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Gesso Dry Embossing

Hello everyone! Anna-Karin here with a fun and easy dry embossing technique, and a whole bunch of Christmas cards.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

I am always thinking of new ways to use my embossing folders and this technique is not only for Christmas, but will work together with any embossing folder. Most of the embossing folders and dies that I used are by Tim Holtz.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

Start by embossing a piece of heavy cardstock. I used watercolour paper, because it handles wet techniques so well.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

Paint the cardstock with gesso. Leave to dry.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

Paint with slightly watered-down Distress Paint. I used Broken China and Salty Ocean. I like to use die packaging as a palette for paint.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

When dry, sand off some of the paint from the embossed parts, which will become whiter. You get a gorgeous textured background which really showcases an embossing folder.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

The gesso makes a big difference to how the paint reacts on the paper. Even before sanding, you will see that the gesso has resisted the watered-down paint to some extent and after the sanding the effect is even better. To show you, I did exactly the same thing on another piece of embossed watercolour paper, but without the gesso. That is the paper to the right. The difference is pretty big.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

I used Tim Holtz new Ice Skates die together with the snowflake background. The skates were die cut from grungeboard and painted white, silver and black. I sanded and distressed the white part, and inked with Gathered Twigs, to make them look used.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

The blades were coated with Glossy Accents and a sentiment was stamped on one of the skates. These really look like the skates I had as a child.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

I was having fun, so I made some more backgrounds. All of them consist of watercolour paper which was embossed and gessoed as above. Here I used Chipped Sapphire and Broken China paint.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

I made a second background also using the Starry Night folder. The white distressed stars look really nice. If you want to see the card I made with the first background, head over to my blog.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

Packages & Bows were die cut from grungeboard and painted with Distress Paint. When dry, I sanded the edges and inked them with Gathered Twigs. The parcels were stamped with a text and a sentiment stamp.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

For these two backgrounds, I used the Christmas Words and the Winter Berries folder, together with Broken China and Walnut Stain paint.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

These backgrounds look really great on their own and don't need a lot of embellishments, so you can make many cards quite quickly. The Mini Pine Tree was die cut from grungeboard, inked with Gathered Twigs and covered with Tarnished Brass Distress Glitter.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

The branch became the home of three little birds, die cut from grungeboard, inked red and covered with Barn Door Distress Glitter. I also die cut leaves from text paper and added a snowflake border.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

Here I used Brenda Walton's Be Merry and Tim Holtz Holly Pattern, together with Walnut Stain and Antique Linen paint.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

This is such a pretty embossing folder and it looks great as the main feature on a card.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

Here I added a grungeboard Poinsettia, die cut with the Tattered Poinsettia and Mini Poinsettia dies, inked green and red and covered with Fired Brick and Peeled Paint Distress Glitter.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

For the holly background, I die cut a Holiday Wreath from grungeboard, painted it with Peeled Paint, sanded and inked with Gathered Twigs. The bow was also die cut from grungeboard, inked with Antique Linen and coated with Antique Linen Distress Glitter.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

Place foam dots under the leaves to lift them.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Gesso Dry Embossing by Anna-Karin

For the last background, I used the Elegant folder and painted it with Victorian Velvet and Barn Door. Here you can again see the difference compared to an embossed watercolour paper without the gesso (to the right). I am sharing a finished card with this background on my blog, since I didn't want to make this post too long.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!!

Happy Crafting!

Anna-Karin

 

Sizzix Die Cutting Supplies



Surfaces: Tim Holtz Idea-ology - Grungeboard; Daler & Rowney watercolour paper; old book paper | Stamps: Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz - Mini Holidays 5 |Ink: Ranger Distress Ink - Gathered Twigs, Antique Linen, Peeled Paint, Barn Door; Ranger Archival Ink - Jet Black |Paint: Ranger Distress Paint - Broken China, Salty Ocean, Chipped Sapphire, Antique Linen, Peeled Paint, Antique Linen, Picket Fence, Brushed Pewter, Black Soot, Walnut Stain, Victorian Velvet, Barn Door |Medium: Ranger Claudine Hellmuth Gesso |Glitter: Ranger Distress Glitter - Antique Linen, Barn Door, Fired Brick, Peeled Paint, Tarnished Brass |Embellishments: Tim Holtz Idea-ology - Seasonal Chit Chat Stickers, Black and Cream Trimmings, Linen Ribbon, Laboratorie Tissue Tape; Studio Calico Wood Veneer - Tiny Hearts, Tiny Stars; pearls, twine

36 thoughts on “Gesso Dry Embossing”

  • Karen Burniston

    You always knock my socks off, Anna-Karin. Those skates, by the way, look completely real. Amazing!

    Reply
  • Shelly Hickox

    Anna-Karin, this technique is amazing and your cards are beautiful! I was trying to figure out how to make the trees on Tim's birch tree Texture Fade white, but have the background colored - now I know how!! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply
    • Anna-Karin

      Thank you Shelly! I got the Birch Tree folder just after I did this tutorial, otherwise I would have used it. It is perfect for that folder.

