Mixed Media Die Cut Project.
Canvas or canvas board
Die cut butterflies (from heavy paper like 140 lb. watercolor paper or thin posterboard)
Paint (white, dark brown, plus your choice of other colors – the sample project uses pastel pink, pastel yellow, tangerine, and mint)
Matte medium or matte decoupage glue
Cut butterflies from heavy watercolor paper or poster board or use purchased die cuts. The sample project used free butterfly designs available from Cricut Design Space and cut from 140 lb watercolor paper. Make or purchase butterflies in a variety of sizes from 1.5 to about 3 inches in diameter.
Apply several heavy coats of gesso to your canvas or canvas board. Use random brush strokes to create some texture on the canvas. Allow to dry. Sketch a heart shape on the canvas. Glue the butterfly die cuts within the heart shape, mixing butterfly sizes and alternating the direction of their placement. Apply another coat of gesso to the entire canvas, covering the butterflies well. Allow to dry.
Squeeze some paint onto scrap paper (freezer paper works well if you have it). Roll the brayer through the paint, picking up several colors on the brayer.
Roll the brayer back and forth on the paper to remove most of the wet paint. When only a thin layer of paint remains on the brayer, roll the brayer over the raised butterflies on your canvas.
Don’t be concerned if a small amount of paint gets on areas other than the butterflies. A little bit of paint between the butterflies is fine and any stray marks outside the heart will be covered with white paint.
Repeat painting in this manner until all the butterflies are painted and you are happy with the look. Remember that you can always apply more gesso and begin again in an area after the gesso dries.
Paint the area outside the heart using white paint. If you have any large blobs of paint between the butterflies on the interior of the heart, you can touch up these areas using the white paint at this time as well.
Select one of the colors you used to paint the butterflies. Loosen the paint with water and spatter the paint across the canvas. Repeat with additional colors if you’d like. Dab some of the splatter using a paper towel to soften the look and add texture. Allow to dry.
Seal the painted butterflies using a good coat of matte medium or decoupage glue. This will protect the paint on the butterflies when you apply paint in the next step. Allow to dry.
Brush brown paint between the butterflies, working the paint into their inset edges.
Wait a minute or two, and then remove most of the brown paint using a baby wipe or damp paper towel, leaving brown paint around the edges of the butterflies and in the crevices. Allow to dry.
Paint the edges of the canvas brown or black. Apply a coat of matte medium or decoupage glue to seal the final artwork.