I had a hard time with these chipboard birds. These are for an upcoming Paper Traders swap. Everyone is to decorate both sides of 5 chipboard birds from the Maya Road Bird Coaster Book. The sixth bird is held back to make your own cover (which I haven't done yet).
When I started this project, I used DCWV's Luxury papers and covered each bird, adding a ruff and wings in coordinating paper. They were beautiful - and I hated them! They were way too PRETTY and scrapbook-y... not artsy at all. So I pulled off the accent pieces, painted them with gesso, sanded them down, and started all over again.
I pulled out old issues of Somerset Studios for inspiration and found a beautiful art journal done using this technique... paint with several acrylic colors, apply pictures and text, stamp images and heat emboss in gold, apply gesso, and sand. I inked the edges afterward and added a few touches of gold pigment ink to tone down the whiteness of everything. I LOVE the distressed look and am very happy with the final results. Below is a breakdown of how I utilized this technique:
I utilized a technique from Jana Holstein in the Sep/Oct 2007
issue of Somerset Studio. She used this on her "Treasures of
the Heart" journal. I did something very similar on my sweet
blueberries page for my blue journal, too.
1) First, I laid down a background of old text.
2) Then I dabbed some pink and blue and yellow acrylic paints
over the top.
3) Next, I applied the images and dictionary words (I like
using torn edges for this).
4) I then stamped and heat-embossed the flowers and birds with
gold embossing powder.
5) Finally, I applied a light coat of gesso over the top of
everything with a piece of cardboard - you want to just scrape
it over the top.
I tried painting it on but it didn't work as well.
6) Once this gesso was dried, I started sanding it back off
with a sanding block. I love to use the foam sanding blocks
that you can get in the manicure section - they have different
grits on each side, are perfect to hold in your hand, and the
foam inside cushions it so it doesn't gouge your artwork.
I learned one more important thing with this technique... if
you have an image or text that you want to ensure will be
visible, use clear embossing (which I did on my birds) or
even a few coats of clear acrylic over the top of it before
applying the gesso. Otherwise, you'll have to sand too hard
to get the gesso off and often end up sanding away too much
of what you wanted to save. You can also wipe some of the gesso
off with a TINY bit of water but this tends to smear it around
and doesn't give the same distressed look that the sanding
provides. BEWARE if you do this because the water can break
down the integrity of the paper and if you sand over it again,
the paper can end up breaking apart. (Guess how I know that!)