Blended Paper Backgrounds

Greetings and salutations! Scraps, here, with a fantastic technique two-fer from Alchemist Jo!


Jo: One of my favorite backgrounds is a blended paper background.  I learned the basic technique from Mary Green when I took her online classes–“Your Vintage Gluebook” and “Collage Coterie”–and have further developed it to suit my style.  I’ve prepared two 4″x6″ postcards to show two variations on the theme.

Firstly, I covered both postcards with pieces of book pages, torn and randomly stuck to the postcards with a gluestick.


Map pages are good, and handwritten letters, receipts, and postage stamps add interest, too. Gauche Alchemy has fab packs of  foreign text paper which would be perfect for a project like this!

For the White Gesso Background

Over the basic blended paper background I added a coating of white gesso.  This can be thinner in some places than others and it’s great to allow some of the background paper to show through.  Remove any excess gesso with a paper towel.  While the gesso is still wet, stick on some pieces of masking tape, making sure it’s well adhered by smoothing down with a bone folder or similar tool.


Allow to dry.  No, don’t just count to 30 and then carry on–walk away and go to bed.  It’s best to leave it overnight otherwise when you try and remove the tape it’ll take all the collaged paper with it, which is NOT the effect I think you’ll want!  So, once totally dry, peel off the masking tape which will remove some of the gesso and, hopefully, the top layer of some the paper.  Don’t be too gentle when removing the masking tape, think of it as taking a plaster off a cut knee! [Scraps: That’s a band-aid to those of us in the States 😉 ]


Mmmm, this looks so scrummy, I love it!  I then roughly smeared Distress Inks round the edges (Dusty Concord and Peeled Paint).  Where the gesso has been removed by the masking tape, the Distress Ink will be a much stronger colour.

Using your normal everyday inkjet printer print out your chosen image.  I often use The Graphics Fairy, who has a wonderful selection of images which are free to use.  For this postcard I chose a wonderful moth image.  Remember to flip the image because when it is transferred it will be a mirror image.  Especially remember this if there is writing or numbers on the image that you want to be the right way round.  Allow the ink on the copy to totally dry, not overnight this time but I would allow about half an hour.  Cut out the image and, using a paint brush, coat the IMAGE SIDE of the paper with matte Mod Podge (or similar).  Stick this face down onto your background, making sure there are no air bubbles and, if possible, brayer firmly to totally stick it.  Try and avoid getting the Mod Podge on the back of the paper as this will make it harder to remove later (actually, virtually impossible!).



Now comes the magic bit!  Wet the back of the image with clean water (I use a wet paintbrush).  With your finger, gently rub in a circular action.  The image’s paper backing will start to lift in small rolls of paper.  It’s quite messy, but keep with it, adding more water if it starts to feel a bit dry.  Even though you are being careful, some of the image may lift with the backing paper.  That’s OK!  If you wanted a perfect image you’d have simply stuck down the picture, right?  Leave it a few minutes; if there is a white fuzz on your image, then just wet the image again and rub gently, more backing will be removed.


As you can see I lost a bit of the moth’s wing, but I’m quite happy about that :o)


I used a quote by Sara Teasdale, rubber stamped onto old book paper and edged with Distress Inks.

For the Clear Gesso Background

Taking the basic blended paper background, I brushed on a coat of clear gesso to seal the background and to provide a decent ‘key’ for the image to adhere to.  The background will, this way, show through clearly.  I dragged Distress Inks round the edges (Dusty Concord and Peeled Paint).  Once dry I cut out my chosen printer copied image (again from The Graphics Fairy), brushed a coat of matte Mod Podge onto the image and put the image face down onto the blended paper background.  Ensure good adhesion by firmly brayering it.



Wet the image with clean water and gently rub the image backing.


The background is clearly seen through the image, giving rather a dreamy,vintage and/or ghostly effect.


I drew with a charcoal pencil round the image, smudging it with my finger – this adds some depth (another tip learnt from Mary Green‘s classes).  I also used the charcoal pencil around the edge of the postcard and around the title, taken from an old book.  I used rusty wire to attach the old rusty key to the card.



