How to create a floral background using Gesso resist technique

26 August 2021
This quick and simple step-by-step tutorial shows you how to create a floral background using the Gesso resist technique and stencils... perfect for your handmade cards, papercrafting, mixed media art projects and beyond!

The Gesso resist technique is clever and effective and cannot only be used as backgrounds for cards and papercrafting but also as works of art in their own right! As the name suggests, the effect is created when the Gesso acts as a 'resist', revealing your chosen pattern or design. Follow the tutorial to see how it works... Create on paper and frame or why not re-create on material and transform into household furnishings such as curtains or cushions?

Gesso resist background tutorial

You will need

  • Gesso
  • Lace and Dot Fade Layering Stencils by Tim Holtz
  • Salty Ocean and Mowed Lawn Distress Inks
  • White card
  • Ink blending tool
  • Cut ‘n’ Dry Foam

Top tip! Allow the Gesso to dry completely before applying any ink or dry completely with a heat tool to avoid spoiling your work.


1. Lay a piece of white card onto a non-stick craft sheet and place the Lace Layering Stencil onto the card. Cut a piece of Cut ‘n’ Dry Foam and add a small amount of Gesso to the non-stick craft sheet in preparation.

Gesso Resist step 1

2. Dip the Cut ‘n’ Dry Foam into the Gesso, remove any excess and then apply the Gesso over the stencil – only apply a small thin layer of Gesso so it doesn't seep under the stencil.

Gesso Resist step 2

3. Continue with this process, moving the stencil around the card and applying a thin layer of Gesso until the card is completely covered with the design. Allow the Gesso to dry completely or dry with a heat tool.

Gesso Resist step 3

4. Apply Salty Ocean Distress Ink over the dried Gesso, blending the colour as you move around the card using an Ink Blending Tool or a piece of Cut ‘n’ Dry Foam. 

Gesso Resist step 4

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5. Repeat the same process with Mowed Lawn Distress Ink. Continue this process applying both colours until the background is completely covered with colour.

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Gesso Resist step 5

6. Take a baby wipe and wipe away the ink from the Gesso areas. Continue to wipe over the background with a wipe – this will remove ink from the Gesso areas, which acts as a resist. The design will appear in white.

Gesso Resist step 6

7. Spritz water into the palm of your hand and then flick the water onto the inked background. Allow the water to sit for a while so that it reacts with the ink and then dab dry with a piece of kitchen towel.

Gesso resist step 7

8. Place the Dot Fade Layering Stencil onto the decorated background and then apply Mowed Lawn Distress Ink over the stencil. Remove the stencil and repeat the same process with Salty Ocean Ink.

Gesso resist step 8

9. Continue moving the stencil around the background and applying ink – this adds a further layer of interest to the background.

Gesso resist step 9

Enjoyed making this floral-tastic Gesso resist background?! Why not try a different technique and learn how to create a marble background using shaving foam?

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