Creative Summer Challenge |Make a Mark

Creative Summer Challenge |Make a Mark

Hurrah! It’s the start of  Creative Summer Challenge to make a Visual Journal for Summer 2018.

If you’d like to find out more about the challenge, read this post


Summer Creative challenge make a mark with a simple rubber stamp

This week, we’re going to concentrate on sketchbook ideas, but some of the ideas and prompts can be used for other types of journals too.


The hardest part of keeping a journal can be starting the first page because a blank page can be a daunting thing. So write something. Anything. Your name. The title of the journal. The date. An introduction. A quote.

Stick something onto the page. A painting you admire. A photograph of someone or something that you love. A print you’ve made. A map.

Or just turn the first page over and start a few pages in. You can come back to the first pages later or use them for making notes or a list of contents.


If you’re worried about blank pages further on, then make some marks on them to make them less precious.

Add some colour

Put a colour wash on the page or add a margin of colour down one side.

Add some pattern

Draw lines.

Scribble and doodle.

Add symbols.

Visual journal with stamp made from eraser and triangle pattern border on page

Use rubber or foam stamps to make patterns along the edges of the pages. Make your own stamp by using a craft knife to cut away parts of an ordinary eraser. If you just use the edge (as above) you can cut another simple pattern on the opposite side. Use the flat side for a larger image.

Other mark making ideas

Bleached pattern on sketchbook page colourwashed with ink

Use a brush dipped (carefully) into bleach to make marks on a page colourwashed with ink. (Washable blue used in photo above.)

Dip a feather into some ink and flick the ink or try to paint a picture.

Stain the page with cold tea for a vintage look.

Use a stick and paint to add dots or lines.

Use a calligraphy pen to write a quote.

Mark each page with a date stamp or number stamp.


We’re going to throw you some prompts each week that may help you if you’re stuck for ideas. Feel free to use every prompt, cherry pick your favourites or ignore them altogether.


There’s no pressure to share your work online but you can post it onto our Facebook page, tag @Slamseys in Instagram or leave a link to your blog in the comments below this or any of the Challenge posts.


For more information about the Slamseys Creative Challenge, read Introduction to the Creative Challenge

Next: Creative Challenge Week Two | A Different Perspective

Creative Summer Challenge | Be Prepared

Creative Summer Challenge | Be Prepared

We’ve thrown this challenge at you with no warning, other than a quick post yesterday, so you may need to spend some time getting prepared before the Creative Summer Challenge starts next week.


If you’re planning to draw or paint in a sketchbook, pick a size and shape that’s comfortable to work in and make sure the paper is suitable for your chosen medium.

If your visual journal is going to contain photographs, collages, pressed flowers, train tickets or the like, consider the best way to bring everything together. Notebooks, repurposed books, photo albums or scrapbooks are good options depending on the size of your intended collection and how you plan to store it when the challenge has finished.


visual diary for Slamseys creative summer challenge
Visual Diary by Madeleine Howard


A ring binder or portfolio make it easy to keep loose sheets of paper together or you could bind them together to make your own book like this beautiful book that Elizabeth has made for the challenge.

Does your project need to be portable eg do you plan to take it away on holiday or on trips out for the day?

Consider the alternatives to using books. Frame your visual journal and hang it on the wall, make a mini cabinet of curiosities or display everything on a pinboard. You could just stuff everything into a box.

Alternatively, you could crochet a blanket, shoot videos, embroider a sampler, write a blog, make jewellery … the list is as long as your imagination. Anything goes.

If you need some inspiration, look at our Pinterest board.

The first week starts on Monday when we’ll give you some ideas for starting your project.

If you’d like to know who the challenge is for and how to join in, read yesterday’s post Creative Challenge Introduction

Next: Creative Challenge Week One – Make a Mark

Creative Summer Challenge

Creative Summer Challenge


It’s mid July, when thoughts turn to summer holidays, so it’s time for the Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge!

The Challenge

Slamseys Creative Challenge Summer 2018

This summer, our challenge is to make a Visual Journal of Summer 2018. You don’t have to accept the challenge, but we’re throwing it out to you anyway.

Choose any medium for this challenge and decide how challenged you’d like to be! You could use it to record your summer, to develop a skill or build a bank of ideas to use in the future.

Each week we’ll give you a theme and some prompts that you can use or ignore.

Who can join in?

Anyone! Everyone!
Creative people wanting a challenge
Printmakers on our courses at Slamseys, who are looking for inspiration
Families who like a project for the summer holidays
Artists, photographers, sewers, knitters, potters, bloggers …

Are there any rules?

There are absolutely no rules. Take the challenge in whichever direction you desire and make your own rules.

What shall I put in my visual journal?

A record of your days
Your response to events, places or people
Your feelings and thoughts
Plans and ideas
Experiments with your craft
Whatever you wish.

