Journaled Jeans Tutorial




I’ve worn my Journaled Jeans a couple of times since I created them, and every time I put them on I get great comments and questions from people asking how I made them. The simple answer is this: Grab a pair of jeans, some fabric paint, a Sharpie marker and dive in.

Actually, I’ve been planning to do a tutorial of my jeans ever since my sweet “adopted” daughter (my best friend’s girl whom I’ve known since she was 1 years old) and I spent a crafting day over the winter break together. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it done before CHA or Tucson, but now that I’m home for a while, I’m catching up on things. Better late than never! So let’s get started.



Jen’s Painted and Journaled Jeans



Prepare your work surface. Place plastic garbage bags on your work table and cut pieces of recycled cardboard to fit into the legs of the jeans. This will provide a barrier so the fabric paint does not seep into the back of the jeans as you’re working on the front. Here’s Macy pulling out all the supplies and opening them. Kit Kat is being helpful crafty kitty. She meowed loudly in protest when we pulled her off the table to prep the work surface.

Art jeans Tutorial getting supplies ready

I knew that I didn’t want a hard edge to my jeans and that I also did not want the paint to cover the entire pant leg. I made my own jagged edge stencil out of ripped Viva paper towels and taped the edge to the jeans using masking tape.

Art Jeans Viva Paper Towel Stencil

Next I started to paint a base layer of color with my Soft Fabric Paint using a brush. I have to admit I was hoping for something that had more of a gesso like consistency to it. These paints are very soft and silky, which is lovely, but I had to use a lot of the bottle (about 3/4) to get a base layer. I also put down my paintbrush and switched to using my hands to really rub the color into the jeans. Macy thought I was crazy for getting in with my hands and she decided to stick to using her foam paintbrush. She later remembered that finger painting could be fun!

We let the base layer dry for about an hour (passing the time by making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Gotta keep those teenagers busy!) and then came back to our project for the next layer. I placed the Stencil Girl stencils where I wanted them and then spritzed with the Tulip Fabric Spray Paint. I had to go really heavy-handed here to get an intense amount of color on the jeans. This was another messy step. Jen's Art Jeans Stencil Step

At this point I was not feeling my jeans that much. I had bought my BFF Colleen (Macy’s mom) a pair of jeans for her birthday to trick out as well. I decided to switch over to a new pair for a while and give mine a chance to dry while I figured out where I wanted to take them next. Macy continued working on hers.

Macy's Art Jeams

I did almost the same process described above on Colleen’s pair. The only difference was I used the end of a paint brush to scratch into the wet paint and also I felt this need to fling paint splatters everywhere on the one leg. Macy told me I needed to add a green ribbon since her mama is a survivor of Lymphoma. (This is another story for another time, but Colleen was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma cancer last summer when I was teaching in Chicago. She underwent chemotherapy and declared Cancer free before Christmas).

Art Jeans for Colleen, Lymphoma Survivor

I switched back to my jeans when the paint was dry and added some paint splatters and then color and stencils to the bottom back of the pant leg since I wanted my design to wrap around the pant leg. After this we’d been crafting jeans for about two hours and were ready to take a break.

The next day our paint layers were dry so we decided to finish up our jeans. Macy took the Tulip fabric paint in neon colors and made some fun, puffy paint doodles. They were perfect for a 16-year-old. Here’s Kit Kat being helpful kitty again and taking a nap on the jeans. Funny how she knew to lay on the non-painted leg.

Macy's finished jeans with cat

I decided to get out my wide width and regular Sharpie markers and start doodling. I would have loved to use the Tulip Fabric Markers, but I didn’t have any of them available to work with. To Colleen’s jeans I added the words “Live Life” and some hearts. To mine I added “Love Art” running down the right hand seam. I wanted to show you the mistake I did to the O in Love. I came back with my black Sharpie after it dried and gave it a nice thick scalloped border around that O with another layer and fixed it right up! I also drew a few more random flowers and circles and lines on mine just to give it the “journaled” feel I was going for.

Art Jeans Colleen

Jen Journaled Jeans Mistake O

Jen's Finished Journaled Jeans Detail

You have to wait at least 2 days for the paint to fully dry and cure before washing. I gave mine a week just to be sure. These jeans are my new favorites. I plan to wear them to every teaching gig I do, simply because they are artsy and because they make me smile. Living an artful life means embracing creativity in all corners of your existence. Your home, your wardrobe, your way of being. If you have a few hours to spare on afternoon, I encourage you to paint up a pair of your most comfortable jeans. Even if all you do is wear them in the studio, you’ll feel great. Remember, if you don’t want to do this to jeans, you can always grab your favorite apron or sweatshirt or yoga pants. Tulip fabric paints work on all these surfaces!


