tEchNiQuE TuEsdaY: Acrylic Paint Blend

“snow dogs”

Does the thought of attempting an acrylic paint background bring on a bad case of “the doubts”? It seems so…artistic, right? Well, what if I told you that there’s a quick and easy way to create an artistic background that is pretty much fail-proof? Don’t believe me? Well take a look at the step shots below…the secret is blending the wet paint with baby wipes!

Here’s a few important tips:
- be prepared to work quickly. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so unless you add a liquid matte medium to the paint to extend the drying time, make sure that you move from step 2 to step 3 quickly so the paint does not have a chance to dry.
- colors: you will have best success with this technique using harmonious or “analagous” colors, i.e., colors that are next to each other on the color wheel like yellow, green and blue or pink, red and orange, etc. (for more info on basic color terminology, see Color Matters.)
- read through all steps before beginning technique.
- prep: I like to tape my cardstock onto wax paper to help prevent it from curling when damp (use double stick tape).

Acrylic Paint
acrylic paints (see tip above)
paintbrush or foam brush
baby wipes

step 1. Distress cardstock with sandpaper; rub in all directions.

step 2. Mix and apply paints. Generously apply a quick swatch of each color with a foam or regular paint brush; apply paint only on half of the cardstock so that the paint doesn’t begin to dry.
step 3. Quickly wipe across entire page with a baby wipe.
step 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the unpainted half of the page. Grab a new baby wipe and wipe over entire cardstock, blending the two areas together.

step 5. Lightly rub sandpaper over background while cardstock is still damp; this will distress the cardstock even more so if you don’t want a distressed look, skip this step. Do not worry if some of the paper peels off…it adds a bit of texture to the background.
step 6. Quickly grab one of the baby wipes you used in step 3 and wipe over entire page again; notice that some of the paint on the baby wipe will rub off on the newly distressed areas, blending them with the rest of the page.

I wanted to soften the colors a bit, so I repeated steps 2, 3, 4 & 6 with a white pearlized paint (I did not want any more distressing so I skipped step 5.). To see another example of this technique on a layout, take a look at Burn, Baby, Burn!

Karin of is fast! She just posted the results of this technique on her blog…she tried it on a Rolodex card without distressing (step #5). Take a look at how pretty her purple blend is.

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14 Responses to tEchNiQuE TuEsdaY: Acrylic Paint Blend

  1. Caroline says:

    I love this technique it looks very doable and yet beautiful!

    I’m glad that you explained your use of complementary colours as here I’ve always been taught that complementaries are in fact opposites like orange and blue or yellow and purple – imagine how those would turn out!

  2. Frivolitea says:

    That looks terrific. I am going to try it as soon as I have a chance.

  3. kreativekell says:

    Caroline…I am so glad that you pointed this out to me because you’re right, the artistic definition of “complementary colors” are those which are directly opposite on the color wheel. My desire to take away fear, i.e., explain in “plain english” instead of artistic terms does not serve all my readers well here. I am going to change the word in my text because I can see how confusing it is when read by someone familiar with color theory and artistic terminology. Many, many thanks!

  4. Caroline says:

    Ah analagous colours… now I didn’t know that term before today! So thanks for both lessons.

  5. ScrappaNu says:

    I love the effect, have already tried it out, , without sanding.

  6. Dar says:

    Just gorgeous, thanks for the instructions. Gotta love baby wipes, they have a million and one uses. Have a wonderful time at CHA.

  7. CheryLOL says:

    Ah kelly! You gave away my great secret!!! I LOVE baby wipes!!! LOL.

    I am hunting you down at CHA to meet you IRL BTW. :)

  8. Darlene says:

    I posted my Technique Tuesday project on my blog! Thanks for the inspiration!!! :) :) :)

  9. Mackey says:

    FANTASTIC!! Now I need to go get some baby wipes!! This looks wonderful, I cannot wait to try it!

  10. islandgirl says:

    this is SO useful to me for my art journal I want to do, Thanks for posting it!

  11. ScrappaNu says:

    One more try, Acrylic Paint Blend and Gel Medium Imprint, this time I combined it with a gel Medium Imprint but I think I need to practice this more before I do it on a project.

  12. Randell says:

    Thank you for sharing! It looks beautiful I love your baby-wipe idea!

  13. kimkt says:

    Great idea, I can’t wait to try it. Question: have you done this with textured cardstock, or do you use plain? Which would you recommend?

  14. kreativekell says:

    I love seeing everyone success with this technique!

    kimkt: I have only done this technique with plain cardstock…but I encourage you to experiment with textured cardstock…and please let me know how it turns out!