Friday, April 3, 2015

4 Essentials You Need to Know about Mixed Media - Materials

This is post #2 in the series 4 Essentials You Need to Know about Mixed Media. Here’s a breakdown again of those essentials:

1. Types of projects

2. Materials

3. Techniques

4. Overcoming your fears

We've already discussed what mixed media is and what types of projects can be created, so now let’s talk about what materials you need.

Every artist has their own list of materials they use when creating mixed media projects. The list I compiled for you is a partial list but comprehensive enough as a starting point.

1. Paint: the most popular kind is acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water soluble, but become water-resistant when dry. There are different thicknesses of paint by different manufacturers and you have to find out which ones you like and work for you.

I like to use Deco Art paints and Liquitex, which are heavy body paints that can be used to create texture.

You can add color to your projects with other color mediums like spray inks, colored pencils, crayons, oil pastels and water colors.

2. Paper: adding paper to your project is an easy way to add color, texture and text or cover parts of it. Popular papers used in mixed media are patterned papers and tissue papers. You can cover a canvas with a whole piece of paper, cut shapes out of it or tear pieces to add to your project. You can also create texture by wrinkling the paper or attach it with foam tape.

3. Drawing materials: you need to have pens and markers to be able to draw lines or shapes, doodle and write on your mixed media project. Use permanent pens and markers that can write on other mediums you use like acrylic paints, sprays and others.

I like to use Faber-Castell Artist Big Brush Pens as well as Uni Posca markers.

4. Adhesives: match the type of material you are gluing to the surface you are attaching it to. I use Tacky Glue for paper supplies and embellishments like buttons, ribbons and flowers. For heavier things, plastic and metal embellishments I use E6000 which is a strong industrial glue.

5. Found items: many artists, including myself, like to incorporate found items in mixed media projects. Found object originates from the French objet trouvé, describing art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects or products that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function. Pablo Picasso first publicly utilized the idea when he pasted a printed image of chair caning onto his painting titled Still Life with Chair Caning (1912). Examples of found items can be: household items, nails and DIY supplies, old cloths parts, toys, electrical parts, mechanical parts and more.

6. Embellishments: used to decorate a project, add color and texture. Embellishments give the project the general feeling like romantic, steampunk or whimsy. If you use flowers, lace and buttons your project will have a vintage, shabby chic feeling but if you use cogwheels, hinges and chains your project will have an industrial, grunge feeling.

A very popular embellishment genre is ephemera. Ephemera is anything that wouldn't normally be considered something to collect, save, cherish or keep. Here are a few ideas: Stamps from envelopes, especially from old letters, discarded sheet music, old books and maps, tickets stubs, clock parts, feathers, wire, magazines and more.

7. Tools: There are many tools you can use to create different effects on a mixed media project and apply different materials and mediums on it. Here is a partial list:
  • Stamps: all sizes, materials (red rubber, acrylic, mounted or unmounted) and patterns. Including shapes (circles, arrows or dots), images (butterfly, girl or flower) and text (script, numbers or letters).
  • Stencils:  different sizes (12X12, 6X6) and patterns (repeating, single or changing). Including shapes, images and text.
  • Brushes: bristles in different size and length and foam.

8. Art mediums: these are materials that create artistic effects and help in the creative  
process. "Medium" refers to the substance the artist uses to create his or her artwork. In general art
mediums refer to whatever an artist put in his creation however in mixed media we refer to the wet materials used as a base and are not paints.

  • Gesso: an important art supply to get your canvas ready for painting. Can also be used to cover parts of the project and tone down colors and patterns.
  • Gel medium: Gel medium is a clear acrylic dispersion substance with the thickness of hair gel. Its basic purpose is to change the consistency or appearance of acrylic paint. It is also used as an adhesive and a sealer.
  • Modeling paste: Molding, or modeling paste is an acrylic medium that is filled with solid material. The result is a thick “pasty” white substance that can create a controlled textural surface. Molding paste is an opaque white when it dries.

For more mixed media ideas and how to free videos check out my Youtube channel.

Share with me what materials are new to you and if you have any questions about them.

Tomorrow I'll share some basic mixed media techniques.You don't want to miss it!

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Have fun creating!


  1. This os great! Thank You for sharing

  2. Thanks for sharing, I look forward to following your blog to learn new and exciting things!!