My name is Carlee, and I will be maintaining the Cheap Joe’s blog in place of our dear Mona Lisa.
I may not have the loyal following or amount of experience as my predecessor, but, as a fellow artist, I am confident that I will be able to bring you just as much inspiration and information.
Since I have you here, I would like to take this moment as an opportunity to talk about something very personal to me.
My shelter from the storm, the wind beneath my wings, the love of my life: gel medium.
Oh, that’s right. Gel medium.
(I was just kidding about the “shelter from the storm” bit. Kind of…)
Gel medium can be used for a myriad of things, from adding texture to your canvas prior to painting to leaving a glossy finish on that painting. Honestly, what’s not to love?
My favorite little-known feature of gel medium, though, is its ability to make a mirrored transfer of any image!
I have always loved the appearance of layered newsprint, so that’s the look I was going for when I decided to decorate some dresser drawers a few years ago.
For this project, I began by painting the inside and outside of the drawers with blue and white acrylic paint–I would recommend Joe’s Prime Really Good Lightfast Acrylic.
After a few coats dried, I simply applied a thin layer of Golden Soft Gel (Semi-Gloss) and lightly pressed the newsprint facedown onto the drawer, gently smoothing it out.
Once that dried, I took a damp sponge and saturated and removed the newsprint from the drawer. (You’re going to want to work hard enough to scrub away newspaper, but not too rough that you take the ink out of your medium! With newsprint being extremely thin paper, it doesn’t take much effort to wipe it away once it’s wet.)
I initially just transferred the words onto the drawer (only ink will remain during a transfer), but I wanted to break up the pattern into something a little less monotonous, so I used the same gel medium to adhere strips of newsprint directly to the drawer.
I really like the mismatched look I ended up with. It’s the perfect funky touch to some otherwise-drab drawers!
Here’s a closer look of the finished product:
As you can see, the words that were transferred are mirrored. But layered together and beside the actual newsprint, you can hardly tell.
Some of my other gel medium endeavors include–but are not limited to–using the gloss finish to add a sheer sealant to some dinosaur planters I made last year:
The gel medium not only gives the planters a cleaner, more polished look, but it protects the paint from UV rays that may try to dull your acrylics. These babies have been sitting on my windowsill all year, and they look as fresh and vibrant as the day I painted them.
I also used the gloss finish on set of tile coasters I decorated with Jacquard Piñata Alcohol Ink:
The gel medium is water resistant, making it perfect for withstanding any condensation your coasters may endure.
If your project isn’t going to see nearly as much action as coasters and planters do, you can still use gel medium as a combination of glue and varnish:
Here I took a boring old bookshelf–originally white–and collaged acrylic paint with decorative papers to give it this unique look. After I used the gel medium as an adhesive, I used that same semi-gloss finish to varnish.
The best thing about gel medium, though? A little goes a LONG way!
I accomplished all of these projects with only two 8oz jars (one gloss and the other semi-gloss).
If your project is heavier duty, have no fear! Cheap Joe’s carries sizes up to 32oz in gloss, semi-gloss, and matte finishes.
I have big plans for using the rest of my jars on a pair of dining room chairs I’m currently working on–which I will be happy to share with you, once they stop looking like this…
I can already tell, this love for gel medium is going to last a lifetime.