Journals and Altered Books | Polymer Clay Tutes Vol-068

Polymer Clay Journals and Altered Books - Polymer Clay Tutor6 Videos #468 to #473: As many creative choices for making these art journals, as there are artists!

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on your creative accomplishments, and on where it is that you want to go next. Creating art journals for recording your thoughts, ideas, sketches, and musings, or just for  playing with materials, is a great place to start… and polymer clay is a wonderful medium to work into your next journals or altered book project!

Posted just below is a Sneak Peak and overview of my Polymer Clay Journals Tutorial. The rest of the 6 part video series will be posted tomorrow (Friday, January 10, 2014) in Vol-068 at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library.

BTW, if this Polymer Clay Journals and Altered Books tutorial looks exciting to you, please do click that YouTube Like button. Many of you have been giving the Thumbs Up to the weekly YouTube videos, which is great… Thank You! However, these monthly intro clips need some love as well. When they don’t get as many likes, it makes it look like they are not appreciated as much… which surely can’t be true with all the nice comments you all leave :)

Vol-068-1: Video #468: Introduction: In this 6 part video tutorial series, you will learn how to create three different polymer clay journal covers using several mixed media techniques. You will also learn many tips, tricks and techniques that you can use to create your own unique style of art journal. The ideas and techniques can not only be used for the projects I demonstrate in this tutorial series, but also for other home decor and jewelry projects as well.

Pt 2 Polymer Clay Journals & Altered Books - Polymer Clay TutorVol-068-2: Video #469:
Rainbow Zebra Journal Cover:

In this video, I show how to make a funky rainbow zebra patterned journal cover, that will inspire you whenever you look at it. The youthful cover has a smooth, layered, dimensional design, that looks cool… and it feels great too, when you run your fingers over the raised stripe pattern. This technique works well for journal covers, and anywhere else that colorful zebra inspiration may roam.

Pt 3 Polymer Clay Journals & Altered Books - Polymer Clay TutorVol-068-3: Video #470:
Pavelka Peel Technique:

In this video, I demonstrate the simple techniques and tools needed to do the Pavelka Peel treatment, originally created by well known polymer clay artist Lisa Pavelka. I’ll be teaching you how to use Lisa’s signature Transfer Foils as well as metal leaf, to create this wonderful technique with unlimited possibilities. The information you learn in this video will cross over to many other polymer clay projects as well.

Pt 4 Polymer Clay Journals & Altered Books - Polymer Clay TutorVol-068-4: Video #471:
Make Time Altered Book:

In this video, I walk you through the process of creating an altered book, mixed media project, with a theme that I call Make Time. It has a rustic distressed looking polymer clay cover, that’s made using alcohol inks, rubber stamps, embossing powders, powdered pigments, metal embellishments and reclaimed watch parts. You can let your creativity run wild with this one, because the the possibilities are truly endless… and I’m not just saying that!

Pt 5 Polymer Clay Journals & Altered Books - Polymer Clay TutorVol-068-5: Video #472:
Baking and Finishing:

In this video, I teach you how to how to properly bake and finish your Polymer Clay Journals so that they not only look great, but will also be strong and durable for many years to come. Just as there were many techniques and options for creating the actual journal covers, so are there many ways to finish them. I share with you many tips and ideas, that you can use to customize your creations with your own unique voice.

Pt 6 Polymer Clay Journals & Altered Books - Polymer Clay TutorVol-068-6: Video #473:
Creative Options And Ideas:

In this video, I give you a brain dump of ideas to pick and choose from, for working into your own Polymer Clay Journal and Altered Book projects. I show many examples of the options available for the actual journal base, as well as the crazy unlimited ways you can customize the inside pages. Basically, there are as many creative choices for making these art journals, as there are artists themselves! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

Other Suggested Supplies:

