Crafts, Tutorial

Crafting: Journal Cover

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Sorry for getting this post out so late! I forgot my film class started this week, so I kind of had to rush to catch up with it a little bit (everything’s good now; all caught up) and just didn’t have time to draft up a post! Oops! Now that I know class has started, I’ll be better able to manage that time.

Anyways, on with the post!

So, fittingly, I ran out of pages in my old journal just before my thirtieth birthday a couple weeks ago. As a result, I started a new journal for my thirtieth year on this planet. I like the journal–I originally bought it to use as a spiritual journal because it matched the Bible I bought about a year ago and only recently started reading (more on that in a later post). I ended up getting a different (also matching, but more decorative) journal for that, so I was left with this rather plain looking journal.

There’s nothing wrong with a blank journal cover, but I wanted something really pretty and that would stand out. So, I decided I wanted to do some silver leaf on it.

I tried a couple different things before settling on this technique I’m going to show you. I originally bought a die (for paper crafting, not the kind you throw), some DecoFoil Hot Melt Adhesive, and (of course) some sheets of DecoFoil silver foil.

This would have worked great, except that the die I used was very intricate and some of the thinner areas had a tough time adhering to the textured cover. But, if you have a flat cover, I highly recommend this, because it’s easier.

But, since it did struggle with adhering to the textured material, I had to try something else. I used an iron and paper towel to remove the adhesive and moved on.

I bought some DecoFoil transfer gel and some pretty stencils. I tested this on a piece of paper and it worked really well (I recommend using a stencil adhesive to keep your stencil down and prevent bleeding, though). The only problem is that even using a thin coat of gel resulted in a raised pattern. I didn’t really like that. I wanted it to be flat, so I scrapped that idea, too.

I had some silver leaf paint from a different project that didn’t quite pan out the way I wanted. Because silver leaf paint is very watery, I knew I wouldn’t be able to just paint it over a stencil, especially with a textured material. But, maybe I could carefully paint it.

So, that’s what I did.


Here’s what you need:

  • Journal
  • Stencil
  • Pencil in a color that will stand out on the cover
  • Masking tape
  • Silver leaf paint
  • A very thin paintbrush

Tape your stencil to the cover using masking tape. I recommend masking tape because it holds well, but still comes off easily. Taping the stencil also helps keep it from moving around and losing your place.

I picked roses because they’re one of my favorite flowers.


Trace the image onto the cover using your pencil. If you have a soft cover (like mine), you may need to make a few light passes instead of using a lot of pressure to avoid nicking the material. This can be a long process. Be sure to take breaks, if you need to.

Seriously. Your back will appreciate it.

When you do the painting, make sure you are in a well ventilated area! I cannot stress this enough.

Once the image is traced, use a thin brush (as thin as you can manage) to paint over the pencil and fill in the image. Liquid leaf is very watery, so you don’t want to load your brush up too much, otherwise it might bead up and spill outside of your line.

[I don’t have an in-process shot of this, because I was so focused on getting it done–oops!]

You want to make sure you cover the pencil marks, because you won’t be able to erase them once you’re done.

And again, this is a time consuming process. Be sure to pause, get up, and stretch your muscles. It’s really bad for you to sit hunched over for an extended period of time.

Once everything is finished, let it dry and then you’re done!


After I finished the roses, it looked a little bare, so I decided to add the butterfly (which represents spiritual growth) and the phrase “With perfect love and perfect trust” to it.

If you’re magically-inclined, you might recognize that this is part of the Wiccan Rede: “Bide the Wiccan laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust.” It’s the ideal; a way to exist within not only one’s spiritual community, but how to act towards the world as a whole: loving and trustworthy.

I put it on my journal as a reminder of how to treat myself; to love myself and trust myself, perfectly.

I love you all.

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4 thoughts on “Crafting: Journal Cover”

  1. Nicely done and very pretty! Did you use any kind of sealer for durability? I’d hate to see your handiwork get distressed–unless you’re going for that look! Personally, I like the distressed look! Spray sealers are good and come in varying glosses or a matte finish! May I recommend two thin coats–let dry between coats!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to this! I’m so behind!

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it! I’m hesitant to use a sealer on it because of the soft-cover. In my experience sealers tend to crack when they’re bent too often. The silver-leaf paint has been holding up really well, though. I even tested it by scratching it with my fingernail and it didn’t budge. I’m not terribly worried about it distressing too much over time. Plus, I do kind of like that worn-in, well-used look. =)

      Liked by 1 person

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