Thursday, November 14, 2019

Second Thursday Tutorial: a review of a few backgrounds

I had intended to have a tutorial today, but I've been putting out fires that have popped up and spread like wildfire both in my personal life and my blogging life.  One good thing is, I got my wireless mouse to work again after several months of it refusing to play nice.  Maybe it started working again because I threatened to feed it d-Con.I have a tutorial started, but mostly I moved art that was drying on my craft table and retrieved a few supplies I intend to use.  That means the tutorial will have to wait till next Thursday.  Here instead are two of my favorite backgrounds.

Acrylic and Baking Soda Background

I had a ton of trouble with this "easy" background. I didn't copy the materials or the instructions like I should have, so this was a real trial and error process.

Baking soda
Substrate (copier paper, paper bags, card stock, etc)
Brush (foam or bristle, not shown)
Craft mat, plastic bag, or something to protect your work surface

*I show bottled acrylics in the photos, but I ended up using some cheap craft paint in a jar to get the results I wanted.


1. Place a large amount of acrylic paint on your substrate.

2. Spread the paint using a brush. Cover your paper completely.

3. Immediately sprinkle baking soda into the WET paint. As you can see from the photo above, I accidentally dumped the baking soda when I was taking the photo. After I put the camera down, I placed the baking soda in my hand and sprinkled it evenly all over the page.  That may be why the first background was not successful.

Sprinkle baking soda over entire surface. Allow to dry flat.

4. When completely dry, brush baking soda from the page using a dry towel or cloth. A brush will not remove the baking soda, so you'll need something more substantial.

Here's how I used this particular piece.

I really didn't like how the background turned out, so I got some cheap craft paint and slathered it on a sheet of copier paper.

I put a LOT of paint on the page, then added the baking soda. I used red paint, but the baking soda changed the color dramatically.

I made two sheets, one with brush strokes and one that I pounced the brush strokes out. I really like it best.
Top image: with brush strokes showing. Bottom image: with brush strokes pounced out.

Baby Wipe Background

This is another quick and simple background technique that gives you a bonus.

Acrylic paint (color of your choice)
Baby wipes
Card stock (CS)
Plastic or craft sheet to protect your work surface

Place a small amount of acrylic paint on about 1/4 of the CS. Since acrylics dry quickly, you should only work on a small part of the page at a time.

Spread the paint using a wet baby wipe. Be sure to pick up all colors and spread evenly. Don't overwork the paint, or you'll end up with mud.

After you are pleased with the first area, add more paint to another area and continue spreading the paint with the same baby wipe.

Continue adding and spreading the paint until the page is complete. When finished, you will have a background sheet as well as a coordinating color baby wipe you can use as an accent on your page or to create a matching tag.

Now wasn't that easy? And it produces great results quickly, too.

Thank you for joining me today while I shared two of my favorite backgrounds.  I'm so glad you dropped by and the Second Thursday Tutorial will be next Thursday, at least I hope that's the case.

This is Day 14 of Art Every Day Month (AEDM), hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas and I shared two of my favorite backgrounds you can use in altered books, art journals, ATCs, or tags.

19 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Hi Elizabeth, I especially like the effects you got from the baking soda on the red paint. Looks like you had fun. Have a great day, hopefully without 'fires' or having to threaten your mouse, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

Your mouse didn´t play nice? Sorry, Elizabeth, that made me laugh ;-)
I´ve still the old USB-thingy.

Baking soda in art, oh, so much is new to me! Amazing result!
Baby wipes, crazy, but also great! Thank you!
I just have no idea what to do with the art?

My name is Erika. said...

Nice. I have never heard of the baking soda technique, but that little chemical reaction creates a cool effect. I guess it is the amount of paint. But I agree with Valerie that playing around is the fun part. And seeing what happens is exciting too. Happy Thursday. Hugs-Erika

Sami said...

