Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tactic Tuesday - Let's play with the Brayer!!!!

Hey, y'all...it's Melody, and I'm here to bring you our first Tactic Tuesday post!!!!  (this post is very photo intensive, so consider yourself warned...lol)

I have to tell y'all...I LOVE my brayer!!!  When I bought my first one, I used it to smooth down stuff I'd glued into my journal...that was it...it never occurred to me to use it for something else, until I saw somebody use it in a tutorial video, and I almost died!!!!  Well, with MUCH trial and error, and I'm pretty sure an entire 50 count package of cardstock, I got the hang of it and actually created some pretty damn amazing backgrounds for my journals!  Let me show you!!!!!

This one was created mainly with a brayer, but I used a makeup sponge to do a  little blending 

"Oh, Mel, those are pretty cool!  Can you show me how to do that?"
"Why yes, my dear friend, I can and will!!"

So, let's start by gathering our supplies....

  • Brayer - it doesn't matter what size it is, but if you're going to be working IN a journal, I highly recommend getting a smaller one...2"...but you can do it with a 4"...soft is better, but hard will work.
  • Craft mat (if you're going to do the 2nd way I show you) or any slick, easy to clean surface
  • Paper/journal - if you use the first way, you'll want a thicker, sturdier paper to handle the wet, the 2nd way will let you use any kind of paper you'd like, including deli, printer, or even heavier weights of paper!
  • Paint!!!!  Now, I'll tell you this straight up, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT KIND!!!!  Craft acrylic in the bottle, tube acrylics (I love Liquitex Basics), fluid acrylics, too!
  • Baby wipes (for cleaning your mat and brayer).

Ok....let's start with the first way you can do this!  Now I'm sure the 2 I'm showing you today aren't the ONLY ways, but they ARE my faves!  So let's do this!

First we start by squeezing out SMALL dots of paint onto our paper...if you go bigger, you're gonna have a hard time spreading it out the way you need to for a quick drying background, not to mention you will lose your individual colors in the mix....

Here are some of the spots of paint...always be sure to use colors that work together and are touching on your color wheel...we don't want mud.

Added a few more spots here, and got really excited about the whole thing...lol
So, now you grab that brayer and start spreading out your paint...yes, the colors will meld, spill and blend...and you never know what you're gonna get...probably why I like it so much, lol...

DO NOT PRESS TOO HARD...on this way of using the brayer, a little pressure is good, to help move the paint around, but you don't want to press too hard, yet!

Be sure to always start at an outside edge of the paper, and again, don't use too much pressure yet.

and be sure to take your brayer to the opposite edge of the paper as well.

The paint that you push off onto your underpaper can be pulled back onto your paper, or spread out (with your brayer) after you're done...Remember, that underpaper is GOLD, y'all!!!

When you're done, it should look  a little like this...

Don't get discouraged if it's a mess...it's fodder for later pages...just keep going...getting enough paint to cover the page, without turning it into a sodden pool of wet paint takes time and practice...if you come up with something like THIS...

That's ok...you just need more paint!  Just a little at a time when adding, tho...

NOW...for the 2nd way you can go to town with your brayer, and this one is my personal fave....

Here is where you're going to use the craft mat/sheet/slick surface ...and not to catch paint!  Get your paper and your brayer ready, then put some (NOT A LOT) paint onto the craft mat....

Now use your brayer to spread the paint into a very thin layer on your mat

Again...do NOT apply pressure while spreading the apint around....let the weight of the brayer do the work for you, or you won't spread, you'll slide and smear.....

Now move your paper over, and using the brayer start at the edge of the page and move up in a straight line

Turn your paper, and run your brayer back thru the paint on your mat, and do the same thing again

Keep going like this until you run out of paint on your mat...

And your paper should look a little like this....

But wait!  We're not done yet!...Let's do another color!

Now, if you want, add another color....here's the thing...you can layer colors on top of each other with this and without a lengthy drying time!  Because if you feel your page, after that first layer, you'll find it dry...if you didn't use too much paint....less really is more here, because you can layer and add, and layer some more, and even put together colors you normally couldn't blend together....

There are just so many options available with both of these techniques...and the possibilities are truly endless!  

Here is a page I made from one of the backgrounds I did for this tute...

This was actually created using some dolls from Deviant Scrap and PicMonkey (<my new bestest buddy)...lol.

So, I hope I helped you more than I confused y'all...and if you have any questions, y'all can find me over at Artful Journeys on Facebook!!!!!  Thanks for stopping by and happy arting!


  1. Great tutoial!! Love to see how you create such lovely pages!!

  2. Beautiful colors and lovely backgrounds

  3. Cool! What a great lesson. Now to get a brayer and more paints and give it a try!

  4. Wow girl what a good post! I loved it!

  5. Thanks, so much, ladies! These are really super easy and quick to make...can't wait to see what y'all come up with!

  6. In the examples at the beginning it looks like you used stencils. At what point in the procedure did you use them? Thanks!

    1. actually, Roz, I was looking at that pink one, I stamped before I stenciled, but I have others where I stamped after the stenciling...sorry about that!

    2. Looks like it ate my first response,

      I usually stencil, then stamp, but sometimes it just depends on what I get a hold of first...if I'm in really in a groove, I don't pay too much attention to how things go down or in what order, I am just slapping paint down, grabbing stuff based on feeling, etc. I know that makes it hard for a beginner, but that's how the process usually goes for me. I have 3 boxes on my dining room table, holding the things that I use the most in my art...and they are all within arm's reach, so that I can just grab whatever I feel needs to be next onto the page.

  7. Great tutorial! I love using a brayer. It gives such unique colour combos!


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