Another teaching photo. I always hope to find one where my mouth is not open and my hands are still. Hmmmmm...still waiting on that one. Well, at least its apparent that I take my job as an educator seriously. You will get lots of information in my classes.

Another pic of my jeans from my ICE Resin FUNdamentals class at CHA Winter 2015



Hoping you are having an awesome week.







Happy Love Day

AtAGlanceJenCushmanheart XOXOXOXO

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days. Not because of the Hallmark commercial aspect of it, but just because I love the idea of a Day of Love. You know how I feel about this subject. It’s my most favorite word and my most favorite emotion. Nothing in the world beats Love. All you need is Love. Love Makes the World go Around. Etcetera, etcetera. I’ve actually been accused of using the word love too much. Whatever.

I was recently working on new art samples for my Vivid Wire Links class, which is an offshoot of my successful Links, Clasps. Components and Chain workshop that I teach. Vivid Links is a condensed version of the wire links (fewer links) but with the addition of cold enameling (Iced Enamels + ICE Resin). I shared Work in Progress steps of the necklace on Instagram, but wanted to wait until Valentine’s Day for the reveal of the piece. Everything about this necklace to me screams Happy LOVE Day. AtAGlanceJenCushman Here are the pics I put on Instagram showing Step 1 in the process. The bezel ( pic below) has two layers of imagery and resin built up and the links are made from 16g copper wire.

AtAGlanceStep1 Next Step (pic below) with a third layer of imagery and cold enameling on the bezel and wire links. Obviously red is the dominant theme here. AtAGlanceStage2 If you’re interested in learning to make something like this, be sure to check out my website and click into Workshops to see where I’m teaching this year. I’ll be in Los Angeles, Houston, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Paris. Possibly back to Texas – Austin — in October. I know many of you have asked about online classes. It’s just not something I’ve been able to pull off considering my teaching/family schedule and ICE Resin responsibilities. However, it’s something I want to do and make time for. Maybe as the time draws nearer, I”ll do a survey to see which ones you’re most interested in so I know where to begin the process.

Here’s wishing you the most Artful Day of Love. I hope you can share it with a special partner, family member or BFF. JenSig

I’m up on Creative Jump Start 2015

CJSOutOfTheBoxEditionRemember me telling you that I was contacted by my fab artist friend Nathalie Kalbach and asked if I’d be part of her super cool annual project called Creative Jump Start with other amazing artists/crafters? (If not, here’s a link to my blog post about it.) Well, the time has come for my video to join my friends’ videos.

To be fair to Nat and all the people who paid to sign up and be inspired all throughout the month of January, I’m not going to post the video for free here on my blog. However, it is time to finally reveal pics of my project. (If you’re at the CHA Show in Anaheim right now, be sure to stop by the ICE Resin Susan Lenart Kazmer booth 647 and see this baby live and on display).

I’ve had a pretty hideous piece of soft Samsonite luggage in my studio for a couple of years now that I bought at a yard sale for $1. I’ve always had the intention of making it an art piece, but just never seemed to get around to it. That is until Nat told me this year’s theme is Think Outside the Box. I know I’ve seen some painted luggage before, but I’ve not done it myself yet so I thought it was enough outside-the-box to qualify. Of course, you know I had to put ICE Resin on it after I painted that sucker with Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics. (Yum, they went on like butter!).


Since I’m always the teaching artist as well as a working one, I had to leave one side completely unfinished. I want people to see what it looked like in its original state and Ta Da!!!! afterwards. The other thing about this particular piece of art is that I wanted to ensure that viewers of CJS got an accurate look into my authentic art process. I did not work out in my head the colors or sketch the design of this piece before I began. I went into it like I usually begin. With a visual in my brain and a passion for getting my hands to do what my mind’s eye sees and my heart feels. That’s it. If you watch the video, you’ll hear more of my narration on this.


My supplies for this project are pretty simple. A suitcase. Three bottles of Liquitex soft body paints in Red, Blue and Yellow (so I could custom mix any colors), Black and White paint, a couple of paint brushes, couple of Liquitex paint pens, 2 Stencil Girl stencils (one of them Nat’s design) and ICE Resin.

If you’ve signed up for Creative Jump Start 2015 I hope you’re enjoying the videos so far. There’s still LOTS more amazing people and ideas to come. If you’re interested and want to learn more, here is Nathalie’s page. I believe you can still use my personal code cjsnewsiceresin to get a $5 discount off the price.  Note: This code is only good until Jan. 15th.

