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Saturday, 7 February 2015

February Week Two: Backgrounds

The Stopover this month is 10 different techniques to apply to backgrounds of journal pages.
  • In the video I layer all 10 on top of each other on one page, but that was just because it was easy for me to demonstrate like that.
  • I would suggest picking up to 5 at a time to layer together.
  • The techniques can be applied in any order.
  • I used only acrylic paints and inks as colour mediums, but other mediums can be substituted.
  • Most of the tools I used came out of the recycle bin. 

Technique 1: Clingfilm Scrunch

  1. Paint your page/s with a layer of retarder medium (gel or fluid, doesn’t matter)
  2. Take a piece of cling-film larger than your page and brush on 2 or three acrylic paints in a random way. Don’t blend the colours.
  3. Place the cling-film, paint side down onto your page/s and scrunch it so the paint spreads around underneath.
  4. Carefully peel off the cling-film and lay it down onto another journal page or a piece of paper to remove the paint. Repeat this step until you run out of paint or paper. These prints can used as backgrounds, or cut up and used in collage.

Technique 2: Brayer

  1. I find a hard rubber brayer works best for this technique. Put a small blob of paint onto a flat surface such as a pad of palette paper and roll the brayer through the paint.
  2. Roll onto the page, go back and forth through the main area of paint until it is spread out thinly.
  3. If it doesn’t look right, keeping rolling. Lots of people stop too soon and have blobs of paint on the paper.

Technique 3: Plastic Sponging

  1. Use a palette knife or brush to spread a thin layer of paint on your palette
  2. Scrunch up a piece of plastic into a ball and dip it into the paint.
  3. Blot the paint onto the page.
Technique 4: Scraping
  1. Squeeze out some paint onto the edge of an old card, a palette knife or a piece of card from the recycling. Or, pick up paint from your palette with the edge of the card/knife.
  2. Scrape the paint onto the page.
  3. Try dragging it from the edge of the page to the middle
  4. Try scraping it on in all different directions.
  5. Try loading your card with two different colours and scraping them on at the same time.
Technique 5: Stamping with Recycling
  1. Paint a piece of bubblewrap and use it as a stamp
  2. Peel the paper off one side of a peice of corrugated cardboard, paint it and use it as a stamp.
Technique 6: Tissue Paper Collage
  1. Dressmaking patterns are printed on tissue paper, and they are available at op shops (thrift stores). You can also recycle the tissue that comes in gifts and shoe boxes.
  2. I like to use a plastic card to scrape a thin layer of glue or paint onto the page, then smooth the tissue onto the top. 
  3. You can also use a brush, but don't work the tissue too much or it will tear as it gets very delicate once wet.
  4. Don't try to smooth out the wrinkles too much, this is part of the effect.
Technique 7: Masking
  1. Cut a scallop from a piece of recycling (eg. a letter from the bank, or magazine cover).
  2. Place the mask onto the page and brush paint over it in one direction only so the paint doesn't travel under the mask.
Technique 8: Dripping 
  1. In the video I am using a fine-tipped bottle filled with fluorescent pink paint thinned with water (about 50:50). 
  2. You can buy plastic pipettes and eye droppers cheaply, try a chemist (drugstore) if you can't find any at your art/craft/discount store. I have seen them on Ebay as well. 
  3. Water down some acrylic paint, suck it up with the pipette
  4. Hold your page at about a 45 degree angle and drop the liquid onto the page, allowing it to run.
  5. Tap the page on the desk to encourage the paint to flow. 
  6. Spray water onto the drip to encourage the flow (don't spray close to the page).
Technique 9: Stencilling
  1. I applied the paint through the punchinella with a piece of Ranger's Cut'n'Dry foam. A cosmetic sponge works the same.
  2. Spread the paint out in a thin layer, dip the sponge in the paint, then dab almost all of it off.
  3. Hold the stencil steady with one hand and apply the paint in an up and down motion with the other. You can also try rubbing the paint on, but it can travel under the stencil.
  4. Move around the page applying the stencil in different sized areas.
Technique 10: Flick and Splatter
  1. Move anything on your desk that you don't want paint on, or cover it up (iPads, phones etc)
  2. Water down a drop of paint until it is the consistency of thin cream.
  3. Load a brush with the watery paint, hold something hard in your other hand (eg., another large brush), and tap the loaded brush onto the object over the page.
  4. Hold it close to get splatters that are close together, hold it further up in the air to get a wider spread of droplets.
  5. Reload the brush with watery paint, then flick the paint off onto the page, like you are cracking an imaginary whip.
Next week I will show you how I finished off my art journal spread with a quote.


  1. Love the process!! Thank you for sharing :)

  2. Absolutely love this video post! Thank you thank you!