Tag Archive: Spritzers & Spray Inks


I used to use marker pens years ago when I first got into rubber stamping to add colour to my stamped images. I was introduced to this technique by the talented Dee Grunig – whom I’ve always referred to the queen of colour (and enthusiasm). Back then of course I was very much limited by the styles of stamps on offer over here in the UK so I didn’t quite achieve the looks Id hoped to so I shelved this style of stamping for many years.

More recently I came across the fantastic Altered Journey DVD by the multi-talented Tim Holtz which I obtained from Hearts In Touch. On the DVD Tim demonstrates a technique he calls the Brushless Watercolour Technique – he uses Adirondack inkpads, rubber stamps and of course watercolour paper and spray to create fantastic watercolour style prints.

Ever since I saw the DVD I’ve been wanting to try this technique – as I was really mesmerized by the subtle washes it creates. So I filed the idea away in my head for future reference on the ‘ones to try’ list…

Fast forward a couple of months to about a month ago – As you may be aware I’m a bit of a leaf and foliage stamping nut and love all things ‘natural’; anyway Id had my eye on the ‘real flowers’ range of stamps ever since Hero Arts brought them out but had so far resisted the urge…one day I was surfing on ebay (like you do) and saw an offer which was too good to miss and acquired some of these style of stamps…

I had the stamps out on display for a couple of weeks and hadn’t used them yet; I just liked looking at them! Someone on my Creative Cards group uploaded some cards they had made using the Brushless Watercolour Technique and suddenly the light came on! I remembered the technique Id been meaning to try! And to top it all I had the real flower stamps out already – which I thought would look perfect in watercolour! A message from above!? Who knows but it was meant to be….

Time to dip my toes in the still calm waters known as the Brushless Watercolor Technique…

Basic Brushless Watercolour Technique

First of all I’ll cover the basics of this technique as featured on the Altered Journey DVD.

In the original technique you use the corners of Adirondack dye inkpads to apply the colour to the rubber stamp die, then you use a fine mist water spray to spritz water over the top of the stamp – 1 to 2 sprays is sufficient depending on the size of the stamp and also how much of a wash effect you wish to achieve.

Once sprayed with water you quickly stamp your image onto cold pressed watercolour paper then let dry (or you could heat set if you’re impatient). Finally crop and mount the image and assemble onto a card to finish.

In all it’s a very easy technique but visually stunning!

It looks like a proper watercolour painting without being artistic!

That’s how it’s SUPPOSED to be done…..read on for details on how I did it.

Brushless Watercolour Techniques:

Shimmering Waters Watercolour Technique

This variation of the brushless watercolour technique has a real shimmer and shine to it! You can’t tell from the scans – which is a real shame! But the watercolour prints on all the artwork featured on this page actually has a metallic and pearlised sheen!

The effect reminds me a lot of like the effect you get when you see the sun shimmering on the water on a sunny morning which is why I decided to call it Shimmering Waters This effect is achieved very simply!

Instead of spraying the inked stamp with plain water spritz spray – I made up a bottle of pearl ex spray and used that instead! This gave the stamped images a wonderful shimmering sheen which enhanced the overall effect of this technique.

You can of course use the specially adapted Moonglow Sprays if you wanted to but it’s so much more fun not to mention cheaper to make your own!

Don’t forget if you don’t have any Pearl Ex you can substitute with any powdered mica pigments such as fairie dust, moon glow, perfect pearls etc…

Read on for details on how to make your own spray….

Creating A Pearl Ex Spritz Bottle:

What You Need

  • Small Empty Soda Pop Bottle
  • Luke Warm Water
  • Powdered Gum Arabic
  • Pearl Ex in colour of your choice – I used Gold, Interference Violet and Russet to create 3 different spray bottles of colours.
  • Empty Fine Spritz Spray Bottle – I recycle mine from body sprays, room fragrant and hair conditioning bottles

How To Create

1. Take your empty soda pop bottle, and tap in aprox 1 teaspoon of powdered gum arabic.

2. Next pour warm water in the bottle until it is approx 1 third full.

3. Put the lid on the soda pop bottle, and give it a good shake for a few minutes. The more you shake the better the gum arabic dissolves in the water.

It’s important to have warm water; otherwise the powder will not mix properly.

It should be warm enough to touch with your bare hands without burning.

4. Look at the gum arabic and water mixture in your bottle, it should have a smooth texture, and the colour should be cloudy (it reminds me of pond water at this point).

If it isn’t very cloudy you may need to add another teaspoon of gum arabic and mix again. Please note the bigger your bottle the more gum arabic you will need to add

5. Once you have the consistency you need, pour more warm water into the bottle so that it is approx half full and shake again to mix.