I usually go for the instant gratification projects, myself, but this techniques shows that the old saying is true: good things come to those who wait!


Image Map

Maggi’s Sewing Box

Hi everyone! Maggi here to show off a project I created using our new kit, Moshi Moshi. One of my favorite parts of this kit are the little sewing bits included, like the vintage sewing pages and the card of thread. I had a small box frame hanging around (got it from a thrift store for 60 cents!) so I decided to grab that and create my own “sewing box”:

Mixed Media Altered Frame

I first created the background using some of the sewing paper and then stamped onto that using the included PVC punchinella and blue and bronze paints. The rest came together when I decided that instead of using some of the thread off the card, I’d just glue the whole thing in there. lol I cut the woman out of another piece of sewing paper, drew lines on her dress and attached her using pop dots for some added depth.

Altered Mixed Media Frame
I thought the thread card looked a little bare so I added the button from the kit and some crystal pins that I had saved from my wedding bouquet. See, hoarding does have its advantages! A little piece of PVC punchinella and the beaded string that comes with the kit and I was finished! A quick and easy project that’s found the perfect home in my craft room. 🙂

Thanks for taking a peek and don’t forget to go glue something awesome onto some awesome something!

Maggi 😀

Image Map

Merdrey Gets the Picture

Hello! It’s Merdrey checking in on the blog…how’s life?

Well..I was trying to scrap this photo a few of us Gauche gals took at CHA…

Gauche Alchemy Gals(Gauche Alchemy DT members: Kas, me and Angela)

…and my printer ran out of did my photo printer.  How lucky is that?! (For the record, we were all pointing at my bag as I gave a picture of it to Kas and Angela to locate me on the showfloor! *hahahaha*)

So anyway, life is not without l decided to go photo-less!

I grabbed some Gauche Alchemy supplies and set down to work with nothing in my mind…just looking to see if anything fits. Sometimes, when we are dying to create but our mojo seems to have taken a holiday, it is good to just grab some supplies and go with the flow. There’s no right or wrong in art anyway. If you don’t like what you see, set it aside and work with it next time. Sometimes I just tear it apart and start over…there’s really nothing wrong with it.

So tadaaa!



I love going through my Gauche kits as you never really know what part of history is hidden in your pack. If you love vintage ephemera and pleasant surprises, maybe you should get a Gauche Alchemy ACME Kit Subscription too =) Till next time!

Hugs, Merdrey

Want to know what else is brewing at Gauche Alchemy?

Brand new! Get our ACME kit delivered to your door every month with our ACME Subscription service!
Go shopping for your own Gauche goodies in our rockin’ Store!
E-mail us anytime:
Join the Gauche party on Facebook!
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Drool over Gauche creations and add your own in our Flickr Group!

Flickr Me This, Batman

Hey everyone, Maggi here with some end of week creative type inspiration brought to you by the letters G and A (as in Gauche Alchemy of course). 😀 I was just checking out all of the eye candy in the GA Flickr group and wanted to share some of these awesome projects with you!


City Idol

Altered Ampersand

Inspiration board in progress

Beach Babe

Pretty Girl

live the questions

Fantastic stuff, right?! There’s so much more eye candy to drool over so head over to the Gauche Alchemy group and check it out! I’d like to thank everyone that posts their work in our Flickr group. We live to see what you create with Gauche Alchemy, makes us feel like we’re a part of what you’re doing and we love it! If you’re not already, I invite you to join our Flickr group and post your own GA creations!

Have a great weekend full of inspiration, creativity and paint fumes!

Now go glue something awesome onto some awesome something! 😀
Want to know what else is brewing at Gauche Alchemy?

Go shopping for your own Gauche goodies in our rockin’ Store!
E-mail us anytime:
Join the Gauche party on Facebook!
Stalk us on Twitter!
Drool over Gauche creations and add your own in our Flickr Group!

Gauche Alchemy Kit Subscriptions are Here!

Happy Monday everyone! Maggi here with an EXCITING announcement!  *happy dance*

Ever think to yourself, “I just cannot get enough Gauche Alchemy! I need more vintage-y craft-y awesome-y ephemera-y supplies and materials….more more MORE! My projects beg for the mixed media goodness that is Gauche. I want it NOW!”

