I saw this idea for a journaling house that you sew together using regular thread. The house is made from canvas paper that you cut to size, and the tutorial is from that fabulous magazine Cloth, Paper, Scissors. I got the how-to from an ebook I printed off from them, where they also had tips on a few other great projects. The tutorial is called “If These Walls Could Talk” and appealed to me because it was a combination of journaling, collage, and sewing. All my favorite things! I am new to mixed media and notice that my designs tend not to be as layered as some of the really great ones I see. I’m not sure if this is my personal style or just because I’m new and haven’t experimented as much. I love the multi-layered projects, so I think I will try to do more of those. This house was one that wasn’t as layered, and maybe that’s why I wanted to tackle it. Who knows!
I decided to make a house for my favorite aunt. First, I sketched out the designs I wanted to include on the front and back of the house.
Next, I cut the canvas paper. I had never used canvas paper before, but loved how flexible the stuff was. It was so easy to measure and cut. I adjusted the measurements on the tutorial so I could squeeze out more walls per canvas page, but you can make them as big or small as you want. Then, I started layering. This is a very forgiving project. If you goof up, just let it dry and repaint or glue over it.
I found that this project does take a lot of time just for drying. You paint or glue, and have to give it time to dry before working with it again. So I only got the outside of the house done. I’ll keep working this week on the inside.
First, I took a couple pictures of my aunt and layered them with paint, scrapbook paper, and stickers. I printed off the pictures in black and white using plain old copy paper.
Then, I cut out the names of all her grandchildren, and made them into tulips (which she loves.) The tulips are made from an old book. Before I glued them down, I painted a simple sky and grass type of scene.
Next, I sketched out a figure of a woman, and painted a background. I didn’t like the way the woman looked at first. She had too many hard lines and I wanted it to look more rough. (Rougher? Is rougher a word?) So I put some water on it and blurred it a little. Then I printed out lines from one of my favorite poems, “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou. My aunt is definitely a phenomenal woman! So I think it suits her.
Then I just made a laundry type of scene that I knew she’d like. She had a lot of kids and used to do scads of laundry! The scrapbook paper I used kind of reminded of 70s type of material that she used to wear.
Now that all these are dry, I am going to work on the other side. The instructions suggest gluing with modgepodge but then sealing with gloss medium. I used modgepodge to seal and it got a little too hard with that, so next time I would do it differently.
One thing I already noticed I will struggle with is decorating the other side. I noticed that in the tutorial the pages were kept white, with collage on top. Now I can see why. When you paint them, even when you tape them down, a little paint can sneak out the back and onto the other side, which is the other side of your wall. So that’s not good. I’ll have to work to make sure that doesn’t happen. Since this is my first one, I’m already thinking of what I’ll do differently with the next one. So far it’s a really fun project and I’d like to do a couple of these.
Next week I hope to share the inside walls. 🙂