What could possibly be so difficult about using one? Well, you wouldn't think it was all that difficult at all when watching others get perfect airbrushed looks with a few spins of an inked up brayer. I was convinced that much like other new crafting equipment I just needed a few goes, a little bit of practice and voila!
However, frustrated with all my attempts, my brayer was resigned to flattening down and removing air bubbles while sticking papers to book boards. Very useful it is too but now covered in glue, so totally useless to ink up with, unless I'm going for a textured look.
So, what's the problem? I get stripes where I don't want them, uneven blotchy and patchy ink, I don't seem to be able to blend colours, I have also managed to pick up texture from the work surface and transfer it to my work. The process of inking the brayer was also a problem as most of my ink pads are much smaller than the brayer - it's virtually impossible to ink up a brayer evenly with a dewdrop ink pad. Even with a larger ink pad I often end up inking the table in the process.
Signing up to a workshop with Clarity, I was hoping to learn a few brayering tricks. Thankfully my workstation tools on the day included a brayer! It also included a Sploge Mat, which I had been hearing lots about.......
Inking up the brayer using the revolutionary Sploge Mat meant no streaks on the roller and as ink can be applied directly to it, you can use any size and shape ink pad.
Removing excess ink onto a piece of scrap paper allowed me to build up the colour gradually and gave a much more even finish. Applying the ink by gently spinning the roller (with no real pressure) starting off the actual work on scrap paper and moving diagonally across the piece prevented lines picked up from the side of the card and gave an even application of ink.
Following the instructions in the class it was obvious that two of my main problems with this technique was having too much ink on the brayer and pressing down too firmly.
I was pretty pleased with my final brayered pieces on the day, althought they weren't perfect they were much better than anything I had ever attempted before.
Using Clarity card, which has a coating that allows ink to stay on the surface a while before drying allowed much better blending, especially when using two or more colours - although it can be a challenge for an impatient stamper! Most of the card in my stash is non-coated or the coatings are designed to soak up the ink and give a beautifully smooth surface to stamp on, so this could also explain to my previous rubbish attempts at brayering.
I have been practicing and experimenting since getting home, with a Sploge Mat and different types of card stock. These images were going to end up as ATCs but changed my mind! I still like the way they turned out using different coloured dye ink cubes by Stampin' Up! and I'll use them for something else.
A few tips that have helped me brayer;
- Get yourself a Speedball brayer and a Splogemat.
- Be prepared, with a stash of scrap paper.
- Apply dye ink directly to the Splogemat and ink up the brayer from that.
- When inking up from the Splogemat, roll the brayer in one direction rather than backwards and forwards on the mat.
- Remove any excess ink onto a piece of scrap paper.
- If you need to stop what you are doing, turn the brayer over and rest on the bar.
- Clear your work space of any little scaps of paper, glitter etc. that could stick to the brayer.
- Place a piece of scrap paper behind your work.
- Gently spin the roller over the edge of your work starting on the scrap paper and work your way onto the piece. Don't press on with any pressure.
- Build up the colour gradually.
- Experiment with different card stock and find the right card for you.