Masterboards: A Walk-Through / Tutorial

I thought I would share my process on making master boards.

If you don’t know what a master board is, it’s a decorated/patterned paper/background an artists creates to use as the base of other art projects like ATCs or journal pages. Generally it’s a good way to use up paper scraps or to cover up ugly paper you don’t like.

This master board I used 140lb water color paper but I’ve used mixed media paper, ugly scrap book paper, paper bags, book pages, etc.

Then I gathered several book pages. I like foreign text so I don’t get distracted by the words. I also like using music sheets. You could also use magazine papers, scrapbook paper, or any other papers you have.

Then I tear off the white edges. This is not necessary but I don’t like all the white space. Then I tear into smaller pieces. This is probably enough for 3-4 master boards of this size. I usually work on several at once and go back and forth as one dries.

I use collage paste to adhere the book pages down. You could use mod podge, Elmers glue, gel medium, or whatever else adhesive you like.

Then start gluing down randomly. Sometimes I cover the whole background with book pages but this time I just did a few pieces.

Now for more texture. I’ve got masking tape, dry wall tape, and notebook hole protectors.

I randomly added chunks of dry wall tape, masking tape, and hole protectors. This I just use a little. While they add texture they can interfere with paint.

After I’m done adding I add a few dots of paint and get out an old credit card or club card.

and scrap the paint around. It makes the paint go on in very thin layers and dries quickly
If paint pools up around the dry wall tape you can use a bit of paper towel to blot.

Then I dip the edge of the car in paint and press onto the paper to create lines.
After I did this I decided this green was not dark enough.

No matter, it can be covered up.

I scrape in the too light paint and use a chunk of sponge to sponge on a darker color. And added some lines using my card.

Then for more texture/interest I gathered some more bits of paper: tissue paper, napkin, and pattern paper. I forgot to take a pic of these pieces glued down.

Then time for even more texture. I decided to do a comparison between heavy gesso (top) , modeling paste (right) and a cheaper alternative: drywall spackling (left). The spackling looks dry and crumbly.

But once I added in paint they all had about the same texture. I used make up sponges to stencil it on. I’ve also used old credit cards, paint palette knives and plastic knives. Whatever is on hand.

With the leftover pastes I used my old card to scrap onto pages in my current art journal. Now I have some prepped pages for later.

Then I got out my bottle caps and black and white paint to make circles.

Then I add water to my black and white paint and use a paint brush to flick on spots. A toothbrush is also good for this.

I’m almost done but didn’t want the white spaces at the edges so I used a makeup sponge and sponged a bit of yellow paint where there were gaps.

I don’t know how those YouTube artists keep such clean work areas. I made a mess and accidentally set my phone in paint.


Thank you for this! I am always so envious of your paper crafting skills, so it was so fun to see your thought process and how you create your magic!


WOW!! This really is so helpful. Thank you for sharing!


Thank you for sharing…masterboards are always a fun way to use up stuff and just go a bit crazy…there is no such thing as a mistake…plus, when you really feel like making something, you have a head start…ATCs, journal pages, notecards, bookmarks…so many things can start with a masterboard base…it is magic!

I never thought to use drywall tape…I wish I had known…I left a bunch of it when I sold my house…grrr…I want it back now!


Now I know the secret to your cool textures! :smile: I’ll be keeping an eye out for drywall tape now! Thank you for sharing your process, it was fun to read and look through! I’m inspired to document my own process next time :slightly_smiling_face:


I never thought to put the paint directly on the board and manipulate it! Or use gift cards, or masking tape, or…:woman_facepalming: Thanks so much for the look behind the curtain.


Gorgeous. And if I hadn’t been told about the phone mishap, I would have thought that there were green dancing ladies on a fancy designer phone :slight_smile:


Your masterboards are amazing and it is super helpful to see how they’re made. Thanks for taking the time to document the process :slight_smile:


Thanks for your lovely tutorial!
Your masterboard looks great.


I like using every day things. I do splurge on real art supplies but use random bits when I can. And I either put my glue and paint directly on my working surface or my craft mat.

I see the ladies now! Now I want to cover it with something so the paint doesn’t wear off!


I hope it works! :smile:


Thanks for showing your step by step, I love being able to watch over your shoulder! Your process is different from mine but also sort of similar, if that makes any sense. I do a lot of stamping in between layers of paint and glue. Maybe even some sewing here and there, that works better if fabric’s been added. I flick all over with gold paint at the end usually, I bought a giant bottle of the stuff and have been trying to use it up :laughing:


I can already tell I’m going to reference this post a lot! Love your mix of materials and unconventional tools.

Thank you for sharing!

Yes! Oh man the possibilities!

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The first time I ever did it it was with fabric based on this tutorial from… the dead place :cry:


I also like to do fabric masterboards using stamps, paints, bottle caps, inks, etc. The stitching part is what makes it appealing to me.

What I like about this is using tapes and how paint is applied! I am sure I can find some expired credit cards or old insurance cards!

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So cool! Thank you for showing us. Now I want to try.

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Love all the details, process, and commentary. This is a money tute! Makin it rain with all those thoughts!! :moneybag: :cloud_with_rain:

:shamrock: :metal: :four_leaf_clover:


I’ve been wondering about master boards so thank you for this :smiley:
I can also see some fabric masterboards in my future - what a fabulous way to use all the tiny scraps I’ve been producing recently. Thinking net each side to catch everything before stitching, or the water soluble stabilizer :joy:


I use the stabilizer and love it! Fabric made this way is really heavy due to all of the stitching needed to catch all the pieces…but it is a good base for prayer flags, fabric journal pages, etc. I used a very thin tulle once and did not like the murky look…but it was easy to fix with paint…


I used tulle to hold fabric confetti in place for a mini art quilt, black against the dark background, white for the lighter background. It worked out great. I think the bigger netting becomes more invisible than the more solid stuff.