Well hang on to your knee socks Veruca Salt because you demand and we provide! Please to enjoy, for the first time anywhere…*drum roll*…the ACME Mixed Media Paper Craft Kit Subscription!

“But Maggi, is this possible?! You mean there’s a subscription to Gauche Alchemy’s amazing ACME kit?!” That’s right my friend, now YOU have the opportunity to subscribe to our most popular kit. Not just that but our ACME kits will now only be available through subscription. *amazed, awe inspired gasp* You have a choice of a 6 or 12 month subscription, each and every kit you receive will be busting at the seams with rich, creamy Gauche Alchemy perfection. And the best part is, you don’t even have to leave your WIP (Work In Progress) because each kit will be shipped to you automatically!

Just like snowflakes, no two kits and no two months will ever be the same! These pictures are merely representations of what you can expect to receive during your subscription term. Here’s how it works:

Visit the Gauche Alchemy store, choose between the 6 month or 12 month subscription, simply add to your cart and check out. This will pay for your first month. We will then set up a PayPal subscription for the rest of your subscription term. The subsequent charges will appear on the 15th of the month and the kit will be mailed on the next business day. You may cancel at anytime, just notify us before the 10th of the month.

Anddddd all this can be yours for the low low price of only $30.00 a month! PLUS shipping is FREE to the US and Canada! (International customers only pay a flat shipping rate of $8.00!) Who loves you baby? Gauche Alchemy, that’s who! 😀 But wait, there’s more!!!

If you choose the 12 month Subscription, you’ll receive an extra $5.00 worth of Gauche Alchemy product (could be a color kit or random bag of awesomeness) added to your kit every month for FREE!

And did I forget to mention the extra 10% store discount that our subscribers receive? That’s right, for the length of your sub term, you’ll receive a personalized (non transferable) code that entitles you to 10% off anything else in our store that you have shipped with your kit!

So let’s sum up:

1. 6 or 12 month subscription – always ships FREE to the US and Canada (Only $8.00 for all other countries)  -Check
2. 12 month subscribers will always receive an extra $5 worth of GA product in their kits -Check
3. 6 and 12 month subscribers receive an additional 10% store discount for the length of their term -Check
4. Gauche Alchemy is awesome -Check and double check! 😉

So there you have it! This just made your Monday, didn’t it?! 🙂 So head on over to the Gauche Alchemy store and sign up for your 6 month or 12 month ACME Mixed Media Paper Craft Kit subscription today!!!

Now go subscribe and then go glue something awesome onto some awesome something! 😀
Want to know what else is brewing at Gauche Alchemy?

Go shopping for your own Gauche goodies in our rockin’ Store!
E-mail us anytime:
Join the Gauche party on Facebook!
Stalk us on Twitter!
Drool over Gauche creations and add your own in our Flickr Group!

’tis the other season….

garagle sale booty

lara here …

so, last weekend i stumbled into a neighbor’s garage sale just to see what other’s trash i might find treasure in.
i’m actually not a big garage sale fan, but as i’ve gotten more into mixed media i’ve approached them with a whole different mindset.
…as i have trash piles on the side of the street 🙂

i walked into the house and saw the “normal” stuff – bedding, books, side tables … in the corner was a sewing table. Really gorgeous, but i would have no place in my home for it. Being the nosy, erm curious, soul that i am, i opened one of the drawers and low and behold it was FILLED with all different colors and sizes of lace ribbon. This is when the adrenaline kicked in and I opened another draw – full of sewing accouterments like super old needles in cool packaging, discolored tape measures, BUTTONS … as i wiped the drool from my chin i asked the woman if i could buy this stuff separately or if it came with the table and she was more shocked than i was to see that the drawers were full. She said how about $3 and i said “sold!”

