The A – Z of Artful Journaling: S is for Sprays Part I

A fun way of creating delicate backgrounds in your journal is to use spray colours. You can buy ready-made sprays such as Tim Holtz Distress Spray Stain, or you can make your own using water plus ink or paint. The advantage of making your own is that it’s usually cheaper and you can formulate your own colours.  I created this background using sprays I’d made from India Inks and water. I keep them in travel bottle sprays bought for 50p each at Wilkos. Another advantage of homemade sprays is that you can make up the colours in the strengths that you prefer. I like soft washes, so I make my sprays fairly dilute.

To create a watercolour spray background you will need:

  • your journal
  • a wipeable craft mat or cleanable surface
  • spray colours
  • a hairdryer or heat tool
  • paper towel or rags for blotting
  • baby wipes or rags for cleaning up

First, spray you journal page with one colour. Add as little or as much as you like. If you spray a small amount onto the page, it will dry fairly quickly and won’t blend as easily with other colours you spray on. If that’s the effect you’re after, then go for it! If you spray a lot onto the page, it will blend nicely with the other colours you add. Together they will swim about and create a flowy background.

Next, spray other colours onto the page. To prevent muddying, use colours that are close to each other on the colour wheel (analogous colours) rather than colours that are opposite each other (complementary colours). For this spread, I used pink, red and violet.


Using a paper towel or clean rag, blot areas that are too wet for your liking.



Dry the spread with a hairdryer or heat tool to prevent bleed-through. As the colour dries at different rates you will see nice ‘ring’ effects around the areas where the paint pooled.


There you go: it’s as simple as that. Over the next week, I’ll post some more examples of how to use sprays when creating backgrounds for your journals, but until then … how about you? How have you used spray colours in your journaling?

Thanks for reading! See you soon. xxx

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