One of my favourite products to use on my layouts lately is GESSO. I first heard of gesso within the context of art journaling and mixed media and thought I'll never need it. But I picked up a jar and started playing, and now it's a regular go-to product for me. If you haven't heard of gesso, yet, stick with me and maybe by the end of this article you will want to add it to your scrappy supply shelf, too!
Gesso is an acrylic primer. It has a matte finish and can be applied directly from the jar. It also work as a sealer.
Most of the time you will see white gesso, but black and some other colours are also available. There are many brands of gesso and you will find it at artists' supply stores, the large craft chains, and some local scrapbook stores now carry it, as well.
You can add things to gesso, such as acrylic or watercolour paint to create a tinted product that delivers a chalky finish. I've read that you can add Twinkling H20's and PearlEx to gesso and I plan to try this soon, since I have a few little jars of PearlEx on my supply shelf.
I thought I'd show you a few of the things I've done with gesso in the last month or so, just to get you thinking about how you might use it:
I added a ton of texture to this page by laying a plastic butterfly template over the page and then applying the gesso somewhat thickly to the stencil. Once the gesso was dry, I sponged some ink to the gesso to further accentuate the texture.
Before I misted this canvas frame, I primed it with gesso (I might not have needed to, since it was white already) but it gave me a fun texture - you can get different textures by altering your application methods. A foam brush will produce a smooth finish, while a bristle brush will add lines, and a comb will add even more texture. The gesso provided a base to add on some texture medium and build up a bit on this canvas, and I embedded some microbeads into the texture medium for a rough and bumpy finish.
One more technique that I've seen demonstrated at ScrapFest but have not tried yet, is to use gesso for image transfers onto canvas. This gives your photo an artsy look as the photo will transfer with some imperfections and also show the texture of the canvas below - really fun!
So, wil you give a gesso a try? Do you have some gesso ideas that I should try soon? Let me know by leaving a comment!