Sunday, 11 October 2015

So you have a Journaling Bible...! - by Deborah Gregg

Hi everyone, it's Deborah here again this week. Now that Journaling Bibles are finally back in stock in the UK (Hooray!) I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few pointers and signposts for some of you who may be just starting on this wonderful creative journey with God's Word.

Tip #1 Enjoy
The Word of God is precious, but if I can say this in the nicest possible way - don't be too 'precious' about your Journaling Bible. I know you spent money on it, and probably had to wait a while for it to arrive, but it's yours to USE! Make a conscious, prayerful decision not to allow perfectionism to get in the way of your freedom to explore the creativity God has given you. Give yourself permission to write, underline, draw, highlight, paint, collage, washi tape, and decorate as you create in this Bible and express what God is revealing to you through His Word. 
If it helps, write a prayer in the front of your Bible, offering it ALL as an act of worship, including any smudges, crinkles, bleed-throughs, accidental rips, wonky writing and spelling mistakes! Ask God to speak to you through His Word and to unlock your creativity. Here's my opening prayer...

Tip #2 Test
Create a test page in the preface or in the back of your Bible, as somewhere to try out your pens, pencils and art supplies. Do try out the supplies you already have before you go and buy any new ones! You may be surprised at just how well your children's Crayola Twistables work in a Bible! Here's one of my test pages....

Tip #3 Research
It is worth doing a *little* research for ideas, tips and inspiration online, in places such as Facebook or Pinterest and YouTube. (Set a timer!!!) However for a beginner it can become overwhelming looking at other peoples wonderful artwork so keep a level head and just look out for simple ideas to begin with, things you can copy or perhaps trace. Rebekah R Jones has some excellent You Tube tutorials you might like to check some of these out and you can also look at Illustrated Faith's website

Tip #4 Edges
If you want to decorate the edges of the Bible, it's a good idea to do that early on, before you have really got going with your journal pages. This means that the pages are still smooth and close together which makes if so much easier. Again, Rebekah R Jones has a tutorial on this if you want some ideas.
Here's one I prepared earlier :-)

Tip #5 Preparation
I do recommend that you invest in some decent clear gesso to prepare your pages, especially if you are planning to use paints, stamps or pens that may bleed through to the other side. It will make your page stronger and will give a much better finish and end result. In my experience it's always worth preparing the surface first. Gesso varies a great deal in texture and finish. I started by using the White Gesso from The Works which is cheap and cheerful, however more than 1 coat will begin to obscure the print, and it does leave the surface a bit chalky, and you'd have to be careful not to ruin your pens. But it's better than nothing, if you are careful or just want to use it on the margins.
I totally agree with Rebekah R Jones' recommendation that the 'Art Basics Clear Gesso' is absolutely perfect to use in Journaling Bibles and is well worth the investment, if you can. I've only recently got hold of some and it really makes a difference. Rebekah has tried and tested a number of different Gessos and other art supplies, and you can see her reviews here:

*Update: Rebekah R Jones has a new all-time favourite gesso, made by Dina Wakely - see this post: 

Tip #6 Tracing Paper.
My BFF. Say no more.

Tip #7 Dry
Ideally use a craft heat gun if you have one, or a hairdryer to fully dry the gesso and pages as you go along. I also recommend leaving your pages open overnight, firstly to let them dry completely and secondly, it's lovely to see your Bible lying there open showing your fresh artwork, first thing in the morning! :-D
Then if you close your Bible carefully, and keep it under a pile of books, it will help to keep the pages smoothed out.

Tip #8 Enjoy!
Yes I know we have already had this, but again I say rejoice! Enjoy this lovely new way of creatively expressing what God shows you in his Word. I pray that you will find a new passion for seeking God through His Word and that your faith will grow stronger and deeper as you do this.

I'm sure that there will be more tips to follow but I hope this will help some of you to start you off! Let me know if any of this is helpful to you. And please feel free to ask any questions in our Bible Art Journaling UK Facebook group! And don't forget to post some photos too! I can't wait to see some of your creations, I find it personally very encouraging and uplifting when others share their work, and I can't tell you how many times God has spoken to me through someone else's Bible artwork. Be brave and courageous, and may your faith from deeper and stronger in Him.

Love in Christ,


  1. A fabulous collection of really good tips, links and inspirational photos Deborah! Thank you

  2. Love this round up of tips. It everything I would of liked to know when I started! Thanks for writing this.

  3. Thank you. I have had my bible for 10 months. Lots of ideas but to scared to use it. Perhaps now I will 😉

  4. Great post. I am just getting into bible journalling - not opened a bible for 30 years! Really useful tips and links. Ali x