OK … so then my interest was really piqued and i started looking around a little more – a bag of old sewing patterns! Now, i’m not one to sew, the thought of threading a sewing machine sounds like torture, but the artwork on the patterns alone were wonderful! Back in time when they sketched the models… I asked how much for this huge bag and she said “hmmm $10?” i said “ok”. Then in the other corner were a pile of books – i got two super old ones – a dictionary where the pages are already starting to crumble and an old novel from the early 1900’s i’m scared to touch the pages. And she threw them in to my bag – $13 and enough ephemera to last a lifetime!

Tis the season for garage sales – what are some amazing things you’ve found that have quickened your pulse and infused your creativity?

Kas’s Altered Bottles

Altered Project from Kas:

I ran into my inspiration from an altered book group. I saw the blog link and she asked us to take a look at something new she tried……so I did. I love altering bottles but these were really cool:

Altered Expressions Bottle 1

Altered Expressions Bottle 2

I have a few bottles sitting around…lying in wait….and there it was…the bottle of whisky. I thought it would be cool to make a “Manly Man” bottle! So I used vintage pictures, cigar labels and of course LOTS of Gauche goodies. I used items from Wholey Sheets, It’s All Gravy Kit Brown Color Kit, Banana Hammock Yellow color kit, Lady Marmelade Orange Kit and some odds and ends out of other kits, and the beloved Punchinella.

I used hot glue and tried some of Martha Stewart’s decoupage glue and sealer. It was the first time I used it, and I really like it.

The Gauche Alchemy Challenge #1

We have SO MANY amazing artists that contribute to the Gauche Alchemy community we would like to issue a challenge to see what you can do! This will be a monthly feature here on the blog and we are so excited to see everyone’s fabulous creations and different takes on the challenges posted!

Challenge #1: Use this brilliantly Gauche ad, courtesy of Vintage Scans to inspire a mixed-media masterpiece!

Link up to here by Midnight EST on Sunday April 26 and we will choose a winner by random who will win the awesome Wholey Sheets kit!
For bonus chances to win if you post about the challenge somewhere else and let us know, your name will be entered in an additional time!
AND an additional bonus – upload your creation to our Flickr group for yet one more entry!

Now, for some inspiration: let’s see what some of your fabulous design team came up with:

Angela used the ad as inspiration to do a layout about her grandmother. Angela says, “Grace Pauline Harris, who we lost in 2007, was a spitfire – never slowed down until the very end. Now that she has passed, I believe that she is my muse, forever looking over my shoulder and inspiring me.

I knew I was going to do this layout the second I saw the Wholey Sheet kit and ACME Mixed Media kit had both a bingo and a Rook card in it – my grandmother’s two favorite games. I created the layout background by gluing wallpaper included in my kit to the corrugated cardboard using Modge Podge. I let it dry overnight, and then sanded it. Man, it created a wicked cool texture!”


Maggi decimated her Wedding Night White Color Kit and her Black Out Color Kit to create this standing billboard. She also played with her Bombshell Stamps to give it that extra kick!


Yvonne used the Pink Parts Color Kit and a spritz of Red Velvet Glimmer Mist to create this adorable “Pink Pls” layout.


Stephanie pulled together bits and pieces from her Pink Parts Color Kit and Winter Slush Blue Kit. That fabulous car (from Bombshell Stamp’s Speed Shop Set) is clear embossed on white cardstock – sprayed with Glimmer Mist – Red Velvet Glimmer Mist and Patina Glimmer Mist finishing it off with acrylic paint smudged around edges….


Erika made this piece using just about the whole Gauche Alchemy Artfire store!
All of the texture is done with Delta Gesso. Then sprayed with an assortment of Glimmer Mist. Inked up with Fired Brick Red Distress Ink and StazOn Jet Black, highlighted stamped image with her Inkssentials White Opaque Pen and then finished off with pieces from her Scarlet Fever Red Color kit and Wedding Night White Color Kit.


Remember – you have until Sunday night to create something all your own and link us up!
We’re so excited to see what y’all come up with!!!!!!!

The Talented and Lovely Lara

Did you know Gauche Alchemy has a Flickr group? We do! It’s a marvelous place to get ideas and inspiration. Lara is a gifted artist I had the immense pleasure of “meeting” though that group. She deftly mixes Gauche Alchemy kits and her own personal style into Art Journals, layouts and cards that defy all the typical gushy adjectives like stunning, jaw-dropping and amazing.

