Faux Fresco

by Lydia Fiedler

In this tutorial, featuring a technique from Dirty Dozen alumna Mel McCarthy, you will learn to create a beautiful faux fresco finish with paint and two kinds of embossing.


  • Embossing folder (Stampin' Up!® Fluttering used here)

  • Watercolor paper or mixed media paper

  • Coloring medium, waterproof (Derwent Inktense pencils used here)

  • White or ecru acrylic paint

  • Embossing ink

  • Clear embossing powder

  • Fine grit sanding block


  1. Step 1

    Emboss a piece of watercolor paper or mixed media paper with an embossing folder.

  2. Step 2

    Color the embossed paper with a waterproof coloring medium - don't try to be precise - just apply color randomly to the paper. Color in the unembossed area is fine - it will be covered up by the paint.

  3. Step 3

    Apply white acrylic paint to the colored and embossed paper with a credit card or a piece of cardboard. Be generous with the paint - you want a lot in the unembossed areas, and just use edge of credit card to smooth. Allow to air dry - the heat gun can bubble acrylic paint.

  4. Step 4

    Using a fine grit sanding block, lightly sand the raised portion of the paper to reveal the color beneath the paint.

  5. Step 5

    Be sure and remove all the paint dust with a soft brush or cloth.

  6. Step 6

    Apply clear embossing ink to all the raised areas of the fresco panel.

  7. Step 7

    Cover embossing ink with clear embossing powder.

  8. Step 8

    Heat emboss the panel, being careful not to overheat the paint, which will cause it to bubble.

    For best results, move the heat tool around and don't put the tool too close to the paper.

  9. Step 9

    The finished panel will be shiny and have the look of plaster.

  10. Step 10

    Use the faux fresco panel on a finished card.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Faux Fresco. 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.

Gorgeous... I'm going to try this!
lori  |  Tue Jan 12, 2016 at 7:16 PM
I'm excited to try this. I'm sure I won't get finished as quickly as I usually do because of the need to let it dry, so I guess I'd better get started! I've never heard of fresco.
muscrat  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 6:56 AM
Forgot to ask, will prisma pencils work? These are the prismas that I use gamsol with when coloring.
muscrat  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 6:58 AM
Fun technique thanks for sharing!
Julie Heyer  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 7:08 AM
Wow! This is a new one for me. Thanks so much! Lord knows, I have a bunch of embossing folders sitting unused!
Thanks so much.
Elaine Lawson  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 7:09 AM
Kathy I would think so since they are wax based and should resist water - Lori and I were wondering that too - give it a try and let us know!
lydia  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 9:23 AM
Prismacolors should stay put - you'd just need to be careful about your pressure so you don't smoosh your embossing.
dina  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 9:37 AM
I started to try prismas but couldn't get much color. I ended up using watercolor pencils and it still worked out ok!
muscrat  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 10:24 AM
Think I will try this! Almost done with V-Day cards.....
Kathy Burgess  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 11:28 AM
This looks like a great technique and I will certainly be giving it a go. In the written instructions above I think that step 6 and 7 may be the wrong way around and need to be swapped, otherwise it is a great set of instructions.
Taninaus  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 1:50 PM
Oopsie! Fixed. Thank you for letting us know.
dina  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 1:59 PM
What a great technique - thank you. I do have a question about the global pencil holder. I've been looking for one but haven't found one that is flat. Any suggestions on where to find one? Thanks for a colorful wednesday. Robin
Robin Carpenter  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 4:50 PM
Thanks Dina - looks great
Taninaus  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 6:56 PM
Hey Robin! What do you mean flat? This is the one I use: amzn.to/1PYQy9B
lydia  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 7:00 PM
great video Lydia! Thanks for sharing this...
Susanne Gleason  |  Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 11:18 PM
I love this! It is so beautiful, I am going to give it a try!!!
jennifer K  |  Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 12:09 AM
I don't own these pencils. Will Prismacolor wax pencils work? What else? Maybe I have it...
kReN  |  Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 7:01 AM
Oh my goodness - making a "list" 'cause this is gorgeous and looks like so much fun.
Thanks Lydia
Kia  |  Mon Jan 18, 2016 at 8:41 AM
Thank you for sharing this beautiful technique. I'm a beginner and am looking forward to making this card.
minzy  |  Sat Feb 13, 2016 at 5:18 PM
Would chalks work do you think? Or pan pastels?
Dawn Brenner  |  Sun Feb 14, 2016 at 5:23 PM

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

You need to be logged in to comment


Splitcoaststampers's privacy policy