Sunday, July 6, 2008

1. Gesso cardstock for Arsty Texture! (& Enameling with Crystal Effects/lacquer)

This card was made with Gesso cardstock (which is a super exciting & affordable way to get textured papers that you can stamp on.) The texture feels like cheating because it adds interest without layers. After making the gesso cardstock, this was made in four easy steps:

  1. Stamp flowers (Wonderful You in Timber Brown Stazon)
  2. Outline flowers with silver ZigPainty & dots in center
  3. Colour with one turquoise marker & daub it with an aqua painter
  4. Embellish with crystal effects or lacquer (petals) & Stickles (Silver Ice)
WAY fun. Somehow (don't ask me how!) ;0) the marker blends slightly with the brown of the gesso c.s. & makes a nifty mottled look. The Crystal Effects brings the contrast out:

The turquoise flowers are....

  • stamped on Soft sky cardstock (brown Stazon)
  • watercoloured (chocolate chip & turquoise ink wash)
  • stickled in the centers (Silver Ice)

And now for the fun part!...
Gesso Cardstock making:

  • Acrylic Gesso
  • Cardstock (i like glossy c.s. best)
  • An acrylic block or something similar
  • Ink refills, paints/other pigments...
  • Sponges, paintbrushes, spray apply inks
  • Note: Please clean as you go (I sound like your mamma) ;0)

1. Squirt some gesso on a block or other applicator (one thing to note: it will cloud your acrylic block even when well cleaned, but I love the way you can manipulate the block so much I found it worth it)

2. Use Glossy cardstock if you can. Regular white SU cardstock seems to bubble (but it does flattens in time.) I like to use the back of the glossy cardstock; I found that it curled a little but didn't bubble. It flattened quicker, so I had the option of working ink into the gesso while it was not fully dry.

3. Drag the gesso onto the back of the glossy cardstock. Some methods I like are:
  • Move in one direction to create a kind of grain
  • Or work in two directions or angles for another look
  • Apply one coat, dry it, & apply another
  • Vary amounts of gesso for different textures
  • Vary the amount that you manipulate it for various looks
  • Press the block flat against the wet gesso and pull up for a feathery kind of texture (You can drag it over the featheriness to blend in with the rest)

4. Stamp or colour it.
You can save white sheets for stamping/embossing your own patterned designer papers. You can also colour with markers/reinker painting. The card above was made by colouring the gesso c.s. with brown reinker (just sponge it on!) ...but you can use any medium & method you like best.

5. Once dry, store where it will stay flat. I like to tuck it into a book or keep multiple sheets in a stack under one book.

I found these things snifty:
  • Adding water to a lot of reinker lets it settle into the cracks and look neat.
  • Pockets of paper where the gesso didn't hit, will be dark (neato!)
  • Painting on lines of lightly watered reinker gave a subtly lined look.
  • The colour looks darker & deeper when it goes on. It dries lighter.
  • If you're using inks, then how dry the Gesso is will affect the final colour [drier gesso (eg. dried overnight) makes for more intense colours; damp gesso (eg. just dry to touch) makes for pastel tones
  • You can apply ink & then spray with a mist of water for a neat effect (lighter mist makes little dots and heavier makes bigger splotchier dots of colour contrast.)
  • You can pounce a sponge on it (which makes bubbles that create colour concentration.)
  • Sanding the paper after applying colour will get you a nifty effect too.
  • You can rub dry Gesso with crayons to add colour or so that it'll resist the ink. The left side of this cardstock has white crayon rubbed on the gesso and the right side has none. You can see the difference it makes when the ink is applied:

However, if you stamp on the crayoned part, the areas of crayon resist the ink. I liked stamping with Silver Encore ink--which needed embossing, but stayed on the crayon areas better. To get the same look but avoid the resist problem you can swipe on a dry brush/sponge of more white gesso.

Tips that may save you some hassle:
  • It might be easier to make a few of these sheets at once, so you can save clean up & have original paper to use whenever you like.
  • It's really handy to write your supplies/techniques down as you work so you can write it on the back of each piece you make. (Great for repeating your favourite textures/colours, for blogging the process/supplies, or for if you decide to use it in published work.)
  • This is messy but worthwhile. :0) If you clean up right away, you'll won't end up hating me LOL. Gesso sticks well to stuff (it was made as a primer so it has to.) My favourite way to clean it up is a stiff kitchen brush or a Mr. Clean magic eraser (but magic erasers can remove finishes)
  • Different embossing powders will stick onto the gesso differently & various gesso brands will take colour differently. It may require a little experimentation to perfect the look you want.

Another method for Colouring it--Acrylic Paints:

  • Acrylic paint on gesso dried overnight gives vibrant hues. You can brush on a wet wash of acrylic/watercolour paint or ink & roll SU wheels over the wet medium (or roll an inked wheel onto dry gessoed/coloured cardstock for more defined pattern texture) If you roll wheels on wet cardstock, they will create random texture & bubbles that make for a lot of interest:

You can see the difference if you compare the big piece--which was done with an acrylic paint wash on dry gesso (details below) with the little rectangle on top of it--which was done with bright turquoise reinker on damp gesso. The reinker looked vibrant when wet, but dried with a pastel look.