For those of you who’re already enjoying CJS15 and who might just have discovered me….welcome! I am so excited to have you visiting my blog for the first time. If you like what you see, please subscribe.


Here’s wishing everyone an Artful rest of your week!



A little behind the scenes filming pics


Action shot of me talking about the stamped metal and mica pendant that I’ll be showing how to make. You can see my books and DVD on the side table. Garrett moved me to a jeweler’s bench for this project rather than the big table that I needed for my other mixed-media home decor videos.

I cannot believe it’s 2 days until Christmas! Where did the time fly? I swear it feels like it was just Thanksgiving, doesn’t it? It’s also hard to believe I had not one, but two trips in between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The first was a whirlwind trip to the ICE Resin home office in Ohio for a couple of days for an important meeting and then the second trip was to Fort Collins, Colorado for two days of filming at F+W for Craft Daily.

It was a little odd to be back in Denver. I was there last year to do my video Breaking Out of the Mold with Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. That’s when the home office was in Loveland and was still part of Interweave even though F+W had already acquired it. There’s been lots of changes in the past year as things are getting much more integrated, including a whole new office complex and filming studio in Fort Collins. Of course, I had seen images of the new studio since that’s where my friends Jenn Mason and Julie Fei-Fan Balzer shot the Mixed-Media Workshop. It’s one thing to see it on your computer screen or iPad and entirely different thing to see it in person and also be the “talent”.


Ted taking a shot of my final piece for the marketing department and my editor.

In two days, I shot four new videos for Craft Daily. I’ll be showing people how to make a vintage message board with cast ICE Resin hardware; an air-dry clay with wings collage using ICE Resin; an out-of-the-box vintage book hook where I take the fork bracelet from my book Making Metal Jewelry and turn it into a vintage book hook and, finally, a metal stamped vintage photo/mica pendant with handmade wire chain using Art Mechanique metal sheet and wire. I’m not exactly sure when these videos are planning to air, but I’ll be sure to let you know the details as I know them.


Notice the camera overhead? This one gets the hands shots and see exactly what I see from the same vantage point. There are two other cameras going as well. One that is being operated by Brian and zooming in on action and then one straight on looking at me.

The fun and different thing for me this time with the filming is that F+W now hires a professional makeup artist to come in each morning and do the talent’s makeup. (I have to keep using that word because I chuckled when I heard people referring to me that way). Her name is Keegan and she’s a crack up. It was the first time I’ve had my foundation airbrushed on my face and then contouring done to bring up my cheekbones. She asked me if I wanted to try individual false eyelashes and I immediately responded, “Sure, that sounds fun!” I sooo like to try new things and have new experiences that I’m usually game for just about anything the first time. I have to admit the eyelashes made me feel kinda girlie and dressed up. I even decided to try a little harmless flirting as Garrett was getting my mike set.

There were also two lovely ladies on the set to ensure that I had anything I wanted or needed. Tamara helped me with all my step outs and my projects. She brought me hot tea for my throat and lozenges (I started to get a sore throat my second day of filming. My son came down with it the day before). She was kind and generous and really made sure I had everything at hand while the cameras were running. Jill was also there as another behind-the-scenes person who ordered my lunch each day, took process photos, photos with my camera for my own blog, and generally ran through the F+W checklist of everything marketing needs to complete its job. Everyone kept telling me that I was a pro and doing a great job. I’m sure they say that to all the talent, but it was a little ego boost to get kudos for doing well.


The team! From Left to right: Jill, Tamara, Keegan, me, Brian and Ted. Every single person was a total pro and made the whole thing run smooth from A to Z. Garrett was on another beading video shoot this morning so he’s not in the pic, but he is so cool. I worked with him on m last DVD shoot.

When I posted a couple of pics on my Facebook page, a friend and fellow artist of mine asked if filming is nerve wracking. The thing is that the first 15 minutes are horrible. I think even to the most seasoned of pros. Once the jitters settled down and I started to talk and teach to the camera just as if it were one of my students, things went much smoother. By the time Day 2 came, it was pretty much old hat and I could have stayed there for the rest of the week just doing what I do.


End of day one filming and holding up my mixed-media heart collage. There are so many techniques in this class. I incorporated techniques from ceramics, paper crafting, resin and jewelry making into this collage.

