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Excavating Paint

Alcohol dissolves paint.  When I heard that I realized it could so work to my advantage.  I used old photos that were less than desirable shots – you know the blurry, off center, etc. photos.  I have a huge stack of them.  Now some are great starting points for an art something or other.Supplies you need: rubbing alcohol, cheap paint -any colors, old hairbrush (it will not work on hair again), and an old credit card

First, prep the photos.  I did a whole bunch at one time so I’d have lots to play with later.   My first layer was purple.  Let it dry.

Add a layer of orange.  Let it dry.

Add a layer of pink.  Let it dry.

Add a layer of green.  Let it dry.

Add a layer of blue.  Let it dry.

Get the idea?  Well, I found out that 5 layers was a bit much.  I really only saw the top three colors.  Next time I’ll only do 3…

Second, spray alcohol on the painted photos.  I am working on a gesso’d journal page because this gets messy and I love the look of the smeared paint.  Let the alcohol sit for 15-30 seconds.  Add more at any time if needed.

Third, scrap the paint with the hairbrush bristles.  This gets it moving nicely.  It will start to get sloppy and runny!  Yeah!

Fourth, add more alcohol if it starts to dry up or the paint is not sloppy.  Then, scrape it with the credit card.  The paint comes right off.

I clean off the credit card by wiping that wonderful paint goo on the journal page (see below).  That way not a drop of paint is wasted!




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  • rasz July 11, 2011, 5:18 pm

    What a great way to create cool backgrounds. I am going to try this today!

  • Cathy/Mutnik June 12, 2013, 4:43 pm

    Carolyn another wonderful inspiring technique to give a try. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing. :0)