Blog: art journal techniques

The Stencilfied Journal – Prompt 5

My wonderful friend Tina Walker is at it again – she invited several people to join her Stencilfied Prompts. The prompts are music related and each week she is posting a song. You can be inspired by the lyrics, the video, the album cover or anything related and the only restriction is that you have to use StencilGirl Product Stencils. Here is my take on Prompt 5:

This week’s prompt was Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.

I added a bit to the lyrics ;) You know Led Kalbach – yeah stupid joke LOL

For this art journal spread I spray painted in grey over my Toledo Stencil and then layered the Beacon Stencil on top and sprayed with pink and beige as well as purple over it.

I love how the layered stencils come together. I tried it first with a lighter color as the background and then the dark color on top  but I realized that it was too hard for the eye to read the background pattern that way. Always fun to play around with stencils and see how far and different you can push them :)

Wish you a Rock ‘N Roll day !!!

Here are some of the supplies I used for this spread:

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Announcing a NEW Online Workshop: BYO Art Journal

Today my newest Online Workshop goes on sale: BYO Art Journal! That stands for Build Your Own Art Journal just in case you were wondering :)

I will show you step by step how to build your very own art journal. I actually make a lot of my own art journals using this method! What will you get? You will learn how to make some patterned background pages for within and one-of-a-kind covers for the outside. Then you’ll learn a versatile book binding technique to pull everything together. Finally we’ll discuss various creative methods for finishing up your pages. If you have always wanted to create a custom art journal instead of buying the same off-the-shelf one that everybody else has, this is the workshop for you!

You will get 6 downloadable video lessons – approximately 1.5hours of content!!! You can find all the details for BYO Art Journal HERE.

Watch the promo video to learn more:

Early Bird Offer: Sign up NOW through Monday, October 1st at 11:59pm EST and save $10. That means BYO Art Journal can be yours for $49USD! On 10/2/2018 the workshop will return to it’s regular price of $59USD.

The workshop begins Monday, October 1st with the first lesson and additional lessons will be uploaded every Monday and Thursday. You can follow along with us or work at your own pace as lessons are up. I will pop into the classroom comments section daily while the lessons are going up to answer your questions. And at the end we will have an online gallery where you can share YOUR new art journals :) Throughout we’ll be sharing stuff online using #byoaj

Join us and create an art journal that is just as unique as the artwork within.

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My Closest Friends – Art Journal Spread

“Sheer Playfulness and Deadly Seriousness are my closest friends” – Philip Roth

Totally resonates with me :)

So sad to hear that one of my favorite authors died.

This spread started as a demo in my art journaling class in Paducah – I always love coming home and finishing or changing those spreads.

Black gesso was a big friend this time :) Here are some of the supplies I used besides Acrylic Paints

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The Small Things in Life – Art Journal

I created this Art Journal spread on a snowy day last week – as you can probably guess :)

The lady is drawn on deli paper, stamped and pasted into the journal. I stamped with different of my ArtFoamies Designs and then painted with grey and white. I like how it came out.

For the journaling I used a bamboo sketching pen and ink – I love using a bamboo sketching pen – have you ever seen my video I once made of the match made in heaven? It is a bit older but you might still find it interesting to see how I use those pens with the ink

Liquitex Ink and Bamboo Sketching Pen from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.

Here are some of the supplies I used with the art journal spread

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Pattern Lovers – Michelle Rydell


Today we have a project from the Creative Squad! Michelle Rydell is sharing a really happy and colorful journal cover using my Santa Fe stencil and my Embroidery stamp set. This month’s theme is: Pattern Lovers Love Patterns: We admit it – sometimes we go a little crazy over cool patterns. We see them everywhere and whether it’s in the human-made stuff all around us or in the designs by Mother Nature, we love them all. So this month we’re playing with pattern and giving it the attention it deserves!

One thing I love just as much as art journaling, is making the journals to journal in!  When I heard that the theme for this month was Pattern Lovers I thought it would be perfect to do a journal cover!

I started by folding some 9 x 12” paper in half to form a 6” x 9” journal. I cut/tore a long piece of unprimed canvas 9” high to match the height of the journal.  Then I wrapped it around the papers to decide how long to make it.  I wanted enough to create a flap.

I primed the canvas on both sides with some white gesso.

I wanted the outside of the cover to be a progression of cool colors, so I used a makeup sponge to rub on some acrylic paint in lime green, turquoise and purple.

Then I sponged some teal over the whole thing with the Santa Fe stencil. I love how the blue creates a different effect depending on what color it is combined with…

I used white gesso to stamp the Cross Circle stamp (from the Embroidery set) randomly.

Then, I added the Grannies stamp with black for contrast.

As a final touch, a little pink was added with a paint pen to fill in some of the circles.

Then I flipped the canvas over to paint the inside. For high contrast I used warm colors to create a similar progression as a base.

Then, used the Running stamp with white gesso to create an all-over pattern, and the cover was done!

Here are some photos of the completed journal.  I made a slit in the flap and sewed a button to create a closure. I used a simple pamphlet stitch to sew in the signatures.  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Thank you Michelle for sharing your project with us! In addition to a button and some thread, Michelle used the following supplies (some are affiliate links):

Play along with us too! I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Comments (10)

  • Rita Montgomery


    I love this idea. I can see doing some raw edge appliqueing or free motion quilting to the cover as well. Fantastic job. ~~rita


    • Michelle Rydell


      Ohhh, free motion quilting would be awesome! Thank you Rita!


