Mixed Media Canvas

by Emily Block

Learn how to combine several mediums and create a mixed media canvas.


  • Stamps, Stamping Bella Eclectic #8 BACKGROUND stamp and JAVA SPILLS stamp were used here
  • Staz-On Black
  • Birch wood panel, 6" x 8" size used here
  • Brayer
  • Baby wipes
  • Liquitex gesso
  • Golden soft gel medium gloss used here
  • Paintbrushes
  • Acrylic paint, Golden Acrylic Paint: titanium white, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Blue, Hansa Yellow Light, black used here
  • Patterned paper scraps
  • Bucket of water for brushes
  • Spray ink, Dylusions used here
  • Doily/stencil
  • Wax crayons or graphite soft pencil anything to make a mark on the board
  • Palette or wax paper to mix colors
  • Sanding block


  1. Step 1

    There are always loose grainy pieces on the raw wood panel. Make sure to sand the cradle well to make sure it is nice and smooth.

  2. Step 2

    Brush white gesso smoothly all over the board and sides. Let dry completely.

    Gesso is used to “prime” the board and give it a coating to accept paints beautifully.

  3. Sand after it is dry.

  4. Step 3

    Apply Golden soft gel medium on the board and the to the back of your scrap patterned paper.

  5. Step 4

    Place paper on the board firmly and then, using a credit card or scraper, start from the middle of the paper and scrape towards the sides of the board to take out air bubbles and make sure collage stays flat. Apply gel medium on top as well to coat.

  6. Step 5

    Repeat these steps until all papers are applied to the board and covered with gel medium. Allow to dry. You can use a heat tool or allow to dry naturally.

  7. Step 6

    Once dry, apply a dollop of titanium white paint directly on the board. Take brayer and roll the white paint around the board covering some areas, leaving other areas more visible.

  8. Step 7

    If you have covered spots you like on your board, simply take a baby wipe and “clean” away the paint from those spots… always have a wipe around as it comes in very handy!

  9. Step 8

    Add texture and color by using spray ink and masks. Here an old doily and Dylusion Inks were used.

  10. Step 9

    Dab ink dry with paper towels.


    Dylusions are water based so they may smear with layers above but that makes things more interesting!

  11. Step 10

    Ink up your stamps with black StazOn ink and stamp around the board.

  12. Step 11

    Cover lightly with some titanium white paint.

  13. Step 12

    Take 3 primary colors and start to mix the colors you want (here green, blue and yellow and white).. and paint away… make marks.. scrub.. doodle

  14. Step 12

    Using your paints, start to mix the colors you want (here green, blue and yellow and white).. and paint away… make marks.. scrub.. doodle

  15. Step 13

    Always remember that every layer should be dry before you begin the next layer.. if not, you risk making MUD.. so use a heat tool or let dry naturally

  16. Step 14

    Use graphite pencil and/or wax crayons and just start to scribble and doodle.. ALL OVER THE BOARD.. doodled houses, flowers, stripes.

  17. Step 15

    Paint some Titanium white and wipe away some parts to “calm things down”.

  18. Step 16

    Keep adding doodles and build your story. Here wax crayons (which are permanent) were used to add more marks around the board.

  19. Step 17

    To seal your piece, use a UV spray or varnish.

Your Turn

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

Nice work Emily
Lucy  |  Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 4:11 AM
I've always wondered how these were done. Great tutorial. A must try!
Michele Cederqusit  |  Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 4:19 AM
Messy but fun - one day I'll get around to trying this out - probably on one of my messy sandwich days! Great idea. Thanks.
Bridget Keenor  |  Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 5:44 AM
Thanks for the great tutorial. I am lovin' the mixed media style and can't wait to give this one a try. :0)
Mutnik  |  Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 7:45 AM
I just wanted to clarify a miswording - when talking about paint, primary colors are red, blue, and yellow; secondary colors are orange, green, and purple. If you mix the three primary colors you will likely get a muddy brown color (depending on the medium). There are lots of articles about color theory on the web - you may start here if interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_colors
Mary Prasad  |  Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 8:03 AM
I just did 3 Mixed Media Halloween projects on artist canvas. I uploaded them but could not find the Mixed Media Gallery.
Sharon Maranich  |  Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM
This looks like a really fun project! I have so many things that I could add to this mixed media painting that I know I'll enjoy it.
Sally Downes  |  Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 2:43 PM
I just love this.
I must try it as soon as possible.
hanne danielsen  |  Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 4:54 AM
I have tried & tried & tried to do this sort of art work. But it is impossible for me to cover up the base layer of very nice designer papers! I also have a big problem with making doodles...I can't seem to do it.

Maybe with your example and tutorial and the other images in the gallery, I might try to do this. Thanks for making this great tutorial - I love the complete list of your supplies.
Sandra Lewis  |  Sun Sep 1, 2013 at 3:44 PM
Love the tutorial! I have been trying to find wax crayons like these and have not been successful. Please, what is the name of these crayons and where did you purchase them? Thanks so much for the help!
C Valha  |  Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 11:28 PM

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