Friday, July 3

Journaling by Heart: Week 1: A free summer workshop for art journaling your faith.

Welcome to Journaling by Heart:

We are thrilled that you are here. Melissa from Pink Paper Peppermints and I, Erin Leigh, have teamed up to provide you with tips and tricks for your faith art journal, encouragement and inspiration for the content of your journal, and a community (join here) to cheer each other on. Learn more about Melissa here and Erin here.

What to Expect From the Workshop

First and foremost, we want you to have fun, to set aside some you time,
 time to explore and play. 

Each week we’ll be reading and exploring scriptures centered on God’s grace. What it is, what it means, and what it means to us today in our real life. I have been so encouraged going through these verses. I keep thinking I need to remember this, to hold on to this. That is the essence of faith art journaling, getting those whisperings of God, the truth, in your head and in your heart; working it out in real life, so that the Word of God can become living and active in our lives, not words on a page. 

Our anchor scripture for the workshop is Hebrews 4:16  

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
 that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

What to Expect Each Week

Each week Melissa and I will trade off hosting the workshop on our blogs. Make sure you are signed up for our newsletter so we can send let you know where we’ll be each week.

Sign-up for Melissa’s Newsletter here, on the left margin of her blog.

There 2 basic parts to faith art journaling: the content and the technique.
The content is the words, the heart of what you are journaling: scripture, prayers, thoughts, quotes, anything that you want to hold on to, to document and remember.
The technique is the supplies you use and how you use them: watercolor, acrylics, etc.

Each week we will give you both content (a verse centered around grace and some thoughts on that verse) and an art journaling technique to try. At the end of each week we’ll give you an assignment.

Our blogs are where you come to learn. Then {more importantly} our Closed Facebook Community  is where you can share your work and encourage others and see what everyone else is doing.

Week 1: Creating Your Journal

Okay, let’s get started! This week we’ll be creating a special journal just for this workshop. So that at the end we can have a whole completed journal (what is that?). Ha!

There are so many fun journals that you can make with simple supplies OR you always have the option of buying one, too. Melissa made an adorable junk journal and included a tutorial here. I created a recycled journal which I’ll walk you through today.


Our anchor verse for the workshop is Hebrews 4:16
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that

we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

So, first of all, What is grace?
Unmerited favor. A gift. Someone deposits $1,000 in my bank account. I didn’t earn it. I didn’t work for it. I’m not entitled to it. It’s a gift.

The Bible refers to Jesus as the throne of grace. He is this big fountain of grace. And we are told to approach, not as beggars or with timidity or shame or an apology, but with confidence. I love that. 
I think of my boys, ages 4 and 6, as they listen for the garage door to open at the end of the day. They yell “Daddy!” as they run out to greet him as he pulls into the driveway. 

And you know what they say? Every. Single. Day. “Daddy, do you have a treat for me?” Because every once in while he brings home something special just for them; a handful of Skittles, a tiny little ninja guy, a cake pop.

They don’t say, “I’m sorry for hitting my brother and being selfish today.” They don’t say, “I know that I don’t really deserve a treat today, but do you think you could manage to eek out a little something for me?”

They don’t hesitate to ask.

With that said, I can't talk about God's grace without talking about his holiness at the same time. All of our sin and mess ups separate us from a holy God. There is so much power in coming to him first confessing our sin that we are aware of , and asking God to reveal the sin that we can't even see. 

That's the whole point of grace: we need Him every single moment of every day. We walk around this broken world pretending like we have our act together and we don't. I don't. No one does. We need His grace to see what is real, to hear what is eternal, and to love people with His perfect love.

I am called to come to the feet of Jesus as a child, and confess, "I can't do this without you. I need you." I need His help to even come to Him, to empty myself of so. much. self., to lay down my own agenda so that I can ask with open hands," What do YOU have for,me today, Lord?"

The Bible says "Let's draw near to His throne of grace {without hesitation} so that He can give us the mercy and grace that we {so desperately} need." He is waiting to give it to us. All we need to do is come to Him and ask. 

What if I approached each day like that? How different would my whole day be? 
I am called to come to the feet of Jesus as a child, with full confidence.

Every single day only He has the mercy and the grace that I need to be filled up, so that I can spend the whole day pouring it out.

When I run right past the throne of God, the throne of grace, into the busyness of life, I miss out on the gifts that He has planned specifically for me. I am filled up with SELF and, honestly, that's not pretty. or fun. or the way I want to live.

