Taming the Idea of Using Mixed Media, Part 1: Basic Tools

Taming the Idea of Using Mixed Media – Part 1:  Basic Tools

(* This series of tutorials is aimed for beginners, but of course advanced mixed media artists are very welcomed to peek how I use these materials, too. *)
Before going further into the world of mixed media, there are few basic tools that are, if not necessarily vital, then handy and convenient for crafting within the world of mixed media.

(Scissors are an obvious one, and sharp, good scissors are a treasure, but I won’t be giving them much attention here, you probably have a pair at your home anyway.)

Baby Wipes

I always have a pack of baby wipes at hand while crafting. Not only they are handy when cleaning your hands, but they are a perfect blending tool, too!
There are just a few examples of using baby wipes, you’ll soon find more ways yourself: 
       Cleaning your hands when you have clued not only papers but half of yourself, too.
       Cleaning your desk/working surface
       Cleaning your tools like stencils, stamps…
       Correcting your mistakes in the actual project (like wiping off gesso, paint or ink)
       Using baby wipes as a blending tool

Because the baby wipes are moist, they don’t absorb all the paint/ink/medium you are touching with it like kitchen paper would do, but only a part of it. So, I actually use baby wipes as a blending tool, adding plenty of paint or gesso to the surface (art journal page), and then using the wipes as a brush and a blending tool, wipe the paint on and off the surface. 

Reusable baking sheet

You want to protect your happy desk a bit when using mixed media. There are lots of gorgeous tools for it, but you can work wonders with a reusable baking sheet, too. It’s sturdy, it’s light, easy to move and roll aside when you don’t need it, and it’s also easy to wipe clean or simply wash in the sink!

In case you know you are totally needing a proper working surface, then I’d remcommend this one, bt even with this I often use a reusable baking sheet if I am doing something messy, like painting or adding gesso.

 Brushes and palette knives

 …are something you might find quite important if you have a bottle of paint in your hands… You don’t need a massive amount of them, but maybe one or two basic palette knives (plastic ones are cheap and easy to keep clean), and a couple of different kind of brushes are a good start. Then, after noticing which sizes and shapes are your favourites or which you are constantly missing when crafting, you can add those to your tool box. 

I like using these two brush sets, Finnabair Brush Set and Ranger Artist Brushes:



Blending tool

Ok, this is a tool you can live without – until you have tested it. Then it’s no way you’ll ever craft anything without it nearby. I use Holtz’s blending tool, but there’s lots of different kinds in the market. With the blending tool, you can evenly add ink to the surface you are working with (like a journal page), either just on its own or with a stencil. How-to is worth a tutorial of its own, so about this later. At this point I’ll just add this tool to the list… But don’t worry, you don’t need to have a blending tool as it is, a sponge is just fine, too.

Heating tool

Now, when you have a heating tool, you know you are a devoted mixed media person. Or just an impatient individual, like me. If you have both time and patience, you won’t be needing this. (Except if you are into embossing, but that’s a whole different story.) With the heating tool you can quicken the drying process and continue your projects a lot more quickly. Gesso, paints, and other media take time to dry, so this is the tool to use between the layers of different media!


This is another tool you don’t necessarily need, but once you have got the hang of it, you love it. I use Holtz’s mini stapler as it is so light and small, but any stapler will do. What for? For easily attaching a cluster of lace, paper bits, or anything to your project. Glue is fine, but sometimes you don’t want to use glue, but a bit more flexible option, like a stapler.

… And before you hurry to buy any of these tools, I want to point out that these are my favourites, the ones I use daily, but they might not be your thing. Having a huge amount of materials and tools you don’t really use, and need is a frustrating thing, so if you haven’t got any of these, maybe googling them and seeing videos how they are used is a good idea, so you’ll see if they are for you?

P.S. I left out any die cutting machines and lots else out of this on purpose. Not too much information immediately, right?

See you soon,

Emilia xx


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