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.

I tried the gesso technique...What I found out with the type of gesso I have that it worked better if I just dipped in my foam brush and brushed it on the magazine page. I also added a few more coats and found that the printed page didn't show.
So I just brushed the gesso on with my foam brush a light coat and let it dry. I saw that some print showed up in areas where it was the lightest cause I didn't brush on very heavy. There are a few different gesso brands out there... They might work in different ways... So I would test the gesso out before you go ahead and create your project. This is just my opinion.
Robin  |  Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 10:22 AM
Why do we need to use gesso for this technique?
Jeanette  |  Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM
When I used the Gesso it came out white. Did I get the wrong stuff or do something wrong?
I love this effect & want to try it. Please help!
routerx  |  Mon Mar 2, 2009 at 4:59 AM
I have the same problem as the above poster. I got the exact white gesso you have pictured in the tutorial but when I apply mine and it dries it ends up being almost completely white, even with just a single very very thin coat. What am I doing wrong? I really love the look of this technique too.
Tine  |  Mon Mar 2, 2009 at 8:16 AM
I have to try this on some atc's - thanks- paddy
paddy  |  Mon Mar 2, 2009 at 12:03 PM
Hey Lydia. I was looking on the website and I couldn't believe it was you.

You are such a clever girl.

Hope all is well.
Lisa Protsman  |  Mon Mar 2, 2009 at 9:23 PM
glad somebody questioned the gesso- i have black and white but no clear

cara  |  Tue Mar 3, 2009 at 6:04 PM
BEAUTIFUL, now I need to take the time for myself to do something I really enjoy
fitchy  |  Thu Mar 5, 2009 at 4:56 AM
Thanks for sharing this fantastic tutorial and also the explanation about
gesso. I like the card, beautiful.
jogry  |  Thu Mar 5, 2009 at 4:14 PM
I see that you used White Gesso, and when I used the white - I could see the text on the magazine... will you be able to see this once dried? I was just concerned since you stated to use several coats and with one you couldn't see underneath it. Any advice.. Thanks - Jen
Jennifer  |  Fri Mar 6, 2009 at 2:25 PM
I love this technique. It will be the next thing I try. Thanks so much for sharing your step by step instructions.
bMelton  |  Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 12:06 AM
I love this and went out to get a small bottle of Gesso. For some reason it did not come out the same. I noticed I bought Clear Gesso, is that the problem? Thank you so much for sharing your techniques with us. Take Care and God Bless.
Diana C  |  Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 1:27 AM
Thank you for the tutorial. I learn something new all the time. I'll look for gesso the next time I'm at Michaels.
Mary Ann  |  Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 8:21 AM
what a great idea. I went to a craft show and saw a demonstration using gesso so i brought a tub by the time i had gone around the show and went home with all my goodies i put them all on my table and look at the different things and half of them i had forgotten how to use the products and gesso was one of them thank you i will print this page and have a go cheers Susan
Susan McMillan  |  Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 6:05 AM
I can't wait to try this technique! Thanks for sharing-your work is gorgeous!
Marci  |  Mon Aug 9, 2010 at 7:59 AM
Awesome tutorial...thank you so much. I have never seen this done before, but will certainly be trying it!
Ruby Taylor  |  Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 2:52 PM
I am having a problem with the white gesso. I can hardly see the print through it! Can yo thin it down with water? Please help.
Anny  |  Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 9:16 PM
Hi Anny!

The Bob Ross gesso I used is water based, so you could add water if you needed to - there can be a difference between different brands as far as opacity and thickness of coats.
lydia  |  Sat Nov 13, 2010 at 9:27 PM
Surely this is an emboss resist technique, not gesso resist-the gesso isn't resisting anything, and I can't see why the same effect couldn't be achieved without the use of gesso?
Pam  |  Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 2:27 AM
Thanks so much for sharing this, love the use of magazines, another technique for me to try! Hugs
Jo-Anne Ellement  |  Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 3:35 AM

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