A is for Acetate

Hi there! Welcome to our third and finalĀ (for now) A is for … Today’s ‘A’ is for Acetate.

Are you old enough to remember the days before video projectors? If you are, you’ll probably have seen an Overhead Projector (OHP) and will recall the acetates (aka transparencies) that were used with them. Acetates are basically A4 sheets of clear plastic that you can write on with permanent markers or print on using an inkjet or laser printer/copier. What’s that got to do with journaling? I hear you cry! Well, these clear plastic sheets can be turned into nifty little embellishments for your artful journal. See that blue rectangle in the picture above, the one edged in purple washi tape with the words ‘joy to the world’ on? That’s a piece of acetate onto which I printed the blue patterned background and then cut up to fit in my journal. I’ve attached it with a couple of mini staples so it can lift up, and I can write underneath it. (The technical term for this is a tip-in or tipped-in element, and we’ll look at those in more detail in a later post.)

So, how else can you use acetate in your journal?

Firstly, there are loads of things you can print on them:

  • free images from sites like Pixabay
  • digital stamps
  • your artwork
  • your photos
  • your writing
  • inspiring quotes
  • quotes from songs, prose and poetry

If printing isn’t an option, you can write or draw on them with permanent markers like Sharpies or OHP pens. You can even paint on them with alcohol inks and acrylics. But be warned: acrylics do tend to scratch off acetate once dry, but this isn’t usually a problem if you’re keeping it in a journal.


You can stamp on acetates with a permanent ink such as StazOn. Take care though: the stamps have a tendency to slip about on the acetate. Working on a firm surface should help.

You can punch shapes into them using craft punches.

You can cut them into different shapes using sharp scissors or a craft knife.

You can stick things to them such as photos, drawings, notes, tabs, numbers and words – anything sticky or stickable really. This acetate tip-in has a Sprocket photo of one of my journal girls stuck to it. The acetate itself has a purple pattern printed on it which you can just see around the edge. When you flap the acetate down, you can see the pattern clearly against the white backing of the photo.

Finally, you can make little bags or pockets out of acetate. Just sandwich two pieces of acetate together, tape around three of the edges with washi tape, leaving the top edge open, then pop in bits and pieces you want to keep: ticket stubs for example.

There are a few different ways to attach acetates to your pages:

  • staples
  • washi tape
  • glue
  • paperclips

Different papers will stand up to different methods so choose carefully.

What if you don’t have acetates? You can use any plastic sheeting, from laminating pouches (more on those in a future post) to the plastic windows in packaging like the boxes that cakes often come in.

The other day, I added some crinkly cellophane that had stars on it. It was the wrapping from a chocolate Santa.

I love adding acetate tip-ins to my journals because they’re visually interesting, tactile and fun to create. How about you? Do you stick acetates in your journal? What other ways have you adapted them?

That’s all for now. See you next time!

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