Colorless Blender Bleaching

by Colleen Schaan

Create a bleached look with Copic markers and Blending solution.


  • Copic airbrush system
  • Copic markers (Sketch or Original) any colors
  • Glossy white paper
  • Solid image stamp (Gina K. Designs Comfort & Peace used here)
  • Colorless Blender Solution in spray bottle
  • Paper towel


  1. Step 1

    Begin by airbrushing the lightest color onto the glossy paper. You do not need to have smooth coverage; splotchy is good.

  2. Step 2

    Airbrush a second, darker color over the first, leaving some of the lighter color showing through.

  3. Step 3

    Add a third (darker) color to the background.

    Here three colors from the same family were used. Feel free to use as many colors and whichever ones you want.

  4. Step 4

    Spritz the colorless blender solution onto the bold image stamp.

    Do not soak... just a light layer is preferred.

  5. Step 5

    Press the stamp firmly onto the airbrushed surface and hold for a few seconds.

  6. Step 6

    Lift stamp to reveal "bleached" image.

    If you would like multiple images, clean off the stamp between each "bleaching" by spritzing it with blender solution and rubbing off the ink onto a paper towel.

  7. Step 7

    Finish your card.



  1. Soft and Fuzzy
    Try the technique on regular matte cardstock. Follow the same steps. The image will be soft and fuzzy versus the crisp edges you get with glossy.

    A little different
    For an interesting look, don't clean off the stamp, spritz with colorless blender and stamp on a different colored background. This will remove the colored background and mix the ink with the color that was already on the stamp. Here I used a bamboo image that I first did the colorless blender bleaching on a background with browns and yellows and without cleaning it off, spritzed with colorless blender and stamped on an orange background. The browns were left in the "bleached out" spaces.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Colorless Blender Bleaching. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

This is beautiful! Is their a recipe for the colorless blender solution?
Sandy  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 7:36 AM
is there a way to get the same effect without the airbrush?
Nursemarcia  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 8:01 AM
Very interesting, and not something I would have thought of on my own. Can't wait to try it.
Paper Crazy Lady  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 8:50 AM
I'm wondering if the same effect can be achieved using reinkers (Stampin' Up!) and alcohol in a spray bottle?
Laura  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 9:22 AM
you can purchase the Blending solution at most stores that sell the Copic Markers.

Getting an even coverage on glossy paper would be hard without the airbrush. You could try coloring matte cardstock and see if that will work. I am not sure though.

Stampin' Up! Reinkers are dye based. Copic Marker are alcohol based. What you are suggesting won't work. For a similar with dye inks, try our Embossing Resist or Colorwash Faux Bleach tutorials.
beate  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 9:40 AM
Thanks for a great tutorial Colleen! You may have convinced me to get my compressor out of the box and go figure out how to use it! smile
lydia  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 9:50 AM
I love that I am seeing Colleen everywhere!!! Can't wait for her book in June. I have had the pleasure of taking a few classes with Colleen and everything she does is fantastic!!
Debbie Gomes  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 9:52 AM
nursemarcia, you can use the wide marker to lay down color onto glossy paper, but keep in mind that it will be streaky where you overlap the strokes. (Which could be a cool effect actually.) You could also take the various ink refills and put a puddle of them onto a craft sheet (maybe even mixing two or three colors) and then either brayer the ink onto your cardstock - quickly or lay your cardstock into the puddle and pick up the ink that way ( you might have to repeat this step a few times for full coverage) There are lots of different variations you can try.

Laura, remember that you don't want to use regular rubbing alcohol or other alcohol solutions in a spray bottle and make them airborn. Copic Colorless Blender is non-toxic and doesn't have binders so it is okay to make airborn.
Colleen  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 10:23 AM
Thanks for the tutorial. I really enjoyed it and will try it for sure.
I also went on and looked at some of the other UTUBE videos on airbrushing...oh my gosh! I saw one that they did with the character on Avatar. I am humbled at the artistry! A-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!
Karen  |  Wed Mar 9, 2011 at 1:28 PM
Hi Colleen,
What a cool technique! Is there a way to do it without using an airbrush?
Regina  |  Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 1:41 AM
What a wonderful idea. thank you so much, I can hardly wait to try this. Do you think you coooould use glimmer mist if you didn't have an air brush? Maybe it would get too wet.
bonnie Weakley  |  Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 1:15 PM
Bonnie - thanks for the sweet comment!

As for using Glimmer Mist... I'm not sure... I think Glimmer Mist is water based and not a solvent, so I'm not sure that the colorless blender would bleach out the color.

Something you might be able to do though is make your own "color mist" by putting some re-inker into a spritz bottle (add some colorless blender if you want it lighter) and then spray that on the glossy cardstock. (You could even add some Perfect Pearls or Pearl Ex to get the shimmer.) Since it would be a solvent based ink... the colorless blender would react with it and pull the color out.
Colleen  |  Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 1:24 PM
This is too cool... one problem though... now I've got to get me one of those airbrush tools! Oh no... there goes the Copic budget!
Carolyn V  |  Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:47 PM
I think it would also work with Rangers Alcohol inks. But wouldnt the bender solution harm your rubber stamps?
Marrigje Barnard  |  Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 2:37 AM
Marrigje, as long as you don't make Ranger airborne, they would work too. Maybe pounce the inks onto the paper and then put the blender solution onto a felt pad and "stamp" your image onto it to pick up the ink. You just need to be careful and make sure the alcohol ink and/or solution you use isn't toxic or have binders in it (or you don't want to make it airbrorne and breath it in.) Just be creative in the way you apply it! LOL

And as long as you clean and condition your rubber stamps, it isn't harmful for them. (If you don't clean them, the alcohol solution may dry them out a bit more quickly... so just be sure to clean them well.) GREAT question!
Colleen  |  Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 6:35 AM
Thanks for you answer. I will try it out tonight, and post! my results (if any) it would be the very first time I post something on splitcoast stampers, so it will an event in itself :-D
I like the look of this a lot. so trying it out will be fun in itself.
Marrigje  |  Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 7:03 AM
Great tutorial! I have the airbrush and haven't used it. I think I could do this and not make a 'mistake' with the coloring! smile Thank you.
Kelley  |  Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 2:03 PM
That technique looks very cool. I think I will definitely try it. smile
jenniflower  |  Sat Apr 9, 2011 at 2:41 PM
Just love this - cannot wait to try it
Kerry Scholz  |  Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 1:40 AM
Thanks for the tutorial- I love the soft look of the BG and the fun bleached flowers- cannot wait to try this!
Shelly Schmidt  |  Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 9:57 AM

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