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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

DIY Watercolor Journal

Do a bit of sketching or painting every day with this DIY Watercolor Journal made with the Cricut!

DIY Watercolor Journal

I have always been an "artsy-fartsy" person. Doodling, sketching, and painting with watercolors were one of my favorite things to do, and I kind of pushed it aside as I got older. I recently took a watercoloring class, and I kind of fell in love with painting again. To keep all of my new artwork in one place, I decided to make my own DIY Watercolor Journal using my Cricut.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. As always, I only share things that I use myself and truly recommend!

To make your own DIY Watercolor Journal, you'll need these supplies:

DIY Watercolor Journal

To make this project possible, you need to use the Cricut Knife Blade. It's the best tool in the Cricut arsenal to cut thicker materials like chipboard. This blade is similar to a craft knife, and allows your machine to cut through thicker materials with precision.

*Learn all about the Cricut Knife Blade in this post!

DIY Watercolor Journal

To ensure you get a successful cut, you need to take a few precautions before getting started. First, you need the StrongGrip Mat (purple), which is the stickiest mat there is to keep heavy materials in place. Place the Cricut Chipboard in the top left corner of the mat, and use a brayer to press it on well. The Knife Blade will cut in multiple passes (like you would with a craft knife), so I recommend using some masking tape around the edges of the chipboard to make sure nothing shifts during the cutting process.

Open the Watercolor Journal Design in Design Space. Click "Customize" to adjust the design, or click "Make It" to go straight to cutting. Change the material setting to Chipboard 2mm and load the mat into the Maker.

You'll need a little bit of time for this part of the cut because of the multiple passes. Make sure you have a strong bluetooth connection, or connect directly to your machine by cord if needed. Also make sure that your computer doesn't "sleep" during the cutting process. If you lose connection, you'll have to start over.

The machine defaults to 20 passes, but you can pause the cut (do NOT unload the mat) and check the chipboard to see if it has cut through before then. I noticed mine was finished cutting through at about 10-11 passes.

DIY Watercolor Journal

Once the journal covers have been cut through, unload the mat and carefully remove the chipboard. If for some reason you have unloaded the mat and the design isn't cut completely, you can use a TrueControl Knife and finish it by hand.

DIY Watercolor Journal

Replace the Knife Blade with the Fine Point Blade to cut the cut the patterned iron-on vinyl to add some color to the front and back covers. Since this journal is going to be used for watercoloring, I decided to go with the Natalie Malan Indigo Sky Patterned Iron-On.

When cutting your iron-on vinyl, make sure to place the vinyl face-down on the mat. If you don't, your design will be backwards when you put it on your cover. I have already mirrored these cover pieces in the design so you won't have to worry about it.

After the vinyl has been cut, "weed" the excess vinyl with a weeding tool to remove parts like the heart and holes from the design.

DIY Watercolor Journal

Next, cut out one piece of foil embossed paper, and multiple sheets of your favorite watercolor paper. You can as many or as few pages as you want your journal to be. I started mine with about 10-15.

DIY Watercolor Journal

The 9"x9" EasyPress 2 is the perfect size for this job! Plug in the EasyPress 2 and power it on. Adjust the heat and time setting* to 330º for 30 seconds. Once the light turns green and the machine beeps, it's ready to use.

*Each kind of iron-on vinyl has a different heat/time setting for different materials, so be sure to check the recommended EasyPress settings for best results.

DIY Watercolor Journal

Once the EP2 is up to temperature, preheat the area for 5-10 seconds. Lay the vinyl down face-up on the chipboard cover. For best results, use an Iron-On Protective Sheet on top of the vinyl (ask me how I know!). Set the EasyPress over the vinyl and press the green "C" button. Hold firmly in place while the timer counts down. Peel the carrier sheet while the vinyl is warm.

I love how these covers turned out, and the pattern is gorgeous! The chipboard itself isn't waterproof, but if you happen to get anything on the iron-on part of the cover you can wipe it away easily since iron-on vinyl is usually put onto clothing that gets washed regularly.

Lay the two covers face down. Stack the watercolor paper with the punched holes aligned on the left side. Place the paper on the back cover piece and line up all of the holes.

The top sheet will show through the heart cutout on the cover, so I chose a gorgeous piece of foil embossed paper. It coordinates perfectly with the Natalie Malan Indigo Sky Patterned Iron-On. Place the sheet of foil embossed paper on top of the watercolor paper and make sure it's lined up.

Place the cover on top of the papers and line up the holes. Open up four loose leaf rings and hook them through the holes to bind your journal. If your journal has more pages, I would recommend using at least 1" rings. For journals with less pages, I would use about 1/2" rings.

Once you've put the Watercolor Journal together, you can start immediately start adding your artwork! This would also be a unique gift idea to make for the artsy-fartsy person in your life. If you're new to watercolors or would like to pair some accessories with the Watercolor Journal, I would recommend these supplies:

Hope you have fun making your own DIY Watercolor Journal!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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