The bottle of gum arabic mixture you have just created can be used to create several spritzer bottles. I made 4 powdered mica spritzer bottles from 1 soda pop bottle of liquid gum arabic which was approx half full.

6. Next tap 1 teaspoon of powdered pigment into the empty spray bottle.

7. Pour about 1 quarter of the already mixed gum arabic on top of the powdered pigment.

8. Put the lid on your spray bottle and shake it for a couple of minutes to allow the powdered pigment to mix properly with the liquid gum arabic.

9. Once mixed, add more of the liquid gum arabic mixture to the container so it is now approx half full in the spray bottle. Shake again to mix together.

10. Do a test on the back of your hand by spritzing the spray bottle to make sure everything has mixed together properly. If the colour is not vivid enough for you, you can add more mica powder at this point and shake again. I kept mixing more mica until I got the colour intensity I was after.

11. Finally pour warm water into the spray bottle to fill it up to the top and shake once more to mix.

Your pearl ex spray spritzer is ready to use!

Creating The Brushless Watercolour Effect

What You Need

  • Dye Inkpads – I used Adirondack inkpads in: Wild Plum, Bottle, Meadow, Red Pepper, Butterscotch, Eggplant & Currant (available from: Hearts In Touch )


  • Adirondack Pigment Pens – I used both the pens and the inkpads – see above for colours used (available from: Hearts In Touch )
  • Home Made Pearl Ex Spritz Bottle
  • Gloss and ordinary plain Matt White (or colour if preferred) card stock
  • Newspaper or plastic to protect your work surface
  • Heat tool (optional)

Rubber Stamps Used:

  • Real Flowers Range– Hero Arts
  • Other Real Flowers – Rubber Stampede
  • Enjoy The Moments That Make You Smile – Hero Arts
  • Spring Quote – Hero Arts
  • Friendship Quote – Stampendous
  • Every Flower Is A Soul – Impression Obsession
  • Vitality Life Force Quote – Personal Stamp Exchange
  • Flowers Say Hello From The Heart – Hero Arts

How To Create

  1. First of all protect your work surface with a layer of newspaper or plastic – this technique gets messy (all the fun techniques are messy!!)
  1. To add colour to the rubber stamps you need to use the actual corner of the felt inkpad to apply the colour to the rubber dye – apply one colour for the stems (green) and another colour for the petals – I find it best to start with a lighter colour and go darker – that way you don’t contaminate your light coloured inkpads.

You can use any brand of inkpad for this technique – but make sure the pads your using aren’t permanent like for example the Memories or Ancient Page otherwise you wont get a good Watercolour effect!

I recommend and used both the adirondak dye inkpads and pigment pens – I find that the pens are ideal for controlling the colour on the stamp; especially if you want to colour the middle of the stamp without spoiling your inkpads.

  1. Once you have added your colour to your rubber stamp; gently spray the due surface with your Pearl Ex Spritz – I find 1 to 2 sprays is sufficient – anymore and its too wet to stamp.
  1. Stamp your image onto card stock – I used ordinary white and cream copier card and found it worked perfectly! For a more stunning and bold effect I used white gloss card too. I found that the matt card created a more soft watercolour wash, whereas the gloss created a bolder wash.

Compare the results from the examples on this page – the card on the left was created on MATT card as where the 2 cards directly below. The first 2 cards at the top of the page are both stamped onto gloss – notice the difference in the wash effects?

Both the matt and the gloss card stocks work perfectly so you don’t NEED to use watercolour paper. Allow to dry or heat set with a heat gun.

Your Simmering Brushless Watercolour stamped image is complete and now ready to assemble and layer onto a card!

Vintage Style Watercolour Technique

This is another variation of the brushless watercolour technique. This time instead of using an ordinary water spray or even a handmade pearl ex spray …I used a WALNUT INKS Spray! I tried it on the off chance just to see what it would look like – and as you can see the effects are stunning!!

To achieve the effects shown in the samples on this page I inked my stamps with dye inkpads as before (Adirondacks) and then sprayed 2 coats of diluted walnut ink crystals over the stamp….then I STAMPED onto either matt or gloss card!

Try it yourself and see!

The card on the left was inked with raisin adirondack inkpad; next I sprayed on walnut inks then stamped the image. I repeat stamped the image several times on the pink gloss to achieve different hues of the
walnut ink wash. Once dry I tore around the top of the stamped images and highlighted them with a gold Krylon leafing pen.

I layered this onto a sheet of walnut ink sprayed background
and added gold ribbon affixed with brads to the card to embellish.

Finally I added the quote stamp (by Personal Stamp Exchange)

The card below was inked with pesto adirondak inkpads and
sprayed over with walnut inks and stamped onto pink glossy
card. I edged the entire card with a gold Krylon pen. Next I
stamped the quote stamp onto vellum – tore around the edges
and folded over the top of the card to create a little ‘corner
pocket’  to embellish the card.

