I was catching up on blog feeds and YouTube subscriptions and there was a project that used Brusho, I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it got me thinking about whether it was actually possible to use water-activated pigment powders (like Brusho and PaperArtsy Infusions and various other brands) with stencils without making a horrible mess. I’d tried it before and it was not pretty…
A quick search on YouTube — some things have to be seen rather than read about — led me to this little video by Loll, which perfectly demonstrates how to cleanly stencil with Brusho. I followed her instructions and this was my first attempt:
I then grabbed some other card and successfully proved to myself that the paper you use really does make a difference. Listen to Loll and stick to watercolour or mixed media paper; Strathmore Bristol is brilliant for ink blending, not so great for wet stencilling.
Even though the other attempts didn’t leave me with nice crisp stencil outlines, you know me, there was no way they were going in the bin. I ended up creating another two pairs of leaf panels, which I’ll share with you in future blog posts.
Back to the successful version.
Now I was in the mood for playing. I started by outlining the stencil flip impression with India ink, which looked nice but didn’t really have the impact I was hoping for. So I painted the whole leaf black. I outlined the leaf with a row of white faux stitching, and then added another row and finally a third. I trimmed it down to match the size of the pieces of Strathmore and edged it with silver wax. One done.
The other took a bit longer.
Having done the first one as black on green, I thought I’d turn them into a pair by doing this one as green on black. I added a couple of layers of clear embossing powder to protect the leaf while I coloured the background. First I tried Distress ink, but it really didn’t create the right depth of colour, even with a couple of layers and heat drying. So then I figured that I’d used the India ink on the other leaf, why not use it on this background, after all, it’s waterproof when dry so it should be easy enough to clean up any that ends up on the leaf…
Now, I don’t know whether I didn’t leave it long enough or whether it didn’t like being layered over the Distress ink or what, but when I came to clean the leaf, the black ink lifted off the background as well. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
Out of curiosity as much as anything, I covered it with Distress micro glaze which did help to fix it, but also made it harder to clean the clear embossing. I ended up using a small cotton bud and rubbing alcohol…
The background was looking a little worse for wear by this time and I decided to go with the flow and grunge it up a bit more by dabbing a thin coat of translucent embossing paste around the edges. Once that was dry I used my finger to add a smear of silver embossing paste on the very edge to highlight the texture.
I mounted them on some scrap heavyweight card I had lying around (probably the back of an old art pad) and called them done.
Of course, by the end of this process, it really didn’t matter that I’d started off with a cleanly stencilled leaf, but it’s still nice to know that it can be done and it did make outlining the leaves easier.
- Prep & Stick:
Ranger collage medium
Distress micro glaze
Dreamweaver – translucent embossing paste
Dreamweaver – silver embossing paste
Brusho – leaf, emerald
J Herbin – India ink
- Pens & Pencils:
Uni-ball Signo UM-153 – white
CraftStar – monstera leaf
- Embossing powder:
Wow! Superfine clear gloss
- Paper & Fabric:
Papermill Direct luxury artist watercolour paper
Finnabair metallique wax – old silver