Many of you did not follow my old art site The Creator’s Leaf. The one before Artangeology. Occasionally I am going to pull out one of those tutorials and repost it here and today is one of those days. This was a super fun project and it currently lives in Alabama with a sweet family we became friends with when Kali was involved in speech and debate in high school.
Mixed media is a lot of fun! It was intimidating when I first started, but each time it gets easier. Just play with product until you think it’s done. There you go – mixed media life lesson in a nutshell. Hahaha! Let me show you how I made this piece.
I began with a simple 8″ x 10″ wooden board from Walmart. Shopping options are limited here in Maine, thankfully Walmart usually has a little bit of everything. I already had the FolkArt paint at home. If you need some, Walmart often has bottles for 50 cents each. I completely covered the board with the darker pink first. I did not gesso the board first because I forgot about that part. Not absolutely necessary – thankfully – but it does help the paint not absorb into the wood, which means you don’t have to use as much paint. The lighter pink I put on a styrofoam plate and used a wide flat brush to stroke the paint on in a random fashion. The streaky brush strokes gave some awesome texture.
Impatient person that I am, I went straight to the texture paste and some stencils I really like. These are called Itty Bitty Stencils and they came from Joggles. But of course. Hahaha! I like them because they are ATC size and I use them all the time. Seriously. For this technique, I used a palette knife and spread the texture paste through the openings directly onto the board. Don’t have a fancy palette knife? Think popsicle stick. That would work. Just spread the paste on like cake frosting. And be sure to clean your stencil – and palette knife if you use one – before that paste turns into concrete. Because that is so not awesome.
I used four different stencils. Notice how I positioned the heart stencil off the side of the board. The brick wall stencil – I only spread the texture paste over the middle of the stencil. Not the whole stencil. Same thing with the larger bales-type stencil in the lower right corner. There is no rule that you have to use the entire stencil. And I rarely do. It’s your project. You make the rules. And I usually make them up as I go along.
As per usual, I forgot to take photos for a few steps. Let me give it to you in a nutshell and bullet points.
- I used a couple other colors of acrylic paint, squeezed a bit of each onto a plate, then used my fingers to spread that color randomly around the board. Some horizontal smears. Some vertical smears.
- I thought I covered up too much of the numbers, so I took a small brayer and rolled white paint across the top of the board. Up, down and across. I focused on the numbers. Sloppy brayer-ing gives more texture.
- Then I had too much white on the hearts, so I used a brush to put more pink back on the hearts and give more balance to the overall piece.
I keep old sheet music for collaging. These particular pieces came from the song Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him. I opted to use them in a couple open areas of the board. And I will show you how I attached them.
Adhering paper and other lightweight items to your collage work is a simple process. I hand tore the paper edges so they would have a better grip on the board, then coated the backs with Golden Gel Mediums – Soft Gel (Matte) and placed the music bits where I wanted them to go. I used a wide paint brush and brushed more gel medium over the tops, making sure to seal those edges down. When it dried, I added one more layer – just to be sure. Then let the whole thing completely dry.
There are many kinds of gel medium on the market. I prefer the matte because it dries . . . well, it dries matte. Not glossy. And this particular brand is not sticky once dry. That means I can use it in my journaling Bible as page prep. Or on a page in an art journal and the pages won’t stick together. That is important.
When I was digging through my collage drawer, I came across some cute dinner napkins my friend Cindy gave me. I hand tore a section of flowers from one napkin. Painting medium on the back of a napkin piece is just about impossible, so I painted the medium directly onto the board, placed the napkin piece down into it, and painted more gel medium over the top, sealing down the edges. One note about the brush you use – you should dedicate a cheap paint brush for this procedure. Because you probably won’t be able to paint with it after this, it will be stiff-ish. Mixed media is all about the layers, so I used another stencil and stamped purple and green ink through it to place random sections of dots and leaves.
Those sheet music sections were too white, so I smeared some watered down hot pink acrylic paint over them.
Still not finished. You will know when it’s finished – this wasn’t ‘complete’ enough.
- I used a micron pen and tangled some lines and dots around the bricks in the brick wall.
- I used a squeeze bottle of liquid pearls and made lines in the bales section to make it look more tangled.
- A couple different size medicine bottles made excellent stamps to layer some black circles around the board.
- I used the flat bottom edge of a binder clip to make some blunt rectangles of black here and there. I realize this technique would work better on flat paper, but it did work.
- I used a couple different colors of liquid pearls to dot the flowers in the napkin, and the centers of the bales section.
- More liquid pearls made the dots along the edges of the board.
- And lastly, I used my fingers again to make some of the white areas a little brighter.
And called it done. Before I messed the whole thing up. Hahahaha! If you scroll back to the top of the post, you can see how far this project came from the cheapo wood Walmart board I started with. What a super fun process! I need to do this again. Walmart! It’s where the cheapo boards are. In their craft section. I hope you give it a try. Use product you already have on hand – as much as you can. Super fun!