Friday, May 8, 2015

Technique of the Week: Smooshing

In conjunction with the Art 'n Soul Technique of the Week newsletter article, I have a step by step tutorial for "smooshing."

Smooshing is a technique made popular by Laura Bassen, that uses ink and water to make a background. It's somewhat similar to the acrylic block stamping technique that I showed on my blog here, but it's a little less tidy.

I like both techniques.  All you need for smooshing is:

1) A good dye ink in a couple of colors (I prefer Distress because it reacts so well with water, and there are so many colors).
2) A piece of acetate. You can use a piece of packaging you have saved, or a piece cut off a sheet that you have left over.
3) A spritzer bottle with water. Those of you who know me, know that I will have Perfect Pearls powder in my spritzer bottle as well (1/4 tsp Perfect Pearls powder to 2 oz water).
4) Watercolor paper. I prefer 140# cold pressed; but I often use the Tim Holtz pre-cut paper, because I like that it's already a handy size, and also that it's white. If I'm going to cover the whole piece, then the color doesn't matter.

Apply ink in at least 2 colors, from the pad direct to the acetate.

Spray the acetate liberally with pearly water.

Place the acetate, ink side down, onto the watercolor paper.

This is where the "smooshing" takes place. Rub your fingers over the back of the acetate to let the color soak into the paper. 

Move the acetate around to put color in different places on the paper.

You can be finished at this point, and let it dry, or you can dry the paper, clean off the acetate and apply another color. 

Sprintz and smoosh again. (I never thought I'd be writing a sentence like that). The colors won't get "muddy" because you dried the first application of color.

Once you're happy with your background, stamp something you like on it, and make into a card. I chose to die cut my page using the Memory Box Stitched Rectangle Layers (largest die of the set)

I then stamped the panel with the Magenta Zen Butterfly (44.019.K) - One of my new stamp designs with Magenta! I also added one of my favorite zen sentiments "Happiness is the Path" (07.912.H).  I mounted the panel onto a piece of glossy black paper, and then onto a piece of craft foam that I cut slightly smaller than the panel. The panel was applied to a white base card, and the craft foam popped the panel up off the base card slightly.  A few enamel dots were sprinkled onto the piece at the end.

I hope you try this technique. It's a fun, fast way to make a beautiful background.

Magenta Stamps Used:
Zen Butterfly 44.019.K
Happiness is the Path 07.912.H
Distress Inks: Peacock Feathers; Mustard Seed; Picked Raspberry
Memory Box Stitched Rectangles Dies 30009
Perfect Pearls Powder
My Mind's Eye "Chalk Studios 2" Enamel Dots
Tim Holtz Watercolor cardstock
Black glossy cardstock
white craft foam


  1. Great technique, I will try it for sure!!! Thanks.

  2. I will give smooshing a try as well and I like the idea of the 2nd layer. Need to pull out the perfect pearls as wel.
    Very clear tutorial, thanks Dianne!


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