I did have a moment back in my hotel room where I was just hanging out thinking about the day. That made me remember when I made the decision to pursue mixed-media as a full time career and then fully dedicating myself to living the artist’s life. I made the decision in November 2006. It’s now December 2014, and I can honestly say I have checked off every goal I set for myself in the beginning. I’ve had opportunities I never dreamed of come from my decision to work hard and show up every single day. I never once wrote in my goals list that I wanted to make videos for the largest arts/crafts publisher, but it happened. Seriously???? Whaaaatttt??? Incredible!


All cleaned up and lights out. Ready for the next artist to arrive and get to work. There are some amazing folks lined up to teach for Craft Daily. If you love learning new art techniques, you’ll want to keep an eye on this website.

I know from meeting some of you at CHA or Tucson or the other shows we do that you read my blog just to see what I’m up to. I also hear feedback that you like it when I talk about some of the behind the scenes stuff. I know it can all seem so surreal. Cameras and microphones and studio sets and green rooms. Honestly, it’s surreal to me when I stop and think about it. On the other hand, though, it’s perfectly normal. For me, making art means education. What I get to do is talk about art in small group settings like retreats, or one on one via a camera. Talking about art and making art = Dreams Come True.

I hope that in these final hours of counting down to the Holidays that you are feeling a sense of accomplishment, joy and creativity in your own lives. Don’t forget that you’re the “talent” in your own lives. If nothing else for 2015, buy yourself a pair of eyelashes and see what it feels like to flutter them at someone. Shushhh, don’t tell my husband, but I’m putting this on my to do list some time next year. I want to see if he even notices.


Off to Film at F+W in Colorado


I’ve been a little quiet the past week on my social media and blog because I’ve been concentrating and working like a little elf in my studio for an upcoming project with F+W where I’ll be filming four online classes for Craft Daily. I leave Tuesday morning (Dec. 16th) and will be there for the remainder of the week.

I wish I could tell you or even show you what I’ve been working on, but, unfortunately I’m not allowed to reveal anything. I just couldn’t help myself though so I’m showing you an extreme sneak peek of one of the projects. Can you guess what it is? (bottom pic) I will be talking more about these projects in the future so please subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.

What I can say is that I had a blast making these and working on the upcoming filming. I incorporated so many mixed media paint-y, inky, ICE Resin, rubber stamping, cold enamels, casting, molding, drilling, annealing, forging, wireworking, found objects, vintage photos, riveting, air dry clay, freeform wire shaping…..and the list still goes on….into these awesome projects. I really am hopeful people love them and get a lot of education and value from my work.


If you’ve never heard of Craft Daily, it’s an online subscription-based site by F+W media chock full of how to videos and classes from some of the top names of artists and instructors in the business. Currently, there are over 350 videos to choose from. If you get a chance, check it out and see if it’s of interest to you. I’m hoping 2015 is going to be my year of videos and online classes. I’m seriously working toward this goal. This is a great step as a follow up to my Breaking Out of the Mold video (which I’m pretty sure is available currently on Craft Daily).

I’m excited to be going. Wish me luck!


Coupon code for Creative Jumpstart 2015


If you’re not familiar with CJS, it’s a one-of-a-kind online event run by Nathalie Kalbach to fire up your creativity in Jan 2015 . Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists. I’m thrilled to be one of the participating artists again. I joined Nat the very first year she began CJS and I’m so proud to see how she’s grown it better and better every year. This year’s sneak peeks from the other artists on their social media channels look amazing!

Here are the deets:

  • Throughout January participants get 25 videos from 23 featured artists. I’m proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” 
  • Head on over to Nathalie’s site to sign up and for more details:
  • You get 25 videos for just $25 (USD).
  • But wait – it gets better: if you sign up today using my personal coupon code you’ll get $5 off. Just use this coupon code during checkout: cjsnewsiceresin
  • *This code is valid until Jan. 15th, 2015

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here, and apply the coupon code during check out process

CJS 2015 is proudly sponsored by Liquitex.

Here’s wishing you an Artful day!


Rev your engines, it’s Creative Jumpstart 2015 time

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2015, run by Nathalie Kalbach. If you’re not familiar with CJS, it’s a one-of-a-kind online event to fire up your creativity in Jan 2015.

Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists and crafters. 

Throughout January participants get 25 videos from 23 featured artists. I’m proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See my intro video for yourself:

Head on over to Nathalie’s site to sign up and for more details:

You get 25 videos for just $25 (USD).

But wait – it gets better: if you sign up today you’ll get $5 off. Just use this coupon code during checkout:


*This is a limited offer valid from 9:00 am Dec 1, 2014 to 8:59 am EST on Dec 2, 2014.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here, and apply the coupon code during check out process

CJS 2015 is proudly sponsored by Liquitex.