mixed media painting

Mixed Media Art – Tutorial on How to do Mixed Media Art

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Mixed media art, also called mixed media collage art, is the combination of different painting techniques – often collages are created from this. Here you can express your creativity to your heart’s content. How to learn the mixed media technique, which design possibilities there are, and which materials you need, are all available in this article.



What is Mixed Media?

Mixed media art is when a couple of different mediums are used on your canvas or surface to create a single artwork. Mixed media painting is a creative approach to making art that allows you to use different textures, objects, paints, and art techniques. This style of art often involves the use of collage, combined with different paints and textures to create a more layered painting.



History of Mixed Media Painting Techniques

The combination of different painting techniques and painting materials has existed for several centuries. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, experimented with different paints on different backgrounds in the 15th century. Nowadays, mixed media is increasingly understood to mean the creation of collages, i.e. a drawing or a painted picture, which can be embellished with other materials such as stamps, newspaper cuttings, pictures, and other materials.

mixed media art



Consider the Interaction of the Painting Media

This technique works with different layers. Therefore, you should always consider what to use as a base, and which is a final top layer. You should also know the different painting media used. For example, certain media such as oil paints cannot be mixed with acrylic paints wet on wet. Also, most other paints do not stick to oil paint. Furthermore, oil paint dries very slowly and should therefore be applied at the very end. Otherwise, you can mix most other painting media, such as ink and pastel chalks, to achieve exciting effects.

The different colors often also have different lightfastness. It is therefore worthwhile to apply a fixative or a final varnish at the end to ensure that the painted color retains its radiance for a long time.



How to Do Mixed Media Art

The nice thing about the mixed media technique is that you only need a few materials, most of which you will already have at home. You can use stamps, but also photos, fabric, newspaper cuttings, book pages, etc.


The Basis: Painting Surface

You will need to choose your painting surface depending on the paints that you will use. You should either use a thick watercolor paper that can easily absorb moisture or a cotton background in the form of a canvas. There are also special mixed media books, which have thick paper and offer a lot of room for creativity.


Preparing Painting Surface

To make your paint sticks, you should prime your painting surface with gesso. You can also apply gesso partially thicker or mix it with some sand – this will give you an exciting base structure. Alternatively, you can also use special structure pastes.


Next Step: The Paint

Now it’s time to get started – use acrylic paints, chalk pastels, watercolors, or whatever you have at hand. This is also the right time to glue on fabric or paper. This works best with a transparent gel medium.

mixed media collage


Structure and Stamping

Now it is time to use your mixed media stamps. There are millions of possibilities – from designs to patterns, you can use everything. Make sure the ink pads are waterproof so they don’t disappear later on. You can also use different approaches to the colors – from dark accents to fine color gradients.


Final Touch: Adding Glitter and Details

You can embellish with a transparent gel medium, which you apply thinly with glitter powder, or you can use decorative foils to do the final touch. Glitter paste also offers many creative possibilities. If you want to use oil paints, this is the best time to do so, because oil paints need a very long drying time.

After the drying time, you can protect your mixed media artwork from UV light and mechanical influences with a final varnish. Now you have created your first artwork with these mixed media techniques – not that difficult, is it?



Materials Needed For Mixed Media Techniques

Basically, you can use any materials you already have at home. But for the really exciting details, it is worthwhile to purchase one or the other material which was developed for use in mixed media and scrapbooking.

how to do mixed media art


Starter Set For Mixed Media Collage Art

You don’t want to search for every single product with a lot of effort? Then you are ideally served with a starter set. Mixed media art starter kits are available – supplying you with everything you need to create your first artwork.

DALER ROWNEY Simply Mixed Media Wood Box Set
  • A complete 31 piece mixed media art set
  • Perfect for use by all levels of artists
  • The set includes a range of different materials packed into a neat box
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Different Paints

Basically, you can use any paint and color scheme. In mixed media art, you can really just let your creativity and imagination run wild.

RANGER Distressed Mixed Media Spray Kit
  • A full 18 piece spray stains kit
  • Includes a guide on the different techniques for mixed media art
  • Includes 3 mini distress water-based spray stains
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Painting Surfaces

There is a wide range of suitable painting surfaces, with special mixed media books and canvases being the most common surfaces.

CANSON XL Series Mix Paper Pad
  • A 7" by 10" side wire heavyweight paper pad
  • Fine texture and heavy sizing, 60 sheets
  • Suitable for wet and dry mixed media art
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Decorative Stickers and Films

Decorative films offer an incredible variety of possibilities. You can either print your own foils or draw your own designs with a transfer pen, which you can then stick on with foil. Metallic foil in particular offers an exciting contrast.

AMERICAN CRAFTS Minc Starter Kit Gold Foil 15 Pieces
  • A 15 piece gold foil minc starter kit
  • Comes with clear toner spray and clear toner paint
  • Includes foam sponges, a stencil, and shapes in various mediums
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Mixed Media Stamps

With different stamp designs and an ink pad, you can add exciting accents and details to your pictures.

RAYHER Multi-Surface Ink Pad for Stamping
  • Ink pads for stamping available in 8 different colors
  • Ideal for use on a wide range of different surfaces
  • Permanent, non-toxic and fast-drying ink
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Templates / Stencils

The alternative or supplement to stamps are stencils. You can also use these again and again and with different painting materials.

ALEKS MELNYK 36 Piece Plastic Stencil Set
  • A diverse 36 piece stencil set
  • Includes lettering numbers, and various designs and graphics
  • Ideal for scrapbooking, mixed media art, or making decorations
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Mixed Media Learning Books and eBooks

Want to get started with this exciting painting technique? This is great if you are a beginner and want to learn mixed media art ideas and basic techniques. It also works if you already have experience with other painting techniques and want to deepen your knowledge. Following a book or ebook guide can help you to gain plenty of valuable knowledge.

  • A step by step guide on watercolor and mixed media techniques
  • By popular artist and author Ana Victoria Calderon
  • Learn about how to use various mediums and painting techniques
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Mixed Media Art Ideas

Looking for inspiration and ideas for your next projects? Mixed media art books are available that offer step by step guides on creating your next project. Take a look at this book below for some ideas and inspiration.

MIXED MEDIA MAGIC: Mixed Media Art Techniques and Inspiring Projects
  • Artist Karen Campbell shares her vast knowledge and passion for mixed media art
  • Includes ten in-depth step by step creative projects
  • An informative guide book suitable for beginners and experienced artists
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Mixed media collage art opens up a whole new world of creative opportunity. This is an exciting technique for anyone wantiong to experiment with different mediums and create truly original artworks. We hope that this guide inspires you to start creating your own mixed media artwork!


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