When I was a little, all the children in our small-town church took turns being acolytes each Sunday lighting & putting out the candles at the front of the church during the service. For most of the year, it just meant lighting the regular tapers on the communion table, but during Advent, it got serious because you got to light one more of the BIG candles on the Advent wreath each week too. You really had to step up your acolyte game! Before it was time for you to enter the sanctuary at the END of the service & put the candles out, you had to wait quietly at the end of the aisle for the minister to cue you in. Standing there at the end of the aisle as a child, if you squinted your eyes ahead, all the candles in the sanctuary during Advent looked like stars sparkling. With the Christmas hymns filling the sanctuary, the “stars” glimmering, & the presence of Jesus all around you, Advent was, & still is, a very magical time for me.

Looking back at this memory, I knew I wanted the first page of my Illustrated Advent journal to capture those “stars” in the sanctuary. What better way than to create a little shaker pocket full of stars right on my page!? And let me tell you, shaker pockets are one of the things I do best! If I could put that on my professional resumé, I would.


To create a shaker pocket of your very own, you’ll need a few specific supplies:

*a page protector, vellum, or piece of sturdy clear packaging you can cut up
*craft sequins and/or confetti
*a sewing machine or the ability to hand stitch


1. First you’ll want to create your page in your journal leaving space where you’d like your shaker pocket to go. On the page I created, I wanted my stars to go at the top of the page as if it were the sky, so I left a good amount of space for it. I created my page just like I normally would by pasting on patterned paper & adding a healthy amount of paint. I used the new Advent stamp set from the Illustrated Faith shop to stamp a starry background & stamp the banner on some gold metallic paper. My title, some washi, & stickers from the Genesis collection had plenty of room below!


2. Now it’s time to create your pocket. I used a little mini 3″x4″ page protector from Heidi Swapp, but there are several materials you could try. Anything that you can see through would be a good choice for a shaker pocket: Bella Blvd. Clear Cuts, vellum, old page protectors, or clear packaging from scrapbook products. Cut Your material out to the size you want your pocket on your page. Mine ended up 2.5″x4.” When you’re cutting, make sure you’re cutting your material down to a single layer. For example: if you’re using a page protector, cut the seams off to yield one layer of plastic!

3. Place your plastic over the portion of your page where you want your pocket. I recommend using a few snippets of washi tape around the very edges to hold it in place while you’re sewing. After it’s placed, make sure you’re about to sew through only 1 layer of paper in your journal! (I almost made that mistake!) Sew up the sides & the bottom of your pocket remembering to give it a little backstitch when you start & stop. DON’T SEW UP THE TOP SIDE YET! You can use any type of stitch you like on your machine. This time I chose just a medium traditional stitch, but I’ve been known to mix it up with a zig-zag stitch too! ;)


4. Gather yourself a good mixture of craft sequins keeping color palette in mind. You can get these at any sort of craft store. I chose some gold stars mixed with iridescent mini sequins in white & aqua blue to complement my page. I find that if I put a pinch of each type in a little bowl & mix it around, it gives me a more natural varied look than if I sprinkled them in one at a time. Pour some sequins into the top of your pocket, but don’t fill it too full! You want your sequins & confetti to have a little room to move around & “shake!”

5. Do your best to keep your sequins in the pocket as you sew up the top! (They like to try to escape, so just go slow & wrangle the runaways back into the pocket.)



I hope you love your little shaker pocket! These journals are a great way to do more bulky techniques and use a little thicker supplies since it’s difficult to use them in the pages of your bible. Have fun with it! If you create one of these pockets, tag it with #illustratedfaith & #illustratedadvent on Instagram! I’d love to see your sparkly creations. Let these be a reminder to all of us to shine for God this Advent!



  1. Amy Bruce 7 years ago

    Excellent and SO fun!

  2. Mandi 7 years ago

    I love this shaker pocket so much! Beautiful!

  3. Kelly Smith 7 years ago

    Elaine, this is Awesome!!! I love this idea, and have never made a shaker pocket! ????…but I’m going to now!!! ???? I also loved your memories of advent from your childhood. I, too, was an acolyte! Such a special time! Thanks for sharing this great tutorial!!!

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