Skip to main content

It's a Wrap...Journal Style

Thanks for stopping by...

Today, I have for you another fun project for this months theme of "It's a Wrap!"   I have created a spooky steampunk inspired journal out of two gift bags that had been sewn together.  My first thought for this is to use it as a hostess gift.  Include a Uniball white gell pen  and all the guests at the get together can sign it for the host.  What a great memory keeper!  This would also work as a great birthday card for a Halloween Birthday.  There is room for lots of notes, journaling and well wishes.  I hope you enjoy!  

I started with two black gift bags that had been sewn together to create a journal.  The bags are attached together by starting with right sides facing.  You then turn them so they are now landscape. This is where you would sew or bind the two bags together.  Next, fold them in the middle to create the book.  There should now be front cover with a handle, two middle pages with the flap that is normally the bottom of the bag and then the back cover also with a handle.  I trimmed one handle away from the front cover and one from the back so there are only two total handles.   You could easily create the journal by binding the bags together in your favorite style of binding (with ribbon or brads, etc.)  This one just happened to be sewn together.  Just plan how you want the journal to open.  This one utilizes the handles of the gift bag as handles to tie the pretty package all together with coordinated ribbons and tulle .  The other great bonus of using gift bags for this is that the opening for what normally would be the bag creates two pockets at the front and back to add tags, gift cards or other small, low profile gifties.  I included a couple cute little tags with my journal.  The perfect compliment to this project is the Graphic 45 Steampunk Spells papers and postcards. and gothic lace stickers...PERFECT!

I began by painting the gift bags with black to cover the UPC codes and other writings on the bottom of the bags as the bottoms actually become the inner pages.  I'm truly sorry, but I forgot to snap a photo of the before bag.  I was so excited to get started.  I then added more layers and colors of acrylic craft paint.  If you look closely at the above photo you can see many layers of paint, orange, silver, black and even some purple.  I then layered a few torn pieces of vintage text pages.  I wanted that layer to blend a bit into the background so I added some more watered down acrylic paint over the text.  You can see the paint a bit better in this next photo.  I couldn't stop there so I added a bit more color on some of the pages with my Stazon Midi  in Orange Zest.  I literally just stamped and smudged the ink pad right on the surface of the bag.  
I also used one of my favorite stamp sets from Altered Pages.  It is the Mailbox Muse Gothic stamp.  You can see the stamps here .  I am seriously in love with this stamp set!  I painted the stamp with orange acrylic paint then stamped the image on the bag.  I left the centerfold a bit bare as to leave room for journaling or well wishes.
More fun in the next pic getting my fingers messy with more paint and continuing with the the G45 papers. I ripped, cut and used all the scraps.  Again, I left room for writing.
You can see in this next photo that I added a secret spooky Halloween image  using a Halloween collage sheet from Altered Pages and some more stamping under the flap that the bottom of the bag creates. 

I waited to do the front cover until all the other pages were done and dry.  I didn't want any of the stars of the show to get unwanted paint, ink or other schmuuutz on them.  So, to the front cover I layered the G45 Steampunk Postcards  over a doiley that I painted out with a little bit of black and orange acrylic paint.  Next, I added gothic lace stickers  to the top and bottom corners.  You must try these.  They were so easy to work with and cut to size.  I am certainly picking up a few more packs of these! 

Then, I added the most amazing white and black flower trim.  This came in one of my Mailbox Muse Kits.  It was the Fairy Tale Royalty Summer 2015 kit.  There are always so many goodies that I have left over from my kits.   I also added Giant Rhinestones  from G45.  These are from the Raven pack.
Another cool aspect of this project is that the gift bags make the journal sturdy enough to stand up on its own.  This makes it so easy to display it for all to see.   

I have to say that I really had fun making this and know that I will be making at least one for probably all holidays and Birthdays for my most favorite friends!  Oh, I almost forgot the tags.  These were done similarly to the gift bags.  I first painted them, added more images from the Spooky Halloween collage sheet, some torn paper from G45 and topped them off with a few strands of cute ribbon.
I hope you enjoyed the post.   Thanks for stopping by.  Leave me a comment to let me know you were here.  I love hearing from you. And, remember to check back to see the next installment of It's a Wrap!  Have a great weekend!

~ Stephanie S.


  1. Wonderfully unique! I haven't seen this idea before. Great project!

  2. Terrific journal - good work! Making albums is my favorite ... and I really like the idea of not having the necessity of covering chipboard and creating a binding for an album. Going to give your technique a try today - thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Tristan. Yes, I think you should give this a try. Once it was all sewn up, which was easy (and I am not AT ALL skilled with a sewing machine) the book was very sturdy. All the hard work was done. All I had to do was decorate and play. The weight of the "paper" that the bag was made of really held up well to painting right on it with acrylic paint and inks. I am so making more of these!!! :-)

  3. Get idea of having friends sign it as a memento of a party get together. Great job!

  4. Wow, Steph, this is fabulous. I love the idea of using the gift bags and the handles as part of the mini album. And you decorated the pages beautifully!

  5. Love all the nooks and crannies and tags and trims--adorable journa, Steph!

  6. Wow Steph this is a fabulous project, and so practical too, who wouldn't just love this journal! xx


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Get on Over!

We like having you visit,  Make sure to subscribe... Just click here - easy peasy November will be filled with Die Cut ART,  join us. Embellish premade pieces art by Barbara Rankin Cut your own pieces Paint or Foil to add interest art by Lyneen Jesse Combine Die cuts in a variety of mediums art by Jean Moore Create with your manual die cutting machine  or buy premade
 Handy Tip for Artists, Recyclers and Neat Freaks! I have a follow-up to the Citra-Sol method for creating fabulous background pages and collages.   I bought a big bag of navel oranges and realized I had the ingredients to make my own solvent!   Simply take a clean glass jar, peel the rind from the oranges and place all the rind/peels, without the pulp (tangerines, oranges, navels) into the jar.   Pour enough vinegar over the peels to cover them.    Allow the jar to sit for a week or two and VOILA!     You have made your own solvent for literally pennies.    You will notice the liquid getting a bit thicker than the plain vinegar and it does not smell bad!!! I now have a  HUGE jar on the window sill!       Be careful and only use this after testing on a safe spot.

DINA WAKLEY Featured Artist

We are SO Proud to present Dina Wakley with her ART and February Tip   (oops, she says she is totally disorganized, so there is HOPE for all of us!) Dina Wakley is a mixed-media artist and teacher. She loves everything about art: creating it, thinking about it, looking at it, and teaching it. Dina is passionate about teaching art. She teaches both in-person and online workshops.  She is a docent at the Phoenix Art Museum, where she gives tours to school groups and gets kids excited about art. As a Ranger Signature Designer, Dina designs a line of mixed-media art supplies that includes acrylic paints, mediums, brushes, rubber stamps, stencils, and more. Look for the Dina Wakley Media Line by Ranger at a store near you.  Dina's books Art Journal Freedom and Art Journal Courage are available now. Also look for three new North Light DVDs starring Dina, available this month: "Art Journal Mark Making and Throwing Ink," Art Journal Color Courage," and &q