Making Acrylic Skins with Kirsten

I've enjoyed making my own collage papers lately and I've only used paper, stencils and paint. I decided I wanted to make more interesting textures for my collages but this time I decided to leave the paper on the shelf and only use acrylic paint, gloss medium and stencils. The result is called an acrylic skin. They are super fun to create because the outcomes can be equally unpredictable and fabulous. Please know that this is a drawn out process with lots of drying time. Let's get started!

Here's what I used:

The reason I used page protectors to build my layers on is so I can peel off the "skin" when it is dried. I made sure to slip in a sheet of white cardstock to give the page protector more stability and to better see the colors of the paint.

The first layer is stencils and gesso or paint with the goal to create various designs and textures. Use a palette knife to scrape the gesso or paint through the stencils. Let dry. Clean your stencils right away!

The next layer is paint mixed with a gloss gel medium. I like to use a couple colors so I can get fun color mixing effects. You could also use a matte gel medium if you want to mute your colors. The choice is yours! I just squeezed the paint and medium right on top of the dried gesso layer. Use a palette knife to gently spread around the paint and it should be thick, like spreading peanut butter on bread. You could do a thinner layer but the resulting skin will be easily stretched and wrinkled, which could be a fun texture! A thicker layer will take longer to dry but will be more sturdy and thus easier to cut into shapes when using it in your collage. When using your palette knife go slowly so you don't over mix your colors because those variations will give you stunning results!

Now comes the difficult part, letting everything dry again. If you do this at the beginning of the day then set your creations outside in the sun and let it help expedite the process. I would not recommend using a heat gun because of how it could affect the page protectors. I did this in the evening thinking I would wake up to beautifully dried skins ready to use. I was mistaken, a few were almost dry but others needed more time so I set them outside and went about my day. I checked on them in the late afternoon and they were ready to carefully peel off the protectors. The results were awesome and I can't wait to use them. I am thinking an abstract collage would be fun!

Do not store these on top of each other as they will stick to each other. If you used matte gel medium there should be minimal stickiness. There are some quirks to this process but it is fun to experiment. I encourage you to search the internet for more inspiration, tips and tricks. Have a creative week!




Lisa Cousineau
Lisa Cousineau

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