Listed here are a variety of materials and tools that I use in my journal work. Don’t be put off by lack of resources or money – there are lots of ways of getting stuff for nothing or very little. Work with what you’ve got!

Bottom line basics (stuff you can’t really do without)

  • Pens and pencils
  • Rubber & ruler
  • Sharpener
  • Scissors
  • Glue (Pritstick type)
  • Gesso (white)
  • Pampers baby wipes (don’t buy cheap, they don’t work as well)*
  • Hair dryer
  • Kitchen roll
  • Old credit cards
  • Assorted magazines & newspaper
  • Coloured pencils
  • 3-10 assorted brushes, including decorators
  • Neocolour Water-soluble crayons set (art shops sell them singly so you can build up your own set)
  • Bottles or tubes cheap-ish acrylic (red/blue/yellow/black/white to begin)
  • Go to Range/Dunelm/The Works for cheap materials

Recommended additional resources

  • Sponges, natural or man made
  • Acrylic medium, soft matt gel
  • Power Pritt
  • Acrylic Inks (min. Black & white)
  • Drawing pens
  • Metal rulers small & metre
  • Cutting board
  • Sandpaper (3 grades)
  • Watercolours
  • Nib pen with various nibs
  • Good quality felt-tips (Pitt pens are best)
  • Cutting knives
  • Bone-folder
  • Neocolour wax crayons
  • Oil pastels
  • Caran D’ache water-soluble coloured pencils (or Derwent)
  • Sharpie permanent marker pens
  • Coloured Gel pens
  • Highlighter pens and markers
  • Card and card scraps for mono-printing
  • Variety of masking tape- thin and wide
  • Sellotape
  • Lettering stencils
  • Lettering stamps
  • Assorted rags for mopping up
  • Heavy weights (can be books, paperweights or covered bricks!)
  • Variety of good quality art brushes
  • Variety of decorating brushes
  • Foam brushes
  • Palette knife
  • Perspex (small pieces useful for mono-printing)
  • Sheet Glass (as above)
  • Paper or plastic plates for mixing paint etc
  • Rubber bands
  • Sponge rollers
  • Brayers
  • Bondaweb
  • Chiseled rubber brushes
  • Golden Liquid acrylics ( the Best!)


Technical Resources

  • Photocopier
  • Digital camera
  • Scanner
  • Access to Internet – especially for YouTube (excellent variety of Journaling tutorials on there) and downloading free printed matter. Look up Altered Art and Art Journaling blogs too.


Household goods for altering surfaces & printing

  • Bleach
  • Rinse-aid
  • Vaseline
  • Shaving foam
  • Surgical spirit
  • PVA (wood glue)
  • Hard soap
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cling film
  • Parchment paper
  • Salt
  • Bubble wrap
  • Washing-up liquid


Make your own Journals 

  1. Altered books of all kinds; board-books for babies, charity-shop kid’s albums, any old hardback books.
  2. Leaflets & pamphlets esp. the type from posh furniture stores, paint samplers (Dulux etc). Best bargains are the kind of magazines collected in binders e.g. Wild Animals of Britain – they usually have harder covers and thick quality pages. Charity shops or boot sales again)
  3. Get some thick cartridge (A1 or 2) and fold & tear until the size you want. Make holes down the spine – stitch and make your own cover.
  4. I find that having several journals works for me – the main one may be spiral bound; plus one or two smaller ones for taking places with me; a travel or holiday journal which I often make especially for the time I’m away. Having more than one journal on the go means you can be working in one while the other is drying.


*They need to be in various stages of drying out, so I keep a plastic bag with wipes that I’ve used colours on e.g., a blue wipe, yellow etc. They don’t work too well when really wet, straight from the pack, but you can get some lovely effects at varying degrees of ‘dryness’. Experiment.