  • Paper Towels
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Mister Bottle
  • Soft cloth or fabric for waxing
  • Tile for baking on
  • File Folder or Cardstock for baking and tenting
  • Soapy Water for Sanding
  • Old Hardcover Books or New/Old Journal Booklet for covering
  • Unmounted Rubber Stamps like the Amstamps in my Clay Transfers Tutorial
  • PYMII (Preserve Your Memories 2)

By the way, many of the “shopping” links I provide for the various tools and supplies used in my tutorials, are “affiliate” resources. That means companies like Amazon and the other suppliers I refer, pay me a small commission if you click on the links and end up making a purchase at their site. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps in keeping the cost of my tutorials down. And, the prices for products that you may purchase through my links, are exactly the same as what you would normally pay, even if it is a “sale” price. So please feel free to click whenever you need to pick up a few things for your studio. Thanks so much for your support.

The full video series for the Polymer Clay Journals & Altered Books tutorial described above, is available in Vol-068 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials


Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my monthly library tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Ooh, I love this! One of many things I appreciate, Cindy, is how you encourage us to push creative boundaries. ~Elizabeth-S

My Husband (a retired computer engineer/scientist) has always drilled into me “work smarter not harder.” I think it is finally sinking in because that seems to be what Cindy’s tutorials are all about. Thank you Cindy! ~Cheyrl-B

Hi Cindy, Thank you I’m all signed up after deliberating about it for a few months. Just watched your Faux Abalone tutorial it was totally amazing and just ordered loads of polymer clay to do the project. Your tutorials are very easy to follow wish I had done it ages ago. Thank you, From a newbie. ~Pamela-S

Cindy, I am so excited about this Faux Abalone Shell tutorial. Not only is it beautiful when finished, the techniques and tips you teach us to help create it, is so well thought out, easy to follow and helps lead us to a failure rate of zero. I love every tutorial you do but especially the ones that involve canes that create these beautiful faux stones and gems. They are precise, easy to follow step by step and make us all winners.  Providing links to the materials we might use are also a plus for us as it shows how much you want us to succeed. You never leave us hanging and are always there to encourage us, support us, and follow up on whatever questions we may have until we have the answers. I have experienced this several times and I really want to encourage anyone who wants to truly learn Polymer Clay to join our group and sign up for your tutorials. ~DixieAnn-S

This is the greatest learning network on line. I can’t say enough about it!!!!! It’s really, really, really terrific!!!!! Love it. ~Helen-S

The full video series for the Polymer Journals and Altered Books tutorial described above, is available in Vol-068 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials

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  1. Cherie H, 09 January, 2014

    So excited to see this tutorial. Love the different techniques – the journal covers are awesome. Already have an idea for my journal. You’re fabulous! Cindy really inspires us, doesn’t she?

  2. Dixie Ann, 09 January, 2014

    Oh I am just squealing with delight over this tutorial. I have seen others make these and have always wanted to make one. I’m still keeping notes in an old spiral notebook that must be 30 yrs. old but the wealth of information I have in it covers many different Crafts. Cindy I do have a question in regards to overhead projection transparencies. Someone gave me part of a box that is for inkjet printers. I cannot find any information on using them to transfer images to baked or unbaked polymer clay. I searched our blog but found nothing.
    I searched the Web but only found info on Toner based transparencies or transparency clay. I have printed out some images that I would like to transfer and the ink has dried nicely. Do you have any idea what I am to do next? Has anyone else tryed this? I sure could use some help here.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2014

    Sounds like you have the perfect first journal project to make a polymer cover for Dixie Ann! I am sorry but I don’t have any experience with transfers from transparencies, toner or inkjet. I am wondering though, what if you just cut a piece of the transparency and put it face down on some clay, burnish it and see if it will transfer?Maybe the ink will bond better with the clay than it did to the transparency? Maybe not though, since the transparency is meant to be printed on? Who knows. It couldn’t hurt to try it?

