Monday, November 30, 2009

December Technique

A brief introduction (subtitled It's Not All My Fault)

Its not just me.  Most of us have arrived at the 'art' we are doing now via a long experimental road through a myriad of crafts. In our excitement over the new craft we went out and bought all the whiz bang supplies to go with it - then eventually tired of it in time and moved onto the next big thing.  Problem was we still had copious supplies of our previous addiction that sat and gathered dust as we went out and purchased new supplies for our new addiction.

Over the years I have given away all my porcelain doll supplies, fabric and lace from sewing, quiliting and cloth dolls - but still have boxes and boxes of threads from counted cross stitch and dyes from the cloth dolls.  In one of my many studio re-organisations and clean ups I came across the dyes and a light bulb went on only and 8watt one mind, but a glimmer of an idea nonetheless.

Nothing was done about it for a few weeks till a friend came to stay and I mentioned it to her... we spent a very enjoyable (and very messy) day playing and ended up with some gorgeous papers which I then glued to ATC blanks for future use.  This tutorial is borne of that day.

  • Assorted blank paper (copy paper, watercolour paper, cartridge paper even white adhesive labels work)
  • mica pigments (pearlex, luminarte, perfect pearls. Moon Glows)
  • fabric and/or silk dyes
  • fine mist spray bottles
  • water
  • gloves (not a good idea to do this with bare hands!)
  • newspaper for your table top (again not a good idea to skip the newspaper  LOL)
  • baby wipes or paper towels for cleanup
Note:  you can also use mica sprays if you have then on hand.. I had some Starburst Stains, Glitz Spritz and Moonglow mist that I used as well

Mixing The Colours
Into an empty spray bottle add some mica pigments - how much you add will depend on the size of the bottle.  For a 2oz (60ml) bottle I added a goodly slightly heaped teaspoon.
Next I poured in some liquid fabric dye - enough to about 1/4 to 1/3 fill the bottle.  Then top it up with warm water, cap it and shake it like mad to mix it all together. It needs to be warm water to get the pigments mixed together  so they don't clog your spray bottle

If you are using Ranger mini mister spray bottles go for the same quantities Tim suggests (one scoop on the end of paddle pop stick, and eyedropper of dye (instead of the ink) and then top with water).
How concentrated you want your colour is all in how much you add... if you want a softer  colour - add more water less dye.  If you want a really rich colour add more dye less water - the 'recipe' above will give you a rich concentrated colour.

With the fabric or silk dyes you can also mix the colours just like in the primaries.. a bit of red and blue dye will give you purple, yellow and blue = green and red and yellow will give you orange.   Orange dye with copper pigments was super yummy, and purple dye with green pigments looked great too.  I also loved the green dye with copper pigments.. YUMMY!

Spraying The Paper - Step One
When you spray the paper, don't do a light coat all over and then add more other colours on top - it will all meld into a turgid solid sort of goopy colour (very technical term).

Choose two or three or four colours that you like and spray the first one (doesnt matter which) into patches on your paper... then on 1/3 of the remaining white paper spray your second colour and on the last third spray the third colour. If you have chosen four colours work in 1/4's

Dont worry if it 'beads' on the paper, it will settle and soak in.. I find its best too be quite liberal too - more is def better than a light mist.. you need it WET.  Let the spray pool on the paperand put aside to soak in and dry.  If you are in a hurry you can use a heat gun - it will give you interesting effects as your push the pooled spray around the paper with the force of the heat gun.

For the paper to the right I sprayed first with green, then with orange and lastly with yellow (all with the gold or copper mica pigments in them.
When it was at the stage in the fourth pic, I picked it up and let the edges of the pools run into each other around the page, floating one colour over the other, then I put it aside to dry.

From here you have several options:  You can consider it finished and do more on it when use it as a background or:

Once the dye is no longer in pools on the paper, take a mask, punchinella or the like and lay it on your paper, press down firmly or roll with brayer (you dont want the spray under it) then spray some  more with your darkest colour you used, over the mask and lift off.  Dont introduce a new colour - just use the darkest of your three colour already used.

Note:  Your paper MUST be totally dry before you do this, if its still damp you will get blurred, blotter paper type edges on the mask. Best to make the paper one day and mask it the next.

In these pics I used Tim Holtz Mask and oversprayed with green, When you lift it off the mask retains the colour it was masking and the area around it is just a darker green.

Another option is to stamp on it randomly with a stamp in either gold or silver inkpad, depending on your chosen colours in the paper.

The papers themselves are much more shimmery than they appear here too - unfortuneatly the mica pigments dont photograph very well.. the pics to the right are actually of paper that is very shimmery emerald green and purple.. the dotty look you see is the mica on paper.

Once your paper is totally dry you can adhere it to cardstock to use as ATC or card backgrounds. I'm not a card person.. so I played some more and made up a batch of ATCs... I will upload pics of them in  a day or two

P.S You REALLY should wear gloves :-)


  1. Your background papers are just beautiful!

  2. I've been making my own mists but never, ever thought of using fabric dye. Holy cow, you've just made me one happy girl. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Loved your post! Super papers and thanks for the tutorial! I can see why you wear gloves but worth it! Love the results! Have a great weekend.

  4. I can appreciate your firm grasp of the "processes" artists go through. Especially the accumulation of dust collecting supplies. Oh what to do with those?

  5. Love the techniques and projects you've shared on your blog! wonderful to see how you used the background papers in the ATC's, and the project using the back of the stretched canvas is stunning...thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. coming from someone as talented as you, it is very appreciated!

  6. Oh Bevlea you look a total mess LOL.

  7. Love your techniques!!! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wow - have just spent an age on your blog and loved every minute - fantastic inspirational work - will be back soon xHilda

  9. Will there be a January technique? Love all your ideas. They are so great to try.


We love comments and feedback - it makes it all worthwhile... see... we're smiling... thankyou!