Mixed media scrapbooking might sound like a complicated concept, especially for beginners in both art forms. In reality, it is as simple as combining various mediums, techniques, and textures in one page. If you are a scrapbooker who has been looking to add new techniques to your arsenal, or a mixed media artist who is simply interested in trying scrapbooking, then this quick read is for you!
What Is Mixed Media Scrapbooking?
Scrapbooking was a way of compiling and preserving poems, drawings, letters, recipes, newspaper clippings, and other forms of correspondence. As time passed and technology progressed, scrapbooking evolved into a way of documenting precious memories, celebrating life events, commemorating special occasions, or simply expressing creativity through photographs and journaling. Essentially, it is an art form that mainly uses dry mediums and techniques. Earlier scrapbook albums used glue or tape to stick photos, clippings, souvenirs, stickers, and ephemera onto a blank scrapbook page.
On the other hand, mixed media is an art form that combines various wet and dry mediums in one project. The usual mediums used in mixed media art are ink, watercolor, alcohol marker, acrylic ink, oil, colored pencil, crayon, gesso, embossing paste, etc. Mixed media also incorporates different art mediums and forms such as assemblage and collage.
Scrapbookers have ventured into different techniques, used a wide range of mediums, and incorporated various art forms to take their scrapbook pages to the next level. This paved the way for the fabulous art of mixed media scrapbooking. The rest, as they say, is history!
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How Can I Make My Scrapbook More Attractive?
To make your scrapbook page more attractive and unique, you need to try new techniques and explore other mediums. Patterned paper, stickers, ephemera, and other scrapbooking embellishments might do the job, but these won’t elevate your page the way you want them to. It’s about time to learn new tips and tricks and turn your plain scrapbook page into a total knockout!
Check out these beginner-friendly mixed media scrapbooking ideas and techniques!
1. Use Gesso - Commonly used as a base for paint and other mediums, gesso is “a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these (Wikipedia).” Adding gesso with a dry brush on your canvas will prevent any color mediums you’ve applied from seeping into the canvas.
Here’s a mixed media scrapbooking tutorial on creating a fun background using gesso, watercolor paint, ink, and stamps.
For the scrapbook page below, you will need the following supplies:
- Mixed media scrapbook paper
- Paper from an old book or newspaper clippings
- A palette knife
- Watercolor paint
- Permanent black ink
- Clear stamps (sentiment stamps, leaves, flowers)
- Watercolor paper
How to create this mixed media scrapbooking layout:
- First, apply a layer of gesso onto your watercolor cardstock.
- Tear pages from your old book (you may also use old newspaper clippings) and add these to the watercolor cardstock.
- Then, add a thin layer of gesso over them using the palette knife.
- Pop a stencil on top and add more gesso. Make sure you wash the stencil immediately after removing it.
- Let the gesso dry. Usually, you can leave it to dry for a couple of hours, but you can speed up the process with a heat gun.
- Next, apply watercolors.
- Leave to dry.
- Use your chosen stamps to add details.
- Finally, add your chosen sentiment.
2. Use Dye Inks - A dye-based ink is another fantastic medium to work with, especially in scrapbooking. These inks render well to a wide range of techniques and are relatively easier to use. Here’s one of the easiest mixed media scrapbooking ideas that you can try on your next project!
In the scrapbook layout above, Zinia’s idea was to create a large cluster of rainbow-stamped images and then create a dripping color effect behind them. For this look, you can use any linear or non-linear stamp image you have in your stash and a few mini ink cubes.
- Stamp a few images onto white cardstock using different ink colors. Zinia used various shades of green, orange, red, and pink.
- Die cut or fussy cut the images and arrange them on your page.
- You can use the images to plan the exact placement of the cluster and the order of the colors.
- Next, use the mini ink cubes and rub them straight on the page below the corresponding die-cut images.
- To create the brushstroke effect, you need to apply more pressure at the top and gradually reduce it as you go towards the bottom of the page.
- To balance the top area of the layout, you can add a few ink splatters using your ink spray.
3. Use Pigment Inks - Pigment ink is another type of ink that renders well to various mixed media scrapbooking techniques. You can use this versatile and all-around ink on different surfaces, either alone or in addition to other mediums. Ink blending and stenciling are two techniques that you can try using pigment inks. Thanks to its formulation, pigment inks remain wet for a longer period, which means it is more fluid and will allow you to blend with ease. All you’ll need is your favorite stencil and an ink blending tool.
