Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Gesso-Swiping Dry Embossing" Technique (& more Gesso talk for Jamie) :O)

ETA: Sorry guys, no post today (Sunday). Hittin' the walk in clinic to check up on this mucky lung thang; it's acting up. And I slept in unexpectedly. (Went to bed at 6:00 last night too. Charles just woke me up worried how I could sleep so long, lol.) I'll catch you tomorrow, though, for some Little Paper Shop fun! :O)

(click the pic to see the texture up close)

This one's for you Jamie! You may be sorry you asked about Gesso, heehee. ;o)

The Cuttlebug (or other embossing) technique in this tutorial ("Gesso swiped Dry Embossing") is so easy that it can hardly be called a technique (but it's so fun that i just hafta) You won't believe how fast it is (and no brushes to clean!)

So, Jamie asked What's Gesso?...

The "Short" Answer:

First off, my love gesso of gesso is ineffable. If you tried to take my gesso away forever, I would bite you.I would be all ovah you like a rabid possum! I would rather give up embellishments for life than surrender my gesso. No joke.

Gesso is an artist's primer. In other words, it's like a white chalky paint that makes a flat, or not glossy, tooth (or texture) on the surface of paper, canvas etc... Gesso is also referred to as a "ground." The flat finish it creates lets different mediums (inks, paints, etc.) stick to it. It used to made from animal glue (I believe some gesso still is) but is now primarily acrylic based (Yay for that). Many people use gesso in their art for lots of things other than priming though.

The Long ("Does Mel ever stop talking?") Answer:

The really really really exciting thing is that gesso's acrylic-based nature changes the way inks & markers react with your cardstocks. I've discovered in my mad experiments that Gesso not only creates artsy texture really easily, but it also resists inks and gives you more drying time (...hence more blending time and embossability of S.U. markers & Classic inks. Like in colours with clear embossing powder!!!) It even offers a level of erasability for when you make a colouring mistake!

Sophisticated Layered Looks: Gesso can help you create a palimpsest look--layers of stamping, images, text, collage bits, ... the options are endless. It comes in colours too, but I've only used white.

Simply adding gesso to cardstock in different ways will let you:

The only trick to using gesso is that some inks do not dry on it (SU inks & Tombow markers do not) but CTMH inks do, Copic do, Alcohol ink dries too of course....., so just use the drying inks (Stazon etc) or emboss it. Seems like a drawback but NOOOOoooo. It is Joy with a capital 'jump for'

Clean up: Protect your work surface & wear work clothes. Gesso is a primer so it has staying power. You'll want to clean it off stamps asap, but it comes off okay.

Applications: Use anything! You can scrape it on with cardboard, an acrylic block, a kitchen spatula... you can add it thickly & then stamp in it or roll a stamp wheel in it (that is SO kewl!) Lay lace or fabric in it & pull it off... For brushing it on: different brushes will give varied textures, so it's fun to experiment. It is a good to have one brush dedicated to gesso, since it's harder on them than paint is, but you don't need any brushes for this technique...

(click the pic for an up close look at the texture)

How To Gesso Embossed Paper
(Takes just 2/3 minutes!!!):

Technique Summary:

Step 1) Start with an Embossed piece of Paper
Step 2)
Use a scrap of cardboard to drag Gesso over it
Step 3) Use it as is, or ink it up.


Step 1) Start with an Embossed piece of Paper. You could use any paper but the embossing makes it funky. (Put it on a piece of wax paper to protect your work surface if you like. Gesso has staying power.)

Step 2) Use a scrap of cardboard to drag Gesso over it (TIP: Quickly wipe away any globs with your finger or paper towel or whatever.) Then let it dry. It dries almost instantaneously!

Step 3) Use it as is, or ink it up. It'll have a nice texture even when it's white, but you can colour it up with a sponge or whatever. (I found rubbing with a light coloured ink lots gives a nice patina.) This is SU's Sahara Sand.


You can sand it and add other colours too. :O)

Other Gesso stuff (that is so fun it should be illegal!)

Gesso Techniques:
(Tired of seein' this yet?)

(Faux Watercolour resist there too)

More Gesso Stuff ...

gesso with a blockspread gesso with block

Thanks so much for letting me rant about gesso again Jamie! ;o)
Thank you all for taking time out of your busy days!

P.S. Quick reference:

How to Gesso Dry Embossing:
(Takes just 2/3 minutes!!!):

Step 1) Start with an Embossed piece of Paper
Step 2)
Use a scrap of cardboard to drag Gesso over it
Step 3) Use it as is, or ink it up.

P.P.S. ETA Many thanks for the gorgeous Photoshop Brushes (measuring tape & stitches) to Missverstand


Erum Tasneem said...