The brighter coloured cardstock above was made using these steps:
  1. Gesso cardstock
  2. Let it dry overnight
  3. Mix acrylic paints with water (this is a blend of 2 parts Cerulean Blue Grumbacher academy acrylic & 1 part Phthalo Green Windsor & Newton flow formula acrylic) I just blob it onto a palette (broken cd case) & mix until I like the colour & consistency of water...
  4. Wash the colour onto the gesso cardstock, spray with a mist of water
  5. While it's still wet, roll with an SU wheel. I used the Doodle jumbo wheel
  6. Let dry & Once dry I stick it under my SU mat so it doesn't curl up

Colour Variations:
These all start with the same gesso cardstock base

Pigment: Cool Caribbean reinker & water
Technique: Sponged on

This brown one is what I stamped on for the card at the top of this post:

Pigment: Chocolate chip ink & a little water
Technique: Sponged on & then spritzed with a Mist It to get water spots

Pigment: Not Quite Navy reinker & a little water
Sponged on in lines & then pounce the sponge to create bubbles which pop, giving you the bubble texture.

Pigment: Chocolate chip ink & a little black craft ink & water
Technique: Sponged on ink wash

These next apply gesso differently:

Pigment: tempting turquoise ink
Technique: Cuttlebug plain glossy cardstock. Brayer on gesso & Sponge on tempting turquoise ink

Pigment: River Rock ink & a little water. The tiniest amount of weak burgundy ink water wash
Technique: Brayer the gesso onto plain glossy paper. Brayer on ink. Spritz generously with water with water & brayer once again (lifts ink where water sprayed)

And my ultimate fave:

You can cuttlebug it!
Acrylic Gesso won't flake (at least the one by Kroma didn't) (Pigment: Cool Caribbean reinker & water Technique: Sponged on)

Go to the Gesso Index (7 techniques)

Thanks so much for lookin'!
I'd love to hear about it if you try this
or hear about your favourite artsy-ness. :0)


Lorraine said...

Whow how wonderful you have done it again.

Robin Perry said...

This is a great tutorial, very easy to follow. TFS!

Anonymous said...

YOu are quite amazing. I love the tutorial. I'll have to get my gesso out again. So many ideas so little time.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is awesome!! I've been wanting to get some gesso for this purpose, adding texture, but I don't think mine will turn out as nice as yours and I wasn't sure how to do it... now I know :)

Annapurna said...

How cool. Love the outcome on the card. Thanks for sharing all your techniques with us.

I totally, totally admire your patience in writing up these tutorials.

Anonymous said...

Awesomw tutorial! Thanks for all the samples - they're very helpful for a starting point. I love the cuttlebugged one with the turquoise ink!!!

Mada said...

Your tutorial is fantastic - even I can understand it perfectly.
Thank you for offering us your time, talent and patience!

I absolutely adore your card, it would be great for an illustration in a fairytales book.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Your card, gesso samples and instructions are awesome!!!

Angie Tieman said...

This card is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the technique with us!

lindsalita said...

googled what to do with my new bottle of gesso and found your blog- talk about perfect timing and the perfect blog!! can't wait to see more on gesso and peruse your site for more inspiration.

Tonniece said...

Whew............that was a mouth full. But oh so worth it. sounds like lots of fun doing this technique, and what great results you get too.

Thanks again Mel, you've outdone yourself yet again.

Happy Sunday

Anonymous said...

This is so cool looking but I've let myself buy anything else right now. I need to play with what I have!
It's so fascinating to see what you can create though! I'm loving this so far and look forward to the coming week!
Staying clean for now :-)
Beth G

Joani McDonald said...

Mel, because of you I almost bought some Gesso at Walmart today. I just might go back and get it - another technique I need to try :)

Michelle Pearson said...

oh my....your tutorials are amazing! Not sure I have the patience for this....I'm always busy cleaning up messes after my kids let alone myself! LOL! Love the look though! I also love the watercolored soft sky flowers...beautiful!!

Erin said...

amazing! gesso is definately on my next shopping list.

ps, your "stalking" makes me feel special. ;)

Maria said...

Wow, Mel! I love the effects of each of your sample. I stopped by to get the Gesso yesterday but they were out. I will most definitely try it out.

I love your card. It's the prettiest card I've seen for such a long time. I love the detail of all your cards. Looks like a lot of work went into it.

Thanks for all the tips and tutorials too! Gosh, you work so hard, girlfriend!!


Anonymous said...

Wow! Now I need to get some Gesso!
Awesome Tut!!
Thank you! said...

Thanks for all of this info Mel...very inspiring and I enjoy messy stuff!!

Shelly Schmidt said...

I love this tutorial- and someone posted it on Pintrest.... : )

Sharon Field / Inky A*Muse-ment said...

FABULOUS tutorial Mel!!

cristal said...

Adoro esta página!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a great tutorial Mel! Thanks so much for sharing your techniques for gesso. When you say you can Cuttlebug it, did you run it through after or before you put the gesso on? This would be a great way for me to get more use out of mine! ;))