Inside: the best technique for making a mixed media canvas


My favorite technique for making a mixed media canvas and I think by far, the most striking is the technique I'll share with you today. This technique doesn't have an official name but it's commonly known as the texture and art medium based technique.





When you make a mixed media canvas you basically combine materials and techniques. Unlike painting for example where you paint with acrylic paints or watercolors or scrapbooking where you use paper supplies to document memories. In this type of art you mix different techniques and supplies on the same project.

In this specific technique you use these materials and techniques:


  • FOUND OBJECTS - in order to create the texture on the canvas you attach all kinds of found objects and embellishments. You can use any object you have in your stash but not only. You can also use clock parts, screws and cogwheels, silverware, zippers, office supplies, buttons and more.
  • GEL MEDIUM - the gel medium is the best glue to use because it's thick enough to hold heavy items and it dries clear.
  • GESSO - the gesso covers both the canvas and the texture to prime it for color.
  • SPRAYS - the sprays color the canvas.
  • WHITE ACRYLIC PAINT -the paint helps create accents on the raised texture.




The process of making the mixed media canvas is easier than you think:


STEP 1: prepare the photo


For this canvas I used a photo of me and my sister from when we were little girls. I developed the photo in black and white so it will not clash with the colors on the canvas. My sister always tells me that this is her favorite photo of the two of us.

Cut the photo you want to use and attach it to the canvas. Seal it with gel medium.


STEP 2: fill the canvas


The next step is to pick all the embellishments and attach them to the canvas. The ideat is to use objects with volume so you'll be able to create the texture and later the color effects. If you use flat embellishments you won't achieve the 3D effect. It can be any type of embellishments it doesn't have to be steampunk. Since we are covering all the embellishments with gesso there is also no significance or importance to the material. I used metal, wood, fabric, paper and more.

Fill the surface of the entire canvas and around the photo.

STEP 3: cover with gesso


Cover the entire surface of the canvas with at least two coats of gesso. Go into all the nooks and crannies and make sure that when you are done the entire canvas is white. Put a protective baby wipe on the photo while you paint and later spray.


STEP 4: spray


Spray the canvas with 2-3 colors of sprays. Spray a few coats until you are happy with how it looks.


STEP 5: finishing touches


Add highlights of white acrylic paint around the photo and on raised surfaces to make them pop.


Follow the full step by step video to make this mixed media canvas technique




If you like mixed media and you want to learn more about it here are some more mixed media canvas tutorials:

3 mixed media canvas techniques

How to Make a shadow box frame


You can also take a FREE mini class: The 4 Mixed Media Essentials You Need to Know


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Have fun creating!



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Einat Kessler


Hello crafty friends!
I'm Einat: creative professional,mixed media artist, scrapbook and paper designer, altering enthusiast and class instructor.
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The designs, pictures and instructions listed on this blog are provided here for personal use only and may not be sold, reproduced or used for commercial or submission purposes in any form without my written permission.