      Reply
  • Raquel Mason

    SO wonderful, I love the gesso! Thanks so much for sharing the tips & all the pics. I agree with karen, those skates are so real looking....almost makes me want to dust mine off (they're hiding in my closet).

    Reply
  • Lisa H

    Oh wow! I love how the gesso works with the technique. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your cards are beautiful.

    Reply
  • Susan Turner

    All I can say is ditto to all of the above comments!!! Amazing stuff!

    Reply
  • Rosetta Jenkins
    Rosetta Jenkins Dec 03, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Absolutely delightful! I got a bottle of gesso and ready to go! Thank you.

    Reply
  • wandahentges

    These are GORGEOUS!!!

    Reply
  • Buttons

    Thank you Anna-Karin. These are such achievable backgrounds, the perfect bases for Christmas cards and much more besides. The finished cards are beautiful too. Now, where are my embossing folders... Jenny x

    Reply
  • Jacquelene L

    Thank you Anna-Karin for this fantastic tutorial. I have been frustrated with painting embossed paper and now I know the answer. Your tutorial is excellent and not too long. I learned so very much and the creative inspiration is amazing. I find these days I am buying more white paper and colouring it rather than trying to find cardstock in the right colours. Watercolour paper is an excellent material and the pads of watercolour paper can be purchased inexpensively. Thank you for sharing your amazing tutorial today!
    Jacquelene L
    Canada

    Reply
    • Anna-Karin

      Thank you Jacquelene! I too mainly buy white paper, and watercolour paper is a real favourite of mine, I keep reaching for it.

      Reply
  • Rachel Bg

    Thanks for sharing! Beautiful cards!

    Reply
  • Ang

    This is great, cant wait to give it a try.
    Ang

    Reply
  • Silvagran

    Fabulous! Gesso makes such a difference! Starry night is gorgeous! Thank you for all the tips n tricks!

    Reply
  • butterfly

    Fantastic inspiration from Anna-Karin as always! The technique is great - I LOVE gesso! - and the results are absolutely gorgeous!
    Alison x

    Reply
  • Janet Nelson

    Very inspiring. Love the cards with the gesso primer. Do you ever do video tutorials. I learn best by watching someone actually performing the actions.

    Reply
  • Ellie Knol

    Gorgeous Anna Karin! What a genius idea to cover it with gesso before coloring! Baie dankie!

    Reply
  • lotte lustig

    thank you for your wonderfull christmas inspiration , i am still in love with your christmas worn journal and run to my retailer for the flourished stamps and the joyfull song you used on them , the moment i finished reading your tutorial...i have made already a few , that flourish makes a fab result ...then there was that cute little christmas shed...o my..that die will probely stay on my wish list ....and now this folder use with gesso ...luckely i have a lot of them, ...but what a awesome way to color them...and the mix of victorian velvet with the barn door looks stunning vintage ...did i already mentioned those worn skates...oh i have good memories on those , thank god i have that die and they are already made and waiting for me to paint them....now it's hard to choose..will i finish the daily worn , or paint my skates or play with my folders...hahahaa...thank you for al those great ideas. only thing i have to figure out is how you make those stunning bows on your tags....bye and have a nice day , lotte.

    Reply
    • Anna-Karin

      Thank you so much Lotte, for that very sweet comment. I am so glad to hear my projects inspire you! I hope you have time to do both the worn journal, flourishes, little house and dry embossed backgrounds.

      Reply
  • astrid51

    Stunning cards all of them and what a great technique! I love it and will definitely give this a try! Thanks for the great tutorial! Fabulous!!

    Reply
  • Linda K

    Wonderful, wonderful. Thanks for all the inspiration. Embossing folders and dies and the best thing since sliced bread!!!! I'm headed over to your blog :)

    Reply
  • Katy Drogos

    This is just awesome! Love all of your cards! Thanks for the technique! Time to go play! :)

    Reply
  • Sandra ltb

    thanks Anna for sharing your tips - these are beautiful!
    Sandra ltb

    Reply
  • Gavi Slutzkin
    Gavi Slutzkin Dec 03, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Great use for gesso, thanks for sharing! :-)

    Reply
  • Pam L

    They are all just gorgeous!! Thank you so much for sharing! Will have to give this a try!!

    Reply
  • scrapvat

    Absolutely amazing... will give it a try. I love them Anna-Karin you are so talented.

    Reply
  • Beth W

    I am totally enthralled with this technique.I have got to give it a try and I need to some shopping.Love the embossing folders you used.

    Reply
  • Karen L K

    That technique looks great and I definitely want to try it. Very nice cards all of them.

    Reply
  • Daria

    Anna-Karin, thank you for the detailed tutorials. I love the effect you got, and your cards are gorgeous.

    Reply
  • Judy B

    What beautiful cards! This is a great idea to use for any of our embossing folders, but the seasonal ones from Tim really hit it out of the park. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
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