Gesso Queen! LOL I haveto look for gesso now, for my delicate flowers that squish under pressure! That will work right?

Libby Dyson said...

Oh very nice. I must really use my Gesso. Thanks for sharing your tremendous talent Mel.

Cathy said...

I just discovered your blog and I am totally hooked on your Gesso techniques! I've used Gesso a lot over inks but I'm loving the effects on embossed surfaces. Thanks for all the great tips!

Anonymous said...

Mel, you're just gonna have to start giving details!! LOLOLOLOL!! Seriously, thank you SOOOO much for all this info, I really can't wait to get some and use it. Your wax paper and cereal box embossing technique has me fired up. And I love the idea of being able to add some texture with gesso, not to mention stabilizing fine detailed items for cutting. I LOVE to paper piece (kindergarten tendency I never outgrew -- playing with paper and scissors). =) You should start traveling the country and giving workshops. I'd sure sign up! You're a gem, Mel, end of story.

Elena said...

Your creativity inspires me, Mel! Thank you for sharing all your talent with us!

Norine said...

I just wanted to thank you for always sharing great tips with us all I love your blog and I love gesso to LOL

Anonymous said...

thank´s for your visit it´s very important to me.Your tutorial is grate and fantastic,remember you are a wonderful teacher for me"mil gracias"

Mari said...

Really, Mel? You haven't tried the black gesso? For shame! :D Trust me... you're gonna love it!

Anonymous said...

Mel - your work is so pretty! I was scanning thru your gesso tutorials and noted that you were dampening paper before embossing. Have your seen what Miss Nancy uses instead of plain water?
Nancy Ward
She also has several tutorials on making your plate from foamies and making those cutouts into a folder to use for embossing; if you check out keywords embossing, foamies, and sizzix, you'll see them.
Thanks so much for taking the time and energy to post such clear directions!

Dawn said...

Wow thanks so much for this - have never used it but have dabbled in mixed media but my love is with cards really - but have always wondered about gesso - very informative!!


Curt in Indy said...

I think I am going to write to the Pope and see if we can't get you in line for sainthood! Saint Mel, patron saint of craft techniques! I like that title!!! You rock when it comes to sharing these kind of things. You are an amazing Saint, er woman! Best, Curt

Unknown said...

Hi Mel,

I received my first blog award and wanted to send it to you. You are one of my favorites and I think you so deserve it.


ps thanks again for the comment on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I think you should be on the Letterman show, doing demos. Combine your techiniques with your humor, the ratings will fly off the scale.

Anonymous said...

i love gesso!
I have to buy the big jars because i over-use it. I use it so much it goes faster than a jar of cookies.. and i have 2 kids!

You know its the Italian word for Board chalk. Explains it, doesn't it?

Anyways, stamping with gesso has become a passion rather than a hobby, it creates such an amazing texture that its just brilliant.

When i first started using gesso i liked to experiment with it because i automatically fell in love with it and experimenting resulting in some horrible and also extremely wonderful stuff.. i remember i had with a wet sponge dipped in first gesso, then pink acrylic paint! I love how it looks together..

Thank you for all the tips! Your gesso techniques are fabulous!


kate blue said...

I know this is an older post but as a new follower, I'm just looking at areas that rock! This will be my new technique to learn for 2010-thanks for sharing your fabulosity!

Karen said...

I've enjoyed browsing through your blog! Your love of gesso is obvious- I was wondering if you have found any fun uses for clear gesso??

TutorCarol said...

I have been looking online for Gesso information -- it is so general it means zip while your tutorial with outstanding examples is 'Gesso-mazing'! It's so inspiring !! Thanks, thanks and THANKS !

Handcrafted By Dawn said...

You said some inks do not dry on gesso, but you used SU Sahara Sand when you placed gesson on the embossed cardstock so how did you get it to dry or not smear?
Love your techniques and can't wait to try many!!

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Hi Dawn, thanks so much for your great gesso question! What I probably should have said is "some inks take a very long time to dry on gesso" ...If you rub inks like Stampin' up! classic/dye inks in quite well then they do dry much more quickly. If, on the other hand, you use a nice juicy marker to apply the colour, then they stay wet for a lot longer... which lets you heat emboss them with embossing powder. The sanding makes a huge difference as well. Unsanded gesso is much more resistant to dye ink. Now I've never waited to see how long it would take a lot of wet dye ink to dry on gesso (something for me to do in future). ;) And I should probably mention that different gesso brands will act differently. Some are acrylic and some are not and they have different formulas and properties. This post was written before gesso was so popular & now there are so many brands on the market. :) Hope you have fun with gesso & thanks again for your comment!