Sunday 4 December 2016

2016 #23 Bleached Backgrounds {by Chris Cresswell}

2016 Topic 23: Bleach Techniques

Hi everyone, Chris Cresswell here joining you this evening with a post about using bleach with different media. I love making backgrounds in my art journals and creating quick masterboards when I have a lot of cards to make. From time to time I like to use bleach (cheap), water (cheaper) or alcohol inks to create ‘ghost’ and ‘marbling’ effects but I usually use them with waterbased products. This time I wanted to see how I could use it with Fresco Acrylics to try to obtain a similar effect. It’s all serendipity. Then I played further with the Infusions and Neocolours to compare my results. The goal was to create a variety of Christmas cards and tags to sell at a local village Christmas Fair. 

Having selected various colours of Fresco Chalk paints, I mixed each one with water and bottled them to create acrylic paint sprays. I knew that if I wanted them to work in a similar way to dye-based inks and paints, I was going to need a watery consistency. I also diluted regular bleach with water and put this in a spray bottle – clearly marked ‘bleach’! I started by spraying two or three paint colours across a sheet of PaperArtsy 240gms card (it’s amazing just how much media this card can withstand without buckling!) allowing the colours to blend and drip. Now the trick is to spray the bleach lightly across the card while it is still pretty wet as Fresco Chalks are permanent when dry. I used a cardboard box to spray into, otherwise it goes everywhere. I also had the kitchen door and window open while spraying the bleach. This photo was taken after the first spray. I used Tango, London Bus and a little Bougainvillea here.

I then dried it with a heat gun to a point where it was still a little damp. I lightly sprayed the diluted bleach again, hoping to get a ‘speckled’ or ‘mottled’ effect, but in actual fact it seemed to blend the colours more smoothly. It removed the harsh edges of paint which had been previously pushed back by the bleach, so the result was less crater-like as happens with alcohol inks. Interesting. I played around with various colour combinations; my favourite being: China, Lavender and Eggplant. 

A faux-bleach effect technique I like to use is to clear emboss an image and once paint has been applied and dried, iron it off to remove the embossed ink and leave the primary surface exposed. I’ve explained this in more detail on my blog. Here I have stamped and clear embossed on unpainted 240gms card using JoFy’s mini snowflake stamp (JM07). Once dry, I repeated the spray paint/bleach process described above and when this was dry, I placed the card between two pieces of copy paper and ironed off the embossed ink. Whether the iron was too hot, or it was the effect of the iron on the bleach, I’m not sure, but as you can see it left some yellow-cream patches across the card which I really like. I felt this helped to create a wintery effect.


Now it was just a case of stamping across the bleached backgrounds to create the masterboards. I used a variety of JoFy stamps for this taken from various collections (JM07, JOFY06, JOFY13, JOFY08) and complementary Archival inks (Ranger: Violet, Forget-Me-Not).


I tried the same technique with the Infusions, using them in different combinations. I knew these would work well as they are water-based and I’ve played around before with bleach and Brushos. I did need to add a lot of water to achieve a painted background, gently pushing a paintbrush around the watery colours to help them mix and merge. My favourite mix was Golden Sands and Are You Cerise. Once dry, I sprayed lightly with the diluted bleach to create a mottled effect. I also created a ‘bleach pad’ to stamp into. I poured undiluted bleach onto a couple of sheets of folded kitchen roll and placed this into a shallow plastic bowl. I used the lovely sparkly flower head from JOFY 38 and stamped into the bleach pad before stamping all over the Infusions painted background. It gives immediate results as you can see here.


I made several more backgrounds with the Infusions because I like the vintage results! But these I bleached by spraying the diluted bleach through various stencils to remove colour, as you can see here:

Next, I played with some Neocolours. I clear embossed JOFY’s sparkly flower again all over the card before gessoing with the intention of ironing the ink off later. I find the crayons blend more easily if you gesso the substrate first. I also sprayed quite a lot of water to blend the colours before spraying with the diluted bleach. The result is much paler than the Fresco Acrylics. And the ‘burned’ discolouring occurred again as you can see:

So, now for the fun part. I wanted to use what I had made in two ways: as simple backgounds for some JOFY Christmas images; and for paper piecing on top of some of JOFYs images. I started by stamping on some of the Fresco Acrylic Backgrounds and then ‘fussy cut’ around them. 

Here are some of the cards made up, showing the two different ways of using the created masterboards, with added bling, of course.

I have enjoyed experimenting with diluted spray bleach and I like the way it affects the Acrylics. Although bleach can be a bit scary for some, I would urge you to have a go, but in a well ventilated area! It’s very exciting to see the different results you get from using different media. I actually prefer the Acrylic backgrounds but that might be because the colours were so appropriate for wintery Christmas cards. If you haven’t finished making cards and tags, I would definitely recommend using these techniques. You will knock up a lot of cards in no time. I ended up with 40! 

Chris Cresswell
Facebook: Chris Cresswell
Twitter: artmadnana

Oh Chris these blew me away, what a stunning array of cards. Amazingly simple but so,so effective backgrounds topped with great images. I can see how much you enjoyed playing. I hope your Christmas fair went really well. 

All of our bloggers love to see your twist on their ideas, particularly if you were inspired directly by their post; so please spare a moment to comment or make your own creative item. They all love to see your feedback and what you can do more than you realise!

We would love to see how you interpret this Bleaching Techniques topic by linking what you make to our 2016 Challenge #23: Bleaching Techniques on this page HERE. The Bleaching Techniques link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, Dec 11th 2016. The winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.

All links go in the draw to win a £50 voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store.


Helen said...

ooh, Chris what gorgeous effects you have got and some truly beautiful cards as a result! Love your palette of colours.

Corrie Herriman said...

Gorgeous !
Corrie x

Kirsten said...

Fantastic backgrounds & gorgeous cards.

pearshapedcrafting said...

I'm ready for a play time! Love these fabulous effects and beautiful cards!

pearshapedcrafting said...

I'm ready for a play time! Love these fabulous effects and beautiful cards!

Miriam said...

These are gorgeous Chris.... it's so fun playing with different mediums to create effects. I love seeing what you've done!

JoFY said...

oh Chris! these are great! they/you have me reaching for the bleach!! :o) xx

Hazel Agnew said...

Great playtime Chris. Wonderful effects and so useful. Love your finished results! Xx

Julie Lee said...

What gorgeous backgrounds! I love anything like this. It reminds me of those beautiful Venetian shops that sell marble paper! These backgrounds look fabulous with the snowflake stamps especially! Wonderful idea for cards. xxx

Lauren Hatwell said...

Some gorgeous wintery effects! Lx

craftimamma said...

Lots of lovely experiments Chris and I love your cards. I think my favourite backgrounds are the Infusions but that's probably because of the vintage look to them. They are all wonderful!

Lesley Xx

Artmadnana said...

Oh thank you so much for your lovely comments. I love JoFy's stamps, especially her Christmas ones - hope she didn't mind me altering a couple of them! I really liked the effect of the bleach on the Frescos. I'm going to use it in my journals. Diluting the bleach first seems to reduce the lingering smell lol

geezercrafter said...

Smashing bunch of cards and smashing technique with the Fresco's. Thanks for sharing your creations, they are very inspiring.

Lucy Edmondson said...

What fantastic experiments, Chris! I particularly like the infusions ones!

Lucy x

Etsuko said...

Beautiful cards and bleaching result. The tutorial was very helpful and bleach pad is good idea. love the Jofy's image your Christmas cards. xx

Unknown said...

Love the results! 😊