Creative Journaling Toolkit – Basic Journaling Techniques: Adding words

This part is fun! We are going to add words to our backgrounds now, so grab your pens and alphabet stamps and let’s go!

Stamping Techniques

Here are some super simple ways to use your alphabet stamps in your journal.

Use the stamps to highlight an extract from your writing:

when will i feel like an adult

Use stamps to add a quote to your page:


Use stamps to write out an affirmation or words of encouragement:

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Use stamps to create a heading for your page:

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Use stamps to write out a journaling prompt, then answer by hand:


Mix up different stamps sets to create visual interest:

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Here is an example of me using different sized stamp sets for a journal entry. It takes a while but gets you thinking about what you are saying:

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Combine stamps and hand lettering:

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You can’t go wrong – just play with your stamps and see what you can do!

Lettering Techniques

I’d like to begin this section by stating that I’m not a professional hand-letterer or calligrapher. There are so many amazing things you can do with hand lettering, and I just don’t have the patience to learn.

Instead, I do my own messy version of ‘fake’ calligraphy using my Molotow paint pen, which you’ll see in the video below. I have spent a bit of time working on my handwriting so that I actually like it, plus I add a few little swirls and details to make it more interesting:

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I also really love working with my Pentel Pocket Brush pen. This is the pen with real bristles, so it takes a little more practice to get a look you like, because the bristles are harder to control than just a pen tip. But I always love how it turns out – usually messy!

One of the best ways I love to get an interesting look is to have a combination of really thick strokes and thin strokes. For it to look more natural, be sure to do the thick lines on the down stroke in your writing, and the thin lines on the upstrokes.

Here are some examples:

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Once you are comfortable doing lettering with the brush pen, you can try it with a regular paint brush of a similar size/shape, dipped in ink or watercolour:

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There are also lots of simple lettering techniques you can do with a basic pen.

You can do the same style of  ‘fake’ calligraphy lettering as the one in the video with almost any pen – it doesn’t have to be a paint pen (although that works really well over the top of acrylic paint). The image below is done with a normal fine-tipped pen straight onto the page:


This is done with a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen in small tip. These also work well over the paint:


You can also do a simple outline of block letters with a fine pen for your lettering. It can look quite childlike, which I really like:


You can fill in the blocks, too:

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Another thing you can do is alternate different types of lettering – this can create a nice effect. Use a fine-tipped pen to do the outlines of letters – alternate between capital and lower case letters for visual interest. Then do some of the letters in the script style we have been doing:

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Practice playing with your handwriting, adding in swirls and other details where you want. Find people who do hand lettering that you love on Instagram and practice doing lettering like them. Once you become comfortable with doing this, you’ll have your own style you can use on anything.

Other Things You Can Try

There are so many different things you can do – just experiment!

Try writing on different angles, or in different shapes:

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Cut out words from books or magazines to add to your pages:

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Write or do lettering inside a box on the page:

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Play and have fun with your words in your journal!