27+ Ideas for Using Words in Your Journal

Words + art + imagery + color all in one place!

When I started art journaling, one of the most difficult aspects for me was adding words to my pages. I love words and I knew that words were magnetizing me to this new art form, so I tried to track down the actual process. Looking at what seemed like a zillion scrapbook and art journal pages, I concluded that pretty much anything goes in art journaling. You could leave space for wards, write words separately and add them to your page, find little nooks and crannies for words, even use words as a collage element -- focusing more on the look and feel of the words than the actual content.

Hide cryptic codes, experiment with shades of gray, explore groovy 1970s typography, document the weather forecast, contemplate stillness, invent riddles & exaggerate epiphanies.

You could hide gems within quotes or shout in the form of lyrics.  Whatever direction you decide to go, I'm hoping that this will give you some launching points. You can use words in your journals for ANYTHING. Analyze pros & cons of a big decision... or have a conversation with the universe.

With limitless options, I decided to time travel through my pages for the last several years and show you some visuals. Let me know if this sparks some creative ideas -- if so, pop over to the Daisy Yellow FB group and show us your journal -- or post on instagram tagged #daisyyellowart. 

Words + art + imagery + color together.

No matter what words, letters, symbols or numbers you choose to utilize, at some point in the process of creating your page those words need to be added| painted| stitched| stapled| attached| adhered| glued| etched| drawn| lettered.

In an alternate universe, we could magic them onto the page, but this is not Bewitched. 

Idea #1 and #2

Leave a wide margin around the edges of your collages and write in the space with black or white Uniball UM-153 pen.

Cut a large word from a magazine and use it as a title or focal point for your page. To glue things to your pages, use a liquid adhesive like Golden fluid matte medium. It's versatile; you can also use it to thin fluid acrylics to greater transparency. I don't do anything to protect my pages or make them archival. They are what they are. You can also use two-sided scrapbooking tape, glue dots or UHU glue stick too.

Idea #3

Type a poem, haiku, notes, insights, stories & quotations on an index card with a typewriter and attach to your page. 

Idea #4

Write stream-of-conscious thoughts on a dilemma that's been troubling you, or write lyrics that pop into your mind, or tell an important story. Add tiny images or color blocks as you would use emojis -- add a twist and break up and lighten up the words.

Idea #5

Do gel medium transfers to get words from magazines to your acrylic backgrounds. This will take a bit of experimentation and the results are gloriously random! Some magazine papers transfer quite well and others not at all. Paint the portion you want to transfer with Golden soft gel and place on your journal page. Rub and then after about 10 minutes, peel off magazine paper. Results or hit or miss, and I really like that aspect!!!! It's like a treasure hunt.

Idea #6

Use all of those intriguing words you've been collecting forever! Words are everywhere! Magazines, brochures, ticket stubs, maps, accounting paper, coupons, postcards & clothing tags.

Idea #7

Collect postage stamps and stickers to use in your journal. 

Idea #8

Attach your words to the page with a sewing machine.

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Idea #9

Use a dictionary definition or an entry from an encyclopedia as a college element. Great for exploring a topic or sending a symbolic message.

Idea #10 and #11

Create a one-staple collage and attach your words in any layer - also - print words on transparency paper or translucent paper and use in your collage work.  

Idea #12

Cut out phrases and words from a variety of sources including magazines, old textbooks, brochures, catalogs, etc. and arrange to form "found poetry."

Idea #13

Cut letters from papers that you've painted or gelatin prints and adhere with an adhesive.

Idea #14

Paint words or a pattern with masking fluid and an old junky brush... let dry, then paint with watercolor or gouache and let dry, then peel off the mask. 

Idea #15

Use text as texture & imagery in your collage work.

Idea #16

Write flash fiction and illustrate the story in ink & watercolor [more about this idea in Zine #11]

Idea #17

Leave open space on your page and use a fine-nibbed pen to write a note of encouragement to yourself. 

Idea #18 and #19 and #20

Use an index card from the Index-Card-a-Day Challenge as a collage element.

Write words with white Uniball Signo UM-153. More favorite pens here.

Use washi tape with words, letters, numbers or symbols.


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Idea #21

Incorporate notes, diagrams, documentation & journaling about your subject matter, your experience, your day, even the weather. 

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Idea #22 and #23

Stamp a word on a separate piece of paper, index card, rolodex card or paper scrap and use that as your page title.

Collect produce stickers and stickers from products and labels and use as collage elements.

Idea #24

Start with a page from a book and paint portions of the page so that some of the text shows through.

Idea #25

Write words with a permanent marker that won't bleed. These three will write on top of [dry] acrylic paint: Faber-Castell PITT artist pen in M nib or brush nib, the Sakura Gelly Roll, or the Uniball UM-153 in white or black or metallic ink. 

Idea #26

Hand-stitch collected words with embroidery floss. 

Idea #27

Paint your words - or rather - paint the negative space around your words with a small round brush and Golden black or payne's gray fluid acrylic paint or Golden high flow acrylic paint. These are opaque paints with good coverage. Especially fun on an abstract background of acrylic paints! [PS. You can learn the technique to paint this background in my Groovy Grunge workshop]

Idea #28

Write a list of things that you could write about. A list of journal topics for future reference!  My favorite from this list? "Write about a non-scary haunted house."

Idea #29

Letter your words with a dip pen and Golden high flow acrylics or Bombay Black india ink. Example is in high flow acrylics. 

Idea #30 and #31

Paint words with Golden high flow acrylics and a small brush.

Cut up some intense journaling and use parts of the words on another page. You'll remember what you wrote about.