Creating Layered Mixed Media Backgrounds with Tattered Angels

We love to share techniques just as much as we love to share projects. Today Dana shows us how to do a wide range of background papers for your mixed media, scrapbooking, card making and other paper craft and altered art projects.  These backgrounds can be added to, die cut, folded up, layered, the options are endless.  When deciding the blank you will start with consider that wet and water is involved with many of the Tattered Angels products, so a nice quality surface such as book board, cardboard, fluted paper, stretched canvas or stretched burlap is a great choice.  If there paper is too thin you may run into the paper tearing or wrinkling too much (but sometimes that is pretty cool too).  Dana shares with us a number of fun backgrounds in different colors and designs.  Use these as a guide and have fun playing with your Tattered Angels paints to create these amazing bases for your next creative projects.

Blue Canvas close up

Hello, I am Dana Sanchez and I love Tattered Angels.  I know my greeting sounds a little bit like a confession, and it totally is!  Having every color of the Tattered Angels Brand in my collection is actually on my bucket list.  Right after skydiving and right before taking part in a flash mob.

I’m not kidding!!!!!

I love these colorful mists and paints of goodness that come in every blend I could ever need.  Not just Glimmer Mists,  non-glimmer Plain Jane Simply Sheer, Baseboard,  also Chalkboard, Glimmer Glam (a glaze with glitter) and Glimmer Glaze, (a glaze with mica.)  And there is also those delicious High Impact paints.  I especially enjoy using them all together to create multi-layered bac grounds along with a little gesso and heavy bodied acrylic paint.

Over the past two weeks I’ve been working on backgrounds for future paintings.  To be honest, I’m not sure I am going to finish these paintings.  I am really still enjoying looking at the gorgeous backgrounds.  Which is okay with painting.  It’s okay to work on something and then set it aside.  We have permission to create art via inspiration and not command, right?

However, I really wanted to share with you my process.

Layering with Tattered Angels

The Glimmer Mists line are water soluble, which means when you spray and let it dry it will reactivate with another wet color.  This can create marvelous effects, but sometimes it can also “muddy”  your original intention.  By sealing the color, I can create a more controlled effect.

When I use this kind of mixed media layering technique I like to work with more than one canvas.  The process is not difficult, but it does take time.  I’ve discovered it is better not to rush with too much heat drying.  Working on two canvases means that when I have finished one layer and need to set it aside to air dry, I can work on the other canvas.  I chose a prepared canvas that I had on hand and a Canvas Corp Brands Stretched Natural Canvas.

Finished Blue Background

Finished Blue Background

I glued down torn strips of paper with matte medium.  I used the torn strips and a few hand cut shapes that added texture and interest.  Spray Glimmer Mist (your choice of colors) When that was dry, I scraped white gesso over the top using a credit card.

Blue Background 1

Let dry.  Spray Tattered Angels Mists over the gesso.  The mists will grab onto the gesso, spread out and sink in.  There is limited “splatter” effect, if any when I have a gesso background.  When using the Chalk Board Mist and the Glimmer mist note that both have different coverage.  Glimmer mist has a transparent, watercolor feel and the chalk Board Mist is opaque, with full coverage.  The two blend together well, with really great effects.


Acrylic Aerosol Sealer VS Spray Fixative

Take your painting outside and apply spray acrylic sealer or varnish.  Any brand works, but I prefer Krylon because they are known not to yellow with age over time.  I also choose a glossy because I like the glassy effect and how it works with the shimmer in the paints.

Blue back ground 2

On the blue painting I added more texture using gel medium and a fine line applicator.

Air drying and quick heat drying have very different effects with the Tattered Angels paints.  Experiment to see what you like best.  I tend to do both.  Since the paints are sprays and I am using them as sprays, there is not a lot of control over how the paint lands on the canvas.  But for me, that is part of the fun.  This gives the mixed media painting an organic, natural feel to me.

Blue Detail

Using an aerosol spray sealer helps create a fantastic splatter effect.


I have tried using the Tattered Angels Mists with a both a Krylon fixative and a natural fixative.  It just didn’t achieve the effects I was looking for.

The Krylon fixative still allowed for some movement after spraying.  When I used a paintbrush  a wet medium over the top of all my perfectly laid down mists, the color moved.  I haven’t used it since.

SpectraFix, an odor free fixative that can be used right at your art table, misted on wet.  The wet activated the the water soluble mists and there was some movement.  Sometimes there is a perfect splatter effect on a painting that I don’t want change at all,  it’s just that perfect therefore I’m not looking for any movement.