  4. Dixie Ann, 12 January, 2014

    Cindy, decided to try your suggestions. On unbaked clay not successful at all. On baked clay I brushed on some Omni gel and layed the transparency face down. I burnished off and on for about an hour, waiting several minutes in between each time. When it was dry I peeled off the transparency and about half of the image stayed on it. I think I need to use more gel. I have since found out that if I print the image on the wrong side of the transparency, the ink is wet and will transfer onto clay with little or no burnishing but it’s very touchy. Haven’t tried it yet but it makes sense. Now I just need to see how it works on unbaked clay! Regardless, I am having so-o-o-o much fun!

  5. Sandra J, 09 January, 2014

    my goodness Cindy, you have outdone yourself a thousand times and more with this set of videos. My mind IS spinning from what you have shown.
    Your dedication to us is astounding, your love for art shows thru in what you teach and the fact that you don’t charge nearly enough for the privilage (for indeed it is a privilage) to be a part of this group.
    In all honesty i do not how or where you find the time to do all that you do. In this video series alone, there must have been oodles of hours that went into it. No wonder you delayed a week.
    This set also came at a great time as we are coming to the States again end of April. Your roadtrip book has inspired me to take the time not just to write about our trips (there have been a few around the globe), but to make them extra special by using this technique. Thanks heaps.
    I sincerely hope you do take time for yourself and your family. Take care.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2014

    Thank you so much Sandra for your sweet words! That feels very nice this cold rainy morning in Vancouver. This technique makes for wonderful travel journals, which you can of course customize for your own trips. Make sure to keep mementos from the trip like ticket stubs, pressed flowers, color inspirations, etc. etc. etc. Not only will it be a nice trip down memory lane for you, when you flip through the pages, but it may also be a source of artistic inspiration as well. DO let us know about your trip… it will be fun to hear more about it!

  7. elaine faulks, 10 January, 2014

    UNBLOCKING OUR MINDS………………………………………..

    Our dear CINDY sets us free
    Just like we were at the age of three
    Getting all messy with paint and inks
    (I reckon I’ll fetch my shades of pinks)

    I’ll dab and I’ll rip
    This is sooooo much fun
    With some cogs and some watches
    (Yep THIS is the one)

    Who would have thought
    It would blow my mind
    CINDY dear
    YOU are one of a kind!

    I loved the Zebra
    With stripes and all
    A rainbow of colours
    That will never pall

    Gold or Silver, it’s hard to choose
    So, I might use both
    I’ve got nothing to loose
    Shall I make it textured, or really smooth?

    So, thank you CINDY
    You’ve done it again
    You bring on my sunshine
    Amid all that rain …….(flooded here in UK)

    Makes me want to do one for my own special mate
    (Although he’s passed and departed, it’s never too late)
    SO, I’ll say it again
    Your journals are GREAT

    ………….Cheers xx………..

  8. kelly beavers, 10 January, 2014

    I love the journal covers. I am excited to do this project. One question. Did you bake in your toaster oven or big one. How do you clean your big oven after baking a polymer clay project?

  9. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2014

    Hi Kelly, I bake most of my polymer clay projects in my toaster oven… now it is my new convection oven, of course. But when I did do some larger pieces that needed to go into my kitchen oven, I just would run the self cleaning function to clean it. As an alternative, you could run it at the highest temp it can go, for a half hour or so, that should help ‘burn off’ and get rid of any residue that may get in the oven after baking your polymer clay. To avoid having to do that though, you can bake in a sealed roasting pan, like I did in the cornstarch/baking soda video. (use the search box at the top of the page to find that video). That should keep your oven clean enough to use for both food and polymer clay if you need to.

  10. kelly beavers, 10 January, 2014

    your poem is very creative also!

  11. cherie, 10 January, 2014

    You’re fabulous! Cindy really inspires us, doesn’t she?

  12. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2014

    As usual Elaine, you have BLOWN ME AWAY with your creative words!! I just love having you in our community! You have such a fun way of taking in what you learn and expressing it in poetic form. Keep it up… you are a total delight!

  13. Catalina, 18 January, 2014

    Love this poem! You have many talents!

