Tag Archive: Gesso

Pauline on Next Generation Stampers group mentioned Noodle Brushes last weekend after going to Portlight Stamp Show and seeing them on sale there. Naturally nosy bugger here wondered what they were and had to ask…. 🙂

Noodle Brushes are sold by the Moon Glow peeps for using with their Starburst Stains and other Moon Glow products to make backgrounds with.

The Noodle Brushes are very similar to Silicone Cooking Brushes which you can buy for basting food and putting oil on pastry with…

Heres a couple of photos of what these noodle/silicone cooking brushes look like so you know what Im waffling about:


Anyways like any dedicated Art Addict I decided I NEEDED some faux Noodle Brushes 🙂 So I bought myself a couple! I got both varieties you can see in the above scan to see if there was a difference in noodle length etc and also as I put it ‘for luck’…;)

Now Ive got my noodle brushes of course I have to USE them!

Heres a couple of backgrounds I made along with the details:

Gesso & Colour Mist Spray Noodle Brush Background:

For this background I lightly scraped gesso with the brush across the card stock, next I heat set the gesso, then I sprayed over with colourwash sprays in Purple, Blue & Red to make a resist type background.

If you look closely at the scan you can see the noodle brush scratch marks:


Acrylic Paint Noodle Brush Backgrounds:

The 3 backgrounds below were all created using acrylic paints with the brush.

For the first layers I lightly scraped on paint with the noodle brush to get scratchy brush mark textures. I continued doing this on the background until Id covered the entire surface.

For the next layers I applied paint spatters with black and gold paints – to do the spatters I watered down the paint slightly so it was more like a runny liquid and then dipped the noodle brush in the paint and used a flicking movement with my wrist to flick the paint onto the card and get a nice spatter effect.

I first tried this by running my fingers through the brushes ‘bristles’ but the spatter was too fine and subtle for me as I wanted big and bold spatters so I did it this way instead.





This is a really easy one to make but its also one of my favourites because the results can be quite dazzling!

What You Need:

  • Black Card Stock (gloss or matt)
  • White Gesso
  • Sponge
  • Stencil or punchinella or rubber stamps
  • Heat Gun
  • Rainbow Dye Ink Pads – eg big & juicy or kaliedacolor.
  • Rubber Brayer

How To Make The Background:

First of all, for these backgrounds I prefer to use black gloss card stock as I find the end results are more striking and eye popping. However if you dont have black gloss you can use any type of black card stock you have to hand. The background scan in this post is created using gloss.

1. Take your sheet of black card and stencil or smoosh over the surface using white gesso and a sponge. You dont want to completely cover the entire surface of the card. You want quite a bit of the black card to still be visible – aim for a 50/50 effect when your sponging. You can use actual store bought design stencils for this or you can make your own or even use punchinella which is what I used. Or alternatively you can stamp all over the card but remember to clean your stamps straight away!

2. Once youve done your gesso-ing you need to let it dry – you can let it air dry naturally or if your impatient like me you can heat set using your heat tool.

3. Next is the easy peasy part 🙂 Ink up your rubber brayer with a rainbow inkpad and R O L L your colour onto your background. The brighter and bolder the inkpad you use the more striking the results – do not go for pastel shades as they will dissapear and you wont be able to see them! Think BRIGHTS and PRIMARYS.

Because dye ink is transparent it will appear to be invisible and dissapear where the black card stock is still visable and yet where the gesso is the inks will literally SHINE and therefore produce a wonderful reverse resist effect.

Allow your background to dry or heat set to speed it along – thats it!

Tip – You can use colour wash sprays instead of dye inkpads for a more freeform background effect.

Important – Do not use Inkpads OR Colour Wash Sprays with Mica or Glitters in them because they will NOT be invisible on the black card stock at all. It has to be dye or waterbased inkpads and sprays only to achieve the effects shown in the scan.


These backgrounds are EASY!! Very EASY! So easy infact it seems an ‘art crime’ to call it a background technique! Not only are they easy to make they look stunning!

Read on for info…

What You Need:

  • Card Stock
  • Black Gesso -or- White Gesso & Black Acrylic Paint
  • Gold Acrylic Paint -or- any colour metallic or pearl acrylic paint
  • Credit Card

How To Create:

First of all if you dont have any black gesso dont panic as you can improvise – read on for details:

Step One:

Black Gesso Method:

Take a sheet of card stock and scrape a generous amount of black gesso into the centre of the card. Use your credit card to spread the gesso all over the surface of the card – you want it to be applied very thickly – imagine you are plastering a wall!

Once the gesso has been applied use the credit card to make ridges, lines and textures into the gesso and make it completely uneven and textured. Set aside to dry.

White Gesso & Black Acrylic Paint Method
(for those who dont have black gesso):

Follow the instructions above for applying the black gesso to the card only use the white gesso. Once the white gesso has dried, paint it with a layer of black acrylic paint and set aside to dry again (or use a heat gun to hurry it along)

Step Two:

Once the gesso has dried, take a small blob of gold acrylic paint and squirt it into a plastic cup or artist palette or plastic plate. If your paint is thick and gooey you may want to add a little bit of water to water it down slightly – some paints are naturally thin and may not need watering down.

Note: You can use any colour metallic or pearl acrylic paint for this.

