Natalie here with Volume 5 of Mixed Media Mix Up!
In Volume 1 we learned about stripes and splatters for background techniques. We'll take our background techniques one step further in today's Mix Up by doing a Color Wash across the background. We will learn 5 techniques.
This technique applies much liquid to create a background, so it is a necessity to gesso your page. I prefer a clear gesso. The level of smoothness in your application will affect the way the color wash appears on the background.
You can use stamping ink, watercolors, sprays, watered down acrylic, pretty much any thin liquid. You can apply your stamping ink to a plastic or glass surface and add water to create a liquid. Here's a process video of all techniques and a practical application to a layout. I will detail the techniques down below as well.
1) The first technique is typically referred to as the packaging technique. The idea is to use some of the plastic packaging from your scrapbook supplies to apply color to a background and move it.
You simply apply your color to a piece of plastic packaging, smoosh it onto your paper, and you can manipulate the placement through the clear packaging. You can add more color to the same area, or easily add a second color to another area of the paper. Typically I tend to get some drips or splatters upon removal of my packaging. I tend to add more to go along with it once I've completed my packaging technique.
2) We will call the second technique the reverse packaging technique.
In my example, I used the large plastic cover to my Cricut cutting mat. I applied my spray atop the plastic, then laid my paper atop the color application. I then flipped the paper and plastic to see the color distribution on the paper, and I could manipulate it around the page by moving the bubbles under the plastic.
Typically, the removal of the plastic will cause some pooling at the last spot of contact, but I think this turned out beautifully!
3) The third technique is using the Gel Press.
I applied my color straight to the gel plate, knowing they would pool together once pressure was applied with the paper. I did not use a brayer as I typically would with acrylic paint, since the color is so liquid. As with the reverse packaging technique, the color will pool at the last point of contact. This is what gives the beautiful bubbles of layered color, so keep that in mind when pulling off your paper. I achieved two pulls out of this one color application.
4) The fourth technique is the Stamping Block technique.
You can apply your color directly on to your stamping block, or dip your block into color. You then smoosh the block onto your gessoed paper and wriggle it until you have achieved the layers of colors you want. This is a great technique for much control. If you're timid about creating a color washed background, this may be the best way to begin! The smaller the block, the better control you will have.
5) The last technique is the swirl technique.
For this process, just apply the color directly on to your page, spritz with water (or drop water from your paintbrush) and move your paper around to swirl the color across the background. If you identify a shape on the background with plain water before applying the color, this gives the color a direction in which to swirl. You can do beautiful color blending with this technique. But if you want two swatches of unblended color, be sure to allow the first to dry before applying the second. Because this technique blends so beautifully, it's perfect for your powdered pigment inks!
For all of the techniques, I tend to use my paintbrush and additional water to adjust the shapes of the color washes or guide color in a specific direction. Just as with all mixed media techniques, practice makes perfect! The more you create with mixed media, the more comfortable you will become. You will learn your favorite applications and the looks they achieve.
Here's the layout I created using today's Color Wash technique.
I chose to use the Stamping Block technique because I wanted to use two colors which I did not want to blend, and this technique gives me much control. I used the gorgeous new 5th & Monaco collection from Pink Paislee to back a vacation cut file and inspire my color choices for the background.
After I applied my color on to the background, I used the splatter technique from Volume 1 of Mixed Media Mix Up. I also added black splatters to compliment the black accents around the page. I love to tie in embellishments with my color wash backgrounds.
Although I work hard to make the background beautiful, it is a compliment to my page, not the star. Some of your backgrounds will end up being covered by your photo and the rest of the layout, and this is okay! It's good to check along the way of the process to ensure that some of the background will be peeking out around the main focus of your page.
To carry the black accent through the page, I cut some palm fronds with my Sizzix Big Shot. Some simple embellishments were all the page needed for completion because the floral backing of the cut file is so busy!
I hope you've been inspired to create a color wash background! If you have any questions, feel free to send me a direct message on the message boards, on Instagram, or on my YouTube video. I will bump up the message board thread bout Mixed Media Mix Up and I cannot wait to see what you all create!
Wonderful techniques! Your layout is stunning!