Guest Author - Christine Sharbrough
Brushes are not the only tool in an artistís kit. There are many ordinary items that will make interesting designs and motifs. All you need to start is your imagination!
First, gather your supplies. I find that the paints that are best for stamping on paper are poster or acrylic paints. Then, choose a painting surface: cardboard, paper, envelopes, notecards, whatever it is that you want to decorate. A small jar or bowl of water for thinning paint and washing your stamping materials is a must. Change it as often as you need to. Usually, when the water no longer cleans your brush or stamping tools, itís time for a change.
Protect yourself and your work surface with a smock, old shirt, or apron. An inexpensive vinyl tablecloth or plastic place mat will protect your work surface. In a pinch, a tall garbage bag and some masking tape will also do the job.
There are a variety of items that you can dip into paint and stamp onto a surface. Household or sea sponges, vegetables (gorgeous roses can be made with the cut root end of a batch of celery), cotton swabs, drinking straws, toilet paper tubes, the eraser end of a pencil, buttons and of course, fingers!
Use a paper or plastic plate to pour out a bit of each color of paint that you want to use. If you have one, a deviled egg dish works great as a palette as do muffin or tart tins. Decide on your stamping surface and get to work. Using any of the above materials, dip the item into the paint and then press it onto the paper. If you are using more than one color, wait for the first color to dry before adding the next. A heat tool or hairdryer can be used for this purpose. Be careful with either of these that you don't burn the paper or yourself!
If you are using an envelope, decorate the flap with a series of dots from a pencil eraser or create a border using the edge of a sponge. Note cards are super cute when cotton swabs are used to make cherry blossoms and other flowers. Try layering different shapes and textures for interest and to create depth. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. The more you let your inner muse lead the way, the more fun you will have. Bring out your inner child and create, create create!