Lots of Layers Tutorial

Lots of Layers Tutorial

Posted by DecoArt on Jan 24th 2019

Hi it's Brenda here with you today. I love adding lots of layers to my mixed media work to create interest and depth to the project and there are lots of techniques you can use to do this. It’s taken me quite a while to be ok with the fact that by layering up you often lose the earliest layers in the process but they are all part of the creative journey. Follow along to see how I layered up DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics and Mediums to create the background for this page.

I was inspired by a dear friend who was creating a winter journal before Christmas and I have been wanting to focus on some nature-inspired artwork so I have used the moment to start a new journal and I will use either real natural elements or stamped images or die-cuts of them to bring a cohesive focus to all the pages.

When creating projects for the DecoArt blog I am either reproducing techniques that I’ve tried before or I am experimenting from scratch, i.e. I’m really looking to see what does and doesn’t work and this is one of those times. You’ll see what I mean as you read through! Sometimes a layer just doesn’t look right but as you add the next it catches your eye and you feel much happier with it.

Items Needed:


1. Using black ink randomly stamp a text background. Dry with a heat gun.

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2. Use a monoprint technique using some quite thick paper or a piece of card. Randomly paint your piece of card with White Gesso and press it onto your page.

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Repeat until you are happy with the background. Play with the amount of colour you paint onto the card and watch for the variations it gives you. Leave some of the kraft page and text showing through. I placed a piece of wax paper behind my page to protect the pages underneath and prevent them from getting stray paint on them.

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3. Using the dark grey mixed with titanium buff on your craft mat, spritz with water to create a watery wash, with a paint brush spread it out over a wide surface area…..

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…..and dip your page into and dry several times.

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4. Repeat step 3 with a very tiny amount of Prussian Blue (it really is a strong pigmented colour) mixed with some Payne's Grey.

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5. Repeat steps 1 and  2 to tone it down again but leave some of the colours showing through as well.

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6. It was here I decided it looked a little too cool in tone so I brayered some Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide over to warm it up. I wasn’t sure if I had done the right thing but I persevered and carried on.

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7. Now I tried another monoprint technique using a stencil, but it didn’t work for me. I think it was because my background was too textured and didn’t allow my stencil to lay flat on the surface. We always learn something from our experiments don’t we? ?Acrylic paints can dry very quickly especially in warm environments so I added a little extender medium to my colours for this next step. I used Prussian Blue hue and Diarylide Yellow. ?I mixed both of these colours individually and together on my palette with the extender medium……

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….then using my craft mat I painted some onto a stencil and then pressed it onto my page, rubbed over the back with some clean kitchen towel and repeated with the same stencil design to add pattern and texture.

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But it wasn’t quite what I expected but you know what they say – get over it, there’s never a right or wrong way it’s all part of the learning process. So that’s what I did.

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8. There is a bonus as you can press some clean media paper or card onto the surface of your mat or plate and rub over the leftover paint to "pull" prints which can be used later.

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9. Knowing that I had a leaf to add to the page I decided I wanted some of this background to show through but I also needed a more neutral palette for the leaf to sit on so I scraped some white gesso over the page using a palette knife keeping the flat side horizontal to the page. I can still see some of the original grey and blue and some of the stamping.

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10. I took this a bit further and mixed some gesso and white modeling paste together and scraped it through the leaf stencil and a small dotty stencil to create texture. I left it overnight to dry and then mixed some sap green with glazing medium and painted it all over the substrate and wiped back with a wet wipe. (I love this technique I learned from our very own talented Shawn Petite).

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11. I wanted to make this a bit grungier so I repeated step 10 using Raw Umber Fluid Acrylic.

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12. I had picked a couple of bits up from the back garden to use in this journal. To get them ready I placed them between some kitchen paper and two pieces of card, put two elastic bands around it and put it in the microwave on full power for 2 minutes. They came out lovely and dry and flat ready to use.

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13. I had originally thought I would paint the leaf with gesso but I love the holes in the leaf parts and the faded colours so I decided to seal it on both sides using the DecoArt matte sealer spray instead. I have to be honest and say I don’t know how long it will last! I painted a coat of matte medium over the top of the leaf but it was very fragile and broke in a couple of places.

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14. So I altered course and made the decision to completely change the ending of my processes. I added some very small torn pieces of collage paper and then covered the page with a coat of clear modeling paste and laid the leaf in it to protect it. Originally I thought I might be able to glue it on with a hot glue gun but hey ho – all the best plans! This now made the leaf very soft and pliable and it bends with the page.

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15. To finish I cut three leaves from the prints you can see in step 8, stamped them with some brown texture and drew in the veins.

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I added some hessian ribbon, some stained cambric and some words to complete the page.

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I’m looking forward to creating more pages for this journal.

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Perhaps you’re starting a new journal for 2019, if you are, have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment as you create and alter course if you need to.

Happy New Year

Hugs Brenda xxx