Thursday, October 16, 2008

Patterned Paper & Gesso tips (cutting superfine shapes & toning down contrast)

to cut teensyeensyweensy things from patterned paper:

I had ta set these gorgeous butterflies (from BasicGrey's Ambrosia paper) free. They were all lined up and not happy, LOL.) All you do is paint the back of the paper with gesso or acrylic paint:

Step 1) Protect your work surface

Step 2) Paint the back of the paper with acrylic Gesso (You can also use acrylic paint.) Depending on the brand you use you may need to water it down a bit (though too much water might buckle the paper. To flatten it after painting, you can put it under something flat & heavy or iron it)

Step 3) Make sure it's not stuck down to your paper by the painting (I've done that before, lol.)

Step 4) Clean up well (Gesso is a primer, so it really has staying power.) :O)

It's Supah Quick:
It seems like a pain, but it's really quick takes a minute to paint & a couple to dry. You can speed drying with a hairdrier or gentle heat-gunning.

Lots of Colour Options:
Both gesso & acrylic paint come in black & white & colours too (so if you're going to see the back you can see a colour.) Gesso even comes in clear, which is handy if you want to cut out of double-sided paper for a project where you may see the back of cut out elements.

These Ambrosia butterflies have tiny antennae and wing-tips, so the gesso (or paint) really helps hold it together. It's still delicate, but tearing is much less likely when you cut em'. You can shape things better with the gesso-ing too & they're more durable on your projects.

Here's the little flutterby guy. :O)
He's about the size of your thumbnail.

toning down the contrast of patterned paper
(or altering/distressing it ):

Another thing you can do with gesso (or a paint wash made using watered down paints) is tone down your designer papers. (Then you can use the original & the lightened version on the same project. Two papers for the price of one!):

It can give ya the groovy look of vintage wallpaper 'cause gesso has matte finish.

You can vary it by:
  • Adding glitter/Shimmerz/Pearlex... to the Gesso
  • Experiment with different brushes. You can get different brush strokes in the gesso
  • Sand some gesso off
  • Using pastels over it
  • First adding texture with aa Scor-Pal or with Cuttlebug Embossing folders or other embossing then brayering or brushing Gesso onto it.
  • Mixing the Gesso with Lumiere (or just using lumiere diluted with water)
  • Using watercolour washes/any kind of ink washes over Gesso.
  • Printing on top of it (the gesso makes printer ink embossable) Here's an example
  • You can also try stamping or emossing over it (I love it more than any other paper)
  • Close to my Heart & Copic markers on it will dry & you can do fast faux watercolour
  • You can erase colouring mistakes with a wet Q-tip!
  • Stampin Up markers are embossable (they stay wet on top of the gesso.)
  • Tombow markers (I learned from Erin) are embossable too. :O) SO fun!

Wanna play with gesso (or read more about it)?
Here's an index of projects & some links.

Happy Craftiness


Jami said...

I have never used Gesso before - looks like a great tool! I'll add it to my ever-growing shopping list!! Thanks for the wonderful tips!
hugs, Jami
p.s. love those butterflies!

Cheryl said...

I appreceiate the Gesso hint. I will have to give it a try. I'm a new user for Gesso.

Chris said...

Hi Mel, I just found your blog from Mada's and it's great! Such a wonderful tip for using gesso, I would never have thought of that. The butterflies are stunning and I love your idea for toning down DP. Thanks so much for sharing. Chris x

Annapurna said...

I got some gesso last week finally. Will have to set it out and try it when the kids are sleeping and no distractions around.

Those butterflies do look like soldiers doing a drill. Where did you get yours. That paper is just my style (but haven't found a place I want to order from yet).

You are so kind to release on of them into the wild ;-)

Jessica Diedrich said...

Oooh good idea. Dont' you LOVE the new BG paper? I need to get some Shimmerz. Love the look of them from everything I've seen! Thanks for another great post idea!

Joani McDonald said...

Thanks for the tip Mel! I need to buy some Gesso-you think with all your posts abut it I would of by now!
BTW - I love that butterfly!

Tonniece said...

Great tips Mel. Thanks heaps.

One question though.. I got some gesso not too long ago and now it's getting running, so my question is does yours do that?
even mixing it dosen't seem to help thicken it up.

My luck it's just me. lol

Heather "Hev" said...

Clever ideas - but then again YOU ALWAYS have them!!

Please pop over the blog I have something for you :)


Anonymous said...

Oh Mel thank you, thank you, thank you for this great tip I had never heard before. I love cutting out images but some times the regular DP can be so delicate. I will try this for my next cut out project. You ROCK!!!

Debbie/Phx AZ

kathleenh said...

Wow! How do you know so much Mel? You are amazing! I have gesso collecting dust in my cupboards. Little did I know it's varied uses.

Erum Tasneem said...

where are you hiding the card you will make using this gorge butterfly??? post it already! lol

Erin said...

This is beautiful! You are going to have to own stock in Gesso girl! :)

katemade designs said...

You so rock. Thanks for this.

Stampin_Melissa said...

Thanks so much for the gesso tips! I have wondered about how people were able to cut out some of those small items without them tearing.

Allison Rankin said...

More cool ideas here Mel!

Risa said...

Your butterfly is gorgeous Mel! Thanks for sharing the tip about the Gesso! Your tutorial was great and I know there is a part 2 coming up. I can't wait to see what you do with this darling butterfly:)

Elena said...

Thank you for the great Gesso hints! It does look like a real cool stuff!

Shirley said...

By the way I get so engrossed in your tutorials that I love the end result, comment on that, and forget totally to thank your for sharing the how tos. Love your information on gesso too!

Maria said...

Wow, Mel thanks for the tips!! I have to play around with my Gesso!! Whenever I cut out little images, they do tend to tear, especially butterflies and such. I will most definitely try this out!!


Barb said...

Thanks again for sharing ideas Mel, I am off to use my gesso to tone down paper and on the back of little cutouts...woohoo

Godelieve said...

Great tips on using gesso. Thanks!