February 17, 2014

5 Ways to Create Textured Backgrounds {and what I don't use on Tip #2!}

Textured backgrounds are my absolute favorite. Just as textures in daily life add dimension, so it is on canvas. I thought it'd be fun to share a few of my texturing tricks with you.

Here are five ways I create textured backgrounds:

1.  Layer paint. Paint an entire canvas one color and let it dry. Add a second color. Dab with paper towel while the top layer is still wet to give a few peeks through at the layer underneath. Continue doing this a few more times or until it looks the way you want. It'll create a multi-dimensional base.

2. Add paper. Scrapbook paper is a hugely popular choice and it adds lots of color and variety, but I don't use it anymore. I prefer creating the same effect with paint or other unexpected types of paper ~ it stretches my creativity. My personal favorite is adding anything with words (newspaper, book pages). There is something about seeing a hint of words, or even an obvious choice in words on the page in unexpected places. I also love remnants of old wallpaper, handwritten notes, and receipts or ticket stubs.

3. Drip painting. Water down your paint, dip your brush in it then sit the brush on top of the canvas. The water drips down like tears and leaves a residue of paint behind. You can make this as light or dark as you choose. To me, this is one of the most calming techniques, maybe because it reminds me of a rainy day; and I love the outcome.

4. Use stamps. It's fun to lay down a layer of paint and then grab stamps to add a pattern or just random images all over the page. I don't use ready-made stamps much anymore; partly because I don't want to worry about copyright infringement when I sell my art. I prefer designing my own. You can make them as simple or complex as you like and they have a look all their own. You can see a few I've created in the link below.

5. Create patterns. I love graph paper. I write notes in graph paper just for the love of lines and dimensions. You can add grids, shapes, or just reoccurring illustrations in your backgrounds. Patterns are fun because they give order to your playful chaos.

Sometimes if I love a background too much, I won't paint anything else on it. I have a few of these abstract pieces hanging in my home.

Of these five techniques, which one would you most enjoy using?


  1. Helllooooo Catherine! What a great post and your stamp designs are so sweet. I love "xo" because it makes me think of my grandmother. She used to write xo on everything she signed. I wouldn't doubt if she even used it on her tax return forms.

    Love your sweet girly painting.

    xo :)

    1. Hello Lisa! Thank you. I love that your Grandmother always signed with an xo; she sounds adorable!


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