Thursday, January 21, 2016

BS Sessions - Gesso and Gel Medium Tutorial

Hello Friendly Friends and welcome to another monthly installment of the BS Sessions! 

gesso_gel_medium tutorial

What are the BS Sessions? Well Samantha knows how to work a marker like nobody's business and Becca loves to get messy with mixed media. We both wanted to learn the other person's crafty secrets so we're going to ask one another a question on the last Thursday of the month. Becca will provide you with some amazing Mixed Media techniques and Samantha will show you some tips and tricks about coloring! We'll both provide our followers with a little tutorial, because if we have these questions - our followers might too!


Which brings me to this month's question, asked by Sammy:

What is the difference between gesso and gel medium?

What a great question, huh?
I know I did a canvas a while back and explained some of the differences then, but there is definitely more to add, so I thought I'd give it a go by breaking it down into a nice Pinnable (wink* wink) graphic for you! 


These are just some of the uses, and please bear in mind that I use these things primarily for cardmaking/art journaling and not canvas artwork (usually). So the uses I'll be discussing today will geared toward cardmakers and papercrafters.

Since I covered some of these things in an EARLIER TUTORIAL with pictures, I'll dedicate this post to some of the techniques that I didn't delve into.


Now, I want to also point out some things when it comes to the products I'm talking about. I don't care what brand of gesso or gel medium you use (I usually use whatever is on sale). You're gonna get the same results. 

But there IS a breakdown in what TYPE of gesso or gel medium you use. For instance, gesso comes in different varieties. I'll be using white gesso, but black gesso is also commonly found. OR if you want a different color gesso, you can color it by using Distress Stains, gelato shavings, and any other tinting medium. (but that's for another day).

Gel mediums are usually clear (but can also be tinted) at they come in glossy (shiny) and matte (not shiny). There is also a breakdown in what TYPE of gel medium you use:

Soft gel - doesn't create much texture, smooth clear
Medium gel - thicker texture, can be used as adhesive
Heavy gel - thickest texture, used to adhere objects (like chipboard)


Ok. Now that those bases are covered, here's two techniques you can try. One with gesso, one with gel medium. 

Gesso Technique: Stamping

For this technique, you'll need a paintbrush a stamp that's doesn't have a ton of details, and some wet wipes. 

Start by painting a thin layer of gesso over your stamp. 

Working quickly to keep the gesso from drying on your stamp, press firmly into the paper, making sure not to wiggle the stamp. (please excuse my messy acrylic block - I'm a real crafter). 

IMMEDIATELY after stamping, make certain to go wipe off your stamp. If the gesso dries, it could gum up the details of your stamp and ruin it. 

Gel Medium Technique: Sponging Resist

For this technique you will need gel medium, your favorite stencil, baby wipes, a palette knife, sponges, and inks. 

Start by using a palette knife to scrape a thin layer of gel medium through your stencil. I am using medium weight gel medium. 


After the gel medium is dry, use your favorite inks 
to sponge softly over the stenciled pattern. 

Lastly, use a baby wipe to wipe off excess ink that remains
 on top of the gel medium. 

Ooooo pretty! Stay tuned later to see this pretty background made into a card! But for now, make sure you head on over to Sammy's blog, where she is showing you all about how to color fur onto stamped images of animals! 

Thanks for tuning in! 


  1. Thanks for sharing this post! I have both of these products and just don't use them enough! I really need to dust them off! :)

  2. WOW! This gel medium resist is a technique I will certainly be putting to good use - coolness! That is one great stencil and looks so good in pink. Can't wait to see what you do with this panel. I want to say how much your comment on my SSS DT entry means to me. These encouraging words will keep me smiling and motivated for quite a while! (And even help me with disappointment should it come.) It's so hard to throw yourself out there and risk rejection! In art school you have in house critique from your teachers and fellow students and in this blogging world you have to critique your own work and try to grow and learn from every experience and inspiration. It's hard to accept all the good comments, not knowing if they are always sincere. But I have gotten to know you well enough to know that your words are most heartfelt and true and I really appreciate that about you! You're the best, Becca! <3

  3. Fab tutorial as usual Becca. I have gesso and never know what to do with it.

  4. Consider yourself pinned. No, we aren't going steady but think your graphic was the easiest comparison between these two mediums I've seen. Thanks.

  5. Awesome tutorial!! I never would have thought to use gesso to stamp!! Genius!! Have a great day!! Big hugs :)

    A Mermaid's Crafts

  6. Thanks so much for this clarifing and inspirational tutorial!!
    I have pinned it ;D

  7. Thanks for showing the differences and that you can even stamp with them

  8. Terrific tutorial! Some new ideas to try.

  9. Great info Becca, thanks so much!!

  10. Thanks Becca - some very useful hints and tips here

  11. Thanks for sharing some very useful tips Becca!:)
    Suchi xx

  12. Becca, I can't thank you enough for these tutorials...for a newbie in Mixed Media it is invaluable. ♥

  13. It's really funny [as in weird]. cos even though I use these things frequently, it's BRiLL having someone else go through what they can do & also as a reminder of what I have NOT done with them for a the resist technique. MUST mark that one down!!! Can't wait to see what you do with that bg. I'm presuming we WILL see??!!!

  14. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this informative post, Becca!!! Being someone who hardly knows anything about art products this is really helpful!!!!
    Have a great day!!!!

  15. Fantastic! Great techniques....still waiting to see where they end up......fingers tapping....

  16. great tutorial Becca
    will try with my Gesso
    I bought and never used it haha
    only stay in my drawer
    many thanks for your tutorial Becca