Simple Little Ways

Hi, it’s Tessa from How to Make Art, and I’m here to show you a few fun techniques for your art journal pages.  Here is the finished product in my art journal:

Here’s what you will need:

*Niji Splash Inks
*Authentic Chinese Watercolors
*Chinese Ink in Ultra Black
* Nori Paste
*Colored Pencils
*Fixative Spray
*Art Journal with thick pages (in order to hold wet media)

STEP ONE: Create a background with Splash inks and colored pencil.  I then blacked out a large area for my text/collage with the Authentic Chinese Ink in Ultra Black.  I love the way this ink covers effortlessly with just one coat!

STEP TWO: Create a phrase or tiny pencil sketch on a smaller piece of sketch paper.  I tore the edges of my paper to give it a fun deckled edge effect.

STEP THREE: Color your small drawing or phrase with the Authentic Chinese Watercolors.  I started with a yellow background then filled in the letters in the middle word with red/purple.  Last, I went over my cursive words with orange, to give the letters a highlighted look.

STEP FOUR: Apply Nori paste to the back of the paper, and glue it into your book.  Now you are finished!  Enjoy making art today!

“Grow Love” with Chinese Watercolors

Grow Love Niji

1. Heavy cardstock or watercolor paper or card
2. Yasutomo Authentic Chinese Watercolors
3. Yasutomo Authentic Chinese Ink Black
4. (optional) stencil of your choice for background. I used a stencil from Stencil Girl
5. (optional) simple alphabet stencil
6. Design for hand
7. Gampi Silk Tissue paper or plain white tissue paper
8. Nori paste and water
9. Quote or words of your choice ( I used “Grow Love”)
10. (optional) UV protectant spray in Matte or Satin. I used Krylon brand

Note: For this painting I used bright, mottled color mixtures of yellow and red Yasutomo Chinese Watercolors for the background.


1. Paint the background with Yasutomo Chinese Watercolors. Choose colors that you like or that suit the theme .
2. Add a border element. I used part of a stencil from Stencil Girl stencils that I gently dabbed with some Authentic Chinese Ink in Black. You need to make sure that the dauber that you are using is not too wet in order
for this to work well and not smear.
3. Use a letter stencil to add a word in a pale color to the background of the piece. I used the word “Love” with a one inch alphabet stencil and pale white ink.
4. I printed my hand design on Gampi silk tissue and affixed it to the background with a watered mixture of Nori Paste. Using this technique with tissue paper makes the hand appear to be nearly invisible.
5. Print your main words onto Gampi silk tissue or white tissue paper and add them to the painting. Here, I used “Grow Love” on Gampi silk tissue. I added it with the same Nori paste and water mixture.
6. If needed add more black to your main (hand) image using Authentic Chinese ink in black.
7. If needed add a ‘color pop’. Here I added a brighter green to the cuff and fingernail with Yasutomo Chinese Watercolors.
8.(optional) Spray with a UV protectant or spray finish. This will protect the painting as well as set all of the elements. I used Krylon brand matte finish for this project.

Background Close Up

Background Close Up

Iris Paper Folding

I have a really awesome project to share with you today. I was thinking of something to make for Yasutomo and BANG, it hit me…

Iris Folding!

I haven’t seen or heard this in a long time so I was so excited to make this and we were given so many beautiful origami papers to work with, I couldn’t wait to get them out.


Origami Paper “solids” 4251 and “animals” 4804

Yuzen Paper 4337 and Blue 4336

Authentic Chinese Watercolors CP12

Niji Oil Pastels

Niji Water Brush Small

I took out 4 different types of paper. I took 1 piece from each pack to get 2 yellow and 2 blue.

Then, I cut a vase out of a piece of white card stock.

I had to make flowers to come out of the vase (the vase looks good with just that awesome yellow zebra print paper).  I got to use the Yasutomo Watercolors and Niji Water brushes for the first time and they are AMAZING!!!  I am no painter by any stretch of the imagination but these products make it so easy!  I am shocked by how awesome my flowers and leaves are!

NOW, the iris folding.

Pick at least 4 different patterns/colors of paper.  Cut them into one inch strips.  Then, fold them in half.  You will have half inch strips to begin your project.

