Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Faux Stamping on Gesso Technique

Yesterday I shared the "Stamped Gesso" technique and a few people had a couple of the same questions so I thought I'd start with those first.

Q ~ How would it be different w/o the gesso (Why use the gesso?)?

A ~ There are a couple main reasons to use the gesso ~ 1st ~ it tones down the text, images, patterns, etc on the foundation paper without blocking it out completely. If you didn't use the gesso the text/images would over power the stamped/embossed design defeating the whole purpose. 2nd ~ the gesso makes the stamped & embossed image a bright white which enables it to really pop once you have added the ink.

Q ~ How long should I wait for the gesso to dry before I emboss on it?

A ~ Since we're using a very thin layer of gesso it dries almost immediately ~ as soon as it dries you can stamp and emboss on it.

Q ~ Is gesso acid-free so I can use it in my scrapbooks?

A ~ Yes, gesso is safe for your scrapbooks...Gesso normally used as a primer by artists to prime their canvas so it's most definitely safe for your photo crafts as well.

Faux Stamped Gesso Technique

This technique is preformed in the same exact way that I described to you yesterday BUT you can substitute acrylic paints (sometimes thinned) in place of the gesso!! Wooo Hoooo!!!!!!!!!

Yes, plain old acrylic paints will achieve virtually the same exact results as gesso does!

A bit about acrylic paints ~ now, you may have to experiment a bit with your acrylic paint before you get an exact mix that will work.

Remember you want to use VERY thin coats ~ we're only looking to mute the text/images on the background paper not blot them out completely. If your acrylic paint is too thick you may thin it with just a couple drops of water. NOTE: If you do thin your paint the dry time may be extended.

Another benefit to using acrylic paints is you can incorporate color into the initial coat! You have to keep in mind is not all acrylic paints are made the same though. Some paints (usually artist quality acrylic paints) contain a much larger amount of pigment (colorant) than others ~ if this is the case I would suggest using a cheaper variety or cutting the paint with a white acrylic paint to thin out the pigment.

You may notice a small difference (Gesso vs. Acrylic Paint) but I don't think it's enough to have to go out and buy a jar of gesso just for this technique.

Below you will find the card I made using Gesso from yesterday....

Gesso Stamping013

and here is a similar piece made using white acrylic paint (instead of the gesso) along with the same stamps, embossing powders and inks.

Faux Gesso007

The most evident difference between the two is the gesso gives a much more even coverage than the paint does but I think the paint offers up a bit of a distressed vintage look. More random to the gesso's smooth coat.

I also wanted to highlight a couple areas that I stamped off the gesso to demonstrate the difference between using the gesso under the embossed image and not....

You can see here that the image is much darker and is almost dull in appearance compared the the gesso'ed area....

Faux Gesso007

The tips of the wings also demonstrate this difference dramatically...

Faux Gesso007

As I mentioned above if you choose to use the acrylic paints in place of the gesso you have also opened up the door to colors! In order for the design to show up on the finished technique you will need to use lighter shades of any color you choose.

You should also keep in mind that the ink color you apply over the initial coat of acrylic paint will change the final color that shows up. For example on the first example I used a blue ink on the yellow acrylic paint which resulted in a green on the upper third of the image.

Below are a few examples of colored acrylic paints using this technique....

Yellow ~

Faux Gesso002

Aqua (it doesn't show up well since it is overcast ~ the flash just washes the color out)

Faux Gesso005

and Pink

Faux Gesso006
One additional tip I wanted to pass on...you must be sure that the rubber stamp you are using is free from other ink before you stamp on the gesso/acrylic. I confess I'm not so good at cleaning my stamps after i use them...I wipe them off so they don't make my other stamps inky but I don't actually clean them after each use. If you try to stamp with clear embossing ink it sort of re-activates the colored inks and you'll have an interesting result which most definitely WON"T be clear ;) If you look closely at the thistle you'll see a bit of maroon mixed in ;) LOL!!!
So there you go ~

Hopefully this has taken the mystery out of Gesso Stamping and given you a few more ideas to stash in your "I must try this...." drawer ;)

Take care friends and have a wonderful day!!!


  1. Very nice Roni! I have about 50 colors of paint LOL I will have to give this a try ASAP! Love it!

  2. Gorgeous examples Roni. I am a gesso fan so I will stick with my true love. I do like the colors, tho.... Nice!

  3. My friend - I cannot believe how much love and passion you put into your blog! You make it all so easy for us mere mortals to be talented like you! :-) I'm so proud of you and your giving and sharing heart! ((((HUGS))))

  4. VERY, VERY COOL!!!! Love it! And we love you!

  5. I'm a gesso fan too and I had a great time doing the technique yesterday afternoon. I ended with beautiful pages. I'll try with the paint too.

  6. sorry, my name didn't appear. I'm not the sort to write anonymously.

  7. Yay! I know where my white acrylic paint is, so I can try this on some ATC's I'm making tonight!
    Thanks for sharing, Roni!

  8. Thanks for sharing the faux stamping on gesso technique, this is so cool!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!