“Because I Can”


I decided with this layout to just go wild with art journaling techniques I’ve been viewing all over the web.

Through most of my journal I’ve tried to avoid stamping and stencils to a degree. I have a strong opinion about paying money for such things because they are essentially just doodles and drawings that someone else did when I could be and should be doing them myself. I especially don’t like paying money for a specialized stamp or stencil that will really only get one or two uses because the sentiment or theme on it is too specific. So when I do purchase stamps and stencils, I make sure they are something that can be applied to many layouts instead of only a select few.

Another problem I have with using stamps and stencils in all my layouts is that they will all start to look the same to me. I’ll be flipping through my art journal and think “Oh, there’s that stamp… again.” Even worse in my own little world is seeing that same stamp used hundreds of times over in other art journals across the world. It feels like the design loses its uniqueness that way.

This is not to say that stamps and stencils are useless, or that I’m some sort of anti-stamp and stencil elitist. Definitely not. Stamps and stencils can create some very unique effects because of the wide variety of mediums you can use with them and approaches you can take with them. And even those popular stamps or stencils I see used in other peoples’ art journals really do not take away from the finished layout because each layout really is very unique and expressive.

This layout demonstrates some of the awesome affects one can get with stamps and stencils with varying mediums. And I decided to give myself permission to play with all these art journal techniques “because I can.” It’s funny the little rules our minds make for ourselves that we then later feel like we have to be rebellious and break.

I began the layout by gluing down a couple torn out sheets of paper from an old AutoCAD manual my father had given me (he’s a draftsman.) I really liked the pattern it created with the straight arrows and monospaced text.

I went over the top of that with some clear gesso and then smeared on colors from my Faber-Castell Gelatos. Don’t ask me what colors they were. I don’t understand why but the pack I got did not include color names on the tubes for some reason. Suffice to say I used a couple different pinks, a yellow and some blue.

I then hit the layout with a gorgeous swirly stencil and some Distress ink. I really liked how the Distress ink interacted with the Gelatos, creating varying shades of blue/blue-green depending on which color it went over. I added another stencil of the dots using pigmented blue ink from my ColorBox inks, and a different border stamp with more Distress ink. I had some flowery stamps which I also put on the layout using the pigment inks, as well.


From there I pulled out a big page of scrapbooking paper from Recollections that had the flower design on it. I added more saturation to the color that the flowers had and then cut them out with my x-acto knife. I adhered them to the page using Mod Podge – and it was tricky to do with those thin stems. But I got the design down. After that dried I emphasized the edges of the design with my white Gelly Roll pen.


The layout needed more, however, so I grabbed some more scrap paper and drew little flower designs on them and cut them out with my x-acto then adhered them to the layout. One of the scrapbook papers had those lovely white and purple flowers already printed on it so I just cut those out an added them as is.

As a side note, the way I had drawn and cut out those little black and white flowers left me with a new future stencil to use. I strengthened up the paper by hitting it with a few layers of Mod Podge front and back and I even used that stencil in my “Dream” layout later down the road.

More playing with the layout was had by adding the strip of washi tape across the bottom and some scrap paper left over from a previous layout across the top right. I added depth by shading around those and the large flower design with Prismacolor Premiere colored pencils.


Lastly I added some fun ephemera to the page with two bright yellow feathers which had come undone from a toy my cat has. I sealed them to the page with a swirly bead. And I wrote the phrase “Because I can” along the petals of one of the black cutout flowers to give the layout its name.


Hope you enjoyed the layout. I am open to comments and suggestions on how to better describe processes, etc.

List of materials:

Moleskine notebook
Mod Podge
Liquitex Clear Gesso
Golden Soft Gel (Matte)
Faber-Castell Gelatos
Tim Holtz Distress Ink
ColorBox Paintbox pigment inks
Miscellaneous stencils
Miscellaneous stamps
Sharpie Pen
Gelly Roll pen
Prismacolor Premiere colored pencils
Elmer’s CraftBond tacky glue

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