Tools and Techniques

This section outlines various tools and effects you can use for creating your book of shadows pages. Various techniques will give you different results which you can tailor to your own tastes.

Paper Options


Printing Options

While these pages can be printed on nearly any type of printer, I highly recommend using a laser printer and not an inkjet style printer. Inkjet is much lower in quality and the ink is not waterproof. Using watercolors or markers with your inkjet pages may cause your designs to run and they will not resemble ink drawings as the lines are not as dark as India ink.

A laser printer prints a fine, dark line which is waterproof and durable. It easily stands up to using watercolors as well as water-based markers. The design is of the highest quality and will look the best when used in your book.


Watercolor Paints

Watercolors are excellent for use in decorating your book of shadows because they are easy to apply and have a small learning curve. They are closest to traditional decoration methods for illuminated manuscripts and it is easy to achieve very beautiful effects using them.

Any type of watercolor will work wonderfully for your book. It does not need to be a professional set. Professional watercolors are nice to have, but low-quality watercolors are all that you need for creating your own book at home. One of the perks of using professional or high-quality watercolors is lightfastness. This is how well the colors hold up to being in sunlight without fading. Books are typically not kept open often and do not sit out in the sun for long periods of time, so lightfastness is not typically an issue for a spellbook.

Simple children’s watercolors are fine to use or you can choose low-quality paints designed for adults. I have a selection of excellent, low-cost, adult brands in the link above titled, “supplies.” The Art Alternatives Watercolor Set is the one that I personally own and have used to paint the watercolor pages featured on this website.

Watercolors use water so they are prone to soaking through papers. Some paper, such as typical copier paper, cannot handle watercolors. The Southworth parchment paper, which I have used for the examples on this website, takes watercolor fairly well and does not warp or soak through, so you can use both sides of the paper without it seeping. Be sure to use watercolors lightly as too much water application may cause seepage.



Markers are also famous for seeping through many kinds of papers. Never use markers like Sharpies and stick to markers that are water-based. Watercolor markers are an excellent choice. Water-based markers are the least likely to seep through the paper. In the example images on this website, I have used Tombow markers. These are less expensive than professional brands such as Copic, however, Tombows can still be a bit costly for someone just getting started in using markers. Instead, I have included a similar style of water-based markers which are a good choice for using in adult coloring books. These can be purchased at the “supplies” link at the top of this page. Southworth parchment papers take marker well without seeping. Always test your paper before using water-based tools such as watercolors and markers.


Colored Pencil

Colored pencil is the safest coloring option when using thin or low-quality papers. They can also be an easy-to-use and mess-free alternative for any quality of paper. Many users are more comfortable with colored pencil than paints or markers. The texture of colored pencil can be more subtle and, like watercolor, is very earthy looking and easy on the eye. The pencils used above are Prismacolor, however, these are very costly and most users find that a good-quality set of colored pencils designed for adults suits them perfectly.

When using colored pencil, always be sure to color your pages separately from other pages. Laying the page you are working on on top of other pages causes the pencil to pressure mark the pages beneath it which can interfere with your ability to color or write smoothly on the injured page. Pressing on the top page with the pencil can also cause the page to pick up color on the back from the colored page below it.


Writing and Calligraphy Pens

You have the option of either typing your pages or handwriting them. While typing is faster and can eliminate mistakes, hand-written pages are often preferred by witches because it lends the book an important attachment to its creator. The writing does not have to be perfect, but if you have trouble writing in straight lines, a lined version is available within the PDF file for each page.

If you choose to hand-write in your book of shadows, any type of pen will do, however, you should make absolutely certain that the pen that you use has archive quality ink. Over time, many inks degrade. They will fade or change color or they may seep through the paper and stain other pages in your book, ruining them. Archive quality or archival ink or acid-free inks will not do this and it will preserve your book for generations to come.

Some love using various types of quill pens for their writing but if these are uncomfortable for you, try a different type. The supplies section above has a variety of writing materials for you to choose from if you would like to purchase online. Some examples include quill pens with traditional tips, quill pens with metal tips, and non-quill calligraphy pens.



Gold and Metallic Leafing

Gold leaf is commonly found in ancient, illuminated manuscripts and was a favorite of the wealthy. It was also often used in Bibles as its addition was seen to glorify God. If you are familiar with gold leaf technique, it  would be an excellent addition to your book of shadows.

However, if you are not familiar with using it, you may find it incredibly difficult to use and often messy. An alternative to gold leaf that I have found is to use metallic, opaque, gel pens. Gel pens are easy to use and can be taken anywhere. My preferred brand is Gelly Roll. These pens are very opaque, so they can be used over black areas of paper as well as white areas. These gel pens dry quickly and do not smudge once dried and they provide a very beautiful, metallic finish once complete which very closely resembles gold leaf. The silver (shown below in the boline blade and the mistletoe berries) is also very lustrous.


When using metallic pens to fill in a light colored area, it is best to avoid any black lines surrounding it. Because the ink is opaque, it will cover the lines and erase them which will diminish the intricacy of your design. Try to keep the metallic ink between the lines. (shown below)