Posts Tagged ‘Techniques’

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It took me a long time to try gesso, then I had no idea what to do with it. In this tutorial I’ll show you a few ways to apply it.

Daler Rowney: Gesso; White

Daler Rowney: Gesso; White

You Will Need

  • Tub of gesso
  • Jar of water
  • Rag
  • Palette knife
  • Car sponge
  • Brush
  • mountboard
  • palette to mix on
  • craft sheet



The simplest way I’ve found to apply gesso to small projects and intricate shapes is with a sponge. Pour some gesso into a bottle top. Dab a sponge into the gesso and swipe it onto your chosen surface. It dries faster if you apply a couple of thin coats rather than go for a thick coat right away. Leave to dry, how long it takes to dry depends on your room temperature and humidity.

Palette knife

Scoop up gesso and spread it onto your project. Repeated thin coats allowed to dry will dry faster than one thick application.


Apply as you did with the knife.

Don’t let gesso or any acrylic dry on your tools, if you can’t clean them immediately, place them in water. Once you have finished using them, use soap and cold water to clean off the gesso.

Options/Added Extras

Experiment with different surfaces to apply your gesso to, and different tools to apply the gesso with.


Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie 🙂

Adventures in Acrylics: Online workshop

Adventures in Acrylics: Online workshop


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Welcome back
Now I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but, I think I have discovered a new technique, for Colourwash Inks.  I say this as I haven’t seen anyone else either do this, or have mentioned it. I am calling this technique ‘Butterfly Paper’, the name inspired by the butterfly prints we all played with in Primary school, where you splodge paint on one side of a piece of paper, fold it in half and see what comes out.

I ‘found’ this idea as a result of the experiments that gave us Leather Look Paper.  In order to get a full coverage of ink for the Leather Paper effect both sides of the paper had to come into contact with each other.  This got me thinking. I wanted full colour papers to make end papers for my handmade books, but the textured paper wouldn’t sit flat in the books and also the paper warped from being very wet, so it wasn’t suitable for this. As a result Butterfly Paper was born. To find out how to make some of your own read on….

To Make Butterfly Paper, You Will Need

  • Heat tool
  • Iron (dedicated craft iron as it will get messy)
  • Bin liner or plastic sheet
  • Large empty cardboard box or (unused) plastic cat litter style box
  • White printer paper
  • Blank newsprint; available from removal companies
  • Ranger Colourwash Ink
  • Spritzer bottle of water


  • Cut open your bin liner and lay it over your work surface to protect it from the ink
  • Place the empty cardboard box on your table and put a piece of folded blank newsprint in the bottom
  • Place a sheet of blank newsprint next to your box to put damp paper onto.
  • Either wear old clothes you won’t mind getting messy or wear a plastic apron  (just in case)

**Ensure there is plastic underneath the box and blank paper, in case the ink soaks through either of them**


1.  Place a piece of printer paper in the bottom of the box.
2.  Spray the paper with one or two colours of the Ranger Colourwash Ink.  You need the paper to be wet with ink.
Spraying paper with Colourwas ink
3.  If you haven’t used much ink, spray the paper with some water to get the paper nice and wet. You need it to stay wet whilst you get to step 5.
4.  Remove your wet paper from the box and set it ink face UP on the blank newsprint next to your box

Repeat steps 1-3 with your second sheet of paper.

5. Carefully, remove this second sheet of paper now wet with ink, from the box and place it on top of your first sheet. Ink sides together.

Two pieces of paper placed on top of each other inked sides together


6.  Smooth over the back of the paper to ensure the entire surface of both sheets has come in contact with each other.

7.  Carefully peel the papers apart to reveal the pattern.

Revealing the colour on Butterfly Paper

8.  If your paper wasn’t wet enough, some of the paper will still show the speckling of the ink rather than being completely covered in it. To solve this re-spray both inked sides of the papers with plain water and repeat steps 7-8.

The ink got too dry (coz I was taking the pictures) So I sprayed with some more water.


Insuffiecent water/ink used


9.  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DRY BOTH PAPERS QUICKLY. Place your paper ink side UP onto a heat proof surface and heat the paper till it no longer looks shiny, repeat with the second sheet before you move on. The paper will still be damp but not shiny.


Applying heat tool to Butterfly Paper


10.  Now the paper no longer looks wet and shiny it is safe to turn it ink side down and iron on the back to flatten it. Iron on the back of the paper so it doesn’t go shiny.

Ironing the back of the Butterfly Paper

11. Repeat with the second sheet.

Heating the paper seems to set the ink, making it stable to use wet glue on without disturbing the ink.


Here are a few colour combinations;

Stream & Denim

Stream & Denim Butterfly paper


Terracotta, Raisin & Espresso

Terracotta, Raisin & Esspresso Butterfly Paper
The metallic look was created by dabbing over the wet paper with screwed up with a little Perfect Pearls on it. The splodge was the first attempt at just tapping some on ooops!

Butterfly Paper


 Try adding more water instead of ink. There was sooo much ink left on the paper there was a big puddle of it. I sprayed plain paper and pressed it into the original sheet. NOT the best way to do this technique but it used up the excess ink. I used the method described above for all other papers and used WAY less ink 😉

The pattern becomes more mottled as you press of dab the wet sheets together. 
Thanks for reading and if you give this a go enjoy getting messy the resulting paper is worth all the effort.

Billie 😉

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Welcome back
For once, no chat just mainly pictures that’ll be a first for me. Here you go, these papers were all created using the technique I described the other day. I have made more and ironed the back of them whilst they were still wet with ink and they have retained the patterns of the creases but are almost flat enough to stamp onto.

You don’t need to use multiple colours, if you only have one ink just use that one. I use several colours as it gives more depth to the paper.



Stream Leather look paper


Stream & Denim

Stream & Denim Leather Look Paper


Stream & Eggplant 

Stream & Eggplant Leather Look Paper


Here are some great combinations to try;


  • Stream & Wild Plum
  • Stream & Bottle 
  • Pesto & Lettuce
  • Lettuce & Espresso
  • Butterscotch & Terracotta & Espresso
  • Butterscotch & Espresso. 
  • Butterscotch & Terracotta
  • Terracotta & Raisin.  
  • Cranberry & Raisin
  • Lettuce & Raisin.
  • Cranberry.



  • Leave the paper to dry naturally gives the most texture.
  • Iron the back of the paper whilst still wet with ink leves texture marks but the surface will be flatter for stamping onto.
  • Iron the paper again once dry to flatten some more.


Have fun and thanks for reading.

Billie 🙂

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