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Paint, Paint, Paint...FAQs!

This is a post that I originally wrote for the Right at Home Scrapbooking blog.  Hope you enjoy it!


Paint is the first product I reach for when I'm creating.  But, it can be intimidating!  I get asked a lot of questions about it, so I thought I'd compile a quick list of questions and answers:

Q: What kind of paint do you use?

I use either acrylic paint or watercolor on most of my layouts.  For acrylic paint, I'm a fan of Making Memories (it dries super fast, is awesomely opaque, and comes in great colors) and Claudine Hellmuth Paints for Ranger (it comes in awesome little pots and has a translucent quality).  I also use gesso for absolutely everything and use both the Ranger gesso and Golden's.  For a long time I used Winsor&Newton's tube watercolors.  Recently I switched to Koi by Sakura and I'm very happy.

Q: What's gesso?

Gesso is a primer that artists use to prime their canvasses.

Q: Can't I just use white paint?

Gesso is different from white acrylic paint.  I'm certainly not a chemistry expert, but in my experience, gesso creates a surface with tooth and does a better job priming porous surfaces (like paper and wood) than plain paint does.


Q: What's the difference between watercolor and acrylic paint?

Eeek!  I could probably write a dissertation on this one.  But essentially:

  • Watercolor is more transparent, harder to control, easier to clean up, cheaper, and provides more organic results.
  • Acrylic paint is more opaque, easier to control, permanent when it dries, more expensive, and provides more predictable results.

It's a personal taste issue, really.  I tend to mix and match them.

Q: How do you keep your paper from buckling?

I don't.  My paper buckles like crazy.  And I either flatten it out by adhering flat things to it (like photos) or by ironing it (with a regular household iron and a pressing sheet) or by putting it in a page protector and then under something heavy.  But, your pages will never by 100% flat.  I think it's part of the charm!

Q: What kind of paper do you paint on?

Lots of people I know use Watercolor Paper to avoid the buckling problem, or at least lessen it.  I don't care.  I use regular cardstock.  I like the way textured cardstock interacts with paint!


Q: What kind of brushes do you use?

This is kind of the like the paint question.  I use a lot of different brushes.  Some really cheap ones and a few ridiculously overpriced ones.  But, as of late, I'm kind of in love with the Claudine Hellmuth brushes from Ranger.  They're really nice quality and hold up to abuse.  Plus, they're crazy cheap.  Gotta' love that!

Q: How do you paint those titles?  Mine always come out so weird.

I think the trick to painting a title is not to care too much about how it comes out.  Just hold the brush loosely in your hand (and significantly higher than you'd hold a pencil, almost at the end of the brush) and gently (don't push too hard) write your title.  Also, use a round brush (as opposed to a flat) that comes to a nice strong tip.

Hope that gives you a couple of answers to things you've been wondering about!  Let me know if you have more questions!