Thursday, 14 October 2010

Boring Gold Card Again

You may remember a while back I was experimenting, trying to improve some boring gold card I had. I managed to produce a good result using my script embossing folder in the Cuttlebug.

Embossed Text with Gesso 

However, when I tried to replicate this the other day, I had terrible problems with it. The idea is to paint gesso over the whole card, and then rub it off the raised embossed part in order to expose the gold underneath. The problem was getting the gesso at exactly the right dryness - if it was still too wet, it would all rub off, and if I let it get too dry, none of it would - and once it's dry, NOTHING will shift it!! For some reason I didn't have this problem when I did it before, and I can remember exactly what I did - perhaps it was just a fluke and it worked that time! Anyway, all I ended up with this time, was a big mess, and quite a lot of wasted card - and gesso.

So, time to put the old thinking cap on. I've learnt that it really pays to "think outside the box." There's so much papercrafting and card-making stuff available now, and we tend to think that that's all there is, and not use materials and equipment from other disciplines. It helps to have done lots of other art and craft, and also to live with someone who does other things too, and as I was considering that perhaps the best plan was to apply some sort of resist where I didn't want the gesso, I thought of watercolour artists' masking fluid. My hubby uses this occasionally when he is painting, but he says he doesn't really get on with it. It ruins your brushes, too. I had a look online, and found some in a bottle with a very fine nozzle which I thought would be great - not only much more controllable, but also avoiding having to use a brush. It is a very useful substance. You apply it where you don't want the paint to go (for example, where you want clouds), allow it to dry, and then you paint over the whole thing. When the paint is dry, you rub away the masking fluid, leaving blank paper where it had been.

So I had a go, and it was a great success! I found I needed two coats of gesso after the masking fluid was dry, in order to cover the gold completely, and once the gesso was dry, I could rub the embossed part, and the masking fluid, now set to a rubbery consistency, would come off, taking the gesso with it.

This is the result. In this photo, you can see the pot of gesso with the small foam brush I use (gesso is also pretty ruinous to brushes and you certainly don’t want to use good ones with it – foam brushes are cheap and do the job really well). To the right is the bottle of masking fluid. In front, left to right: gold card in its original state; embossed with Cuttlebug; coated with gesso after application of the masking fluid (I didn’t photograph the masking fluid stage because although the fluid is blue in colour, it didn’t show up sufficiently to be any different); partly rubbed off; and right in front: after complete removal of the masked portions.

Embossed, Masking Fluid, Gesso 14 Oct 10

The next thing I have to do is ink the edges with distress ink as before, and then I shall paint it with acrylic gel medium to get the semi-gloss, ancient parchment effect that was so successful in my first sample.

I am making up quite a number of these, in order to make a quantity of similar cards, which I will show you when I’m a bit further on.


  1. Great cards and great idea!!

  2. What a wonderful effect, the gold against the pale background it looks really classy. Definitely worth the trouble you went to. I have some gesso...not to sure why lol. I heard you can use ordinary decorators undercoat?
    Have lovely weekend


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