Sunday 10 September 2017

Roadtesting: Wendy Vecchi's splattered plaster technique

I have truly enjoyed the new Mini Archival Inks by Ranger - they're so much easier to use and store and as you get 4 pads per unit space of the original sized pads, that means you can fit 4 times more colours into your storage, which can't be bad! This morning I showed Wendy Vecchi (8/24 of the mini pads are in her colourway) some stuff I'd been doing with them and she pointed me to a technique she invented a few years back called splattered plaster - and I love it! I tested it out on a journaling tag as I needed something to put the sentiment on for a very neutral art-journal layout I'm working on and I thought this would be a pretty cool way to get exactly what I wanted without just using patterned paper or texture paste.

I pretty much followed Wendy's method but I did make a few tweaks as I went along.

What I used:
Ranger Dylusions Journalling Tags (Size 10) - these are 10.5 cm by 21.6 cm - or 4 1/8" by 8 1/2" and are the same kind of surface as the Dylusions Journals.

Ranger Non-Stick Craft Sheet (or other non-stick surface you can work on - it needs to be on a pretty firm and level table top - I actually used a 12" paper pad under mine as I was working on a chair since I have so many layouts drying!)

Palette knife (the shape isn't too important but I really love this shape) NB: I don't think a plastic one would work well for this technique as the metal surface helped a lot.

Ranger Archival Inks in:
   Potting Soil (Wendy Vecchi Line)
   Watering Can (Wendy Vecchi Line)

Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Spray Stain in Picket Fence (NB: this is the only Spray Stain that works as it's the only pigment one really - the mica-based metallic ones just don't work)

Rubbing alcohol (the one I'm using is 90% iso-propyl alcohol, which evaporates slower than ethanol-based ones - if you aren't sure what's best to use in your country, check out my article on alcohols for art and crafts).

Plastic pipette (not shown)

What I did:
STEP 1. I smooshed each inkpad onto the craft sheet - I used 4 smooshes of Potting Soil, 3 Sepia and 3 Coffee and about 1/2 a smoosh of the Watering Can pad, since I only had it in full-size, so I would expect that's a roughly equal amount as Sepia and Coffee.

STEP 2. Working quite fast before the inks went tacky, I then dropped on some rubbing alcohol - I used 2mL in total which is really not a lot - and firstly just waited a few seconds for the colours to lift and go into solution. 

STEP 3. I then used the craft knife to move the inks around and get the colours properly lifted off of the craft mat. I deliberately kept the puddles of each colour separate until all of them were lifted properly and then dragged them together a bit so the colours would swirl a bit but still be visible as distinct colours. The Watering Can was kind of the exception as I let it mix into all of them just to add a bit of a darker or muted tone to it.

STEP 4. After shaking it thoroughly, I sprayed two squirts of Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain onto the puddles - Wendy's original method says to limit this to one squirt but the effect I was going for needed a bit more white than hers - she wanted a plaster-like splatter whereas I wanted something more uniform with depth of colour and tone.

STEP 5. I then placed a journalling tag face-down into the puddles and moved it around. The nice thing about using iso-propanol-based rubbing alcohol is that it is slightly greasy and soaks into the cardstock and dries quite slowly, so I had time to move the tag around and pick up all of the different colours. I tried (not very well!) to pick up Watering Can then Coffee, then Potting Soil and then Sepia last so that it stayed on the top as much as I could.

STEP 6. I quickly put down some more ink and alcohol used the tag to mop it up again, so that I could make sure most of the tag was wet. To what was left, I sprayed some more Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain, and dipped the middle of the tag into it. What I wanted was most of the tag covered in alcohol-diluted ink, and a smaller section covered in the faux plaster, but maybe a bit more uniform than Wendy's original splattering method. I didn't get the tag soaking wet with alcohol, and left a few areas dry so the cream of the tag would show through.

Step 7. This was the finished tag when it was still wet with rubbing alcohol and you can't really see the tones of the colours yet as they don't really show up until it has dried. As this particular rubbing alcohol is slow drying, propping it up on bottle caps so that air gets under it or hanging it up near a window are the best ways to accelerate it - I don't like to heat-dry things as the natural evaporation of water and alcohols forms beautiful patterns.

FINISHED! Start to finish, this took me under 10 minutes and the results are below - it took an hour to fully dry but it's a very rainy and cold day and my studio was pretty cold. My intention is to stamp this up as the sentiment for a journal page I'm doing that has a pretty neutral and soft background and in which I used Coffee, Sepia and Potting Soil in abundance so it'll match really well! 


  1. This looks really cool I hope everyone enjoys the tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for showing me the original - the plaster page I managed to make from this has been amazing to stamp onto!


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