Conquering My Fear of Mixed Media

Earlier I shared how afraid I was of mixed media…well, I’m sure many of us crafters can sympathize. When you look at the GREATS…the artists…the design teams…the creators… it’s easy to feel like there’s no way you could measure up. Someone once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Well, no true words were ever spoken. I stand there looking at their pages, their journals, their master pieces and compare mine and it doesn’t even come close to measuring up, and all of a sudden the joy is sucked out of me.

Well isn’t my OLW this year, joy. For me, part of figuring out how to have more joy, is overcoming fear. So I’m overcoming my fear of mixed media.

This past week, Adele, from Inkie Quill, shared something on her YouTube channel that is called, Journaling by 5s. It immediately hit me that this was the perfect way start overcoming my fear of mixed media.

Journaling by 5s is a technique created by Shannon Green. It’s basically the best way I’ve found to overcome a fear of mixed media – and it was fun too. You grab a cheap composition book and follow the 5 steps on 20 pages. You have only 15 minutes for each step and you have 20 pages, so you have to move quickly!  I found it took away a lot of the fear because I couldn’t over think it, I couldn’t over analyze, I couldn’t worry about the way it looked. I had to move quickly. You can also do a second pass or free play session when you’re all done.

I couldn’t wait to try for myself. I didn’t have a composition book and the idea of using a whole book still seemed pretty intimidating. So instead, I grabbed 20 tags, grabbed my supplies and got to it.

Step 1: 15 minutes, 20 tags, paint and ink. I grabbed a handful of mists and paint, a paint brush, and an old hotel key – set the timer and started.

To be honest, it was messy, it was crazy and I thought “this looks horrible, this is going nowhere, and I’ve wasted 20 tags.”  I was really worried. But I’m stubborn and I didn’t want to give up. So thought, “I guess I’ll keep going and try stage two.”

Stage 2: 15 minutes, 20 tags, collage and recycle.

I grabbed a handful of doilies, recycled items, washi tape, matte modge podge, a paint brush – set the timer got started on step two.

When I was finished, all I could thing was “well that was messy and sticky and I’m not sure it helped any of them look better. I absolutely love the texture the doilies gave and the pattern on the washi tape but I’m not sure how this is going to shape up.” But now I was even more stubborn…Now I’ve spent half an hour on this and I want to see where this goes. So I guess on to step three.

Step 3: 15 minutes, 20 tags, stamps and stencils.

So, I grabbed all my stencils, a handful of distress inks, black memento tuxedo ink, background stamps – set the timer and got started.

Okay now… now we’re getting somewhere. Stamping and stenciling on some distress ink is giving a little bit more texture to the background. I think there are maybe 5 tags that I like where they are going. My biggest concern after stage 3 was how bright they were. I just wanted to grab some gesso and tone them down a bit. But I am stubborn but I’m also a rule follower. I have two more stages to complete and I’m only allowed 15 minutes per stage so I better get going.

Stage 4: 15 minutes, 20 tags, words and images.

So, I grabbed a ton of die cuts, ephemera packages, words, matte modge podge – set the timer and started layering.

After stage 4 I really felt like I was starting to see where they were going. I love that I was able to use up all the die cuts and ephemera packs I’ve had sitting around forever. I actually really enjoyed this stage because it felt less messy and I just got to layer pretty things on these tags. This is where I started to feel a little bit more confident. I can do this! Upwards and onwards – on to stage 5!

Stage 5: 15 minutes, 20 tags, pencils and pencils.

So, I grabbed a handful of black pens and markers – set the timer and nervously started drawing.

Okay, truth time… I HATED this stage. I didn’t know what to do, didn’t want to mess them up, ran out of ideas, and hated each and every second of this process. It was really hard. But I scribbled, underlined, added dash lines and did my best.

When I finished this stage I looked back at each of my tags and thought, “okay, these are okay. I don’t love them all but there are at least a handful of these that I like. But I feel like they’re not done. I feel like they are too bright and need more layers to tie them together.” So, it was here that I knew for sure I wanted to do a second pass. I decided to go through each of the 5 stages one more time and this time to give myself only 10 minutes per stage.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Stage 1: Paint and Ink – For my second pass of this stage, I used gesso, a brayer, paint brush, and a baby wipe.
  • Stage 2: Collage and Recycle – For my second pass of this stage, I used matte modge podge and tissue paper scraps.
  • Stage 3: Stamps and Stencils – For my second pass of this stage, I used floral stamps, black memento tuxedo ink, stencils and moulding paste.
  • Stage 4: Words and Images – For my second pass of this stage, I used prima flowers, resin flowers, and word/phrase stickers.
  • Stage 5: Pens and Pencils – For my second pass of this stage, I used black pens and markers to add finishing touches. 

And as the timer beeped on my second pass of the 5th stage, I stepped back and looked at my tags in awe. All I could think was, “these aren’t that bad!  These look amazing. I can’t believe I did this!”


I can’t believe my eyes. I’m actually a little speechless … I’m really thankful for Adele who introduced me to Shannon’s technique of Journaling by 5s. Somewhere along the line I forgot about fear, comparison, and the fact that I can’t do mixed media. Somewhere along the lines I let go of everything that was holding me back and let go.

So I want to challenge you… LET GO! Maybe trying journaling by 5s… or maybe try just playing with your supplies. If I can do it, so can you!

If you want to check out the process video you can find that here:

And friends, I’d love to see what you make. If you try…please share with me. Link your projects up below or tag me. Can’t wait to see what you create.

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1 comment

  • Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?


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