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Using Paint On Your Layouts - By Clare Brown

Using Jo Sonja’s acrylic paints in your Scrapbooks.

By Clare Brown


Paint! It’s a very versatile medium. Using it in your scrapbooks can seem very daunting and it’s not always the first choice of a scrapper, but you can get some fabulous effects with paint that can’t be achieved with inks and chalks. There is nothing to be nervous of!  Using paint can be very liberating and creates unique pages that shout your own personal style – and above all else it’s lots of fun! We are going to take a look at a few simple ways of using paint effectively in your albums.


What type of paint should I use?

Acrylic paint is the perfect medium for scrapping. My personal favourite is Jo Sonja’s Artists acrylics (velvet matte finish) They are a thick, high pigment acrylic that is perfect for altered art projects as well as using in your scrapbook. Great for stamping and stencilling and perfect for colour washes, and they come in a mind boggling array of shades that are almost edible. You can buy selection pack of Jo Sonja’s mini tubes in sets of 8 colours which are great if you want to try them out without committing to buying lots of the larger tube all at once. Once you have a taster of just how fabulous these paints are I know you will be back for some larger tubes!


So - what can I do with it?

Allsorts of things! We are going to go through a few easy and quick techniques - don’t be afraid to try out different ways of using paints. Some of my favourite and most effective ways of using paint on LO’s have stemmed from a good ‘play and get messy’ session!



The most often used paint technique in scrapbooks is stamping with foam stamps. There are lots of designs of stamps on the market, and paint works with them all, from Alphabets, florals and flourishes to words and phrases. Almost every scrapper has at least one set of foam stamps, most have several. If you are new to paint, then this is good place to start!

Squeeze a little of your chosen paint onto a palette. Using a foam brush or sponge apply the paint thinly to the stamp, and place it on the page. If you use a lot of paint, or press down too hard, the paint will squish out at the edges and give a thicker outline look  to the stamped image – this is a great effect you can do deliberately if that’s how you want it to look!  

Bright colours work really well with stamps, especially on plain backgrounds. If your background is heavily patterned or very dark the stamped image may not show up as well as you would like. Once it’s dry, carefully outline the paint image with a contrasting pen.

To make a 2 or 3 coloured image, apply your chosen colours to different parts of the stamp. Where the paint colours touch, they will blend together when stamped.  

Stamping an image once with paint and then stamping a second time over the top with ink makes it pop off the page and creates a ‘shadow’ effect. This is useful if your image has a lot of detail that would be lost on patterned paper

Before stamping on a LO practise with your chosen paint and paper to make sure the 2 will work well together, that the colours wont clash and the image will actually show up.



Scooter Boy - Stamping with paint using foam stamps.


Colour washing

Applying a ‘colour wash’ with acrylic paint is another easy technique, and is a great way to change the colour of your papers to match the tones in your photo without losing the detail or pattern. Because the paper we use for scrapping isn’t designed to take water it will buckle and curl if too much moisture is used so using a traditional colour wash of watered down paint applied with a brush isn’t ideal. Instead this is a quicker and less ‘wet’ method.  All you need is a baby wipe! Apply a little paint to the wipe, and then gently wipe it over the paper. If the paint goes on too thick, use a little of the clean part of the wipe to take some of it back off again, until you achieve the desired depth of colour. Some papers are more porous than others so different depths of colour will be achieved on each paper type, but any pattern will remain visible. Use on plain textured cardstock to create gorgeous effects. When applying a colour wash with a baby wipe, don’t rub hard or the surface of the paper/card will be rubbed away – unless that’s the distressed effect you are after of course!


Luscious Lillies - Colourwash using baby wipe method


Painting design elements

Want a bold shape defined so it really stands out from the rest of the page? There are 2 ways to do this – direct to the page or on cardstock and then cut out and add to the page.  Draw your shape/letters  lightly in pencil first – either on your background paper or on plain cardstock. Then fill in with your chosen colour of paint. Drawing the elements straight to the page and not being too careful when filling in gives a nice hand finished feel to the work – use a dry brush so some bits are sketchy.


The Caterpillar - Design Elements Painted on Layout


Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing paint onto a page is useful for all sorts of things, such as framing a photo, colouring the edges of LO’s, making a journaling block, or just to add a distressed feel to the page. I have found it works best with a large brush, like the chunky kids ones from Early Learning Centre. Load the brush from the palette, and using bold sweeping strokes, apply to the page. Don’t press too hard with the brush, the idea is to get a’ brush stroke’ look, not total coverage, so just draw it over the page gently


What Do You Dream? - Dry Brushing to Highlight & Distress


Adding lines and texture

Using a piece of plastic or an old credit card to ‘swipe’ paint across the page achieves a similar effect to dry brushing but on a wider area. This is especially effective done on textured cardstock where the raised texture picks up the paint but the other areas don’t. You can create lines on your page by dipping the edge of the plastic in paint and drawing it vertically down the page with a quick swipe – rather like the lines you see on basic grey paper! Great for making your own custom backgrounds!


Stencils and Masks

Designs and patterns can be transferred to the page using stencils or masks. A stencil is when the area painted is the image, the positive impression. A mask is when the area painted is outside the image, and leaves a negative impression. Both are quite easily achieved with a just a little practise, using a stencil brush or sponge to apply the paint. There are lots of ready made stencils and masks available, Heidi Swapp does a particularly lovely flower range, but they are easy to make yourself too. Print or draw your desired image onto a heavyweight paper thick enough to take an application of paint without tearing, and cut round with your craft knife. Fix your template to the page using a removable adhesive, and carefully apply the paint with the brush or sponge, then peel back the template to reveal the image.


Seeing Red - Using Stencils and Masks


Revamp those tired Embellishments

Lots of embellishments can be given a new lease of life with a coat of paint. Got some letters that don’t match your page? Paint them! Got a frame or a bookplate that is a little scuffed and tatty looking? Give it a coat of paint, sand it back a little and make it look really distressed. If in doubt about the surface being ok to paint, rub it over with a fine sandpaper to give the paint something to bite to, or apply a layer of gesso first. Most surfaces will take paint with a little prep, have a play and see what stash you can revamp.


Painting on to your Photo

Just think about all those photos you have that are great shots of the person/object in the foreground, but are ruined by something undesirable in the background – we don’t always notice these things till it’s too late! Painting over the background and just leaving the bit of the photo you want visible might sound mad but it’s very effective! Use colours that compliment both the photo and the paper/card you are using on the LO so it blends and doesn’t look ‘stuck on’. The painted area can be used as a base for journaling or stamping, you can doodle on it, or you can just leave it blank as a feature all of its own.


Why Do Boys Need Perfect Lashes: Painting Onto A Photo







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