Technique: Week 1 – Easy Acrylic Backgrounds

May 16, 2006 at 3:29 pm (Altered Art, Art, Art & Crafts, Collage, Contests, Crafts, Hobbies, meme, prize, Tuesdays, Tutorials)

So Simple, So Easy, and So Quick…

Yet Oh SO Stunning!

What a FABULOUS starting point for any project!

Week 1 Technique Example  Karyn Gartel is a talented, self-taught, mixed media artist & Instructor residing in Williams Lake, BC,  Canada. Her inspiring creations are full of color, and whimsy. You can see her work & read more about her at

Easy Acrylic Backgrounds
By: Karyn Gartel, The Altered Diva
© 2006  Karyn Gartel, The Altered Diva, all rights reserved
Edited By: Chrysti
Approx. Time Involved: 15-20 minutes

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Try It Tuesdays Examples - Week One 

Materials List:

  • Canvas, or Watercolor Paper
  • White Gesso
  • 3 Acrylic Paint Colors
  • Paint Tray or Wells
  • Spray Bottle w/Water
  • 2” Bristle Brush  
  • Assorted Script and/or Design Rubber Stamps
  • Heat Gun (Optional)


  • Water down the acrylic paints: approx. 1 part paint, to 3 parts water
  • Set your darkest paint color aside, do not use it until step 4.

 *Tip!! I use inexpensive acrylic craft paints that have been watered down to about 1 part paint to 3 parts water. Once I have nearly empty bottles, I just add water to the bottle and shake it up. If you're starting with a fresh bottle and there is obviously no room for water, use a watercolor pan and put a pea sized blob of paint in a paint well and then add water. For those of you who are thrifty…this makes a bottle of paint last a LONG time!! 

 Let’s Play!:

1.      Give your canvas a generous coat of white gesso, allow to dry.

2.      Give the canvas (or paper) a wash with a single color of paint.*

* TIP! I start with a wash of color…usually yellow because it is my favorite….and I like to mix it with blues and pinks…which look best if yellow is on the bottom. I also speed-dry this with my heat gun….I HATE waiting for paint to dry!! Lol

3.      Brush a second color of paint around the edges of the canvas. Do not cover the entire canvas, leave some of the base color peeking through. Allow to dry.

* TIP!  I like cheap brushes too because they give a neat look to my technique. You can use your heat gun to speed up drying.

4.      Apply a thin layer of your darkest color over the entire canvas. DO NOT DRY THIS!!! Using the water bottle, spritz over portions of your canvas. Let the water sit for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess paint. It is kind of like magic!

5.      Brush your favorite rubber stamps with a layer of gesso and randomly stamp it on the canvas. Allow to dry.

* TIP!  I like it best when the stamp is not a perfect impression.

6.      Choose one of your 3 paint colors, and brush a light wash of it over your stamping. *

TIP!  If you’d like the stamping to stand out more, then skip this step and leave it white.

There you have it!! An easy, inexpensive background just waiting for you to embellish!

Examples of the backgrounds as finished works of art:

Example Week 1

Be sure to visit Karyn’s wonderful website, blog  &  E-bay store, she has it stocked with stunning, one-of-a-kind, original artwork, supplies & more !! Her imaginative, whimsical artwork is drenched in stunning, bold colors, and is sure to brighten your day.

Tried The Technique? Finished Your Entry?
Want a chance to win this week's prize?

  • Upload your entry's photograph(s) to your Flickr account or Blog. In your description, please state it's part of Try It Tuesdays and link to the site. (On flickr you can link, or add the tags, or both!)
  • Go to the Entry Submission Page and follow the instructions
  • It's that easy! See the FAQ for additional help & rules.
  • Now start creating!! I can't wait to see what everyone makes! – Chrysti



    1. amy said,

      These are such stunning backgrounds! Can’t wait to give it a whirl.

    2. Nancy said,

      Woohooo! This is going to be so much fun!

    3. Robyn L (RCL Typepad on flick'r) said,

      LOL, well, you don’t want to know how mine came out.

      ***Note to self: Keep Gesso and white gel medium in containers that look nothing alike from now on.

      Definitely trying this again tomorrow night, though. It was looking so good, until it all became white…


    4. Holly said,

      I couldn’t wait to get home from work this evening!! I just finished mine and will be uploading images in just a few!!

