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Using Brusho Crystal Colours

In today’s enewsletter we included a product new to our online shop, Brush Crystal Colours…which were also the feature of our most recent How Do I Use This? program. These vibrant watercolor inks in crystal/powder form are versatile and give you wonderful effects with ease.

Brusho Crystal Colours on watercolor ATCs

In addition to our own experimentation, we’re including some photos and links to other blogs that contain helpful info on using Brusho. We would especially recommend visiting Dina Kowal’s blog “Mama Dini’s Stamperia,” as she includes comparisons and pros/cons of four different brands of watercolor powders…plus she links to a video tutorial she produced for Split Coast Stampers that thoroughly demonstrates a number of ways to use Brusho.

Brusho arrives in a sealed plastic jar. Many recommend carefully transferring the powder contents to a container with a shaker lid; others punch one or more holes into the lid, as we did. We fell for the Brusho jar labeling technique used by Bibi Lindahl of Rubber Dance (her photo below) and copied it for ourselves.

Bibi Lindahl of Rubber Dance created this Brusho Crystal Colour labeling method

Smart, and pretty too…an unbeatable combination! Using Brusho couldn’t be simpler: simply sprinkle a few grains of one or more colors onto a wet substrate: watercolor paper, mixed media paper, canvas, fabric (more on that below). Most of our samples are watercolor papers cut to ATC size.

Brusho  Crystal Colours sprinkled on top of wet watercolor paper

Above, left, you will immediately see the color react to the water and begin to spread. Just a tiny amount is needed…you can get somewhat misled by that instaneous nature, but rather than using additional shakes of product, give it more time to react.

Brusho  Crystal Colours sprinkled on top of dry watercolor paper, then misted with water to activate

You can also sprinkle the Brusho onto a dry surface, and then spray with water, as above. Results differ a bit between these two methods, so experiment with both to find out how you like the effects.

Black Brusho Crystal ColourOne of the reasons we chose to stock Brusho over other brands was that it is available in 34 beautiful colors, including a black and a white. All colors are fully intermixable, and with a black and a white, your shade/tint possibilities are even greater! Brusho colors are created using a multitude of different color crystals, and you will see those different colors bloom and react. When we first sprinkled on the black to create a test swatch (shown here, right), we actually gasped!

Mix Brusho with water in a spray bottle for your own custom spray ink(Of course, you can mix Brusho with the desired quantity of water in a palette cup to create a watercolor you apply with a brush, as in regular watercolor painting. We were having so much fun creating these backgrounds we haven’t even tried that yet!)

Add a bit of the Brusho crystals into a small amount of water to dissolve, then add additional water to the desired strength, and you have your own custom spray ink. We diluted the Brilliant Red to make a pink spray you can see on several of our examples.

Brusho can mix and dissolve with any water-based medium. Add it to any acrylic medium to create a heaveir-body paint. We enjoyed mixing a few custom colors of molding paste and adding texture to some of our cards through sequin waste.

Mixing Brusho Crystal Colours with molding paste
Applying Brusho Crystal Colours mixed with molding paste
FInished examples of Brusho Crystal Colours mixed with molding paste

Again, just a small shake of Brusho gives you a lot of color! Above, in the yellow tag example, you can see that the underlying Brusho Crystal Colour “seeped” up through the paste to give it even more color and texture. Below, you can see a similar effect: we gessoed over a fully colored mixed media paper journal page, and love how tints of the underlying colors came through in varying intensities.

White gesso applied on top of a page colored with Brusho Crystal Colours

We also experimented with stamping onto our blank cards with clear embossing ink and using clear embossing enamel to create a resist for the Brusho. The butterfly example below also shows the mixability of the colors: the outer border was a mix of red and yellow powders in a bit of matte medium to create a paint.

Brusho Crystal Colours applied over a stamped, clear embossed resist

One of the “rules” for our Thursday evening How Do I Use This? sessions is that anything you can do on paper, you can do on fabric. Below, top, is a strip of 100% white cotton that was spritzed with water and sprinkled with Brushos. Very cool…but what about permanence?

Fabric swatched colored with Brusho Crystal Colours

As we did when we experimented with Gelatos® from Faber-Castell(Part 1 and Part 2) we tried using Jo Sonja’s Textile Medium to treat the fabric and activate the Brusho. This is a water-based acrylic medium used to convert acrylic paints into fabric paints that, once heat set, are permanent and able to be laundered. The bottom two swatches were once one strip, but instead of water, we moistened the fabric with diluted Textile Medium and added the Brusho. Once dry, we cut it in half, and washed one half. We had very little, if any, color loss or run off. So, while watercolors are never thought of as being permanent, there are ways…

Alice Hendon, CZT of The Creator’s Leaf experimented with doing her Zen Tangling on top of pages painted with Brusho (see her example below).“Once this was completely dry, I added tangling with a Sharpie fine point. I did not have any trouble drawing on the Brusho at all,” she writes. “The Brusho dried flat and smooth, and accepted the penwork with no problems. No skips, no pulls on the nib, no dragging lines. Smooth as could be!” Read her full review »

Alice Hendon, CZT of The Creator's Leaf

Roni Johnson of the Ink Stained blog wanted to experiment and “instead of water I decided to use Sparkle Shimmer Mist” to activate the Brusho Crystals she had sprinkled onto dry ATCs, a museum grade preservation matboard. She notes “I added lots [and] the ATC’s didn’t warp, buckle, etc…. they took the liquid perfectly and the colors are beautiful and vivid.” See her result below:

Roni Johnson of Ink Stained used shimmer mists to activate her Brusho

She also created a blog posting featuring color swatches of 32 of the Brusho colors, showing off side by side how each appears on two different types of paper, Neenah 80lb cardstock and Fabrino 140lb watercolor paper.

P.S. While we haven’t yet explored this method, Brusho can be used to add tints to wood and is a great way for you to preserve the grain pattern, as it creates strong, but transparent color. Colourcraft recommends choosing a light-colored, close-grained wood to start, with the following steps. Dampen the wood, dry and rub back before application (to minimize the stain raising the grain. Mix Brusho colors and apply very sparingly with brushes, cotton gauze or an air brush. Stained wood can be sealed with a polyurethane or acrylic varnish.

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