How to keep art journal pages from sticking together?

by Susi Richardson
(Concord, NH)

Mixed Media Art Questions


Hi Milliande,

I have been loving Art Journaling January!

You have tended to use both inks and acrylics on your art journal pages, so this may not be a great issue for you, but in the past when I've done art journal round robins and in my own books, too, when the pages are made with a lot of acrylic paints and/or medium they tend to stick together, especially over time, often pulling up the paper by accident (big bummer!).

Is the best way to avoid this by favoring inks and collage papers or is there another solution for pages that are top heavy on paint? I have seen a protective sheet inserted between pages, but that's less than ideal for appreciating a 2-page spread...

I'd love to hear yours and others' thoughts on this.

A thousand thanks,


Mixed Media Art Questions answered by Milliande

Hi Susi,

and I am glad you are inspired by Art Journal January ..

~ As to your question ... I think it depends on what type of paints are used, how long gel medium is left to dry between different layers on your art journal page and what temperatures one works in to start with

~ I often use a heat gun in my art journal, simply to speed up the drying time and it often adds a sort of curing effect to the paint too , but it can make the art journal paper buckle a bit under the heat ..

~ When i prepare pages in altered book journals I put a sheet of non stick paper , such as used for cooking etc in between as the pages are drying .. that when there is a residue left tends to not stick .. works well with pre gessoing too

~ However transporting an art journal can bring other issues with it ..
Most paints need some time to fully cure before they are less sticky ... gel mediums that are matte tend to dry less sticky then their gloss equivalent

~ So if I wanted my art journal to travel , folded and pressed etc.. i would leave each page to cure for about a week if I had used acrylic gel mediums , paints etc ..

~ Sometimes it is also worth playing around with a thin coat of matte spray varnish ..which i often use to protect watercolours in my art journal from smudging if I want to add gel medium etc on top ... it can also be useful for sealing in slightly sticky pages... but may give the page a sheen ..

~ Another option to experiment with is to used something like a pastel spray fixative.. as used on top of pastel pencils and sticks .. again just a soft top layer that may prevent the sticking

Looking forward what other artists suggest

hope this helps
♥ milliande

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Aug 23, 2015
Sticky journal pages... NEW
by: Anonymous

I love using thick layers of gloss gel medium thru stencils and heavy structure gels, but they dry flexible and sticky when thickly applied since that's really not their intended use. I have been seeking a way to avoid the pages from sticking and then RIPPING, often ruining my work, especially a bummer on those lovely two page spreads. So here's what I've been playing around with that SO FAR SEEMS to be working: with those thick applications of gel mediums as through stencils, and glitter glues: I coat over them once they have thoroughly dried with CLEAR NAIL HARDENER. Also, I have been using hairspray misted LIGHTLY over my gel mediums. Spraying with a clear lacquer works also, but make sure you don't mind a glossy finish and make sure you won't be adding any more to your pages... As once lacquered, they are very officially FINISHED.

Oct 04, 2013
Using a glaze medium NEW
by: Jocelyn

I have been going through every product mentioned above and then some attempting to find the one product that cures this sticky situation. I've researched a lot with yahoo groups and we find that the weather conditions where you live can effect it as well. SO what works in a dry desert area doesn't work in a humid area. Here are a few things I have experienced. Using a heat gun on glue sealers where there might be a brush stroke of glue thicker than the rest... the heat from the gun can make the glue sticker more than drying. I would reccomend just letting it take it's time to air dry and maybe use a pin to prick those little ridges and bubbles to let air in for drying. Or use cold air from a hari dryer.. much better. Wax.. just be careful if using any heat source on, behind.. or even a few pages a way as it could remelt the wax on previous pages.. causing the facing pages to fuse together. My next to last product was a gel medium. I love the finish but again.. minor sticking. But I think I may have stuck paydirt. I watched a video by Pam Carriker and she used a Glaze Medium, diluted with water and color to a watercolor look to add color to her journal backgrounds. So.. I went and bought some and I LOVE it! By diluting it, the finish on the page is more of a matte pearlescent look. I prefer matte finishes, butthis finih really appeals to me. You can use it as is out of the bottle and it will have a shinier look. But ita great finish and so stickiness at all. It will still run the color if you use it over waterbased ink sprays.. but it was the least amount of all the projects I've done.

Jan 15, 2011
using wax to finish page
by: Anonymous

I have found that I can apply a layer of Dorland's Wax over the page when it's completely finished...let it harden, and then buff to a nice sheen. It gives the page a wonderful finish that does not stick together and it also seems to bring back the richness of color to the acrylic paint!

Aug 15, 2010
Sticky pages in an Art Journal
by: Anonymous

To keep "Yes Paste" from sticking in my art journal pages, I sometimes dust the page VERY LIGHTLY with corn starch. I then use a clean soft brush over the page.

Jan 07, 2010
LOTS of options!
by: Susi

Wow, so many potential solutions to try out -- thanks for the numerous detailed suggestions, Milliande! Like Lorrie, I think I may not have done enough "curing" in the past. Today I incorporated some graphite on the left side of a journal spread and some wax crayons on the right...time to give a spray fixative a try! ...with a test sample, because I tend to err on the side of caution. Though I must say that your example, Milliande, of playing and experimenting so freely encourages me to loosen up...

Jan 06, 2010
by: Lorrie

Hi Suzi -
thanks so much for asking this question. I was wondering the same thing. After reading Milliande's suggestions I think that I haven't been letting mine cure long enough! I'm also going to give spray fixative a try. Thanks again for asking & thanks Milliande for answering.

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