4. Use Acrylic Paint - When it comes to creating a unique mixed media scrapbooking layout, acrylic paint might be the one tool you’re missing out on! Are you unsure whether or not you can use acrylic paint on scrapbook paper? Since it is acid-free, water-based, archival, and dries quickly, the answer is YES! It’s a beautiful way to add a quick background to your scrapbook page.
Reiko used an outline stamp set, white cardstock, and blue acrylic paint for the following mixed media scrapbooking tutorial.
- First, paint a 12” x 12” white cardstock using pale blue acrylic paint.
- Then, stamp the outline image with black pigment ink before the acrylic paint dries out.
- This will produce a chic and shabby effect, with the stamped images peeking through the paint.
- You can add other embellishments such as die-cuts, stickers, and washi tapes.
Check out our suggested art supplies for mixed media projects!
5. Use Liquid Watercolors - If you are up for some quick and easy mixed media scrapbooking ideas, get out your watercolors, embossing paste, and stencils! These three supplies will go a long way.
Do you want to recreate the lovely spring-themed mixed media scrapbooking layout above? Here’s how!
- First, take a sheet of white cardstock and cover it with a layer of white gesso.
- Let the gesso dry.
- Grab two of your favorite stencils and apply embossing paste with a palette knife. Maryam used the Altenew Square Weave Pattern Stencil and Milky Way Stencil.
- Let the embossing paste dry.
- Next, use your chosen liquid watercolors and paint over the embossed background using a brush. You can go monochrome or use several different colors.
- Once the watercolor is dry, take some dies (Maryam used the Altenew Mix & Match Mariposa Die Set) and cut them out from the background that you’ve watercolored.
- You can also cut out some dies from vellum paper and patterned paper.
- It’s time to assemble those die-cuts! Each of them should have three layers - one from the mixed media background, one from vellum, and one from patterned paper.
- Use liquid adhesive to adhere the die-cuts to the page.
- Add your chosen photo, title, and journaling afterward.
6. Use Embossing Paste, Stencils, and Watercolors - One of the oldie but goodie mixed media scrapbooking techniques that you must try is creating a layered background using watercolor, embossing paste, and stencils!
In the scrapbook page above, Nathalie created a fun splattered background using liquid watercolors and gesso. For added interest, she also stenciled a design using embossing paste onto the watercolor background. The additional die-cuts, sequins, and ink splatters added a “wow” factor to this already gorgeous layout!
7. Use 3D Dies - What’s the recipe for a visually stunning mixed media scrapbooking layout? Lots of colors, texture, and dimension! Make your elements pop off the page through vibrant colors and beautiful texture. 3D dies are ideal for adding depth and dimension too! A few drops of liquid watercolors and a splash of water on watercolor paper will create that magical effect on your background.
8. Use Old Book or Magazine Pages - If you’re looking for easy mixed media scrapbooking techniques with minimal supplies, this is it! You don’t need fancy stamps and dies to achieve something fabulous. Get out those old books and magazines and try recreating the scrapbook page below!
- Start by die-cutting or cutting floral designs out of pages from old books or magazines.
- Then, slightly fold the die-cut pieces at the center.
- Use a liquid adhesive to add sequins to the middle of the die-cut flowers.
- Reiko added a bit of color using metallic watercolors.
- You can also add some washi tape strips, leftover die-cuts, and ephemera for more interest.
9. Use 3D Embossing Folders - Dry embossing is ideal for a variety of quick and easy mixed media scrapbooking ideas. Embossing folders can add an instant background and texture to any handmade project. If you’re interested in investing in a paper crafting supply, this is something you should consider.
The following mixed media scrapbooking layout uses 3D embossing folders, scrapbook patterned paper, and a few ephemera.
- Pick out the 3D embossing folder of your choice and some cardstock. You can use plain cardstock or patterned mixed media scrapbook paper.
- Run it through your embossing machine.
- Cut off the edges for a neat finish.
- Pick an ink color similar to the patterned paper you used, then start blending the ink over the embossed image to make it stand out.
- Put together your scrapbook layout by adding the photo, ephemera, and die-cuts.
Your scrapbook layouts don’t need to be traditional, dull, and dry. Discover new techniques and play around with a plethora of wet and dry mediums! Follow the mixed media scrapbooking tutorials mentioned above to create more exciting and breathtaking scrapbook pages!