Lord help us approach your throne of grace each morning with open hands and eager expectation. Give us eyes to see YOUR grace all around us. Don’t let us miss it. Hit us over the head with it. Give us ears to hear, minds to understand, and hearts pour out your grace into a broken and hurting world. We thank you for pouring out your grace, your holy spirit, into our lives, for what you are doing and going to do today. We love you. Amen.

Challenge: Make written list of the "treats" that God has for you today. A fresh cup of coffee, a morning snuggle with a little, just enough strength to make it through your work out. Ask God to open your eyes to His hands at work today and write it down. 

Tutorials & Tips

Today we’re going to make an art journal from a cereal box, some water color paper, and a few extra supplies. 
I included some links for easy ordering. They are affiliate links on products that I would recommend to either way.

Supply List

A quick word on supplies: You don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy supplies. 
Buy inexpensive supplies and use what you have.

A cereal box about 9” x 12”. 
(Any food box, or thin piece of cardboard will do.)

Paint brushes of various sizes

Super thin paint brushes 

Masking Tape

Washi Tape


Wax paper

Acrylic paints 
(Basic acrylic craft paints in your favorite colors.
Above is just an example. You don't need all of those colors.
Get colors you love. )

White ink

Black ink

Paper towels

Step 1: Make your cover.

Cut the front and back rectangles out of the cereal box. 

Tape the two pieces together with masking tape on both sides.

Step 2: Add pages to your journal.

Fold 5 sheets of 11 x 15 watercolor paper in half, so that they are "inside" each other. 
Trim the watercolor paper to be about a half inch smaller than the cover.

Attach the watercolor paper into the cereal box with masking tape.

Turn the page and attach each page of watercolor paper with masking tape. 
Turn the page and do the same for each page, so that each page is secure.
Trim the tops and/or side of various pages for some variation.
I know it looks ugly now, but we will paint right over the ugly.

Step 3: Paint a base coat of gesso on the cover of your journal.

Cover the outside of the cereal box with gesso.

Pick 3-5 colors that you like together.

Paint different sized rectangles of each color, covering the whole cover. Paint big blocks first.

Step 4: Paint more smaller color blocks on the cover.

Add circles and doodles.

Step 5: Paint details.

Paint different colored lines and dots and words.

I didn't like the orange, so I made more blogks of color until I liked it.

Paint big circle flowers and leaves.

Step 6: Paint more details.

Continue to paint smaller and smaller details.

Step 7: Paint more the last details with white and black ink and the 

thinnest brush you can find.

Step 8: Add washi tape to finish the sides of your cover.

Assignment: Make your own art journal.

Be sure to check out Melissa’s blog & tutorial.

Share your journal with us on Facebook & have fun!



  1. I am LOVING this ... thanks to both you & Melissa ... can't wait to get started! This is truly a blessing ... two of my favorite things art journaling & bible study!! Happy 4th!

    1. I'm so glad Kim! I can't wait to see what you create.

  2. Could you please give more detail about attaching together all 5 of the folded watercolor papers? Thanks so much.

  3. Yes! I added a couple more pictures of the folding & taping. Place the folded papers "inside" each other. Then fold them and trim them as they are folded because the inside papers will stick out and you want it to be flush. OR you can intentionally cut the edges to be various shapes and sizes, as I did on some (I cut scallops and zigzags on some.)

    Place the folded "watercolor book" inside the cereal box cover. Attach the spine of the watercolor book to the inside spine of the cereal box with masking tape. See the second pic. I added on step 2. Then turn the page and attach pages 1 & 2 together with masking tape in the spine. Continue turning each page and attaching them together with masking tape all the way through the book.

    I hope this makes sense! I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any more specific questions! Thanks so much!

  4. I painted the outside (I hope imitation is a true form of flattery, because it looks A LOT like yours. =) ) What should I cover it with?? Seems like the acrylic wouldn't hold up well. I have clear gloss medium, would that work or do you recommend something else?? Thanks so much for putting this up for free!! (-Jeree-)

  5. Can I possibly use my Journaling Bible instea of making a separate 'journal'?

  6. I am so glad you have decided to continue this every Friday, I think it is a great way to do bible study and be with fellow Christian's So many people need a place to go, but don't really know how to do that, and you just opened that up for them, I don't go to Bible study any more do to my health, This is a beautiful thing you are doing. thank you and GOD bless,

  7. Thanks so much Erin for your journal tutorial but as I've told Michelle I've already got a ready made journal and I'm going to follow your Faithbook Friday's doing it digitally... many hugs, Jemima

  8. Hey Erin, I know that this is an old post but I am extremely new to mixed media and Bible Journaling and I have just kinda stumbled upon your Blog. I have started to make my journal and I am looking forward to filling the pages with colour. xoxo