I like your use of household stuff incorporated in your art. I had never heard of baking soda with paint, but it must be fun to try out new ideas. Thanks Elizabeth :)

craftytrog said...

Cool techniques! Might have to try the baking soda one. Thanks for sharing Elizabeth.

CJ Kennedy said...

Fun and easy. And I suppose the bonus is when the baby wipe is dry you have that as some sort of embellishment if you like.

Cath Wilson said...

Interesting techniques, Elisabeth. I've never heard of using Bicarb of soda on paint before, so that's one to try. Love the way it turned out in the second piece. I use baby wipes to apply paints most of the time. It's easy and less messy, lol - even if it does use up a lot of them.
Thanks for sharing your results...I love techniques.
Cath x

Nancy said...

Interesting techniques! Baking soda was new- I like the cloudy look of the results. Must try.

kathyinozarks said...

Wow this was really cool-I must try this for sure--I did not totally understand why the first photo did not turn out-because of too much baking soda? thanks I love your tutorials

Divers and Sundry said...

I think I love you lol These are easy and use materials I have and look like fun. Thank you!

da tabbies o trout towne said...

that's too funny; giving the wireless some de con !!!☺☺♥♥

NatureFootstep said...

cool! :)

Meggymay said...

A super tutorial and step by step photos, I will have to try the Baking soda sometime, I use baby wipes to spread paint on mop up pages, they have so many crafty uses.
I hope the mouse survives the threats they pick the most inconvenient times to go walk about.
Yvonne xx

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It's so cool when you can incorporate everyday things into your artworks, the baking soda background looked amazing as a backdrop for the gold status. I love flowers but don't always want to spend a fortune on florist bunches, so quite often walk around my garden and make up a bunch of different shades of green foliage, with maybe a bright 🌺 popped in for a splash of colour.. is that art Elizabeth 😉 Thank you so much for your kind words about my photography. Btw I think at our last National elections we had a 97% turnout, there's always those few who prefer to pay the fine ✨

Susan Kane said...

You are such an artist.

Anne (cornucopia) said...

I like how both backgrounds turned out. I think I'd have better results with the baking soda method. I know I'd end up with the mud color you warned about, with the baby wipes method.

Note: I didn't see the comment you left me until now, and I sent you an email. Please let me know if you received it.

With regard to downloading files, I only get them from reputable sites, but I still always virus check. And when they also have checksum files to use for verification, I do that step too. With all of the sites that get hacked these days, there is a risk that a reputable site could get virus infected files swapped in for their original good files. I read that happened to one of the Linux sites, and their ISO file was a hacked version of their original.

I received another positive comment about Windows Defender, so I need to look into that. Right now Norton has a green icon, but I expect the problem of the Red X to return in 7 days, because that's what other people were saying was happening to them, and it happened to me again after a week. Unfortunately my blog doesn't get much traffic, otherwise my blog post about Norton's bug could've gone viral and then maybe Symantec would've finally fixed THEIR software bug.

DVArtist said...

OOOOOHHHHH this is just a fantastic trick. I love it and I am gong to try it out. Thanks for the great instructions and photos. Glad your mouse is working again. Hugs N.

froebelsternchen said...

OMG ... a fantastic tutorial! SUper clever!

Cathy Kennedy said...

Bluebeard & Elizabeth,

Thanks for stopping by my little niche in Blogosphere yesterday. :) Your tutorials on how to create interesting textured backgrounds look quite easy. My favorite is the first because I imagine the baking soda gives the acrylic an almost glittery appearance or am I being hopeful in my thoughts. I'm not sure which of the two I prefer. They both are unique and purposeful in any art project your brain conjures I'd think. In your second background example, I like how you swirled the paints together. The gold looks glittery or metallic, is it? However, I think I'd be one to overwork the paints creating a muddy background instead of something pretty like yours. I enjoyed learning these techniques which I keep in mind whenever I decide to actually work with 'real' paint.