Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brayer Masking Tutorial

For those of you who own a brayer and don't know what to do with it, here's a little tutorial for you. I use a Speedball brayer, and it comes with a tan roller. The roller will get stained with use, so don't worry if it gets discolored with time. Treat it like you treat a stamp - ink it up, use it, and clean it off after use. You can clean it the same way you do your stamps, too. To make sure it's clean, just roll it on a sheet of scrap paper and make sure there is no ink left on it.

For this card I used my brayer, a piece of cardstock, three colors of ink (all shades of blue), heidi swapp butterfly masks, and some homemade die cut masks.

The first step to using your brayer is to ink it up really well. You want to roll it towards you on the ink pad, starting at the back and moving forward. When you get to the front of the pad, lift the brayer straight up and start at the back again, rolling forward. Do not roll the brayer back and forth on the pad as this will only ink part of the roller. To get continuous inking, you will need to roll in one direction only. Ink it over and over until the entire roller is covered with an ample amount of ink. For this card we will be working with the lightest color first, and will graduate from lightest to darkest as we go.

Once your brayer is thoroughly inked, start brayering your paper. I put down the butterfly masks before I started inking for this card. Roll your brayer back and forth both directions on the paper and work the ink thoroughly into the paper. When you start rolling, you may get harsh lines from the edge of the brayer, but keep moving it around and working the ink into the paper and those lines should disappear. Roll the brayer until no more ink comes off it. If the paper is not evenly covered, re-ink the brayer and work on the places that need more coverage.

After I inked the paper with the light blue, I used die cut butterflies to create a secondary mask. These butterflies will be the color we just inked. To make your own mask, just apply some low-tack or removable adhesive to the back of the die cut and apply it to the paper where you don't want the darker ink. I used ZipDry liquid adhesive, but there are others out there. If you have a small die, you could just cut the shape from a post it note and use that as your mask.

Once you have the lightest color applied, ink your brayer with the next darkest color. If you are working within the same color family (all blues, etc.) and going from light to dark, you do not need to clean the brayer off between inkings. If you are changing color families or applying a lighter color over a darker one, you will want to clean the brayer before changing colors. After you have thoroughly inked your brayer, apply the ink to the card front, getting it as close to the edges and corners of the masks as possible. You will be left with a small halo around the masks.

To get rid of the halo and get the finest detail from your masks, use the same color ink or darker (I used a slightly darker ink to create a subtle shadow) and sponge around the edges of the masks.

Once you are finished, pull the masks off the cardstock and it is easy to see the color gradations on the card.

I finished off my card by highlighting the edges of the masked shapes with a white pen, making dotted trails, then stamping glittered swirls around the edges, and adding a sentiment.

There are lots of things you can do with a brayer. This is just one idea showcasing the masking technique. Don't forget to leave me a link in the comments if you participate in the MIM card challenge this week - there will be a giveaway coming up for those who participate and you won't want to miss it!

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