The acrylic based sealer holds faster and better for the overall look I am trying to achieve. I do not ever use a heat tool to speed the sealer.  I’m pretty sure that is dangerous.  But, I have noticed that my paintings dry faster in a warm room than they do in cold room.

However I do encourage experimenting as this is the best way to learn what works best for you.  It’s a matter of preference for me, nothing more.

Glimmer mist layers

Canary Chalkboard mist, Wave and Water Plain Jane Mists are layered under Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Mist and Icicle Glimmer Glaze. I rubbed Steelblue Inka gold onto the raised areas to help them stand out.

 Layer and Dry.  When the Glimmer Mists spray lands on the acrylic sealer it tends to splatter, creating the dots and patterns you are seeing in my photos.  The Chalk Board Mists and Plain Jane Baseboard will pool and leave a more solid matte finish.    One technique is to spray Glimmer Mists, then spray sealer, then spray chalk board mists or baseboard mists which leave a sold pattern followed by more sealer.   When I hold these up to the light, you can see all the layers, all the shine, and patterns.  Each layer must dry in between,  so a painting like this might take days to create, working on it a little here and there.  But I think the results are gorgeous.

Of course you don’t need to take so many days to do this, or as many colors.  You can create these effects on heavy cardstock or chipboard just by creating one or two layers.

Creating a Multilayered Gold background

For the gold painting I started with  acrylic paint, some gray craft paint, and my handy gesso.  I did a few layers of this so that I could have a base of texture and interest.  On this one I used the untreated canvas, and did not cover all of it with gesso.  I was hoping there would be definite edges of canvas and color for this piece.


Layers of gesso, acrylic paint, and Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist create interest .

Layers of gesso, acrylic paint, and Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist create interest .

Gold Background 2


Tattered Angels has a large selection of paints that shimmer and shine.   Once I started layering I just grabbed whatever color I had on hand to begin developing the background. Some of the paints I chose were Glimmer Mist in Bronze,  Gold and Kraft,  Glimmer Glaze in Sangria and Fuzzy Coconut, and High Impact paint in Gold and Rose Gold as well as Glimmer Glam in Espresso Bean and Roses R Red.


Gold detail 1

In this painting the solid patches of color are Glimmer Glaze, Glimmer Glam, and High Impact metallic paints.

Gold Photo 4


When dry, these do not “move” with the water based mists, but I still like to layer in the sealer.  You can create great effects with the tattered angels kits which come with an assortment of these paints and never use a sealer or varnish.  But that’s a different tutorial.

I’m always experimenting.  I’ve tired using a clear gesso as a layer to recreate a nice ground for the mists to grab onto between layers.  After the clear gesso was dry, it gave the painting a dull, coated feel that I didn’t like at all. Clear gesso is a fantastic medium but it doesn’t work for this technique.


Gold layers

When the piece felt too dark, I just went back and layered with more of the lighter golds.  I keep going until I’m satisfied with the whole mood and feel of the piece.

These canvas’s will hang on my wall until I’m ready to add the final bits, but like I said, right now I am really enjoying where they are.  They are relatively easy to create, just take a bit of time.  Don’t you think taking the time to layer all the colors made them so interesting to look at?   Have you ever used acrylic sealer or varnish with your Tattered Angels? Did you like the results?  Do you have any questions about this technique?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments!


Gold Tattered Angels Mixed Media

 Are you inspired yet to create a mixed media background with Canvas Corp and Tattered Angels? I know we are ready to bust out the inks, the paints, the canvas and create a series of backgrounds to leave as is, or layer with papers, paste and more inks.

Thank you Dana for inspiring us to play with canvas and inks in a whole new way! You can visit Dana on her Periscope Channel and Blog.

Happy Creating!





Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

'Creating Layered Mixed Media Backgrounds with Tattered Angels' have 3 comments

  1. March 23, 2016 @ 10:28 am barb macaskill

    Stunning is not a big enough word to describe my feelings on this!! I absolutely LOVELOVELOVE it!! TFS!


  2. March 23, 2016 @ 11:35 am Carla Hundley

    Beautiful work and
    lovely to look at.
    Carla from Utah


  3. March 23, 2016 @ 3:31 pm mandy Leever

    Wow Dana, very interesting techniques with amazingly gorgeous results! Who knew glimmermists and so on were this versatile?
    Thank you for sharing !


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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.