Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

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!

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.”-Georgia O’Keeffe

Do you journal? Or are you like me, jotting thoughts and sayings on random bits of paper? I have often purchased beautiful journals fulling intending to fill them. I just never do. I don’t know if it is the fear of the blank page, or what seems like the vast the number of pages that puts me off. But whatever the reason, there they sit, on my bookshelf, spotless as the day I purchased them.

Some time ago I bought a pack of inexpensive Ace playing cards. The flying biplane on the backs won me over! Who wouldn’t want to fly off to a new adventure in that wonderful plane? It was then I decided to use them as a journal. With a deck of 52, completing one card a week didn’t seem beyond the realm of possibilities. To kick off my venture I knew the best place to start was with the Artistcellar Pocket Stencil series Creative Words: Believe, Trust, Seek, and my favourite, Create.

Have you ever noticed the lovely sayings tucked away on the inserts of your Artistcellar Stencils? To me the stencils alone are creative cake…the inspirational quotes are the icing. Creative Words were just that…the catalyst I needed.

The playing cards have a plastic finish. To allow the media to attach, I sanded the cards and applied a quick layer of gesso. I didn’t want to totally cover the suits and numbers, so I removed some of it with a paper towel. On my work table, I assembled my stencils, acrylics and stamps. I wanted to have a bit of fun and see where my journey would take me. I revisited an old technique: applying rubber cement through the SEEK stencil.

I tried a new idea as well: dabbing Dye-Na-Flow colour through the TRUST stencil.

When dried I positioned the cards in a row and completed the backs. Though not identical, they have the same “feel”…a record of a time and place. In the end I was happy with the results. Best of all, the stencils stood up to everything I threw at them. Clean up was a snap and they were back to perfect condition.

The cards are now part of my new journal project, safely tucked away in a pocket page protector in a three ring binder.

Time seems to be racing by for me. Is it the same for you? Journaling is a wonderful way of capturing the essence of who we are. The perfect journal format is whatever suits you best. We owe it to ourselves to take the time to make our unknown known. Not only to ourselves, but sharing it those we hold dear. Right now. Right here.

MATERIALS USED