This system of attaching paper is done on the back of your die cut paper.  It will go in a circle one piece at a time.  You start on the left of the cut out and tape your strip of paper along that edge.  Always tape it with the folded side in the die cut.  Keep going around in a circle, adding paper.  Look at the shape and apply the papers in different colors for each section of the shape.  For example, I wanted the neck of my vase to be blue so as I made my circle of paper I made sure the top of the shape always had blue paper.

Flip your paper over every now and then to be sure the paper in your circle is looking the way you want it.

At the end, there will be a hole in the center.  Put a coordinating paper background on it.  I added another, larger piece to make a nice matting.  I also added some yellow pastel to the outside.

Thanks for visiting!!  You can find all of the products I used at

Have an awesome day!!


Purrfectly Paper Doll

cat paperdoll

October brings out the kid in me. I love the falling leaves, the cooler weather, and all things Halloween. I can’t wait to decorate with tacky Halloween decorations, buy mounds of candy for the neighborhood children, and help my own children create their costumes. In my excitement for the season, I decided to create a black cat paper doll set including some festive Halloween costumes.

Supplies I Used:

Step 1: With the pencil, draw a paper doll body on the cardstock. I chose to make a cat. Just for fun, I created a calico cat who is wearing a black cat suit. Go over the pencil drawing with the permanent black marker.

cat drawing

Step 2: Paint any large black areas with the ultra black ink.

cat painted with ink

Step 3: Paint color details with the watercolor paints and use the metallic pens for any accents. I used the silver pen to make the zipper on the black cat suit.

cat with painted face

Step 4: Place the deli paper over the paper doll and use a pencil to create clothing items that will fit the paper doll body. Move the deli paper off the cat drawing and use the black permanent marker to trace over the pencil lines. Use Nori paste to adhere the deli paper to cardstock. Once dry, cut the pattern pieces.

cat costume pattern pieces

Step 5: Trace the patterns onto decorative origami papers and cut.

Step 6: Use Nori paste to adhere the origami papers to cardstock. Outline each piece with the black permanent marker. Remember to add tabs to the pieces so that you can attach them to the paper doll. Cut the pieces. Add accents with metallic gel pens.

go-go suit

Step 7: To create fairy wings, paint deli paper with metallic watercolors. Add sparkle with metallic gel pens. Cut two wing shapes. Glue or machine stitch the wing shapes to the wing piece. To create straps, cut small strips and glue them to the top and bottom of the wing piece.

Step 8: To create a fairy tu-tu, paint two rectangular pieces of deli paper with metallic watercolors. Add dots with the metallic gel pen. Match the long edges of the rectangles and baste a single stitch across the top. Carefully pull the threads to gather the paper. Use Nori paste to glue the tu-tu to the body suit.

metallic painted pieces

fairy suit

Step 9: For a fancy mermaid tail, paint a sheet of deli paper with metallic watercolors. Cut a small strip of the deli paper (about 6″ x 1/2″). Accordion-fold the strip and cut a fish scale shape. When you unfold the strip, you will have a row of fish scales. Continue making these fish scale rows, as you’ll need quite a few to fill up the tail! Layer the scales onto the tail using Nori paste.

gold deli paper


Step 10: Carefully cut the paper doll.

cat in cat suit

Step 11: Enjoy your new paper doll set!


cat a go go

Cat Fairy:


And my favorite… Mercat!

cat mermaid

You can use paper dolls in so many unique ways. Create fun displays in frames, arrange them on your mantel, or use them in a garland by hanging the pieces onto twine using tiny clothespins. Once you get started, you’ll discover your own way to play!

Remembering Summer Fun

niji good.jpg

Lea here, I am so excited to be a part of the Niji Creative Collective DT!  Fall will be here with a blink of an eye, so I am remembering summer fun.  My art piece is really a fantasy of mine, but my friend went to Florida, so this is dedicated to her!

Remembering Summer Fun by Lea Cioci

This mixed-media art piece has elements created with Niji Pearlescent watercolors, Authentic Chinese watercolors, Splash Inks, Nori Paste, Pale Gold Sumi watercolorNiji WaterBrush, and PermaWriter.

The project is a mixed-media art card with an original watercolor painting, collage elements, and flower accent made with Splash Inks/Gelli Plate/die cutter.