  14. Pattw35, 03 February, 2014

    Thank you Elaine! I giggled all the way thru the wonderful poem. You have added another dimension to Cindy’s tute.

    Cindy – yes my mind in a whirl. Have to thing which way want to go!!
    Mixed media is so much fun. Anything goes.

    Thank you for leading us thru this new way to express ourselves. I just now, saw the video. I killed my old computor, and now have a new one to abuse. This is soooooooooo freeingggggggggggggg!

  15. Cecilia K, 10 January, 2014

    I want to know what I can use instead of PYM II as it is impossible to get a hold of in Europe (as far as I know).

  16. elaine faulks, 12 January, 2014

    Hi Cecilla,
    I decided to order PYMII from the USA. Had to wait a long time for it to arrive as it could not be sent by Airmail but they sent it by sea. It cost a lot to ship so I ordered 2 cans. It also took weeks to arrive, but I think it was worth both the cost and the wait. There is no other product that I know of that is anything like this great spray.

    I also asked if they made this product in liquid form so that it could be painted on, but as yet have had no reply to my question.

    If anyone knows of a similar product I would be interested to learn it’s name and who produces it? So best advice if you really want it, dig deep and pay for it from USA…….cheers xx……..

  17. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2014

    Hi Cecilia, I think Elaine has the best advice since I do not know of another product that compares to PYMII. Maybe you can ask Penny Vingoe at Clayaround (a polymer clay company based out of the UK) if she can figure out a way to bring in PYMII to the UK? Other than that the alternative is to order form the states or use a different glaze that is available there. Renaissance Wax is a great product, but it isn’t a spray and doesn’t work for sealing in some products like Gilder’s Paste. You can use it for most situations though and I do recommend using that.

    Elaine, as far as using the PYMII as a liquid to paint on, you can. Just pump or spray some out into a dish and brush it on if you wish. Doug Sheppard, the inventor of PYMII suggested that it can be used that way. I wonder if they were to sell it by the jar, if they would have less issues with shipping it? i should ask him that sometime, when I get the chance.

  18. Cecilia K, 13 January, 2014

    Thanks Cindy, I will ask Penny at clayaround about PYM II. She is so sweet and I can’t be the only one in Europe having a hard time getting a hold of it. :)

  19. elaine faulks, 13 January, 2014

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for your kind words, it is such a joy to be one of your students!

    Concerning PYMII. I DID contact Doug Sheppard when I first got my PYMII, suggesting this product could be sold and shipped worldwide if packaged somehow in liquid form so there would be no issue about sending it via airmail.

    I told him that years ago hair lacquer in liquid form was sold in thick plastic refill tubes and you could purchase a plastic squeezey spray bottle. You cut the top off the refill to fill up the spray bottle and tra-la = hair spray. It was sold in Woolworths and was a very popular item ….cheers xx…

  20. Cecilia K, 13 January, 2014

    Thank you very much Elaine for your input. :)

  21. Anna Sabina, 10 January, 2014

    Really enjoyed the journal tut but I liked the letter T stamped sideways on clay.
    You showed a nice variation of techniques. It is amazing that you have time to journal and scrapbook. When do you sleep?

  22. Marianne H, 11 January, 2014

    The Carson Artist’s Paper Pads various sizes are on sale at Michaels–(buy one get one free).


  23. Sherry L, 13 January, 2014

    Cindy, you have out done yourself again:) This January 2014 tutorial is overflowing with amazing ideas and tips – Thanks for all the hard work you and Doug put into these:)

  24. Karen Kann, 16 January, 2014

    Wow Cindy! How do you have time to do all of this?! Amazing tute once again!! Thank you so much!

  25. Shilo T, 19 January, 2014

    Thank You for doing this tutorial!!! I never could get mine to work and you showed me my errors and look forward to trying these again!!

