Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Night Fab Five: Mixed Media for N00bs

Hi everyone!

This week's Friday Night Fab Five is off the cuff and completely rushed but I was really excited to answer this question! lol I got this wonderful comment from yaya snaps on my light bulb art journal post:

"Love what you're doing...and want to try it...but I don't have all the stuff you use. Is there a beginner book or info. somewhere that tells what basic equipment is needed to create this kind of art?"

Whoa whoa want me to talk about mixed media?!?! Um, please and thank you!

Okay, no way is this post exhaustive on the topic and if you like, I'm more than happy to delve further so keep leaving comments or email me! So keeping in mind that I'm barely scraping the surface here, I'm going to share 5 tools for N00bs, newbies, and mixed media know-nots that are super easy to get a hold of and, for the most part, are either cheap already or can be cheap with craft store coupons. lol

**I'm going to assume that everyone knows what mixed media is, long story short, if you take two or more things that aren't the same thing and create something with it, you're making mixed media thingies. (Thingies is a techincal artist term...patent pending.)**

So first, let me say...ANYONE, yes ANYONE can create with mixed media. There are NO RULES. You do not have to use expensive supplies, you do not need the "latest thing" and you don't have to go into a craft store if you don't want to. Granted, there are some super awesome happy fun toys in craft stores but if what you're wanting to do is give this a try without too much investment up front, let's just cover the basics.

**Disclaimer: I know there is a TON of stuff out there but these are just the simple essentials that I hope will be easy for anyone to find!**

1. Things!

So first you need something to use as your base for turning into something else. Anything is fair game for you to alter with mixed media: envelopes, playing cards, old books, notebooks, boxes (regular boxes, gift boxes, cereal boxes), cardboard, $1 kids paper canvases (my personal favorite), candy tins...ANYTHING you want to alter, nab it and grab it!

2. Stuff!

Now we need stuff to add to the things. This is where you'll save money in SPADES. Bubble wrap, newspaper, more cardboard, pictures, magazines, junk mail, catalogs, menus. All of these things can be used to add layers, texture and/or interest to your project. Stuff you would normally throw away or recycle, upcycle it instead, rip it up and glue it down on something! Speaking of which....

3. Sticky Stuff!

We need something to keep all the stuff on the thing so get some glue! Regular old white glue is fine, tacky glue is great, glue sticks are perfect for tacking something down before committing. Hot glue guns are good too for some projects, the glue itself can even add dimension to your projects! My personal favorite is matte Mod Podge, you can use it as a glue as well as a sealant. You can get fancier with gel mediums, beeswax and a tons of other fun things but for those starting out, just grab some Mod Podge. Target recently had little bottles of it in their dollar bins for yep, $1.

4. Brushes!

You can get fancy paint brushes but for those on a budget, go get some sponge brushes. You can find them just about anywhere and they are C-H-E-A-P.

5. Color!

I'm currently in love with spray inks and you can find these for less if you use a craft store coupon. But barring that, and to make this as easy as possible for first timers, get some acrylic paints. You can mix with water to make them thinner, you can use them in conjunction with white glue for different effects. Crayons, watercolor pencils and paints, chalks, colored pencils, pens, markers, the list goes on and on and a lot on the list is cheap.

BONUS: More Stuff!

A lot of the fun of mixed media is using things to add texture, dimension, and fun stuff to other things. Paint on a toilet paper tube makes circles. Wine corks make smaller circles. Bubble wrap makes a lot of circles. Glue down lace trim or dab it with paint and use it as a stencil. Use masking tape as part of your design or to cover up something so you can add color somewhere else. Busted up jewelry can be glued down. Wipes can wipe off boo-boos as well as color something without covering it up. Cut out words and lines from magazines or torn up books and ta da, instant quote/statement maker. Scissors...well, they just cut stuff but still important!

The point is, everything is fair game, anything can be glued down to something else and it's ALL fun. In fact, if it's not fun, don't do it. Seriously, creating things should, at the end of the day, be fun for you. The more you do it, the better you'll get. This post just covers basic tools but search for tutorials, techniques and just start doing stuff! I find mixed media to be A BLAST and I hope you'll give it a try!


  1. Things and Stuff are the BEST!!!!!!!! I am working on a candy box (like HUGE candy box!!) that a coworker gave me after Christmas!! Bring on the map paper!!!! *wink* :)

  2. I just broke down and finally purchased some gel medium this week, having stuck to decoupage pastes in the past. Oh, man, the difference in workability is so much more than I thought it would be! (And thank goodness for HL coupons!)

  3. Hi Maggie, thank you for the link and all the all I have to do is get going!