Tag Archive: Background Techniques

I’ve decided to go right back to basics and revisit one of the very first background techniques I ever tried! Elastic Band Brayering!

This is a background that everyone can do because everyone has elastic bands in their house, if you don’t; chances are the local postman has dropped some in the street recently (that’s how I got mine!)


  • Thick Elastic Bands
  • Brayer – with removable roller (Woodware or Ranger)
  • White Card Stock
  • Versamark or Embossing Inkpad
  • Embossing Powder – Metallic, Clear or White
  • Newspaper
  • Adirondak Colorwash Sprays – any colour (I use them all!)
  • Sponge
  • Kitchen Towelling


  1. Remove roller from brayer, take 2 rubber bands, wrap and twist around the roller, spread them out to cover the entire width, re-assemble brayer back together again.
  1. Place white card onto newspaper, ink brayer with versamark inkpad, randomly roll across the surface of the card. Repeat this step, each time rolling in a different direction. Don’t worry about overlapping as you want to be completely random, continue until you have completely rolled the entire card surface.
  1. Pour embossing powder over the pattern and heat set. White or clear creates a more traditional faux batik effect. I used gold on some backgrounds, on others I used a white pearl as I wanted a shimmer effect.
  1. Once cooled; take 1 colourwash spray and lightly mist over the surface of the card, use a sponge to spread the colour across the card and remove all traces of the white card base colour.
  1. Next take 2-3 different colours of colourwash sprays: stream, wild plum and butterscotch work well together, as do raisin, eggplant and terracotta. Squirt 3-4 times with each colour randomly over the card, you want to have little bursts of colours. Don’t worry about the colours overlapping as they will blend together nicely.
  1. Heat set inks, once dry take a kitchen towel sheet and rub across the surface of the embossed pattern to remove some of the ink, you can control how much ink you remove with pressure. If you want to completely remove the ink from the embossed areas to create a faux batik effect you can use a moist baby wipe to lift the ink. Your background is complete.

Textured Variation:

This is an interesting variation of this background which creates a lovely texture.

Follow the directions above from Steps 1 – 3. Once the embossing has cooled; crumple the card into a tight ball, twisting and turning  the paper to create lots of creases, don’t worry if some of the embossing flakes off or if by twisting it you break the embossed areas; this is normal. Flatten out the card again, and then apply the inks following the main directions from step 4 onwards above.

This variation will not only create a brayered band resist, but the inks will seep into all the creases and folds in the card and breaks in the embossing to create a more textured background.

Background Samples:

Brayed Bands Cards:


This idea happened completely by accident!

The card on the right was actually created from scrap fax roll paper left over from brayering on a piece of shrink plastic which Id placed on top of this sheet!

I liked it so much it seemed a shame to waste it and throw it away so I decided to use them on my cards!

I bought some rolls of fax paper very cheaply, so cheap I use them for protecting my work surface when I am stamping and brayering.

I was brayering a sheet of shrink plastic using a Kaliedacolour Inkpad (bouquet & desert heat) and because the shrink plastic pieces where so small I was getting more ink on the scrap fax paper than on the actual shrink plastic.

By the time I’d finished I had a random brightly coloured sheet of background paper.

I decided the background was too good to waste, so I turned it over so that I would protect it, and I used the back of the fax paper to lay my pieces of shrink plastic onto while I heated them with my heat gun..then something MAGIC happened..well it seemed like it at the time!

As I was heating the shrink plastic I noticed the plain uncoloured side of the Fax Roll paper turned black!!

I stopped heating, thinking Id ruined my wonderful coloured background on the reverse, but it hadnt, infact the exact opposite occurred..the blackness of the heated fax paper actually made the colours of the brayered inks more vibrant and alive!!

And there we have it, the Fax Magic Paper Background Idea came about..

I cut the sheet of paper using my Triangle craft punch, and then using memories black inkpad, I stamped randomly all over the triangle shapes using a word background.

