What is Gesso? (Pronounced JESS-oh) Well, Gesso is one of those products that has long been associated with fine artists.
Gesso is traditionally a white paint that has a binder- like gypsum or chalk- mixed in to give the paint some “tooth.” (Note: we also have a review of Black Gesso by Ranger– a whole NEW product!)
Anyway, It’s usually painted on with a brush and it acts as a primer to prepare a surface for acrylic, watercolor, tempera, or even oil paints. And it cleans up with water, so it’s easy to use.
However, Gesso has taken a front seat in recent years, and is cropping up more and more as an actual element in arts and crafts. Today I’m going to share with you three ways to use Gesso as an element in your scrapbook layouts, cards, tags, or mixed-media pieces of art!
1) Create texture. Since Gesso has body, you can spread it on thickly with a palette knife or even just pour it on your surface. Then you can use end of your paintbrush, kitchen utensils (like a fork) or other implements to create texture. After it’s dry you can use watercolor media (like paint or a mistable spray) and you’ll get lovely texture!
2) Create a focal point. Since Gesso is white and opaque, you can apply thin coats with a credit card, palette knife, or a foam brush to push back an area of dark or patterned paper. By making one area lighter, the eye naturally goes to that space- just perfect for adding a title, photo, or charm.
3) Upcycling! By adding a coat of Gesso, you can turn old magazines into book pages, burlap into chic embellishments, even comment reply cards from magazines into usable paper such as tags. Yes, Gesso is opaque, but by adding just one coat you an still get a glimpse of what the object used to be, and adding some real interest to your mixed-media pieces.
So there you have it! Gesso is a MUST if you are working on unprimed canvas- but it’s also a lot of fun to use in your crafting. Give it a try!
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