Well, if you're like me, your need for color extends beyond your art. My walls are not white!! I have a box full of old paint samples that I've picked up along the way. That one on the very top? They don't even make that brand anymore!!! Well, dig 'em out and put 'em to use in your art. If you are making tags or need a unique shape, be sure to cut the shape before you start. If you are just going to trim away excess, you can do this later in the process.
The first thing you need to do is find a rubber stamp that you like, and stamp the image with a colorless embossing ink (I use Versamark, there are other brands). Then sprinkle CLEAR embossing powder on top. It is important that it is clear ... the colors that you see showing through in the finished pieces are the original colors of the paint sample. You can even see the white lines (which I happen to like). Heat the clear embossing powder to melt it and let it cool.
Now take Gesso and paint over the whole sample. Note: some samples are extremely glossy and the gesso does not like to stick. If this is the case for you, you can lightly sand the paint sample first, but you might lose some of the color. I just chose not to use those samples. Let the Gesso dry.
Now that the Gesso is dry, take a soft cloth (paper towel, Handiwipe, cotton cloth, etc) and **very lightly** dampen a part of it. Gently rub over the embossed section to remove the Gesso from the embossing powder. You don't want to remove the Gesso from the background, but you will probably remove a little bit. That's ok. If you feel too much has come off, just repaint with Gesso and repeat, a little more gently this time. I go back afterwards and buff with a dry part of the cloth just to get the last traces of Gesso off. Don't obssess, the imperfections of this process are what make it so cool.
Now take some acrylic paint - in a color that contrasts with the color of the paint sample - and paint over the entire piece. You can paint a solid color, or paint more than one color. Whatever you'd like. On the lips, I painted first with a flat gold paint and then went over that with a thin layer of gold metallic. Let this dry completely. Several hours is best.
Using a water proof ink (such as StaZon) or paint (I used silver paint on the black samples), stamp words or some other overall pattern onto the piece. This will give added interest. You can skip this step if you want. I did not use this step for the lips, but I think it adds a lot to the other pieces. If you used paint, let it dry. If you used ink, carry on!
Using your slightly damp cloth again, rub gently over the embossed image to remove the paint and reveal the original sample color. Again, be careful not to rub too hard or you will remove some of the paint from the background (as you can see in the reddish pink piece...) If this happens, just let it be. With a dry cloth, buff the surface to remove any last traces of paint. Again, don't get hung up on perfection.
This is how your pieces should look. Trim them down to the size you desire. I just squared these up.
Using a liquid gloss varnish, coat the piece. The gloss varnish really brings out the details. I used Liquitex brand on my pieces. Let this dry.
If I am making a bookmark or tag, I attach watercolor paper to the back of the piece to make it more sturdy and to cover up the writing and any paint on the back of the sample. If I am just going to incorporate the piece into an artwork, or use it on a handmade greeting card, I skip this step and use it as it. Regardless, the last step for me is to get out my Versamark ink and embossing powder (this time in a color that complements the piece). I "dip" the edges in the ink and then in the EP. I usually do two edges at a time, then melt the EP, let it cool, and go back in to finish the remaining edges. This gives a nice finished look to the piece.
I hope you enjoy this technique. It is my own technique developed as a result of wondering what I could do with all those paint samples that I surely don't need anymore. Please feel free to use it in your art, but please don't publish it without permission. If you make something with it - please send me a link so I can see!
Stay tuned to see how I used those smootchy lips ... and leave me a comment! You will be entered into a drawing. I am not sure what the entire prize will be, but at the very least I will send you some items made with this technique. I will surely throw in a few extras as well. Drawing will be held Monday 2/16. Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting my art through 2 years and 200 posts!!!