  • Donnalee




  • Julie Tucker


    Wow wow wow!!! This is gorgeous! LOVING the colors and the textures!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Travis ArtJournalGuy


    Very creative! I would never have thought to do something like this, but it seems easy to do. Thanks for sharing your process with us.


  • Sherry Canino


    How beautiful and I just love all the colors !!!❤️❤️❤️


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Gritty City – Art Journal Spread

“Who would have thought I’d call you home you weird gritty little fun city across the Big Apple.”

This spread started out as a demo page in a workshop to show how to use two patterns of the Santa Fe Positive and Negative Foam Stamp set and it was very busy as you can imagine.

So I covered a middle put up with white gesso so that the pattern was still visible but in a very subtle way. I stamped a city scene with my Stroll Through The Hood 1 and Stroll Through the Hood 2 stamps onto the white gessoed areas.

Using fluid acrylics I colored the stamped images in. I dipped the Derwent Inktense Pencil into water for the journaling.

It is a bit crazy but fun. Here are the supplies I used for this spread – some links are affiliate links.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

Comments (2)

  • Joi@RR


    To me… this is the epitome of YOU Nat. The city, the colors, the ambience, and the statue of libery… if I were to see this in an art gallery – I would know it was YOU. LOVE THIS. Xj.


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Thank you Joi! Hope you have a wonderful start into the week! Happy Monday


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Art Journaling Live 3 – DVD and Download


In June, I went to Arlington, Texas to teach together with MaryBeth Shaw, Jodi Ohl and Gina Rossi Armfield an Art Journaling Live Class which was recorded and is now available as 2 DVDs in my shop and also as a Download from the North Light Shop.

The cool thing is that you get four teachers and four art journaling classes in one. Here is the sneak of my part of the class – I was first up early in the morning:

Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Art Journaling my friends

Comments (2)

  • Joi@RR


    Oh my stars – what a FABULOUS FOUR you had to have been Nat! Your students must have been on cloud nine. Good you got to go first and then enjoy the rest of the day too! Thanks bunches for the wonderful video sneak peak. LOVE it. Xj.


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Thank you Joi, yeah the nervous feeling of the morning was worth it being able to just relax and play along with the other three classes later :) Nat


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Always Believe or… In My Art Journal Today


“Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen”



For this spread I had painted some happy colors onto the art journal pages and then used a pencil to scratch in some journaling. Next I colored in circles and before the paint dried, I layered the stencil which his included in the Fashion Dame Stamp Set over the wet paint. I took off the wet paint through the stencil with a baby wipe. I used the rubber attached to my pencil and dipped it in paint to add little circles throughout the spread.


I stamped the Fashion Dame and layered the skirt and jacket on top and colored it in with acrylic paint.


As you can see, lot’s of layers and it was fun to create.


Here are the supplies I used for this art journal spread – some links are affiliate links:


Have a gorgeous day and …always believe!!!

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke


    Attitude is everything!
    Thanks for spreading some joy with your art and blog Nat!!!


    • nathalie-kalbach


      Thank you Sue for your support and making me believe :)


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Art Journaling Live 3 & Webinar !


Super excited to teach at Art Journaling Live in Arlington, Texas again June 16th. It is a whole day workshop teaching together with Jodi Ohl, Mary Beth Shaw and Gina Rossi Armfield.

Unique techniques using the best tools and supplies, and you’ll expand your art journaling to a whole new level! Check out all four class segments here.

PLUS! With a ticket to Art Journaling LIVE! you’ll receive an ALL ACCESS PASS to the Great American Scrapbook Convention!

Art Journaling LIVE! 2016
June 16, 2016
Arlington Convention Center
Arlington, TX

You can sign up here!

And …if you want to know more – Join us!


Art Journaling Live Sneak Peek: Live Webinar with Mary Beth Shaw and Nathalie Kalbach

Date: Thursday, May 5th

Time: 4:00-5:00 PM ET

Where: Your Computer

Join artist instructors Mary Beth Shaw and Nathalie Kalbach in a live, one-hour webinar that offers a sneak peek of Art Journaling Live 2016, our one-day mixed-media workshop in Arlington, Texas June 16th that also features workshops by Jodi Ohl and Gina Rossi Armfield. They’ll reveal some of the dazzling art journaling techniques they’ll be showcasing; Mary Beth will talk about using stencils and acrylic paint to create art journal pages that pop, and Nathalie will discuss adding interest and an important spark to your art journal with textures and layers. They’ll also give a behind-the-scenes look at last year’s fun event, and you’ll learn about the great things in store for this year.

This webinar consists of a PowerPoint presentation, and you’ll get a chance to ask Mary Beth and Nathalie your questions in a live Q&A. Everyone who registers will receive a link to watch the recording, a video showing scenes from Art Journaling Live 2015, and discounts to use at the Interweave Mixed Media Store.

You can sign up for the webinar here.

Did you miss last year’s Art Journaling Live Event with Dina Wakley, MaryBeth Shaw, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and me? No worries- we gotcha covered with a DVD or Download of Art Journaling Live 2. Or do you want to take a fun online class with me? Check out the DVD’s and Downloads below :)

Hope to see you on- or offline :) Have a gorgeous day



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