Thursday, February 1, 2007

What is gel medium and how do you use it?

Yvette asks:
I was watching a craft show on TV and they kept mentioning gel medium for different projects. Can you tell me what it is? Is it like glue? paint? decoupage stuff? How do you use it and where would you find it in the craft store?

Gel medium is an acrylic product. It comes in Heavy, Soft, and Regular and has a variety of finishes, Matte, Gloss and Semi-gloss. The basic use for these is to build texture in paintings by mixing them with acrylic paint. If you add a small bit of it to your paint it will also extend the drying time. The Soft gel is the medium that is most often used by paper artists. It can be used as a glue for collage and it is also used to make photocopy transfers. So basically it is a glue, a paint, and decoupage stuff.

How do you use it? You can brush it on to use as a glue, you can dab it on to hold larger objects such as buttons or other 3D embellishments. You can brush it on to seal your work. To make a photocopy transfer (I've also done this for inkjet transfers)- take your picture and brush the acrylic medium on thinly in a vertical direction, let dry for a minute and then brush another layer on in a horizontal direction. Repeat for a total of 6 layers. Let dry overnight. Then take your picture and soak it in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes. Start to rub the paper off - be gentle with it. When done you should have the toner or ink adhering to the medium - it should feel kind of plasticy (is that a word?). Then you can use a thin layer of the acrylic medium as the glue to adhere it to another surface.

Where do you find it? In the fine art or artist paint section of your craft/hobby shop. There are different manufacturers, I prefer Golden's Gel Medium myself. It can be expensive so if you can use a coupon, do so!

Hope this helps!

1 comment:

Sprite said...

Thank you Judi! I have wanted to know that very same thing, i picked some up for painting but wasnt sure how to use it. i had ideas of what i could do with it, but no idea i could do all of this! Excellent :) Thanks for the help.