Take your gessoed background and lay it on the surface, now dip your pointy finger into the gold acrylic paint and use your finger to rub the paint over the raised gesso ridges and textures.

Tip: Dont put too much paint on your fingers – less is more. You want some of the black gesso to be visible underneath, the gold is for highlights. See background samples below for a guide.

Continue until the entire surface is covered with gold metallic highlights and set aside to dry.

Your background is complete!

Now wasnt that just too easy 🙂


You can use rubnbuff or metallic rub ons for these backgrounds if you prefer – I chose acrylic paints because most folks have those in their collection!

You dont have to paint your white gesso black – why not paint it dark brown or burgundy or navy or forest green!

Textured Gesso Background Samples:


This is another favourite of mine – come to think of it, all background techniques are my favourites as Im such a junkie! Ive never come across a background technique I didnt like 🙂

This background is perfect for using up those tiny weeny itty bitty scraps of paper you’ve been saving for ‘one day’ – that ‘one day’ has finally arrived!

I have a box where I collect all my paper bits in and whenever Im doing one of these backgrounds I dig deep and create!

Before you begin with this technique you need to collect yourself a stash of papers to use!

You will be using lots of different types of papers for this – scrapbook papers are ideal! Go for printed papers, vintage papers, gift wrap, catalogues, metallic papers, handmade papers, textured papers – even papers out of newspapers and magazines will do! Variety is the spice of life!

Supplies Needed:

  • Paper scraps – in all sizes, colours & types!
  • Paper Glue – I use Pva
  • Large Sheet White Card Stock
  • White Gesso
  • Water & plastic cup
  • Sponge or paint brush
  • Scissors or paper trimmer
  • Colour Wash Sprays -or- inkpads in various bright colours (dye or pigment)
  • Baby Wipes

How To Create:

To make these backgrounds I always work with a huge sheet of A3 sized card stock – this approx the same size of 2 computer paper sheets when put together – the bigger the card sheet you use for making the scraps backgrounds the better! You will be cutting up the sheet up after you’ve done the basic scraps background and will be able to create LOTS of mulitcolour backgrounds from one large sheet.

1. Using the paper glue, arrange and glue assorted paper scraps all over the surface of your card stock. Dont completely cover the surface of the card – leave some gaps. Dont be afraid to overlap the paper scraps either. Use an assortment of bright colours next to each other to make an interesting scraps background.

To give you an idea, heres what mine looked like at this stage:


2. Now for the next stage! Take the plastic cup, and into it pour a dollop of white gesso, add water to the gesso and mix it to water it down. You want the consistency of milk.

3. Use either a sponge or a paint brush and lightly brush the watered down gesso over the surface of your background – leave some areas blank for resist type effects later on.

Allow gesso to dry completely before progressing to step 3 You can use a heat gun to speed this process if your impatient!

Heres a scan of what my background looks like at this point:


Close Up:


4. Once the gesso has dried, you will need to cut up the large scraps background into smaller sheets so that you can now make lots of different coloured backgrounds.

Before you begin to add your colour, take a look at the scraps on the backgrounds and assess how the gesso has dried on the surface. In some areas you may find that the gesso has dried a bit too white and it has completely covered up parts of the printed papers. You can use a moist baby wipe to actually lift and remove the gesso if you wish to.

Adding Colour:

There are 2 ways you can add colour to your backgrounds – you can use colour wash sprays directly onto the background. Or you can use dye or pigment inkpads in bright colours and rub them directly onto the surface of your background. Its up to YOU! Just go forth and have fun adding colour to your distressed scraps backgrounds!

Once the inks or wash on your backgrounds are dry, you can leave the backgrounds as is, or you can enhance them even further by using a moist baby wipe to remove some of the background colours to create a subtle gesso resist on the surface – experiment and see what you think!

These backgrounds are perfect for cutting up into little squares and using them serendipty style – or you can cut them into paper strips and weave with them or stamp on them for true grungy distressed collage style art! Have fun and see what you can make with them!

Heres some more scans of my coloured backgrounds along with details on what I used to make the colour:

I sponged this background using a bright green pigment inkpad :


This background was sponged with bright blue pigment inkpad:


This background was sprayed using magenta colour mist spray from Outside The Margins:


This background was sprayed using walnut inks:


If you have a paper shredder and use it a lot, you no doubt have lots of left over shreds of waste paper – waste not want not! I decided to use them in backgrounds to add a texture.

First of all I did these in 2 ways.

Step 1: I applied a good thick layer of gesso on card stock, then while the gesso was still wet I sprinkled on the paper shredding and pressed them down.

Step 2: Instead of using gesso I used cheap pva glue to stick the shreds to paper as I wanted to see which held up better in the backgrounds stakes – gesso vs glue!

Heres scans:

Using Gesso:

Close Up:
Using PVA Glue:
Close Up:

And now for the FUN part – adding colour! I painted both of the backgrounds with acrylic paints, then added a light coat of gold spray paint over the top to give it a bit of snazz.

You cant really tell the difference between the backgrounds on where I used glue instead of gesso but there is a slight difference. The glued shredded background has more 3 dimensional paper shreds, where the one using gesso the shreds are a little flatter which enabled me to stamp on it better.. I like both!
Heres the scans:

Glue Version:
Stamped Gesso Version:
Now for the artwork I made using these backgrounds: