Monday, January 9, 2012

Nicks: A Ghostly Technique

First of all I would like to say Thank you to the Gingersnaps Team for asking me to be the Monthly Muse this month, what a great start to the year!

Anyone who has kindly taken the time to visit my Blog will know that my two arty loves are Altering Stuff and Journalling. I also love to make my own backgrounds, I have used the technique I am sharing with you today on many journal pages, but here I am doing someting a bit different with it and using it as a background on a canvas. I hope you enjoy it and will have a play - its great fun and a bit 'magical' !

Gesso/Colourwash Ghosting

Materials and Tools required

Black Acrylic Paint
Adirondack Colourwash
Paintbrush/foam applicator/old credit card
Masks or Stencils

I used this technique on an oval shaped canvas - but you can use whatever you like, if you want to use it in your journal or as a background paper, I would advise using card or thick water colour paper.

First of all, paint your background using the black acrylic paint, I applied the paint using a foam applicator as I find this is quick and provides a nice finish. Leave it to dry completely. I wanted a smooth finish, so I left it to dry naturally and didn't speed up the drying process with my heatgun as I didnt want the paint to bubble - but if you want this effect then thats fine.

Next, lay your chosen masks/stencils onto the canvas

You don't have to used ready made masks etc.. I use all sorts of things, sequin waste, lace, feathers, nuts, bolts, die cuts wire mesh .. the list is endless.

Spray over the masks with the Adirondack colourwash, if you use more than one colour be careful not to mix/muddy the colours too much and don't overspray as you will find the wash can run under the masks.

I can't bear to waste all that lovely inky stuff, so I flipped the masks over onto a piece of paper in my art pad and will use the result in a future project.

Whilst the wash is wet, you can see the design quite clearly but as it dries it seems to fade - again I prefer to allow the colourwash to dry naturally as I find using a heatgun seems to make the colours dull a bit - but thats personal choice - either way, it is important at this stage that your project is completely dry.



Now for the fun part... You need to apply gesso in selected parts of your background. You can do this how you wish, freehand or through some kind of stencil - here I am using a Fiskars Shape template.

I use a foam 'splodger' to apply the gesso (dont know what the proper term for one is?) you can also use a piece of sponge. Dab the gesso on and dont't over work it, if you brush the gesso on it can 'move' the wash around and you get a smudgey look .

As you can see it doesnt look very exciting at first - but as it dries the colours really come through -
its like magic!!

So there you have it .... now its over to you to do with it what you wish.

Serendipty hit the day I was working on this tutorial - a surprise parcel came through the post from a friend - a bag full of clay shapes she had made - (in the hope I think of getting me back into altering stuff - perhaps she is fed up with seeing lots of 'flat' stuff), Thank you Debs what great timing! I painted the faces black and highlighted them with some gold wax rub ons. Clocks are a passion of mine, so decided to make this into a clock, and added some cogs that I die cut and then 'rusted' using rusting powder.

After much persuasion from my husband I have decided to open an Etsy account and sell some of my old tat ... this may be the first thing to go on sale!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and you will have a go at ghosting!
I will be back at the end of the month for a second tutorial

and finally

Credit where credit is due, I first learnt this technique from the fabulous Journal Artista , she learnt if from someone else and I have passed it onto you - and so the wonderful world of crafting goes round...


  1. I love your clock. I too found the technique on Journal Artista's blog. I haven't used it on canvas yet but I will now! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Have always loved your altered art Nicks, magic.
    Thank you for such a great tutorial, will definitely try this as love the results. x

  3. A truly fab project - it does, indeed, look like magic

    Welcome to 2012


  4. I love the look of this! Will definitely have a go, and link back :-) Thank you! x

  5. Thank you for this great tutorial, I've never seen this technique before, definitely one to try. xx

  6. Fab technique, must give it a try, thanks trace x

  7. FABULOUS FUN!!!! i love the whole thing--and your instructions tell me you really have it going for you.
    Nice work!

  8. Wow! That's an incredible work of art! Thanks so much for giving us a step by step tutorial.. love it!

  9. Oh WOW fun to be had with this! XOXO Zoe

  10. Wonderful - and welcome to the Gingersnaps as Muse, it's well deserved.

  11. oh, wow...this is really great! I wanna try!!! I love the final result!! xxViolaMoni from Italyxx

  12. This looks like great fun can't wait to give it a go I love messy crafting!! lol
    Thanks for sharing

  13. Wonderful technique tutorial and on my must try list. Thank you

  14. I've seen this on a video and keep meaning to give it ago your example is just fabulous ! :)

  15. Wow wonderful technique must try and give it a go its fab.

  16. Hi Nicks.Congratulations.A very easy to follow tutorial and a Beautifully finished creation.x

  17. Being the proud owner of some of your Tat I was so pleased to see you have been at it again !
    I really the love the technique you have shared and would love to try it out I still get amazed buy the different things you share with us !
    And your Tat is well worth selling

  18. WOW Nicks, can't say i've ever seen Paula do this technique so thank you for sharing it, its very cool indeed and I cant wait to try it out.

  19. How fun is this!!! I gotta give this a try- Thanks so much for a great tutorial!!!

  20. This is brilliant, thank you so much for the tute x


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