Here’s Lara, in her own words:

Scrapbooking / Mixed Media / Art Journalling – I had an identity crisis trying to figure out where i fit in! And then i decided, why do i need to fit in?!

And at this same time i discovered Gauche Alchemy and a whole boatload of new supplies and ephemera and exciting materials i had never thought to use before… But things that are strangely and comfortably familiar.

This last year has been a CRAZY time of transition and growth and change for me as I somehow thrusted myself into a new life chapter (innocent eyes blinking). Using these creative outlets have pretty much saved my sanity if not my life. And what i love about this medium is I don’t feel the need to be perfect every time – I’m not going into it trying to create a masterpiece … i’m just going into it to create something that hopefully makes me either giggle or hyperventilate.

(This layout seems so old school now, but i still get a giggle out of it.)

My style has changed dramatically this year as I’ve decided not to try to conform to any one medium.

Scrapbooking was waaaay to restrictive – as most of the things i create i don’t necessarily need to stand the test of time – they’re personal and really only need to be around 50 more years (hopefully) and if they do start to decay all the more scrumptious! So, i became less worried about acid-free materials. I also was asked to join the Gutter Girlz design team earlier this year which has pushed me to not only design out of the box but to address topics I may be too fearful to share otherwise.

The one product I can’t create without is acrylic paint now – i used to be sooooo scared to use it! But now I can’t imagine not using it which means at any given time I have three projects going as drying time forces a cycle.

(this was the first layout i EVER did with acrylic paint! I was still trying to fit into the “scrapbooking mold” 😀 )

I also can’t create without some sort of found object – which has saved me TONS of money over the years as i don’t go on spending sprees at scrapbook stores anymore  (just at Gauche Alchemy’s Artfire Store :-p )!

I have a couple of projects I’m particularly proud of…

Earlier this year my BFF graduated nursing school and I know she had always been interested in keeping an art journal but didn’t have time to do it during school. And that all the things she was collecting to put in the journal was stuffed in boxes and drawers – so i decided to make her a “Pre-Art Journal Journal” – something strictly made out of different size envelopes. It was so much fun to make i’ve been wanting to make one for me and perhaps to sell … but then i get sidetracked 🙂

I also was honored to be able to create a birthday card for Bono through the African Well Fund, a charity I’ve been involved with since 2003 – they even wrote a little story about the card:

Lately what I’ve been almost solely working on are art journals.

I really really love this format for many reasons – the size, the history one journal holds, practicing new techniques, holding a complete or near complete journal and seeing all the bits hanging out is one of the most inspiring and exhilarating feelings ever! Some of my favorite art journal pages are:

I don’t know if i have a particular process that i create with because i usually have 3-4 projects going because of paint and adhesive drying. Alot of times I find objects or images that inspire me and i just create around those. Challenge blogs are a huge inspiration for me. More often than not I come up with visions and ideas when i’m not crafting that i try to remember for later to try out. Sometimes it works, sometimes i forget – I’ve always wanted to get into a habit of carrying a notebook with me but i haven’t! Someday….

You can read more about Lara on her  art blog and see more of her work at flickr.

We’re published! Scrap ‘n Art eZine!

Scrap n’ Art eZine decided to run an article about us!

scrapnart julaug cover

This ‘Zine is so freakin’ cool – although it’s an online mag, it is totally slick and glossy, just like a mag you’d pick up (for much more money, btw) at a newstand (who says “newstand” these days?). If you don’t believe me, you can download a free preview and see for yourself.

Subscriptions are only, like, 10 buck for a whole year (6 issues).

They also have a whole bunch of giveaways and shi… I mean, stuff. You know, free digital images, sponsor products…

Remember, if Gauche Alchemy is mentioned in any submissions you might decide to … submit, you’ll get a little goodie bag from us. Win-win.

BTW, I wrote this post long after they decided to publish us. So, my review is not biased. I’m not trying to get anything out of them. That they know of. (Kidding.)