Monday, June 1, 2009

Stamped Gesso Technique

Happy June 1st!!

I don't know about you but this year just seems to be FLYING along! I can hardly believe we are starting the half way point of 2009!!!! I just don't know where all the time has gone.

I recently had a question from Amy in TX ask about a technique that she had seen used on a card but didn't know for sure how to do it ~ that technique is stamping on gesso. I explained the technique in my e-mail but promised to make up a card and share the step by step pics.

Stamping on Gesso

I *think* this technique was originally used in altered books but works just as well for cards, scrapbook or any number of other paper projects. I love to pair this technique with pages torn from a vintage book or atlas...the gesso tones down the printed text without blocking it out entirely for a great effect! It is also very handy on pattern papers as well!


Book Pages, Map Pieces, or Pattern Paper


Foam Brush

Rubber Stamp

Clear Embossing Ink

Clear Embossing Powder

Dye Ink

Ink Blending Tool

Heat Gun

Paper Towel or Dry Cloth

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1. Paint the book pages with one or two coats of Gesso and let dry completely. NOTE: Your paper may curl ~ no worries...once you mount it onto your finished project it will flatten right out.

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You can see here how the gesso makes the text less noticeable but still somewhat visible.

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2. Stamp desired image directly on the gesso'ed paper using a clear embossing ink.

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3. Sprinkle the image with clear embossing powder, shake off the excess and heat. It's a bit hard to see but your page should looks something like this....

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4. Cover the image with desired color(s) of ink using the Ink Blending Tool or other foam.

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As you can see from this photo what a difference the gesso makes after the ink has been applied. Notice how translucent the ink appears when it is applied over the gesso'ed area as opposed to the non-treated edge. You can also see how it interacts with the embossed image (lower right hand corner).

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5. Wipe the excess ink from the embossed image. Your image is ready to be used!

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This is a great technique for altered books of course but it also looks great incorporated on cards, ATC's, Gothic Arches, Scrapbook Pages (if you use an old book or piece of a map page you'll want to be sure to hit it with a shot of something like Archival Mist or "Make It Acid Free" since most vintage paper is full of acids.), Altered Arts and more!!!

Here is a semi-finished example incorporating this technique onto a card. I didn't stamp the sentiment because I wanted you to be able to get a feel for how this technique will look on a project.

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Now, don't fret if you don't have any gesso on hand ~ tomorrow I'll share a "Faux Gesso" technique that's just as cool and produces super results with something a bit more common!

Till then ~ sending you all inky wishes!


  1. How would the technique be diffent without the gesso? I am just wondering what added benefit it had?Thanks!

  2. Ooooh cannot wait for that Roni cause I don't have any Gesso and I really want to do this technique!! I think it's great.

  3. From France.This is great! Such a nice result! Happy I've got my afternoon free: gesso and ink will be all over my fingers. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh so neato. I like that!! Cant wait for the faux Gesso look since I dont have any LOL I never knew the actual purpose of gesso lol

  5. Gesso'd text pages are my trademark. Love, love, love this technique!!

  6. Hey "Anonymous"~go back and read the post and look at the photos Roni made for us and you will answer your own question!

    I have Gesso buried SOMEWHERE in the garage from my painting classes days... I think I'll wait for tomorrows' reveal!

  7. This looks really great! I've tried id already en I love it!!
    Thank you.

  8. This is really great! I love that the gesso is both white and semi-transparent. Would white acrylic paint work as well if I thinned it? I've got that. Much thanks for your wonderful sharing.

  9. Thank you so much, the pictures add so much to the technique. Now I can actually see what a difference it makes.


  10. What a great technique, thanks for sharing.

  11. Such gorgeous sample! I love the effect stamping over the pages...


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!