  26. Elizabeth Kerr, 22 January, 2014

    Hi Cindy,
    thanks for this great tut on journaling. must get under way.
    do you still have a site where we put our finished pieces?
    Have had about a year of, so am excitied to gt going again.
    love to all
    Elizabeth XXX

  27. Cindy Lietz, 23 January, 2014

    Hi Elizabeth, Glad that you enjoyed the tutorial! It would be awesome to see what you have made. Just go to our Facebook Member Gallery Page here to upload your photos.

  28. Elizabeth Kerr, 24 January, 2014

    Aha, thanks Cindy, I got lost a bit, not having done much poly lately. too much other stuff going on. like,Chain Maille, Kumihimo,Sculptured dolls., and even, judging at the doll show last year, and doing a night market just before Xmas and sewing a lot of Xmas pressies. plus not being well for a long time. but I am away again this New year,so should do better.
    . Note the new Avatar,just me on my 81st b/day this Jan, so up to date all round. Very happy with myself, Lots to do,will upload to Face book when I do something great LOL.
    love to all XXX

  29. Catalina, 24 January, 2014

    Wow, Elizabeth! You look wonderful! Happy birthday! I’m a January birthday girl, too! Keep healthy and keep claying!! Looking forward to seeing pics of your work.

  30. Elizabeth Kerr, 26 January, 2014

    Hi Catalina,
    and Happy Birthday to you too.
    A good month January!!
    Yes I know this year will be a great year for lots of new tuts from Cindy, and watching the comments.
    All the best for your claying this year.

  31. Tante Sherry, 27 January, 2014

    wow you must be living right lady :) What ever your doing keep it up — and if it’s a secret Do Tell;) (I’m hoping your secret has something to do with polymer clay)
    I can only hope to look as good when I hit my 80’s – just beautiful

  32. Dixie Ann, 25 January, 2014

    Elizabeth, you look stunning for you age, so glad we can “see” you now. I’ll be 70 in April and earned everyone of my white hairs. LOL
    So happy to see you back at the blog.

  33. Elizabeth Kerr, 26 January, 2014

    Hi Dixie Ann,
    Wow! thanks for the comments. No more compliments ,or I will never get any work done.LOL
    Yes, I understand about the white hair. LOL
    You look such a sweetie, and nearly 70, no?
    I bet you are fun to be around.
    Glad to see some of us
    are still wanting to do these interesting things.
    I will have been here for 5 yrs this April, and still find it very interesting and inspiring. had been doing Poly clay since 2004,
    Hope I have got lots more to see and do here.
    All the best to you and all here.

  34. Cindy Lietz, 28 January, 2014

    How nice to see your cute face Elizabeth! It has been a pure delight having you around here all these years! Hope to have you as part of our clay family for many, many more years to come!

  35. Dixie Ann, 25 January, 2014

    Happy Birthday to both of you Elizabeth and Catalina. I also had a January sister.
    Here’s wishing you the best in 2014 and may your lives be filled with happiness, good health, and happy claying!

  36. Catalina, 25 January, 2014

    Thank you Dixie Ann! It has been rough the last two years. But, I’m hoping this year will be a good one! Just love my clay family here!

  37. Marianne H, 10 February, 2014


    I really love your site! In fact I love it so much that I purchased the rest of the back issues.

    I’ve been wanting to go to Milwaukee for the Bead & Button Show for the last 3 years to take their ‘Fundamentals of Polymer Clay’ 3 Day Class, but it was too expensive and I didn’t think that I’d be able to sit through 3 days and work all day with polymer clay and retain the info especially with my Fibromyalgia and other health issues.

    Then I found your site last October and figured this is the way to learn. I love your teaching style and clear videos. I can sit at home and learn a little at a time with no time restrictions. I’d also be able to look up the instructions when needed and see up close what to do. Also I’d be able to ask any questions and get almost instant feedback from you and/or other members of the PCT Family. I’ve already learned so much more from you than I would from any 3 day class.

    Thank you.

  38. Cindy Lietz, 11 February, 2014

    You are very welcome Marianne… it’s wonderful to have you as part of the PcT Community!

  39. Fran V, 28 March, 2014

    Hi, Cindy and all.

