Stencilling onto a Mixed Media Canvas

Michelle Brown is back in the Mixed Media Art Studio for the New Year and is having fun painting and stencilling mixed media canvases.

Ready to stencil with sequin scrap

Now that the base layers are complete, it’s time to add some stenciling and other interesting features. Michelle runs through her thinking process for adding this layer, covering colors, placement of stenciling and the key to getting it right!

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  • Paints – Dylusions and Dina Wakely
  • Paint Brushes – Dina Wakely
  • Sequence scrap – medium circles, small circles and squares
  • Stencil – designed by Rebekah Meier, The Crafters Workshop TCW495S
  • Canvas – 10″x 16″ Xpress Graphx

stencilling with acrylic paints~ * ~

We’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment and tell us how YOU like to add stencilling to your mixed media canvases and other art work. What works for you? What are your biggest challenges? What are some of the mistakes you take care to avoid?

Happy creating,


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Creating Seamless Transitions

Bringing a variety of elements together is what mixed media art is all about. The challenge is how we do this so that our finished artwork looks cohesive and pleasing to look at. The ability to do this is a skill we develop over time and through practice. Here we will look at the three main elements to be considered when putting your mixed media piece together.

1. Layering

Creating a background that has lots of interest and visual texture is done through adding many layers. The use of collage elements, paints, markers and images can be blended in many ways. Using areas with darker colours will provide contrast. Using text and shapes will create interest as our brains try to recognise and make connections with familiar elements. Drawing words or images into texture pastes or Gesso will creates shapes that can show through layers. As each layer is added, consider if you need to allow it to dry or whether blending while wet is preferable.

2. Blending

As the background layering is being added, some blending may also be needed. When paint is applied more thickly, it can cover up parts of the underlying elements. In other areas, removing some paint with a damp cloth will allow bits to show through.

Tissue paper is great for adding images when the background is too hard to stamp on but you want the image and background to blend seamlessly. Stamp directly onto the tissue paper with permanent ink (like StazOn Ink Pads– Jet Black), tear around the outline and use gel medium (Golden Matte Medium) or varnish to stick it to your piece. Coat all surfaces with lots of gel medium, gently remove any bubbles from under the tissue paper and allow to air dry.

Using torn, natural lines will make blending the images into the background easier. Hard straight lines will stand out and break up the seamless transition we are trying to create.

The paint colours also need to be blended. Considering the colour pallet you have chosen, it is easier to blend similar colours. Blending the paints directly onto your artwork, using a little water, will help the transitions come together.

3. Arrangement

The arrangement of each element will influence the final balance and transitions of your work. Having images and text overlapping with the elements in the background will help to blend the edges of each element. If you are sticking many heavy embellishments, you need to consider if the backing piece will be strong enough to support these layers.

And remember, as with any mixed media work, there are no rules, only guidelines, so give yourself permission to play and experiment. Try not to over-think your work.

Happy creating!

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Dispelling the “I can’t do it” Myths of Creativity

This article was written by Michelle Brown

It is so hard to find that extra time in the day to fit in a little crafting and creativity into our lives. By reviewing where our time goes during the day and making a determined effort to have time to practice and learn new skills, while getting together the materials we need, we are able to open up the opportunity for us to be creative.mixed_media_art_collage

I have been creating cards and paintings and mixed media creations for many years; from when I was in High School, through studying at university, working full time, then having kids and working full time.  Because mixed media arts and papercrafts are my passion, I will find time and space to create, fitting it in as and when I can.

I am always very interested when I find others who are amazed at what I make, and by their excuses as to why they could never make such nice things. It seems to boil down to one of three reasons (or a combination of all three):
1. I don’t have enough time
2. I don’t have the talent / skills / know-how
3. I don’t have the equipment or materials

I see these are the three “I can’t do it” Myths of Creativity. Let’s look at each one in detail.

Don’t have enough time
While working and children and keeping a house does take up a lot of time, it is important to understand where our time goes. Every person on this planet has 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. It is how we choose to use our time which determines if we have enough time for creative pursuits.

If you are one of those people who doesn’t know where your time goes, it may be time to do a “time audit”; keeping a written record of the tasks you do through a normal week. Even a simple breakdown into categories of Kids, Household, My time, Working, Computer, Garden, Television will help you to see where your time goes. At the end of the week, summarise where the time goes each day.

Then it’s time for some real thinking. Are you surprised as to where your time goes? Are you seeing proportionate results for your effort? Now you can take stock and consider if how you are spending your time is in line with your goals and values.

