Knowing how to wear a brayer can add a lot to your handmade greeting cards and scrapbook pages or to your 3D paper craft projects. If you’ve ever had trouble finding the right colored paper for a particular project, a brayer may be able to solve your dilemma. If you have the ink or paint color,
want, you’re in business with a brayer.
Many craftsmen know how to ink a brayer and spread a little color on paper. For people who have never used one, just make sure to roll the ink or paint evenly on the roller by running the gum across the ink pad, lifting it up and turning it over and over, until you can see that the entire piece of gum is evenly. covered.
The first coat of color will create a hard line on your paper. To avoid this, put some scrap paper under the cardstock and spread the first piece of color right next to the paper. Continue to spread the ink or paint, gradually overlaying the color onto the cardstock. You will have a lot less streaks or lines if you use this technique and you will find that the colors blend more beautifully.
If you are using multiple shades of color, always start with the lightest color first. You will not need to clean your roller between colors if you are working from the lightest to the darkest shades. Just keep a roll of paper towels on hand to remove most of the color between layers.
To clean your brayer, use alcohol-free baby wipes (so you don’t make your rubber roller dry out and harden or crack), seal in the cleaning spray, or remove it from the handle and wash it under the tap. Pat it dry with paper towels by placing it back on its handle before rolling it up on a paper towel.
However, your brayer can work harder for you than this. Here are some other ideas to try with special effects.
Special effects and your brayer
An interesting effect you can try is wrapping your brayer roller with rubber bands before inking it. Take the roller out of the handle, twist some rubber bands over the roller until you have a nice pattern, and snap it back into place on the handle. Ink your brayer and rubber bands and apply it to your cardstock. The patterns that this will produce can be very interesting and unique. If you don’t want a shadow effect, be sure to press the brayer roller firmly into the card stock on the first pass and avoid rolling back over the same area.
Try inking the clean brayer again with fresh rubber bands and another color of ink and roll up the cardstock after the first coat has dried.
Now try wrapping the roller with other materials like ribbon, twine or rope and see if you like the patterns made with them.
Another item to experiment with on the roll itself is repositionable paper and tape. Apply it to the rubber in a pattern that you like. Ink the brayer, then carefully peel off the paper and tape before applying the ink to the cardstock. Of course, you will have areas that are not colored by the brayer when you use this method.
Remember that the ink will resist embossing images with heat even if applied with the brayer. Heat the embossed image on your card stock first, then once cool, run it over with an inked brayer. You can then clean the embossed image with a tissue to make it shine again and allow it to really stand out. Try this method with glossy cardstock, for example. You will have a beautiful glossy finish with this paper. Glossy card stock is wonderful for embossing and brayerizing images.
Brayers can also be used on uneven surfaces. Try ink or paint over a dry relief image (embossing up will get more ink on the hills or edges of the image. Embossing down will get more ink on the flat paper around the image .).
Try gluing a pattern on paper or directly onto your craft mat and place the soon-to-be inked paper on top before brayer. Small edges caused by tape or even another sheet of paper or cardstock will cause the brayer to leave different amounts of ink. You can make sharp corners appear with this method.
If you don’t want the edge of the underlying paper to show, try filling the work surface with layers of old newspaper. They are softer than other papers and will allow you to achieve more uniform colored surfaces while giving you a large amount of waste paper to drain around the edges of your cardstock with the brayer. You can color all of your cardstock this way.
Different papers will produce different looks with your brayer, so experiment.
You can draw or color your brayer roller with water-based markers, just as you can color a rubber stamp with them. Remember to breathe into your roller before beading your paper, as you may find the pens get a bit dry if you take some time to color. Try a pattern of circles, squares, or stripes with your
pens. Try winding the paper from several different directions.
If you want to try writing on your brayer with water-based text, remember that you will produce mirror writing with your brayer unless you can write backwards.
Bubble wrap might be just what you need to ink your brayer for if you want an interesting background.
Try using a couple of ink colors on different parts of your brayer, or put ink or paint on your work surface and brayer on it to blend them together.
Remember that you can use metallic inks to ink your brayer. Brayering with gold or silver, copper or brass colors will really add pizzazz to your paper crafts. You can apply metallic inks to a painted background or around the edges of a part to enhance and highlight it. Wrap half of your roller in paper before inking the edges with metallic ink, then run this over your image to create a frame.
Brayer over the center of the lace or a mat or net that you have taped around the edges to prevent it from slipping, then place card stock over the inked or paint-covered lace and smooth it out with the brayer. Pick up your card stock and see what a beautiful pattern has been made.
Punch shapes with your paper punches and attach them to your card stock, securing them with tape or repositionable glue. Brush them over with the brayer and you can create perfect negative shapes. Here’s how you could put a moon on a night sky background, for example.
One last tip
Make sure to store your brayer with the roller facing up. Put everything on its back, in other words. This way, your rubber roller will not develop a flat side. You want it to stay symmetrical and smooth.
Many artisans use brayers to create beautiful sunset backgrounds or reflections in the lake. I’ll tell you about it next time.
In the meantime, have fun making your brayer work harder for you!