I am always doing something creative.  Art Journals where I might just draw my day or simple doodles like the #ZenArtChallenge in my bullet journal planner.  Last year I got into Bible Journal as a way to be creative and to read the bible more.  It is once again a goal to try and read the whole book this year.

If you know me, this is not easy task.  My family didn’t have a religion as a base when I grew up and my husband is Jewish so doesn’t follow the same faith.  So at times I feel on my own learning and growing in my spiritual faith.  this is why when I heard of the Inspire creative bible journal, I new it would inspire me more to read and want to stay on top of my reading plan.  When I met other creative journalers, I learned about how to use napkins in my bible journal and now any art journal to be creative even if you don’t want to draw or feel you aren’t and artist.  You can create some really beautiful pages with napkins.

Why I use Napkins in My Art or Bible Journal

Recently I started reading – 100 Days of Grace and Gratitude.

It is a daily devotional WITH room to journal!  I often read and write about what I am thankful for or a thought for the day based on what I read.  But, being a little creative is my time to quiet my mind to think about what I read and try to see how it can be implemented in my life.  Typically with the napkin technique and a few watercolors or colored pencils I spend about 15-30 minutes reading and journaling.

I found that using napkins as part of my creative journaling in this book was PERFECT.  It is super quick and easy and I love trying to find the “perfect” napkin for the page.  The pages make me want to go back and read what I wrote as I just am in awe sometimes of how pretty they are.

How Do I Find so Many Different Napkins?

I do have a nice collection of napkins I have collected via buying myself or a few friends passed off since they new my love to create with them.

Best way to grow your napkin collection for your art or bible journal.

  • Buy 5 packs of napkins you love:  Check out stores like:  Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Dollar Tree, Grocery stores…  You don’t need to spend a lot on these napkins.
  • Get with a group of friends also into art or bible journaling who might like to learn and try this technique.  Then SWAP Napkins.  If you swapped 5napkins for 5 napkins with 5 of your friends you would have 25 new ones plus your 5, a total of 30 different napkins!  See how quickly that collection can grow.  Just find more people to swap with.  Do you have church  or art groups who might be into this?  Friends of Facebook you could do happy mail swaps with?

What Do I Need Use Napkins in my Journals

It really does not take much to use napkins in your art or bible journal.  These are the tools you need and what I use/recommend.

  • Your Napkins (as discussed how I grow my collection).
  • A Pencil
  • Scissors Art Supplies for Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal
  • Foam Brushes.  I buy a small bag as they do get junked up and I replace them every week or two.
  • Clear Gesso, the only brand I LOVE is Dina Wakley.  It is clear, not difficult to use, not GRAINY.  I could only find this is small art stores.  Big box art stores like Micheal’s and Hobby Lobby do not carry this brand.  So I often just order from Amazon (here if you want some).

How Do I Apply the Napkins to My Art or Bible Journal Page

The following is a step by step guide to decoupage and apply napkins in your bible or art journal.  Note you could also do this with any photo you find in a magazine too.  It is nice that it is “stuck to the page” more then just glue where the edges always seem “loose”.

 Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal<–  One of my finished pages so I can show you how I created this.

Step 1 – Grab Your Tools needed, listed above.  Note, often when you open a napkin all the way, it is the same design on 4 folds.  Perfect to reuse the same napkin or different parts of a napkin more then 1 time.  This one is pretty different on all folded sides.

Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal

Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal

<– Step 2 – Cut out & Place Your Designs – I often tear (gently) my napkin to give it a rough edge, but you can simply cut your napkin.  Simply place them on the page where you want them.



Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journalStep 3 – Mark your Place – I put small marks around my pattern to know where I want it in final placement. Note, try and place the marks just inside the edge of the napkin.  That way if you don’t have them placed perfectly you won’t see the pencil marks.  (If that would bother you).  Just inside gives room for the napkin to shift a little and cover up the marks.

I often trim my patterns to avoid covering words (my choose you can if you want.)

Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal

Step 4 – Remove your napkins now that they are all marked out.


Step 5 – Pull Apart the Napkin layersNapkin Technique in art journal or bible journal
Each napkin is typically 3 ply. Gently pull away the 2 layers below the patterned top layer. Toss those others and keep your pattern only.  This one keeps your art journal pages thinner, as they thickness of the napkins add to the book pages.  Plus, some napkins might be more see through, so if you do cover words you “might” be able to see them through the napkins.

Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal

Step 6 – Apply a thin layer of Gesso within your lines you marked.
Note you can easily cover the whole page.

If you use paints/watercolors/gel pens… it helps prevent bleeding though the page. I just do this to kinda hold the napkin in place when I do the next steps.  Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal

I like writing on my pages and find it’s easier to not write on top of the Gesso. Therefore, I stay about the line areas.  That said I am no where perfect and only do within the lines. It’s just a guideline.

See… Not perfect –>

Also few notes … If you draw something UNDER the gesso you will not be able to erase it.  I sometime sketch out a drawing and might watercolor the page after its gesso is dried.  If you use Micron pens (and possibly other brands) and write on top of the gesso, it will kill the pen tip fast.  So if I sketch a drawing and want it outlined, I will do this before I apply my base layer of gesso.

Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal

Step 7. Place your Napkin
Gently place your napkin patterns where you marked them. Tap down with fingers and gently push out bubbles/wrinkles.

Step 8 – Add top Layer of Gesso Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journal

Gently place another layer over the napkin. Gently to not move/tear your napkin.




Napkin Technique in art journal or bible journalStep 9 – Let It Dry
You can use a hairdryer to dry or just let sit till the page completely dries. Don’t close book to soon or it will stick. Don’t write in top of it till dry or it could ruin pens.

Step 10. Add Color / Text to Finish your PageNapkin Technique in art journal or bible journal
Now that it’s dried. Finish your page with water color, gel pens, text…  Watercolors, gel pens, colored pencils, whatever your heart desires,

That’s it. Now you know how to add beautiful napkin designs to your journals/bible journal.

I can’t wait to see your pages now, so do share!  If you are in Instagram, tag me in your Art / Bible journal pages.  I am @MindfulCreativity (give me a follow).

If you found this helpful, please leave me a comment.  I love to hear that I might have inspired your creativity a little more today.

Create YOUR Amazing Life Business Coach - Lifestyle Coach

~Heather Buchman

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