Canvas Sketchbooks - Juniper Home

Canvas Sketchbooks


For gifts this year, the kids made personalized journals for their teachers.

I picked up a few of these canvas sketchbooks from Blicks. I LOVE them and can’t wait to get a few more to play around with. The inside pages are not lined, which I love (though nothing beats graph paper for me!). And the canvas cover can be customized with basically any medium you can come up with – markers, crayons, paints, stamps,  etc.

We thought about using paint, but Chartpak markers seemed like a fun choice.


I taped off the paper edges to protect against stray marks.


The girls and I talked a little about what they were going to draw, we did a little sketching first and then  I let them do their thing. They drew the outlines first with fine point sharpies.


And then colored in with the Chartpak markers. The markers bled a lot outside the sharpie lines, but it was fine. Who wants a perfectly-in-the-lines coloring job anyway?


Evie made one too and it ended up being a very pretty, dreamy abstract. I think Heather is going to keep it.
The notebooks were such a hit with the teachers. The kids drew stories and pictures of what each teacher will be doing during the summer.
Claire’s pre-k teacher, Al, is also a film maker (he is seriously the coolest, nicest teacher). He’s making this super hip indie film this summer about a man that leaves his wallet and his phone in his office building late one night and gets locked out. He has to walk all the way home to Brooklyn with empty pockets and he has lots of adventures along the way. I can’t wait to see it when Al’s finished. Claire drew a picture of him filming on the streets of NYC, and she and Evie “just happen to be walking down the sidewalk” and they get filmed too (Claire’s words – that kid!)
Gracie also had a really special teacher this year, Miranda, who we will love forever. It’s crazy how involved these lovely people are with our kids and then, bam, one day it’s over and they’re done. That can be hard to digest for kids, teachers and parents alike.
Miranda is summering in Spain and Morocco, so Grace drew a picture of her teacher taking a cab to the airport (Grace is waving goodbye from our building). And on the back side, Miranda is riding a camel in Morocco by the beach.

I made one for myself and used a blender marker to add in some water marks. Looks sort of like tie dye, right? I like it. The back side (with the bright orangey red, below), is my favorite.
Anyway, I feel like the possibilities are endless with these canvas-bound sketchbooks! I’m going to try some patterns next. Maybe like a Les Touches-esque stylized leopard print? Or a faux bois… or malachite… Tortoise shell…


What did you think?
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66 thoughts on “Canvas Sketchbooks

  1. These are WONDERFUL!

    I think you could sell the girls journals, for sure people would buy them…they are so charming, and the style/bleeding markers is pretty much the best thing ever!

    Seriously? You should write a few stories and let them illustrate them…I bet you could find a publisher! (Not that I know anything, but I am thoroughly charmed!)

  2. Genious!
    I like the idea to entertain the kids in this way, creating something creative and fun and making something useful and personal for someone special.


  3. You better open up a shop for you and your talented gals. Little Women would be a nice name.
    I bet all the teachers fight over your daughters.
    great gift.

  4. Amazingness!! Love these- this is must do project- and I had never heard of those markers- gotta check it out! what a special gift for their teachers!!

  5. This is probably one of my favorite posts ever..such creativity abounds in your family! Looks as though you have some budding artists there. I agree that there could be a market for these lovely journals. In the meantime I am inspired to do something of this nature! Blessings!

  6. I used to LOVE get a blank bound notebook like that when I was in middle and high school. One I filled with torn pages from my Seventeen, Teen, YM and Sassy magazines — others I filled with lines from my favorite movies. I kept lists of trips my family had taken. I still have these books. Fantastic idea!!

  7. This is the best idea. Too bad we just finished school and didn't have a chance to make these for our wonderful teachers. Next year for sure!

  8. How cool are these journals?! Your children's teachers are going to treasure these forever. I'm in awe. Love your tie-dye effect and your future journal ideas. Your creativity is boundless!

  9. This is SO sweet. Getting a gift like that would probably make me cry, especially the fact that they drew something personal to the teachers. And they look really great!

  10. I love absolutely everything about this! And I am super impressed with the kids' drawing abilities! I'll bet those teachers were thrilled.

  11. Yes to graph paper!! I'm hooked on it, and I don't even use it for drawing! I love the idea of making personalized notebooks, I bet their teachers are going to be really touched by the gesture! xo

  12. What a lovely idea! Its such a beautiful "keep sake" item to have. Can you do a tutorial on how you did your notebook with the water color markers?

  13. This is fantastic, what I found the most adorable was to see how your girls drew big tall buildings. It's a testament to the fact that kids are a product of their environment. My kids have never spent much time in big cities so their drawings are of beaches and flowers or surfers.

    I love to see how kids become who they are and how their characters and dreams are shaped.

  14. Love, love, love this crafty gift idea! And your daughters are amazing artists! I am so sad right now that they closed down the Pearl Art center that was forever on LI otherwise I'd run there tomorrow for some of these journals. Thanks for the great post :-)

  15. same as everyone else, i love this idea. im sure the teachers were blown away by these thoughtful creative gifts. and yours? wow, i must make one of those. my little notebook just got soaked by water, so i need a new one:) would love a detailed tut about how you did this!

  16. so adorable! i wondered where my teachers got these when i was in elementary school. it was one of the things that made me want to become a writer when i was younger and wrote/drew in these! such a great experience for kids.

  17. Holy snot, what a great idea! I was just thinking about how to customize some plain white magazine holders from ikea. I could use the markers and blender to make a watery blue and green patterns on them to go with the waterside colors in my office.

  18. These are super cool. Your daughters' designs look like something whimsical that would be sold at Target. Your watercolor-y version was beautiful too. It made me think of that watercolored wallpaper that I've seen on Pinterest. Beautiful gifts, all around.

  19. These are amazing, like everyone is saying. But I'm wondering if the paint becomes waterproof after it dries, or if these need to be taken a little extra care of.

  20. This is so wonderful and creative! Thank you for sharing this. I love the idea of allowing children to create their own drawings from their creative minds. What a truely special gift.
    Good job mom!

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