    I am a newbie, to both polymer clay and this site, and am totally awed, amazed, and inspired!

    This video is wonderful. Very loose and freewheeling. I love — among so many other things — how you seem to anticipate our questions and provide the answers like magic. Quite a bit after you had cut those neat little square holes in the cover, I was wondering “Hmm, I will have to ask, how does she actually get the cover onto the book,” when, Voila! you turned the book over and showed the coils and how to open them. Even though I am new here, before I joined I watched as many free tuts as I could find, and this seems to be one of your great skills, knowing just what people really need to understand to accomplish what you are teaching.

    Also, and to me this is the most important thing, you have a way of encouraging and inspiring to bring out our own creativity. I am one of those people who gets crippled by her own fears when it comes to expressing myself in creative ways, and your ease and manner and judgement-free style are very supportive.

    So thank you, thank you. I believe I am going to have many years of fun and joy here.

    Oh, and I am from New Hampshire, and when you go on that road trip to Florida you will have to go the long way ’round and stop here!

  40. Cindy Lietz, 28 March, 2014

    Fran what a beautiful thing to say! You made my heart warm today with your words. It is wonderful to know that you are feeling encouraged to step out of that fearful restricting view of creative self and are realizing that there is freedom in just relaxing and enjoying the learning process. And thanks for the invitation to pop by New Hampshire! One day we would like to visit each and every State and Province on our PcT Roadtrips and would love the chance to get to meet you!

  41. Katy Alexis, 20 January, 2016

    This has been one of my favorite projects yet! Ok so yes, my cover curled up in the oven because I left it on a file folder that had gotten wet, so the end result might not be as great as it would have been… But there’s definitely going to be a next time and a next one after that because the process of creating this was just as Cindy said… So freeing and carefree and fun!

    Outside of work I am not usually a precise person in life, however when it comes to clay I have tried to be fairly precise with most of the things I’ve made. Even the idea of antiquing something has made me cringe a little because I don’t want to wreck something I just created. I’ve got some loosening up to do there I guess, and this is just the way to do it! I didn’t worry about precise stamp impressions, I antiqued, I splashed various colors on all over the place, I even stamped impressions over other stamped impressions! I just went wild and crazy and had the best time! On top of that I learned tons, of course, about the different techniques and tips and variations etc… and I also learned loads about how various things would react while actually playing with them! I finally broke out my alcohol inks and used them for something other than tinting clay! Anyway I can’t ramble on much more because I’ve got to get back to work… (PLAY!) Who couldn’t love playing in polymer clay??? Thanks again Cindy for another hit of a tutorial! And thanks for the inspiring message that comes with this Journal Cover project!

  42. Dixie Ann, 20 January, 2016

    Katy, your comment made me smile. The journal cover looks smashing! your on your way Doll.

  43. Katy Alexis, 20 January, 2016

    Thank you so much Dixie Ann!

    And I’m getting even more secret pleasure from this project now that I remembered I have some hard back books from my mother that were… Let’s just say unwelcome despite her good intentions lol! I couldn’t bear to give away the gifts (even though I refused to read them) but I’m having no trouble at all painting the pages and distressing them! Mwahahaha!

  44. Cindy Lietz, 21 January, 2016

    Great job Katy! You can flatten it out if you pop it back in the oven for about ten minute and then set a book on it while it cools. That should keep it from curling up. Glad you are having so much fun with the freedom of this project. There are several other projects that are like that as well. They are my favorite too!

  45. Mia Johnson, 06 March, 2017

    I have an urgent question – how durable is the clay book covers ? If you use the book every day – like a bible – will it last and not break ? Please.
    Thanks a lot

  46. Cindy Lietz, 07 March, 2017

    The Journal covers are very durable and will handle daily use no problem… as long as you use a strong clay brand like Premo, Fimo Professional or Classic, Kato or Cernit, and bake for the proper length of time (see my baking videos). If you use a crappy brand like Sculpey III or Craftsmart, and under bake it, it will never survive.

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