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Painted foil backgrounds

Plain old aluminum foil makes a wonderful background for collage, and also can be a nice accent to add to a larger piece, especially when the foil is painted. There are only a couple of tricks to making paint work with foil, and as long as those points are observed, your experiments with these techniques can go on and on and on!

1. Use very thin washes of acrylic paints and build up your layers slowly. However, do not thin your paints with water. It will seem ok at first, but later on the paint will peel off or chip. The painted foil pieces will only stand the test of time if you use an acrylic medium to thin the paints. My preference is Golden’s GAC 100, but I have also used Golden’s glazing medium. I like to make the paint layers very thin so that the metallic sheen of the foil shows through. Otherwise, there’s not much point in using foil as a substrate!

2. Let your layers of paint dry slowly. You can use a heat gun, but keep it well back from the foil. Since the foil will grab and hold the heat, it’s really easy to overheat and boil your paints. That might give you an interesting look if that’s what you’re after, but it also keeps the paint from adhering well to the foil. Do a lot of pieces at one time so that you don’t get bored waiting. I used cheesecloth for extra texture on this one.

3. Start your session by wrapping foil around heavy pieces of cardstock or chipboard. When everything is finished a dry, you can either leave the pieces wrapped, or you can cut them into different shapes and unwrap or re-wrap them. This piece has that plastic grocery bag stuff on it.

4. This piece has a different type of plastic grocery bag stuff on it, and I dry-brushed it with bright gold to really bring out the texture.

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Copyright 2007 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.