For me to fit in my crafting, I concentrate my housework into a limited number of hours in a week; what gets done, gets done, what doesn’t will either get delegated or left for next week. Then I schedule in time to create. At times it has only been for half an hour (an hour at the most) in the evenings, after the children are in bed (or at least playing in their rooms). By planning my crafting activities (Christmas comes around at the same time each year) and allowing enough time, I can get these projects done by spending a little time, most days, completing each project bit by bit.

Don’t have the skills
Wanting to create is enough to get started; developing the skills will happen in line with the creative process. Especially with the Internet these days, we all have access to so many different techniques and other artists, that reading up on the basics is enough to get you going. Then there are courses and classes with your local stores or crafting groups. All of the people I have met across many crafts are always happy to share what they know.

More advanced skills will be developed as you get more practice in while you are creating. Many techniques are dependent on the latest crafting fashions and these can be developed the same way as your basic skills. And these are the more tangible skills.

The intangible skills of colour mixing and knowing just where to place things can also be developed through practice and consciously looking at he work of others. By consciously, I mean that when you think “oh that’s nice” then begin to ask yourself why – it is the colours, the techniques used, the placement of embellishments? Becoming more analytical will built your skills.

My talents are mostly developed through practice and seeing other people’s work, with a few classes thrown in. I tend to stick to safe colour combinations. For collages I follow the steps I have outlined in other articles. Then the placement of images and embellishments are done until it feels “right”.

Don’t have equipment or materials
As we have seen across the Mixed Media Arts site, there are many things that we already have around the house or borrowed from the children that can be used to start creating. Card form cereal boxed, glue sticks or sticky tape, basic paints, pens and note paper – if you don’t have these hidden somewhere, a trip to the local variety shop will help get you started. Remember that you don’t need every colour or size or shape to begin with. Stick to some basic colours and multi purpose stamps and inks. You will find that your artistic tastes will change as you create more artwork and learn different techniques. Your materials and equipment collection will expand as opportunity presents itself.

I have had many years to collect my craft supplies. I have things stuffed into many corners but I just don’t use them. Unless I go through the drawers on a regular basis, then I forget what I have. So not having lots of supplies is not the only aspect that will keep you from crafting.

Creativity is a skill like any other that needs time doing it to get better at it. Finding the time to spend creating is where the challenge is in our modern busy lives. By being aware of where we spend our time we can make decisions about how we use it and if crafting is a priority for you, the time slots will present themselves. All the wishful thinking that you had more skills or time or materials will only help you if you use it as motivation to change what you were doing yesterday, and try something different today – that is the only way to create lasting change in your life.

So get creating!



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Using Mod Podge in Making Trading Cards

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This article is written by Kim Bailey

In May of last year I joined a 365 Day Challenge and for this challenge I decided to go on an art journaling journey. During my journey, I explored new ways of expressing my creativity. One of the ways I did this was making Mixed Media Art Trading Cards; bite sized pieces of art that you can trade or just keep for yourself. Below is what you will need to make your own.


Card stock or junk mail post cards, magazine clippings, acrylic paints, markers, embellishments, (and your other favorite crafty/artsy materials), glue, foam brush and of course Mod Podge.

  1. Cut (2) 2 in. x 3 ½ in. pieces from your card stock or junk mail post cards.
  2. Now it’s your time to be creative. Using the magazine clippings, acrylic paints, markers and embellishments create pieces of art on these 2 tiny canvases.
  3. Once you have created your 2 pieces of art, glue them together. You’re finished product should be one decorated card. (The card should actually be the size of a standard business card).
  4. The last step is to Mod Podge your card. To make this step easier and less messy, use your foam brush to apply the Mod Podge. I suggest doing one side at a time so that it dries evenly.

Trading Cards made from Mod Podge

Trading Cards made from Mod Podge

Trading Cards made from Mod Podge

Not only can you use this idea for trading cards, but if you’re really ambitious it’s also a great way to put a spin on your business cards for special events.

Happy Mod Podging!


Hello Mixed Media Art Addicts! My name is Kim and I live and create in New York. As a lover of all things crafty and creative I decided to start a blog about 2 years ago to document my obsession. My blog was called The Creative Addiction Blog – it’s not around anymore (sorry!). Currently, I work as a Creative Art Photography Support Assistant within a retail store.  My job helps to fuel not only my creativity, but also my love for photography.



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