Monday, July 15, 2019

Make a Mixed Media Butterfly Medallion with Stencils

Hi all, it's Gwen back with my latest Paint & Texture column. This month I'm sharing a tutorial showing how I created lots of layers of texture on this large mixed media canvas - I'm calling it  Butterfly Medallion (for obvious reasons, of course... lol.)

To start, I took my Boho Butterflies stencil and stenciled one of the designs onto rice paper with permanent ink. I used Marabu water soluble crayons to color in the butterfly, then carefully blended the color with a water brush. (Rice paper will tear if you get it too saturated so it's important to make sure that you only use just enough water to smooth out the color.)

Next I took an 18" x 18" canvas that already had a bunch of color in the background and coated it with a layer of molding paste, making sure to let some of the color continue to show through. While that was still wet, I used a skewer to sketch in a few symbols. I love using plus signs in my work - they have a great shape and I love the idea of positivity that they can convey. 

When the molding paste was dry, I used Matisse background paints in Lichen Grey and Caromello and dry brushed them over the background, blending them together but also still leaving some of the previous layers showing through.

When the paint was dry, I traced a large circle onto some fabric from my stash, cut it out, and  collaged it onto my canvas with soft matte gel.

I also went over the entire canvas, including the fabric, with a coat of brown glaze (you can mix any acrylic paint with a gloss or glazing medium to make a glaze. I also add in some Micaceous Iron Oxide and a touch of Gold Interference paint to make a "dirty" glaze.) I let that dry for a minute or so, then wiped it back with a baby wipe, leaving a bit of it here and there - especially down in the nooks and crannies of the designs I sketched into the molding paste. That highlights the texture and gives it extra dimension.

Next I used a large, round bristle brush and dry-brushed a bit of color - I used Sargasso and Pea Coat Fresco Finish paints from PaperArtsy to help bring some different greens across the entire canvas and also highlight the tops of my raised designs.

To add another layer of pattern and a hint of color, I used my new Collage Textures and Patterns - Medieval Cyrillic stencil along with some Mustard Pickle paint (also PaperArtsy.). I really love this stencil for adding interesting and unique marks into my work.

Next, I took a VersaMark re-inker and spread some of the ink around my fabric circle with my finger, then sprinkled some of my Burmese Jade Boho Blends embossing powder on top and melted it with a heat gun.

To bring some pattern into the center of the circle and to start to build up my medallion, I took my Decorative Medallion Repeating Corner stencil and stenciled with molding paste, repeating it four times to create a full circle. (I used a heat gun on low heat to form enough of a skin on the molding paste that I could stencil each new part of the design without having to wait for the previous one to air dry.)

I brought my brown glaze back again, making sure to get into all of the dimensional areas of my molding paste medallion. After waiting about a minute, I used a baby wipe to pull back some of the glaze from the top layer, again leaving it to sit in the nooks and crannies to highlight the depth.

When the glaze was dry I used some Treasure Gold wax and rubbed it across the raised areas of the medallion to highlight it and bring in some shine.

Once all of that was dry, I used matte medium and carefully collaged my stenciled butterfly into the center.

While that was drying, I used my new Collage Textures and Patterns - Leaves stencil and stenciled that onto deli paper with VersaMark ink and then heat embossed those designs with more of my Burmese Jade Boho Blends embossing powder. I did three sets of leaves and carefully cut them out.

I used soft matte gel to collage my leaves around the outside of the circle, then took a strand of gemstone chip beads and glued it over the circle, covering the seam between the fabric and embossing powder. I went along the outside and inside with Pebeo Cerne Relief Paste in gold. This helps to reinforce the adhesion of the beads and also gives it a soldered look, tying in with the gold wax on my medallion.

To add some finishing touches, I pulled my Marabu crayons back out and colored my leaves, blending with a water pen. I also took some Graphite Texture Paste and applied a bit to the inside of my circle and along the edges of the canvas with an offset knife. This helps add more depth, texture, and that hint of grunge that I just love.

To finish, I took my centerpiece - a bead and gemstone butterfly that I'd made previously using some of my Boho Bits semi-precious gemstone embellishments, beads, and other stones, and glued it to the center. This piece was the inspiration for my whole color palette and the stones are a great and unusual way to add lots of extra texture and dimension. (I have another video tutorial showing how I make this type of medallion available on my website.)

Here are a few closeups of the finished piece so you can get a better sense of the layers and texture:

So there you go! Lots of color, stencils, layers, and texture to help create a unique mixed media medallion.

I hope you enjoyed today's project and tutorial - be sure to link me up if you try it at home.

Until next time, happy stenciling!


  1. Gwen, thanks for the great instructions - this project is so beautiful!

    1. Thank you Catherine! So glad that you liked it :)

  2. Since I couldn't be with you today..I checked out your tutorials. Definitely understand them better after taking yesterday s class. Thanks for all your beautiful art and sharing♥


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