    5. Lesley said,

      I can’t wait to get home and try this method!!! I’m very excited about this site and can’t wait to hopefully post some of my attempts.

      This may be a bit of a dumb question but what is the time frame for posting your pieces?


      Lesley 🙂

    6. chrysti said,

      LOL Robyn!!!!

      Thanks to the rest of y’all … Can’t wait to see what everyone creates!

      Lesley — The FAQ answers that as well..

      You can post them at any time in the group ( even 6 months from now) … however, to be entered into the contest.. it must be in by 12 am EST the Sunday prior to the next challenge!

    7. Chel! said,

      Oh, I love Karen’s stuff! ZNEers are SO TALENTED!!!

      How cool for her to share her fun and whimsical background secrets!

      Can’t wait to help out with this fabulous project you have here, dearest Chrysti!

      xoxo – Chel

    8. Art by Chrysti » Blog Archive » Try It Tuesdays: My Week 1 Entries said,

      […] This week's technique is an Easy, Acrylic Background Technique by The Fabulous Altered Diva, Karyn Gartel .. Here's what I came up with when I embarked on this fun journey! […]

    9. Joan said,

      Hi there,
      What a wonderful idea this ‘ try it Tuesdays ‘, , Can the canvas be any size?
      Off to give it a whirl and to see what disaster I’ll combine !!!!!! LOL
      joan in italy

    10. Art by Chrysti » Blog Archive » More Try It Tuesdays Week 1 Backgrounds said,

      […] This is what drew me back to experimenting with Karyn's Easy, Acrylic, backgrounds technique (Week 1 of Try It Tuesdays). I should have posted these the day I did them, as now some of the details are foggy to me.. but here's a general idea of what I did, and the results they yielded. […]

    11. Try It Tuesdays » And the winner is…. said,

      […] Week 1 – Easy, Acrylic Backgrounds by Karyn Gartel, The Altered Diva […]

    12. Art by Chrysti » Blog Archive » Try It Tuesdays: My Week 2 Results! said,

      […] Adhered to this canvas background from Try it Tuesdays Week 1 […]

    13. Try It Tuesdays » Try It!! .. Then Win It!! Week Five Info said,

      […] Week 1 Easy Acrylic Backgrounds By Karyn Gartel, The Altered Diva   Click here to download. […]

    14. Tamara said,

      What a wonderful technique and website. Thanks for the shot in the creative mind.

    15. Easy Acrylic Backgrounds - Einfacher Acryl-Hintergrund « : unikatissima : said,

      […] those colours gorgeous? After I’ve seen the tutorial on how to create such a background I tried it myself and it worked out great. I never believed that I could paint such a beautiful […]

    16. unikatissimas » Einfacher Acryl-Hintergrund said,

      […] die Farben nicht prächtig? Nachdem ich die Anleitung gefunden hatte, wie man solche Hintergründe erstellt, habe ich es selbst versucht und es hat prima […]

    17. Duarmabom said,

      hm. attractive

    18. « The Rhythmic Beat said,

      […] 45678910 […]

    19. Chalmers said,

      Have you ever regarded as including additional videos for your blogs to help keep your readers additional entertained? I mean I just read during the entire article of yours and it was quite excellent but because I’m really a visual learner,I discovered that for being more valuable. Just my my idea, Good luck

    20. Deb Cochran said,

      Sounds great! Nice to see PRINTED instructions instead of video. How can I view examples?

    21. Eusebia said,

      This may be an great Redd Crucible 2 totally free hacxk software !

    22. Our Junk, Your Joy! | RubyDog's Art House said,

      […] collage illustrations A fun print transfer technique from Birgit’s Daily Bytes Easy background technique from the aforementioned Karyn Gartel Juan Rayos‘ incredible […]

    23. Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places – Like A Whisper said,

      […] This post caught my eye a few weeks ago on Pinterest, so I pretty much followed those steps with a few minor deviations. […]

    24. How To Start an Art Journal | Creativity Sundays said,

      […] this technique is loosely based on the one that I discovered in this post. The steps below were one of those happy accidents that I mentioned at the start. I originally […]

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