DIY: Art Therapy Book

Hello Readers!  By now, I’m sure you’re looking outside at the snow or rain-drenched world and wishing that Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow last week.  I know I can get there at times, especially when I’ve already completed most of my Winter evening activities of reading or projects, or because I’ve grown weary from my Winter activities list and I’m looking for something new to do.

So if you’re like me, you are itching to find something to do to keep yourself occupied or to entertain your kids while still stuck indoors over the next few weeks.  And one of my favorite activities at these times is to work on my Art Therapy Book.  This is a great method to exercise your creativity, to let your kids have fun, and to use a lot of recyclables and art materials when you may have just scraps or bits and pieces.  Now, an Art Therapy Book is a Special Education concept that I learned about when I decided to take a few education classes post degree.  I had originally planned to go into education like my mother and my sister have done, but my plans changed when I learned I was going to be a mom.  And while I love being a SAHM, I still don’t regret my learning experiences.

Anyway, in Special Education, or “Sped” as it’s known in education circles, the implementation of the Art Therapy Book is used for emotional and mental concerns, and it’s a wonderful way to relieve frustrations or express yourself.  And while it is a Sped concept, this is definitely a mechanism or project that anyone can utilize to relieve any seasonal depression, anxiety, or stress.  So, here’s how it works.

First, you need a notebook.  It doesn’t have to be a special one, such as one that you would use for your Bullet Journaling.  It doesn’t even have to be a new one.  You can use your kids’ old school notebooks or composition books for this if you have one lying around.  I personally like composition books because they are a little sturdier and the lack the spiral ring in the center.  As a lefty, those metal spirals can be painful!  So, when you find your notebook, take some time to glue a couple of pages together at a time.  Take a bottle of Elmer’s glue or a glue stick, and glue two or three pages together at once.  Don’t glue all of the pages together in one lump.  The purpose behind this is to make your pages more sturdy and thick enough to handle such mediums as watercolors and markers without bleeding through and affecting your other pages.

After gluing your pages together into groups or two or three, let your notebook dry.  I will warn you that the gluing process takes a lot of time, so be patient.  The next day, you can begin working on your Art Therapy Book.  With this notebook, you can do whatever you want with regard to art.  You can use any medium you want.  I use a mixture of mediums in my art: Tempora paints (like the Crayola ones or the ones you find in art classrooms), Sharpies, Markers, Colored pencils, crayons, pens, glitter, puff paints, stickers.  I use it all, even in the same notebook.  One of my favorite supplies, however, are old magazines.

I’m sure I’m not alone in having a collection of old magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, and National Geographic.  I love the pictures, especially those with flowers or creative designs, but I hate the clutter of having these magazines just stacking up in my bookshelves.  So my Art Therapy Books are a great way to use these pictures to express what makes me happy, or calm, or relaxed.  And it uses up these old magazines at the same time.

Typically, I like to find the magazines that match the season I’m in, such as the December, January, and February ones, and I’ll flip through them to find my inspiration for my theme.  I like to stick to the seasons because I feel that each season has something that makes it special and redeeming.  Once I find my theme—such as “Snowflakes and Hearts” for Winter, or poinsettias and yuletides, etc.—then I begin cutting out those pictures and begin decorating my Art Therapy Book.  And I let my book guide me from there.

Each day or two, I’ll sit down and spend an hour on my Art Therapy Book, and I do some creative page or piece within its pages, depending on my mood.  I might decide to do a doodle or a stained glass page today.  Tomorrow I might start cutting out snowflakes from paper and glue them to the next page.  I will even use a small section to write a small note about the art or the theme’s meaning to me.  And those little hours spent creating art in my notebook often calms me down and makes me feel better about the world around me.

Now, this should be kept separate from your Bullet Journal.  The purpose of this Art Therapy Book is to create art, not to organize your life.  We all strive for a perfectly organized home and schedule, myself included.  This should be chaotic and childish.  This should be messy.  This should be your creative outlet in your life.  And I hope you will embrace it like I have in the past and like I still do today.

Until next time,

-BBM

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