I can, in fact, resist when it comes to creating beautiful background papers for art journal pages, ATCs, bookmarks, cards, and other projects. There has been a great gesso resist technique making its way across the blogosphere, and I thought I would show you my results. (Do a quick search of "gesso stencil resist," and check out all the web sites you get!)
Nathalie Kalbach's 2013 Creative JumpStart Summit:
Video Source: Claudine Hellmuth's blog post on January 14, 2013
For my projects, I used regular thick gesso and a sponge brush, which varies just a little from Claudine's supplies.
First, I laid a stencil on a piece of watercolor paper, and then I brushed the gesso across the top of the stencil, making sure to fill all the open spaces. I peeled the stencil away from the paper, and let the gesso dry completely. Then I just brushed acrylic paint across the top, allowing the gesso to act as a resist so that the stencil design came forward brighter (or darker, as the case may be) than the background. I used a cloth to wipe away excess paint, which meant that my projects dried very quickly. (By the way, I use cloth diapers--which I used as burp cloths for my daughters--for all of my painting techniques.)
I managed to work in some of my scraps to some stitched Valentine hearts.
I also used the "Gears" stencil by The Crafter's Workshop, and one of those 99-cent alphabet stencils from the craft store. (These papers are ATC size.) I was never able to get the level of crisp detail with the Gears stencil as I did with the Cosmic Swirl.
I played around with some inexpensive leaf and flower stencils, as well, and then cut them out for future projects (and more hearts, of course!):
Using a bronze color paint with the Cosmic Swirl stencil gave a pretty effect on a shipping tag:
Don't just put this on your "must try" list; go grab your supplies and give it a try right now! It is super-quick and easy...very little mess for a background/painting technique.