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Saturday, 7 March 2015

March Week Two: Spray Inks

So many questions about Spray Inks! This is a huge tutorial, so I hope you have a cup of your favourite. Let's go!

I asked the question in the Driver Reviver Facebook Group and I have addressed each question separately. The links will take you to a relevant video, if you are interested in learning more about a particular topic. The first video below is a the tutorial from me covering the basics of using sprays and how to Not Get Mud:

  Q. How do I not get mud when I use more than one colour? 
See video above.

Q. What is the difference between spray inks, spray paints and stains?
Really, I don't think there is a difference, at least not for our purposes. They are all colourants with different properties, some shimmer, some are more opaque than others, some are permanent, some are water reactive. It really is about the delivery method here. If you want to know more about the science of what makes a paint a paint as opposed to an ink, I suggest reading this.

Q.What can I use to make my own Sprays ?
By experimenting with what you have. There are lots of art supplies that can double as DIY sprays. I have used:
  • Acrylic paints (Lumiere metallic and plain)
  • Daler Rowney Artist Acrylic Inks
  • Food colouring
  • Re-inkers (for stamp pads and pens)

  • Some people add a dollop of glue such as Mod Podge of something similar (gum arabic) but I have never done this, so I cannot tell you if it makes any difference to the finished product. 
  • You can also make your own shimmer sprays by adding a product called Perfect Pearl Powder. 
  • The ratio of water to colourant will determine how the finished spray looks. 
  • You have to experiment.
  • The food colouring gives a very bright translucent spray and is reactivate when re-wet. 
  • The sprays made from acrylic paints and inks are pretty much waterproof once dry.
  •  The Acrylic Inks (dropper bottles, bottom right of the photo) make a spray with great depth and coverage, I think because they are already very liquid, but with a high concentration of colour pigments. 
  • Good empty spray bottles to look out for are the Ranger Mini Misters, or Kaisercraft spray bottles. 
  • You can also find empty spray bottles at discount/dollar stores and on eBay. 
Q. How do I stop inks reactivating/moving around when I add another (wet) layer? 
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you are using Dylusions sprays or Distress range (the Ink pads, Stains and Sprays are all the same formula), the answer is: you can't.  
These particular inks are designed to reactivate when re-wet to be able to execute particular techniques. The good news is there are other sprays that are permanent when dry heat set: Adirondack Color Wash and Lindy's Stamp Gang Flat Fabio. If you added a Dylusions spray over a base layer Color Wash or Flat Fabio, the first layer would not be affected. If you reverse the order of the sprays, however, the two would mix.

OK, so after much searching I have found a video tutorial that tests three products/methods to seal Dylusions. 
To summarise: Golden Air Brush Medium is applied with a spray bottle; Golden Semi Gloss Soft Gel Medium is applied with a Gelli Arts printing plate and Golden Matte Medium is mixed with water and sprayed on. The first two work better than the last.
Just warning you, the video is 24 minutes long, and there are no cheap solutions here, but if you REALLY want to be able to do this, here you go:

(The 'jelly plate' she uses in the first method is a Gelli Arts printing plate. In a few months we will be looking at various monoprinting techniques, one of which will be the gelatine plate, so hopefully you can contain your curiosity for a while.)

Occupational Health and Safety  
(thank you Sue, for giving me the name of this section)

Contain the Mess
  • Cover your work surface and surrounds. Sprays travel much further than you expect. 
  • Move your iPad and your phone well out of the way.  
  • You can also use a box to spray in.

  • Wear old clothes or an apron. You can also wear gloves if you don't want to end up with hands like this. Many inks stain the skin and can take a day to come off.

How to Treat and Prevent Clogging
  • KEEP THE LIDS ON YOUR SPRAYS. This will help prevent clogging. 
  • Wipe the sprayer before putting the lid back on. 
  • If you do get a clogged sprayer, pull it apart and soak it in warm water for a while. 
  • If you lose the lid from a bottle, cover the spray hole with a piece of tape to prevent the spray from drying in the hole.
  • Shake glimmer sprays well before spraying so that the glimmer is thoroughly dispersed in the liquid and not sitting on the bottom of the bottle ready to be sucked up all at once. 
  • Tattered Angles, the makers of the original Glimmer Mist, recommend shaking the bottle from side to side (like a bell) NOT up and down. 
Q. What are some different or unusual ways to use sprays?

Q. How do I get soft colours?
Can I stamp with Spray Inks?
Yes! Watch this:


  1. Hi! Tattered angels has a video on how to declog their sprays. They say you have to push all the way down when you spray. You have to commit ;-) For clean hands: wash your hair, or use a craft scrubbie (by Ranger) it really works!

  2. it keeps telling me that your first video is private. maybe i'm doing something wrong.

    1. It wasn't you Annette, it was ME! I forgot to change the setting in You Tube, I'm sorry! All fixed now.

  3. Jodi, thank you so much, this looks awesome! Can't wait to get started watching, learning and doing.
    I made acrylic paint sprays last week and am really happy with them, thanks for the info.
    I prefer them to my home made alcohol sprays as the latter smell terribly....

    1. I always wondered about the homemade alcohol inks. I just didn't think it was a very economical way to go as the only rubbing alcohol I can find is about $7 for 500ml. Glad I didn't go down that experimental path now :)

  4. Thanks for sharing this great info.

  5. Would a water-based food coloring spray work on a gelli plate and would it stain or not?