The card below was stamped with Tea Dye Distress Inks (available from Hearts In Touch) – the ink from this inkpad is so subtle that you can hardly see it through the walnut inks – I liked the effect of this as it created such a subtle effect that the image is almost ‘ghost like’

For the card on the below I stamped 2 separate panels using the brushless watercolour technique. On the left is the Shimmering version of the technique using pearl ex spritz, and on the right is the vintage style effect using walnut inks. I did this to create a two tone effect card. To finish the card I added corner borders and the friendship quote (edged with gold Krylon pen)

The leaves in the background prints of both of the cards below where stamped with Meadow Adirondack inkpads and I sprayed the walnut inks over the top to get the vintage wash effect.

This card was created using both the shimmering watercolour technique and the vintage watercolour technique. The panel on the left is the vintage technique – to achieve this I stamped the image with Tea Dye Distress Inkpad and then sprayed once with pearl ex spray, and then sprayed over the top of the pearl ex (on the stamp) with walnut ink to create a 2 tone shimmering walnut ink card!

Rainbow Pearls Watercolour Technique

This is my final and easiest experiment with the technique – this time I used rainbow inkpads! My favourite inkpads are the Big N Juicy and the Adirondack Rainbow pads (all of which are available from Heart In Touch )

To achieve the results shown in the cards on this page I inked my images on either gloss or matt card using rainbow dye inkpads – then I sprayed the rubber die with the different colour pearl ex sprays and experimented with different colours to achieve different effects and washes; stamped, heat set, then sprayed over the surface of the card with pearl ex again to achieve a more softer wash…I found this technique worked best on gloss card but the matt also worked too – just different effects!

Try it yourself – experiment and see!

Gallery Of Brushless Watercolour Cards


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.




These backgrounds are very quick and easy to make, I love them because they are so vibrant and rich, their colours are so alive! Why be subtle when you can be in yer face! 🙂

I used neocolor watercolour crayons to make these backgrounds but if you dont have these you can always adapt using brush marker pens, watercolour pencils, watercolour paints, inks, reinkers or even your inkpad – improvise and see what alternatives you can come up with.

What You Need:

  • Watercolour Crayons -or- alternatives
  • Cardstock (not glossy)
  • Jar Of Water
  • Large Brush
  • Heat Gun

How To Make The Backgrounds:

To make it easier Ive broken these backgrounds down into 4 easy to follow steps which you can see below, remember to work on newspaper as this can be messy:

Bright Watercolour Wash Backgrounds

Step 1: Take 3 different colour crayons, I chose yellow, magenta and red. You dont have to pick the same colours as me, choose your favourite colours – the brighter the better. Pastel shades dont really work for this background.

With your 3 different colour crayons; scribble a border around the card stock as seen in the photo labelled Step 1.

Step 2: Dip your paintbrush into the water and move the colour around the page as seen in the next photo step.

Step 3: While the background is still wet with the water from the previous step quickly scribble randomly over the card using the same colour crayons. See step 3 image.

For this step I added a bold section of yellow to the middle of the card, and then used the magenta crayon to scribble over the left and bottom and then used the orange red crayon to add scribbly lines and blocks of colour.

Step 4: Dip your brush in the water again and use it to gently blend the colours youve just added – dont use too much water as you will make your lines and squiggles dissapear and you want to keep them for added interest.

To prevent the water from diluting the colours too much, grab your heat gun at this point and blast the background till its dry.

Thats it! Arent they easy backgrounds? And boy are they bright!! Have a go at making some yourself, try different colour combos and experiment, then when your done give me a shout!

Heres some more backgrounds I did, to add interest I took some inks I had and dropped colours directly on the backgrounds while the water was still wet (click on the images to see larger pictures):

Bright Watercolour Wash Backgrounds
Bright Watercolour Wash Backgrounds

Water Colour Wash Backgrounds

Heres part 2 on watercolour backgrounds, this time I use ordinary water based pens and markers to create the washes with. You can use any brand of pen so long as it isnt permanent, as you can see from the photograph I used different brands all together to make these backgrounds with ranging from: crayola, marvy, adirondack pens, embossing pens and le plumes. Choose nice bright colours for this technique as they will be watered down with the water, so the stronger the colours – the more vibrant the end result.

See the step by step photos below for more details on how to make these backgrounds (click on the pictures if you require more detail)

Water Colour Wash Backgrounds

Water Colour Wash Backgrounds

Water Colour Wash Backgrounds

Water Colour Wash Backgrounds

Tip: You can vary the intensity of the backgrounds by using less or more water over the marker pen scribbles, experiment and see!

More Backgrounds Using This Technique:

Water Colour Wash Backgrounds
Water Colour Wash Backgrounds
Water Colour Wash Backgrounds

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: