Tag Archive: Spritzers

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:



I love this background technique as it gives me an excuse to use all those magazines Im always accumilating! Its really easy and it creates some gorgeous looking textured background art, read on for details…

What You Need:

  • Card Stock
  • Glossy Magazine Paper
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic Paints – any colours
  • Paint Brush

How To Create:

1. Take a sheet of glossy magazine paper and crunch it up into a tight ball, open it up and set aside for now.

2. Completely layer a sheet of card stock with double sided tape & peel off adhesive backing.

3. Gently pat the crunched magazine paper over the doubled sided tape – dont flatten it as you want lots of nice textures and ridges in the paper.

4. Lightly brush a coat of gesso over the scrunched magazine paper – you can water the gesso down if it is too thick – you want a consistency of milk for the gesso. Allow to dry.

5. Squirt a generous amount of acrylic paint over the surface -I like to use at least 2 different colours for this step. And smoosh the paint around the background using the paint brush. Make sure you get the paint into all the nooks and crannys. Let dry – your background is complete!

Optional – when the paint is dry you can lightly spray over the top with gold or any metallic colour wash spray to give the background a little extra pizazz!

Heres a scan of what the background look like:


Try it and see and while your here click on the links Ive found for more info:

(at the top)


(scroll down to the bottom)

Here are my backgrounds I did for this…..

Before I gesso-ed:


After Gesso:


After I painted with acrylics and colour mist sprays:


Artwork created with the backgrounds:

Ive been having a lotta fun experimenting with the colormist sprays which I got from Outside The Margins!! These babies are amazing – the colours to die for!! Or should I say dye for 🙂

All the background experiments on this page where created using white gesso and black glossy card stock. To achieve this effect I either stamp or scrape gesso directly onto the card stock and let it dry. Once dry I use colorwash sprays to apply colour onto the gesso images/patterns. The end results in really bright dazzling backgrounds!!

You could probably use matt dark card stock for this technique, the reason I went with glossy is because you cant see the colourwash on the black parts of the card with it being so dark and also it doesnt soak into the surface and cause any time of stain because it is glossy and slick, therefore it creates a more eye popping resist effect.

What You Need:
# Black or any dark colour gloss card
# White Gesso
# Rubber Stamps (if you wish to stamp with the gesso)
# Sponge (for applying gesso to stamps)
# Credit Card (or hotel keycard, mobile phone top up card etc)
# ColourWash Sprays (or any brand colour mist sprays – brighter the better)

How To Create:
# Step 1:

Take your black gloss card stock (if you dont have black gloss you can make your own by brayering over white or any colour gloss card) and apply gesso to the card.

Theres a number of ways you can apply the gesso to the card, the easiest way is by stamping on the surface! Use a sponge to apply the gesso to the stamp and be sure to clean your stamp well after youve finished stamping so that the gesso doesnt dry on the rubber. Big and bold designs work best for this. I like to use pattern or alphabet stamps.

Another way to apply the gesso to the surface is using my favourite tool – my handy credit card – well not my real one cos I need that for retail therapy – Im talking about the freebie credit cards you can get for store loyalty points etc. I use that to scrap on bits of gesso onto the black gloss card.

Another way of adding gesso to the surface is to simply dip a sponge into the gesso and splodge it over the surface of the card.

For reference I have scanned the gesso backgrounds I did before I added colour so that you can see what they look like at this point:

Stamped Gesso:

Sponged Gesso:

Gesso Scraped Applied With Credit Card:

# Step 2:

Now for the FUN part….spraying on those color mist sprays! I love how the backgrounds look at this stage!! The white gesso on the black card gives the background a wonderful stark contrast for the colour wash sprays, and because the gesso has a grainy texture the sprays just seem to grab onto the surface and pop out at you. The effect is almost jewel like!

Heres scans of the above backgrounds with colour added:


Heres another scan of one of the above backgrounds, I decided to see what it would look like if I stamped over the background using black acrylic paint, heres the result:


Now finally heres my artist trading cards I made using some of the above backgrounds:


I really enjoyed playing around with these backgrounds! I hope you will too. If you dont have any colour wash sprays dont despair as you can using ordinary inkpads too! Either brayer or sponge on the colours direct to the gesso!

Ive recently discovered the wonders of Walnut Ink! And Im in love!

Its so easy to use and I love the effects you can achieve with it. I used to use coffee to stain my papers, but coffee paper can smell horrible! With Walnut Inks there is no smell!

How to Mix Walnut Crystals

1. Take an empty bottle of shampoo, and tap in 2 teaspoons of Walnut Crystals.

2. Next pour warm water into the bottle so it is half full and give it a shake to mix.

3. Once mixed add more water to fill the bottle up to the top.

4. Next take a spray bottle and fill half way with the walnut ink solution, do a quick test on the back of my hand by spraying it to see how dark it is. If it is too too dark you can add more water to dilute.

Your Walnut Crystals are ready to use!

The beauty of walnut crystals is that you can experiment with using less and more water to create different shades of brown for your backgrounds.

Mixing Walnut Crystals With Pearl Ex

1. Take an empty spray bottle and tap in 1 teaspoon of powdered gum arabic, pour on a little warm water on top of the gum arabic and gave the bottle a good shake to mix them together.

2. Once they have mixed tap in a tiny amount of True Gold Pearl Ex (or any colour of your choice), I used about less than half a teaspoon, you dont need a lot, and again shake the contents to mix together

3. Once mixed top the bottle up with approx half of diluted walnut crystals and shake the bottle to mix everything together.

4. Once it has all mixed, do a quick test on your hand, if it is too dark you can add more water to dilute. Your pearl ex and walnut ink spray is ready to use!

Using Walnut Inks To Create Backgrounds

When Im using Walnut Inks I work on a plastic table mat to protect my work surface, walnut ink can stain so its best to protect your surface.

You can use any type of card, I use both gloss and matt card to achieve very different effects.

Place your cardstock onto the protected work surface and spray the walnut ink solution generously over the card. You can experiment with adding more or less ink. I like to use a heat gun to dry my backgrounds, as when you blast with your heat gun. you can move the inks around to create a ‘water cloud’ effect.

If you put too much walnut ink on your card, while it is still wet you can place another sheet of card over the top of it, gently rub, then peel apart for a more muted backgrounf effect.

When the walnut ink is dry I like to go back and spray on more ink to creat more textures and movements in the inks.

Use the pearl ex and walnut ink solution to create wonderful backgrounds with a metallic sheen!

Stamping On Walnut Ink

You can stamp on walnut inks using most any type of inkpads. My personal choice is the stazon because it has the truest black of them all!

On the triptych cards below, I stamped using various stampers annonymous stamps. After I stamped I noticed the backgrounds where a little too dark in places and you couldnt see the features on the face too well.

I took an ordinary waterbrush filled with water, and I gently added water to the faces and ‘lifted’ the walnut ink from the card and wiped off on scrap paper. It gave the faces a paler muted effect. I wanted to add a little colour so I added a tiny smudge of watercolours to the leaves and the lips and the eyes. The watercolour takes on an aged effect over the top of the walnut inks.

If you use Stazon Inkpads to stamp on Walnut Inks, you can use a water brush filled with household bleach to bleach away some of the walnut ink areas. It creates a wonderful stark background effect and is great for hilighting certain areas in your stamped designs.

Recycling Spray Bottles

If you dont want to pay out for ‘Art Sprays’ you can recycle! I bought some of mine in a pack of 2 from Poundland, they had leave in spray hair conditioner in them. I poured the hair conditioner out into another bottle and washed the spray containers out so I could use them for art sprays. They cost 50p each which is a bargain as you can pay around £1 or more for a ‘proper’ art spray from your craft shops

Mini Triptych Using Walnut Inks