arts and crafts

Colorful DIY Creations Using Gel Pens

Gel Pens
Gel pens are fun to use, with vibrant colors and an easy flow that doesn't require shaking. They are also archival, waterproof, resistant to fading, and more easily washable than oil-based inks. What many people don't realize is these pens are incredibly versatile, instantly shifting from lettering to coloring to crafting on a variety of surprising surfaces. Here are some popular uses and DIY projects that can be created using gel pens.


Journaling has exploded in popularity in recent years, but this isn't your typical diary! Journals provide a great way to unwind, de-stress, and document your day. Before you get started on a journal, you should choose your notebook. Some journals are fancy with pre-structured prompts and illustrations, but it's even more fun to create your own from scratch and allow your personal artistry to shine. A notebook with lined paper gives you a bit more structure with built-in guides for straight lettering. Unlined paper provides a literal blank page for you to fill with pictures, text, and stickers - the sky's the limit! Trending now is the black paper journal, and gel pens are the perfect thing to create striking, colorful designs on a black background where traditional pens just won’t work.
  • Bullet journal: The bullet journal is a way to briefly log events, lists, and diary entries in a succinct, bulleted method.
  • List-making journal: Use a daily list formula to create a diary. An example might be to list five things you saw, felt, and did that day.
  • One-line-a-day journal: If you can't commit to the time requirements of journaling, this is a great option - one line to summarize your day. This could be a quote, an important memory, or a funny story.
  • Stream-of-consciousness journal: This technique encourages you to put your pen to paper and just write down whatever flows.
  • Art journaling: If you are a collector of keepsakes and quotations, this may be the journal for you. Similar to scrapbooking, the art journal can include drawings, stickers, small photos, and phrases to commemorate an event or a day.


Gel pens are great for writing, but even more perfect for coloring. The premium gel ink ensures a smooth feel and precise application of color without smears or skips. The smaller nibs of gel pens provide better control of the pen, allowing for easier detailing and coloring in tight spaces. Here are some tips for optimizing your coloring pages, whether you're using pre-lined designs or your own original artwork:
  1. Work with smudges: Ink flows quickly from gel pens, which allows you to paint with the ink when it pools. Use a small paintbrush to create fading, or blend colors to create a gradient effect.
  2. Include special effects: Utilize glitter gel pens to trace or color fine lines to make an object pop.
  3. Vary your strokes: Adding little dots or lines in a drawing creates a hatching or stippling effect. Combining with other tools like markers or crayons can add contrast to your coloring pages. Experiment with filling in your coloring space using small circles, long or short strokes, or even diagonal strokes for a unique effect.

Using Your Coloring Pages

After you've finished your coloring pages, don't leave them in the book. Try one of these creative DIY crafts for your finished product:
  • Fold coloring pages into gift bags.
  • Use coloring pages as wrapping paper for gifts.
  • Create gift tags using a punch-out shape or cutting into rectangles.
  • Do your coloring on cardstock to create postcards or bookmarks (cut a narrow strip out of the design, punch a hole in the top and add a tassel).
  • Use Mod Podge to transfer a colorful design to a glass plate to create a beautiful centerpiece or special trinket holder.
  • Use a large glass marble to trace a circle on your coloring page, then cut out the circle and glue it to the back of the marble, colored side up so you can see the design through the marble. Glue a magnet to the backside of the paper, and you've got a one-of-a-kind magnet to hold more coloring pages on your fridge!
  • Design your own unique furniture with decoupage. Glue your coloring pages to furniture using Mod Podge, cover it with three coats of Mod Podge on top, and finish with a few coats of polycrylic seal.
  • Create conversation starters with your own designer coasters. Follow the same instructions as for furniture, but use ceramic tiles.
  • Decorate boring plastic or clay planters with your designs by gluing them on and covering with Mod Podge. What a great use for floral coloring pages!

Canvas Projects

Gel pens are not just for paper; they work beautifully on canvas and are perfect for creating colorful projects on:
  • Shoes: write or draw on canvas sneakers with colorful gel pens to create one-of-a-kind footwear
  • Bags: create a canvas tote with an eye-catching design made with gel pens
  • Wall art: use an art canvas to create an original piece of art that can be framed and gifted or hung in your own home

Kindness Rocks

A fun DIY trend that has been sweeping through communities worldwide is kindness rocks: decorate small rocks with beautiful designs and inspirational messages, and hide them throughout the town. Some people make a scavenger hunt with them, and others just leave them as a way to make people smile. To create these fun art pieces with gel pens, coat them first with a layer of acrylic paint as a base, then use sparkle or regular gel pens to draw flowers, animals, or geometric shapes - the sky's the limit! The following are some examples of uplifting messages that can be lettered on these rocks:
  • Be Awesome Today
  • Follow Your Bliss
  • I Am Enough
  • Live, Laugh, Love
  • It's Cool to be Kind
  • Good Vibes Only
  • Carpe Diem
  • Dream Big
  • Inhale, Exhale
  • Love Yourself
Gel markers are smooth, versatile, and easy to use on a variety of surfaces. Start with coloring pages or other paintable surfaces, and create some fantastic projects for gifts or for your own enjoyment. Shop OOLY to start opening up your imagination today!

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