 Niji Pearlescent Watercolors

*  Authentic Chinese Watercolors

*  Splash Inks

*  Nori Paste

 Pale Gold Sumi Watercolor

*  Niji Waterbrush – medium

* PermaWriter

* Hot Press Watercolor paper

* Cuttlebug Die Cut Machine

*  Elements of Choice:  Mesh, My Mind’s Eye flag and pin element,  Pearl/Rhinestones, Accent decorative letter F

niji sept drawing

There are many ways to add an image to your watercolor paper surface.  I did a simple sketch to give me the idea of a flamingo, but you can go to Dover Books and find clip art to use.  They have free monthly images.  You may also Google the word “coloring book” flamingo to find an image, and the easiest, is to use a rubber stamp image and permanent ink (Permanent ink is a MUST so the watercolors do not smear with the ink.).  A 4×6 size is perfect, but any size larger or smaller will work.

Follow directions on package and fill your Niji Waterbrush.  It is as easy as removing the middle barrel, squeezing into water to fill, twisting the barrel back together, and removing top.  Squeeze barrel slightly to get a drop of water to the tip.  The Niji Waterbrush is the best waterbrush because water does not leak out when you do not want it.  Water stays in the barrel until you squeeze.

For each color of paint you want to use, squeeze a drop of water onto the color, and let sit for a few seconds, then swirl the color with the brush tip.

niji sept pearlescent palette

Paint image in a “free-form” manner using Niji Pearlescent Watercolors.  I tend to be an artist who likes a messy, semi-realistic look to my work – sometimes abstract, or surrealistic.  Do not worry about being perfect with your brush strokes that is the beauty of nature.  I used blue and pink watercolors, along with a light gold, white, and black outline.  When changing colors, wipe off your brush on a paper towel or cloth and continue into the next color.

niji sept drying with heat set

A rubber stamping heat tool is used to dry the basic painting when you want to add more colors on top when you don’t want colors to blend together.  Most times I do want colors to blend, but sometimes, I want a color as shading or outline, so I want to dry the area before adding the color.  See below, the Authentic Chinese watercolor hue I used, I wanted to use it to shade, and that is why I dried the piece.  Also the gold around the eye.

niji sept tube watercolor

To shade the blue areas, I used the Authentic Chinese watercolors.  These are in tubes, and how opaque you want the color depends on how much water you add to the color.  A little watercolor goes a long way.  Yasutomo has many palettes, this one is the oval, plastic palette.

niji sept water brush

niji sept gold watercolor

Black is used to paint the beak and to add deeper shadows randomly in spots.  The Pale Gold Sumi watercolor is used to rim around the eye.  After this is dried, I used the PermaWriter to outline the eye and make the iris more pronounced.  I also used the PermaWriter on the edge of the beak to make it stand out more as well.

niji sept mixing splash inks

niji spet splash ink

niji spet splash ink color chart

To create the flower element, Splash Inks were used.  Each package comes with complete instructions of use, and how to mix your own colors!!  I love that I can create the exact shade I want.  If you notice in the photo above, there are photos that illustrate how to hold the bottle for adding drops of various colors.  The color chart shows how many drops of each color is needed to mix up the color.  To see an instruction video, look at the Splash Ink Page (see link above) or go to YouTube and look for Karen Elaine Thomas – Splash Inks.  Once you see how easy it is to mix colors, you will be mixing a ton of them!

Once your paper is made, use a Cuttlebug or any die cutter to cut out a little flower.

niji spet finished painting

Finished Painting.

niji sept planning layout

Starting to plan my layout.

niji sept nori paste

Adhere elements using Nori paste.  Nori is thin and easy to use.  Sometimes I use an old credit card to spread out the paste, sometimes a brush, and most times my fingers!!  If you use a brush, make sure to wash it out quickly so the paste does not dry in the bristles.  I have a rag on hand to wipe my finger.  I like to use a brayer to adhere the paper, but I am going to get a baren from Yasutomo as I can get the same effect and use it with my Gelli Plate for prints.

niji very good.jpg

Here is the finished card.  The black background is a piece of black mat board.  Now you have a finished work of art to display!!!

For more information on how to purchase Yasutomo products please check out their website:

Cre8tivelea Yours – Lea

Lea Cioci is a current member of the Yasutomo/Niji Design Team.