Next I arranged the triangles onto a sheet of black card in a hectogram shape and layered the card to finish

What I love so much about the Faux Batik Technique is how wonderful the colours always are in the finished pieces. I am such a lover of handmade backgrounds and love nothing better than to sit and play with different inks and mediums and let the colours do the work all by themselves. What I love best about this technique is how you can see all the gorgeous handmade fibers in the mulberry paper, even after you have added all the inks!

Faux Batik allows artists of any skill level to sit and play with colour, and create a masterpiece!

Traditionally Batik is created on sheets of Indian silk; a tool is used to draw patterns onto the silk using clear wax which acts as a wonderful resist. Wherever there is wax on the silk sheet, the dye cannot penetrate, giving the artist free reign to create wonderful pieces of resist art in their silk sheets. Once the wax itself has dried, the silk pieces are dipped into silk dyes to create a wonderful backdrop of colour. Once dried, the wax is removed using a heat process to reveal a wonderful resist object d’art!

That’s a little history about the traditional method, now I will explain about the Faux Batik method which stampers of any skill level can re-create using tools and equipment found in every stampers tool box.

Tools Needed To Create Faux Batik Art:

White Mulberry Paper: If you don’t have it you could substitute with white tissue paper or any pale handmade papers.
A Spray Bottle filled with water

Clear Versamark Embossing Ink Pad By Tsukineko: If you don’t have one you can use any generic embossing inkpad for this technique

Clear Embossing Powder: I used Stamps N Stuff, again substitute using the brand name you do have.

Artists Paint Brush

Posh Impressions Rainbow Inks: I used the Floral Brights set, you can substitute using your preferred colours. If you do not own Posh Impressions inks you can use any Artist Ink Mediums. For example inks by Daler Rowney or Winstor and Newton work well for this technique.

Embossing Heat Tool

Ordinary Household Iron

Sheet of Plastic to protect your work surface with

Plain Unprinted Newspaper or Blotting Paper

Baby Wipes or a glass of clear water for cleaning your paint brush out with

Creating Faux Batik Art:

First of all before you begin; completely protect your work surface with sheets of clear plastic (I use cheap food bags for this purpose and bin liners) This technique can get messy to better to protect against accidents.

Before I began adding colour to my sheets of mulberry paper, I tore the large sheet into smaller manageable sized sheets. To do this I dip a brush in clear water, and paint along the mulberry paper with the water where I want to tear the sheet. The water softens the paper and allows me to tear the sheet cleanly to create a nice feathery edge.

Once you have got the mulberry paper the size you want it, you need to stamp it! I find it best to use stamps which are bold and don’t have too much fine detail in them.

Stamp onto the mulberry sheet using a clear embossing inkpad, sprinkle on embossing powder and immediately apply heat from the heat gun to emboss the image.

Take an extra sheet of plastic, and squirt a tiny puddle of Rainbow Inks in the colours you wish to use onto the plastic; this will act as your artist palette.

Place embossed mulberry paper onto plastic covered work surface.
Next soak with entire surface of the mulberry paper with water from the spray gun.

Dip your brush into any colour of your choice from your handmade artist palette and working quickly brush the ink over the entire surface. Apply as many different colours as desired until you are happy with how it looks. Remember to clean your brush between colour changes!

Carefully lift your sheet of ink soaked mulberry paper and place it onto a sheet of unprinted newspaper or blotting paper. Apply heat from an embossing heat gun to dry the inks.

Once the inks have dried; place another sheet of newspaper or blotting paper over the top of the sheet of mulberry paper. Turn on your iron onto cotton setting, let it warm up first. Then quickly iron over the surface. The embossed image will start to soak through the surface of the newspaper. Once it has done that, carefully remove the newspaper from the mulberry paper.

Notice how the embossed image is shiny no more! All of the clear embossing powder has been removed and soaked into the newspaper! The image on the mulberry paper now resembles that of traditional silk batik art!

That’s how easy it is to create Faux Batix!

Tips For Using Inks On Faux Batik Backgrounds

You get a more striking contrast if you use darker ink colours over area of the embossed image.

Do not use too many colours on one faux batik background as you will end up with a muddy colour. Try to go for 2 or 3 colours. Choose colours which compliment each other; for example hot pink, blue and magenta, green and yellow and magenta.

Draw a line of colour around the entire edge of the mulberry paper to create a ‘frame’ of colour around your artwork!

Do not be afraid to experiment with colour combinations and movement with the brush. You can splash the paint on, swirl it, squirt on more water, drip the paint and generally go wild playing with the colours!

Faux Batik is a fun technique where there are no rules and everyone can be an artist! I hope you have as much fun creating them as I did!

These two tone cards are very simple and easy to make, they look like they are actually made up of 2 layers when in actual fact they are not! The illusion is created by the use of sponging and stamping on different portions of your card front. I used bright vibrant card blanks for this project to create a stark contrast when I sponged over the top of the clear embossing resist.

The beauty of this idea is that you don’t actually have to sponge at all because the two tone effect will take place all by itself by the use of embossing powders!

Try it yourself and see!

    Materials Used:

  • Clear Embossing Powder
  • Embossing Ink Pad
  • Embossing Heat Tool
  • Scrap Paper
  • Black Pigment Ink Pad (I used Brilliance)
  • Cosmetic Sponges (or stippling brush)
  • Dye Ink Pads in colour of your choice – I used Art Print Brown (Memories) and Peeled Paint, Dusty Rose Distress Ink Pads (Ranger)
  • Colour Card Blanks in bright colours (I used blue, orange and yellow)
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Rubber Stamps Used:

  • Large Word Background (Judikins)

How To Create:

1. Take your scrap piece of paper and tear it in half, this will be your mask for your embossing on your card blank.

2. Place torn mask over your card blank front so that half of it is covered up. See sample scans for example.

3. Ink your rubber stamp up with the clear embossing stamp, and stamp over the top of your card front – you want to overlap the design slightly on the scrap paper. Continue stamping until the entire exposed card area is stamped.

4. Pour on clear embossing powder and heat to melt.

5. Once embossing powder is cooled, take your sponge and ink it up with your dye inkpad. Rub the sponge over the front of your card blank – there are 2 ways to do this; you can either keep the mask in place and only sponge over the top of the stamped area OR you can sponge over the entire front area of your card blank – theres no rules here and its entirely up to you!

6. Once you are happy with how the front of your card looks, take your scrap paper mask and cover up the area you have already stamped on to protect it.

7. Next stamp on the unstamped area with the black inkpad – you can clear emboss if you wish or not – I did both to test out the different contrasts.

8. Your card is complete, you may add embellishments if you wish.

More Two Tone Cards

This background technique is another idea I have been playing around with recently, as you may well have already guessed I am a bit of a backgrounds addict:)

This technique utilises the use of clear sticky back plastic, the types used to back school books with, to create a clear protective covering. Sticky back plastic is available by the roll very cheaply from most stationers such as: office world, woolworths, partners, stationery box and many more.

What You Need

White Card
Archival Inkpad
Rubber Stamps
Clear Sticky Back Plastic
Blunt Object: I used the back of a spoon
Acrylic Paints

How To Create

1. Stamp your image onto the white card, for this technique you need to use non gloss card. Allow to dry.

2. Cut a piece of sticky back plastic to size, you want it to fit exactly over the image you have stamped. Peel off protective backing and stick over the image on the cardstock.

3. Next you need to rub over the entire surface of your sticky back plastic you have just laid down onto the card. I used the back of an ordinary kitchen spoon. Literally rub over the entire surface, the reason you are doing this is because it creates a stronger bond between the plastic and the card which you need for the next step.

4. Take your plastic covered stamped image to the kitchen, and place it inside a bowl of water for a couple of minutes to wet the card. Next hold under a running tap, and gently with your fingers push the card off the back of the plastic. Continue working until you have removed all of the card stock.

When you have finished you will have a semi translucent image which has been transferred to the front of the sticky back plastic. As if by magic! Allow to dry.

5. Using acrylic paints, squirt, stipple or sponge on different colours onto the side which you removed the card from, set aside to dry.

Once dry you can trim your plastic and attach to the front of a card blank!

Here are my creations: