Smooching time!

Hi everyone!

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about the smooching technique to create backgrounds. For me, this is one of the intersections where therapy and art meet. Smooching is a genuine exercise in letting go of control. You have to let the water do what it wants to do and have faith that the result will be beautiful, even though you may not think so at the beginning.

What do you need?

  • Watercolor paper of your choice (I have mostly worked with cold press 140 pounds), the important thing is that the paper can handle water and not come apart.
  • Distress inks or distress oxide inks (For the backgrounds shown here I used distress oxides because I love the chalky finish and because they allow you to layer colors).
  • Spray bottle with water.

How you do it?

First, pick your colors and apply the ink directly on an acetate sheet or a non-stick craft mat. Then spray the ink with water and you will see the ink bubbling up on the surface of the mat.


I picked Shaded Lilac and Picked Raspberry to make two vibrant backgrounds and Shaded Lilac and Tattered Rose (not shown here) for two backgrounds with a pastel look.

Now you can smooch the paper on the ink. The water will move the ink in the paper creating interesting and beautiful patterns.


Here are the four backgrounds I created.

You can also spray your backgrounds directly to get a distressed look.

To create complete cards from my four backgounds I heat embossed the sentiments and added stamped or die cutted creatures. Here are the cards I created with my backgrounds.


The sentiments are from The Everything about you clear stamp set from Altenew and the cute fox is from the Sweet Stamp shop.

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The sentiments are from The Everything about you clear stamp set from Altenew and the butterfly die is from the Tim Holtz Sizzix collection.

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Here I mixed and matched my sentiments from Altenew and the Happiness stamp set from Neat and tangled. The lovely pigeon is from the Dina Wakley Scribbly Birds stamp set.


The sentiments are from Altenew and the cute narwhal is from the Sweet Stamp Shop.

You can also spray your backgorund with Shimmer spray or add a little bit of Perfect Pearls powder to create a shiny background (see example below).


Things to watch for:

  • Be careful when choosing the colors you want to mix. Mixing complementary colors because you can end up with a muddy brown color. You can layer complementary colors when using distress oxide but make sure each layer of color is dry before applying the next.
  • Make sure that the backgrounds are completely dry before you try to heat emboss because your embossing powder can stick to the ink used to create the background. It also helps to use an anti-static powder tool.
  • Once you start creating backgrounds with this technique you run the risk of going a little crazy and making a ton of backgrounds and only stop when you notice it is 3am (true story).

That is all for now…. But, be sure to give smooching a try!

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