Second Floor Challenge #4: Circles
Stencil Hop: Wood Parquet

The Things You Want to Learn: part 2

As I mentioned in "The Things You Want to Learn: part 1" last week, I found the comments on the April 26 (Wedding Ring) stencil hop post absolutely fascinating.  I asked the question, "What is a craft/art supply you'd like to learn more about?"  Today I'm going to offer a few more resources for some of the most often requested things.

A number of people mentioned "mixed media techniques."  This one is a bit of a doozy.  It's such an enormously vast topic.  It's a little like wanting to learn about "art."  Where does one even start with the topic?  I figure it's a bit like that old adage:

Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time. 

So let's take the first bite: What is mixed media?  Mixed media has become a bit of a buzz word that is now used in the scrapbooking world to describe anything involving paint or layouts that are a bit artsy feeling.  The actual definition of mixed media is art that combines two traditionally separate disciplines (such as collage and painting).  

Technically speaking, most scrapbooking is mixed media art because we combine paper-on-paper (aka collage) with found objects (metal, wood, plastic, fabric) and often with paint and/or ink, as well as stitch.  And as you can see from my note on the image above, writing with a journaling pen adds ink into the mix and that keeps scrapbooking from being simply collage.  That said, I have found that when most people in the scrapbook world refer to "mixed media techniques" they're usually talking about techniques for integrating paint, ink, and paper.  So here are some places to start:

  • My hour-long instructional DVD "Collage Fast & Furious" is full of techniques for mixing up your media.  You can purchase it as a physical DVD or as a digital product and download it to your computer immediately!
  • My online class "Technique-a-Palooza: Paint & Ink" which has thirty paint and ink techniques along with suggestions on ways to combine them.
  • Type the phrase "mixed media" in the YouTube search window and you'll come up with a ton of great and FREE tutorial videos.

All of that said, the first way to learn about mixed media is to try it.  Do it.  There's no right or wrong.  Just do something.  See if you like it.  Figure out how you like to hold your paintbrush.  Do whatever feels good to you.  I guarantee that you can't go wrong!

For this one, see all the links above, plus my friend Nathalie Kalbach is currently teaching an online class all about acrylic paint!

In this Über*Media Acrylic Paint Workshop Nathalie will teach you how to use acrylic paints in your scrapbooking and mixed media projects.  This class is a reference guide for you, showing all kinds of possibilities and techniques using acrylic paints -- in fact, there are almost 100 techniques for using acrylic paints in this class.  Wow!

Also, a lot of people swear by this book: Acrylic Revolution.  I bought it when it came out, but I have to admit that I haven't even cracked it open in all the years I've had it.  Hmmmm...maybe a future Book Club book?

Here's a fun video from the awesome Dina Wakley on using modeling paste:

Other links:

  • Check out this review of Golden's Clear Tar Gel.  
  • Scrap Jazz has an informative article about Gel and Polymer Mediums.
  • Here is a video about using Golden Extra Course Pumice Gel.
  • Watch this easy-to-follow video tutorial on doing a gel medium image transfer.

Finally, here is a video from Golden, about their various modeling pastes:

If you'd like to do some experimenting, Golden sells a "Sampler Pack" containing a 2 oz (60 ml) jar of Soft Gel (Gloss), Regular Gel (Semi-Gloss), Extra-Heavy Gel (Matte), Light Molding Paste, Coarse Pumice Gel, and Clear Tar Gel.  It's less than $20 for all six mediums and a great way for you to do a bit of experimenting and figure out what you like before you invest in bigget jars.

When I graduated from college, I asked my parents for a gift: a sewing machine.  I didn't end up getting the machine for several years, but once I did, it was love at first sight.  Here's how I learned to sew:

  1. The woman at the sewing machine store showed me how to thread the machine.
  2. I took my machine home and couldn't remember how to thread the machine.
  3. I studied my manual and re-learned how to thread the machine.  
  4. I bought lots of sewing and quilting books and tried lots of projects from them.  The best book, in my opinion, is Patchwork Quilts Made Easy by Jean Wells.
  5. I still couldn't remember how to thread my machine.  
  6. I took a basic quilting class at The City Quilter.  
  7. I started to experiment...and I haven't stopped since!

I think sewing is an essential art skill to have.  If you'd like to develop your skills, you can take my online mixed media sewing class "It's Sew Easy."

If you want to learn more about sewing by hand on paper, Kinsey Wilson has a wonderful free blog class called "Handstitch." 

image from
In the image above Kinsey is sharing the different looks you get depending on how many strands of embroidery floss you use to stitch.

Finally, one of the great mixed media sewing goddesses -- in my opinion -- is Alisa Burke.  I highly recommend her book: Sew Wild.

If you're interested in watercolor paints:

  • I am currently teaching a class called "Wonderful Watercolor" as part of the "21 Secrets" online art journaling class.  You can still sign up.
  • Be sure to check out this "Art Journal Every Day" post I did all about watercolor.  It includes a short video I taped on layering watercolor.

If you're interested in watercolor pencils, this video is definitely worth a watch:

As for watercolor crayons:

  • The Splitcoast Stampers site has a tutorial on stamping with watercolor crayons. 
  • Dion Dior did a wonderful guest post for this blog on using watersoluble crayons.
  • This post about screenprinting with watersoluble crayons blew my mind!  I want to try it!

There's so much to learn about and so many ways to learn it all!  I encourage you to consider supporting the artists whose work you love by buying their books, DVDs, classes, products, etc.  All of those purchases allow them to keep sharing free content and is much appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by!


P.S. The winner of the " Peek-a-Boo" stencil in 6x6 and 12x12 is...

Congratulations, Debbie!  E-mail me with your mailing address and I'll get those stencils out to you!