Gesso Resist

by Lydia Fiedler

Use Gesso over magazine pages to create a wonderful resist look.


  • Gesso

  • Foam Brush

  • VersaMark™

  • Clear Embossing Powder

  • Heat Gun

  • Silhouette Stamps

  • Two or three coordinating ink colors

  • Sponges

  • Cardstock

  • Magazine

  • Punch

  • Embellishments


  1. Step 1

    Apply gesso to the magazine page with a foam brush. Pour it directly onto the page and apply with the brush for best results.

    Apply several layers until it is slightly opaque. Allow to dry completely. Do not use heat gun.

  2. The paper will be slightly wrinkled - this is normal.

  3. Step 2

    Stamp a silhouette style image onto the gessoed magazine page with Versamark ink, apply clear embossing powder, and emboss with the heat gun.

  4. Step 3

    Using a sponge, apply the lightest color of ink over the embossed area.

  5. Step 4

    Sponge the second color of ink over the image.

  6. Step 5

    Sponge the darkest ink over the image last.

  7. Step 6

    To intensify the color near the flowers, use a blender pen and the darkest color ink to color directly near each flower and stem.

  8. Step 7

    Finish your card.

Your Turn

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

ooh!! I gotta try this!!! thanks =)
Dawn  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:19 AM
This is gorgeous, Lydia!! What a wonderful tutorial too!! Thank you!!
Rose Ann  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:20 AM
What a fantastic idea and beautiful card. I can hardly wait to try it. My Grandma just gave me a ton of old magazines. Guess how they are going to be used?!

Sarah  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:21 AM
This looks fabulous!!! What does the gesso do, though, and what makes this different than just using clear EP on the page and sponging over the top?
Jane  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:23 AM
Wonderful tutorial, Lydia. I'm off to try it!
faye  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:29 AM
This is so pretty and I'd love to give it a try. What is "gesso?" Is it the same as the white liquid you use to decoupage? I have some of that. I doubt I can find gesso here in Germany, but maybe. Thanks for the tutorial.

shelia  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:34 AM
What is gesso and where do you buy it? Is it the same as modge podge? The card is fantastic can't wait to start making cards with it.
Edwina Fox  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:39 AM
Gesso is medium that is used primarily to prepare a canvas to take paint [acrylic or oil usually]. When used on paper it makes some neat effects that allows inks, paints, etc to adhear in an opaque manner to the paper. It's fun also to paint gesso onto paper in patterns--dots, stars, etc--and then make a wash over the dried patterns.
Gesso is not a glue. It will not react like a glue. PVA and "white liquid you use to decoupage" are glues. That is the primary difference. It will not do the same thing.
leslierahye  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:48 AM
Lydia. What a wonderful way to use gesso to create a artsy background. Wonderful tutorial. Pam barnes
Pam Barnes  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:49 AM
Lovely...just lovely! I want to experiment with's hoping mine turns out so well!
creeklife  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:52 AM
Okay, I found out why to use gesso. It is essentially an artists' primer, a paint-like material (water-based acrylic) that adds body, stiffness, and *tooth* to surfaces so that paint (ink) will stick better. That makes sense on slick mag pages. I read online that it is used a lot for collages and art journal-type stuff. This helped me, hope it helps others too.
Jane  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:56 AM has gesso under the altered headquarters tab.
leslierahye  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:58 AM
Should have refreshed before I posted that -- sorry leslierahye -- your explanation is better!
Jane  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 9:58 AM
Love this look. Will have to pull my gesso out of the closet.
Robin  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:01 AM
Can't wait to try this. The result of terrific.
MelodyGal  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:01 AM
that's ok Jane. No worries.

As a fine artist [oil and watercolor] and a paper artist and a stamp artist I find it quite useful.
as a mommy I use it all the time in paper projects with the kids! :D It's fun stuff!

I recommend all try Lydia's technique--of course I'm partial because she used SUs Upsy Daisy set which i LOVE!
leslierahye  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:04 AM
Love this! And I have a gallon bucket of gesso!
craftyvegan  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:34 AM
Actually i didnt like this one, i ll rather try one of all the cool boxes:)
ninajeanette2  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:40 AM
Sounds like something I would like to do. A question: does the page need to be slick or will any page work? Thanks.
Bev J. (Maxell on SCS)  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:48 AM
About how long will it take the Gesso to dry between each coats and before you apply the stamp? I love this and I MUST try it!!
Diana  |  Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:51 AM

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