban Insiders Circle stencil made a great looking sun.

The tires of the car were painted black. I also painted shadows under the houses and car.

For the title, I painted sticky-back canvas black and die cut with the Block Talk Lowercase die. It translates to 'nursery school/pre school'.

This word was added with the Uplifting Words stencil.

The yellow dots added to the playful feeling of the album. 

The City Stories stencil have so many elements that I like: houses, trees, and vehicles. I also love the Camping Stories stencil, used on this Nature's Toolbox project.

I also die cut a title for the spine, the same way as the title on the front. It translates 'school memories'. Some green paint ended up on the spine, but I decided not to worry about it.

I hope you will join us in our XYZ challenge! As every week, one random participants wins a $50 shopping spree from Simon Says Stamp

Thank you for looking!

Happy Crafting!




  1. Beautiful!! Love this mixed media album cover! You are very innovative Anna Karin!

  2. Fantastic! I love all the step outs because I am always afraid to do so many layers and yours are brilliant. It inspires me to keep going!

  3. Just marvelous! You make me want everything you use because you see the potential in stamps, stencils, etc. and use them so creatively. You are right, I think this will have many little boy finger prints on it :-)) Looking forward to the inside pages.

    1. Thank you so much Marci! I've changed the commenting on my blog, so I can finally reply to comments, which I wasn't able to do before.

  4. Great mom, great album, great tutorial, great techniques! Dina's paint and your talent makes this look effortless. How clever to use a die cut to make your own stencil and your choice of crackle paint was perfect with the the grungy layer. I'd like to know more about the masking paper you used.

    1. Thank you Beulah! I was sure I had added the masking sheets to the supply list. Thank you for noticing that I forgot it. It's by Simon Says Stamp.

  5. What an awesome album cover!!! Thank you for the tutorial too!! Love how you used the stencils, painted and then went back over with the black!!

  6. This is fabulous! Love the impact of the crackling too!

  7. Gorgeous album!!! Such stunning texture and colors!

    Simon Says Stamp!

  8. Love your beautiful album cover, Anna-Karin. The colors and textures are awesome :)

  9. That is GENIUS to make your own stencil from the alphabet die! I have already put this die on my "to buy" list simply because of your inspiring piece. I adore the wonderful whimsical feel it has, yet it is so sophisticated with all of those layers!

  10. Beautiful mixed media cover! Your tutorial are always clear and inspirational! Thanks for sharing with us! BArbarayaya

  11. Gorgeous album cover and I love how you've used the alphabet die to create that wonderful stencil! Beautiful work, stunning textures and another wonderful design...I adore it! :)

  12. Wow Anna-Karin, this album cover is fantastic! Love the scene you've created with the stencils! Gorgeous! Hugs, Sandra

  13. FABULOUS Anna-Karin - wow. So bright and cheerful. Wonderful layers. So many techniques. THANKS BUNCHES for sharing the steps. Love the picture of the book closed from the side - the cover looks sooooo WOW. j.


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