Is there a place online to share my work?

There’s no pressure to share your work online but you can post it onto our Facebook page, tag @Slamseys in Instagram or leave a link to your blog in the comments below this or any of the Challenge posts.

If you’re sharing online, here are a few hashtag suggestions:
#artinprogress      #artjournal      #creativeprocess      #crochetlove      #dailydrawing      #doitfortheprocess      #foreverfaffing      #knitting      #printandpattern      #printmaking      #quilting      #reclaimed      #sketchbook      #slamseysinspiration      #stylingtheseasons      #textiles      #theartofgathering      #visualjournal      #wip

How do I join in?

If you’d like to join in and accept the challenge, just do it!

What next?

Tomorrow, we’ll give you some ideas to get ready for the Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge ready for the start on Monday, which is:

Get prepared for the Creative Challenge


Print your own Onion Patterned Beeswax Wraps

For the past year, along with much of the population, we’ve been looking at ways to reduce our dependence on single use plastic. I decided that rather than an evangelical purge of all single use plastic, it’s best to take small steps and ditching the cling film seemed the easiest way to start.

I had some commercial beeswax wraps that I’d used a few times and then forgotten about but with the zeal of a newly converted ‘no cling film user’ I started to use them regularly and realised they make a viable and more sustainable alternative to cling film. The only problem was that I didn’t have enough, so I decided to make my own, using the advice given in this post at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.

home made beeswax wraps printed with thermofax, onion, jelly print

Use patterned fabric that will hide the inevitable marks and stains that will appear or even better, print your own. The home made beeswax wraps above have been printed using thermofax, jelly printing and onions.

Home made beeswax wrap onion pattern printed over jelly print

To make Onion Patterned Beeswax Wraps, follow the instructions below. Use plain fabric or very pale patterned; in the picture above, I used an onion to overprint an unsuccesful jelly print, which has given some interesting patterning.



Print and make your own Beeswax Wraps


You will need:
Old towel
100% cotton fabric
1 large onion
Fabric Paint/Ink (or acrylic paint mixed with textile medium)
Palette or plate
Small sponge
Pure Beeswax pellets
Baking parchment


Lay your towel on a flat surface and spread your fabric on top.

Pull off any loose outer skin and cut the onion in half.

Put a small blob of fabric paint onto your palette and use the sponge to dip into the paint and dab it onto the cut side of the onion. You need a thin, an even covering of paint.

Press the onion (inked side down) firmly onto the fabric. Hey presto. You have a print.

Repeat your print until the fabric is covered and leave to dry.


When the fabric paint is completely dry, lay the towel on the ironing board and put a large piece of baking parchment on top.

Fold your fabric into six layers or if you’ve used several different pieces of fabric, just pile up six pieces of fabric and put them on top of your baking parchment, making sure there is a margin of at least 10 centimetres around the edge of the fabric in case the wax leaks.

Beeswax wrap making with wax pellets scattered over fabric

Sprinkle the wax pellets on top, cover with another piece of baking parchment, set your iron to the cotton setting and iron gently over the baking parchment. If the wax pellets are melting unevenly into the fabric, use the iron to push the wax to the dry spots.

Flip your baking parchment sandwich over and run your iron over again, pushing the wax to fill any more dry spots. If you have an excess of wax, just slip another piece of fabric under the baking parchment and iron again so that the new fabric soaks up the wax.

When your fabric has soaked up the wax, peel the fabric layers apart, taking care not to burn yourself as they may still be hot, and lay the fabric out to cool.

When it’s cold, the fabric will be slightly stiff with the wax.

Cut your waxed fabric to the sizes and shapes you require, using pinking shears if you’re worried that the fabric might fray. My largest wrap is about 35 cm x 35cm and the smallest one is 15cm x 10cm (perfect for wrapping a cut lemon).

You can also screen print your fabric using an embroidery hoop (see instructions here), use potato prints, jelly prints or block printing.

beeswax wrap jelly printed covering bowl

Beeswax wraps are ideal for keeping bread fresh, covering a bowl of dough that’s proving and for covering bowls of leftovers. Hold the wrap in place so that the warmth of your hands shapes it to the bowl. These home made beeswax wraps aren’t as clingy as cling film or the commercial beeswax wraps that use pine rosin and jojoba oil but I use a rubber band if I want a firmer seal.

beeswax wrap jelly printed made into origami box containing raspberries

You can use basic origami skills to make boxes or pouches, which makes them useful for packed meals.

After use, wash your beeswax wrap with cool water and a little washing up liquid and leave to dry. Don’t use them in the microwave because the wax will melt and don’t use them to wrap uncooked meat or fish.

After a year or so, either re-wax them using the original method or if they’re looking a little stained, use them as fire lighters or compost them.