Sunday, September 13, 2015

A few quick backgrounds



Some of you may remember my sneak peek photo I posted showing supplies I would use to make backgrounds.

I've stolen a few minutes here and there each day for the past week (six days), and have managed to make a few backgrounds starting with my used file folders.  I tried to color correct this photo because it was so dark.  However, I decided it wasn't worth the extra effort trying to get the true color.

Let's begin with the first layer.  Those of you who took my free altered book classes (see my right sideboard) know I believe in using what you have on hand.  I can only suggest you use colors that go well with each other and are not opposite on the color wheel, which will result in mud when blended.  For this layer, we will use a faux credit card, or old hotel card.  If you don't have one of those options, cardboard can be used in a pinch.

Squeeze out three colors onto your substrate, then DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DID!  Start with your LIGHTEST COLOR.  Of course, I dropped my faux card in the purple paint, so started with it.  It changed the entire look of the first layer.

Although I tried to compensate, the purple took over much of the first backgrounds.  I got four backgrounds from this bit of paint.

It was time to allow these pages to dry and head to my friend's house.  The nice thing about this technique is, if you were creating these backgrounds all at once, you wouldn't have to wait long, because the scraping pretty much assures these will be dry to the touch quite soon.

Don't worry if there are bare spots on your substrate, because we are going to create a second layer.  For this layer I created on the second day, I tried to tone the purple down a bit with more red and yellow, but had to wait for the first layer to dry, or the yellow would have created mud.

I was beginning to like what I saw,

but decided to add a third layer of yellow.  This was all the time I had, so I allowed these pieces to dry and headed to my neighbor's house.

These four pages look so much different (darker) on the floor than on my table.  For the third day, I decided to switch gears and go lighter.

I had spilled some red on one of the file folders, but it was dry, so I was happy with these two pieces.  I was running late and had spent too much time on the computer, so this was all I had time for on the third day.

For the fourth day,  I added some purple, which I kept thinking was probably a mistake.  All I could do was set these aside and continue to work.

Next came copper and red.  I love this combination.  I didn't even get a photo of the completed pieces before I left to help my friend.

On the fifth day, I was ready to add a new layer. 

This time I chose stencils and my handmade shimmering mists.

I "wiped" the stencils onto two new pages, by turning the plastic doily and stencil over.  Subtle, but effective.

I used these same pieces, but this time, changed the color of shimmering mist.  Note there are pages to the right that do not have stencils on them.

I actually added three different greens to the mix,

then slightly offset the other two pages on top of the first two, and pressed firmly with my hands.

You can see that both sets of pages got lots of shimmering mists from the stencils

and I didn't waste the mists by wiping off the stencils with a paper towel or hand wipe.

Now it was time for these to dry au naturel, because I didn't want to use a heat tool on them.  So it was off to my neighbor's in time to help her again.

TIP: Be sure to wash your stencils after using ANY spray mist, whether it's commercial or home made.  Although paint can be left on the stencil (as pointed out by my friend Corrine), spray mists cannot.  Once any liquid, whether paint or new mist, is added to an unwashed stencil, it will activate the previous spray mist.  You might get a nice surprise, or a hideous mess.

On the sixth day, I grabbed my punchinella (sequin waste)

and dabbed on some black paint.  I got too much on the first one I made because I failed to wipe off some of the paint before I began.  A dry brush is best for this technique.

Be sure to turn your stencils over and wipe the back on part of your piece.  I actually like the back side of the punchinella better than the front.

I kept working until

all the pages had a bit of black on them.

I admit that one of my favorite tools is bubble wrap.  If you've ever been given or purchased anything in the mail, you probably have bubble wrap.  I spread the paint with my fingers because I just like the feel of the bubble wrap.  I'm sure some will prefer to use a brayer, but I'm brayer challenged, so I prefer my fingers, which are only occasionally challenged.

Here are the finished backgrounds in all their glory.  I began with paint scrapings, added more paint scrapings, went to stencils and mists, added punchinella and paint, then finished with bubble wrap and paint.

Granted, these took six days to create, but I was gone most of the time.  I probably spent less than an hour making these eight backgrounds, and would have made more if I'd had room to store them while they were drying in my tiny, tiny upstairs craft room.

Now all I have to do is either use them for backgrounds, or cut them up to make other art.  Like many things I create, I make them ahead so they will be ready when the spirit moves me.  Of course, I plan to use most of these in my Houses or my 7 Continents altered books.  I'm sure you'll be seeing some of them very soon.  And in case those of you who are new to backgrounds or mixed media would like to see this post again, I'll add it to my Tutorials page.

Thanks for following me on this six day adventure.  I joke that it took nearly that long to get these on the internet (yes, my connection is that slow!), but I'm grateful you followed me through this process.


13 thoughtful remarks:

johanna said...

These are the times i call "stash building"... isn´t it great to have some in reserve for quick use? they turned out great, elizabeth!

Divers and Sundry said...

All your layers add such depth! I'm afraid my layers just add mess ;)

Valerie-Jael said...

Looks like you made the most of your time and had a lot of fun! I, too, love having a stash of ready made backgrounds for when 'the spirit moves me' to start making a journal page. Have fun when you start work on them again, and thanks for all the good tips! Hugs, Valerie

Julia Dunnit said...

Ah these will be so so useful, and I quite like the crafting on the go thing...you end the day with a sense of having achieved a great deal and having done something you like to do!

TwinkleToes2day said...

Gorgeous backgrounds Elizabeth. I like that you turn over the stencils and use up the excess paint. I like bubble wrap too, altho' I generally forget to use it, (silly me). I look forward to seeing you use them. Have a great week ahead :D

Rita said...

Nice! I especially like the bits of shimmer. Great start. Hope you'll show us what you make with them. :)

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Super yummy progress photos of your file folders. Nice to work on they take such a beating. Doily and sequin waste stencils, perfect. xox

Sami said...

I could have used a plastic doily like that to do a painting over the bedside table that I remodelled, but I've never seen plastic doilies, just paper ones or the crocheted ones, and I find it a pity to spoil them!

Krisha said...

It is always so much fun to just get all painty and inky...and then to end up with something so pretty....what a plus for play time!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Wow Elizabeth! These are wonderful - so pleased you had some creative time for yourself before going off to Sally's house! It's a good job your house isn't like Sally's or these would never have been made!!! Chrisx

~*~Patty S said...

First of all what a gorgeous plastic doily that is!
I find those are not that easy to come by anymore.
You have a mighty fine array of super background folders which is always nice and handy...know you'll put them to good use too.
oxo

Karla B said...

They are lovely!

Dianne said...

brilliant tutorial! you are so good at the step by step...I get involved with the piece I'm working on and forget to stop and take photos/scans! wonderful backgrounds...