Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tips n Tricks Tuesday # 2 - Using Sponges

Hello! It’s Tuesday again! Last week we talked about the sponges and this week we’re going to talk about how to use them…this will be especially geared toward using sponges to color your backgrounds. Grab a seat cause I’m gonna talk a while!

I did go back and make one correction to last week’s post to say that I didn’t invent the idea of using makeup sponges but that I don’t remember where I saw it first so I was unable to give the proper credit.

OK, the first important thing I learned about sponging is that you must use a good paper. I prefer Stampin’ Up Whisper White because it has a slightly slick surface and allows you to move that ink around a bit. (more on this later).

I always put something underneath the piece I'm sponging, either an old scrap of paper or if I’m sponging across a scene that is in pieces, my old Cricut mat. This prevents me from getting ink all over the place (which will later transfer somewhere I don’t want it to!). Don't forget to wipe that Cricut mat off when you are done.


If I’m going to be sponging two totally different colors on a piece…such as blue sky and green grass…always do the lighter color first. If you do the darker one first and then accidentally touch your light sponge to the darker area, you’ll have a mess. For example, if you do the grass first and touch your blue sky sponge to the green grass, you'll have yellow in your sky. Yuck!

I always start on the outsides of the piece (half on and half off) and move in. I usually like my pieces to be darker around the outside and lighter in the center to draw your attention to the middle. Starting at the outside will allow me to get some gradual shading inwards if I want. It also prevents me from getting a big dark blob in the center if I have too much ink on my sponge. I often will put just a tad of a darker color in the corners of my piece. For example, I’ll use Old Olive for my grass and then just add a bit of Garden Green in the corners like I did here.

If I’m using a mask, like when making my clouds, I always start with the sponge half on the mask and half on my piece.

OK, so I dab dab dab into the ink pad with my sponge. Then I move to my piece and with my sponge kinda half on and half off the cardstock, I dab dab dab onto the cardstock as I move inward on the cardstock. This will leave me with a bunch of “sponge prints”. This is partially because I don’t have enough ink on the cardstock yet. So I dab dab dab into my ink pad with the sponge again. Then I go to the cardstock and this time I swirl swirl swirl. Swirls = little circles as I move across the cardstock. These little circles help me blend the color in. Then I move to the next section.

If you are going to be blending 2 similar colors together such as Baja Breeze and Pacific Point (which are great for sky and water but I did my example upside down! Ha!), first sponge the Baja Breeze into its area and then a bit into the area where you will put the Pacific Point. Next sponge the Pacific Point into its area and into the Baja Breeze a bit. Finally, go over the line where the two colors meet with Baja Breeze again. In the pictures below, I used Georgia Pacific 110 (which is my favorite to color on but not for sponging) on the left and Stampin' Up Whisper White on the right. See how much smoother the WW is! Also, your sponging will smooth up some more when its dry.

If I’m trying to put just a fine line of sponging, like when I’m doing my clouds, I will pinch my sponge a bit so that I don’t get any of those hard edged “sponge prints” on my piece.

Shew, I think I’m done spouting now. This topic would have been great on video but I haven’t had a chance to figure that out yet. If you have any questions, please feel free to post in the comments and I’ll include the answers at the beginning of next Tuesday’s post.

Michelle B.
“Queen of the Scene”


Kim said...

This is so awesome Michelle - I can't wait to try it out, you make it look so easy. I love your work!!!! Kim

Lisa Foster said...

Wonderful tutorial Michelle! I've never dabbed first...that's why I can't ever get enough color, then I overcompensate and get swirls instead of nice blended color! Thank you! I agree about the CS too...needs to be something smoother than GP.