Welcome! In this In Detail segment, I’m going to be discussing spray mists. To begin, let me say that I had little knowledge about or experience with spray mists before researching the products for this article. In fact, I had a bit of a phobia about using them! (I’ll be referring to spray mists interchangeably as “sprays” and “mists” throughout the article.)
Sprays and mists can be found in the Ellen Hutson Storefront in the subcategory Mists and Sprays under Ink. I’m reviewing mists from the following manufacturers/labels:
- Ranger Dylusions Ink Spray (2 oz.) – developed by mixed-media artist Dyan Reaveley, the sprays are available in 24 vibrant colors, including White Linen, an opaque white. The water-based and water-reactive dyes, acid-free and non-toxic, work on porous surfaces such as paper, Sticky Back Canvas, wood, and clay.
Ranger Tim Holtz Adirondack Color Wash (2 oz.) – available in 12 earthy and bright colors. The water-based and water-soluble, permanent spray dyes, acid-free and non-toxic, will work on paper, fibers, fabric and more.
Hero Arts Spray (1 oz.) – available in 13 colors (six shadow mid-tone and seven neon colors). The water-based dye inks are acid-free, archival and fade resistant.
Studio Calico Mister Huey's Color Mist (1 oz.) – colors coordinate with Studio Calico collections. Currently available in a variety of colors, as well as silver and gold.
Tsukineko/Imagine Crafts irRESISTible Texture Spray (2 oz.) – 23 complementary Memento colors, as well as gold, silver, copper, bronze and white. The product, archival and acid-free, offers texture and vibrant, fade-resistant color for a variety of surfaces.
Tsukineko/Imagine Crafts Goosebumps Texture Spray (2 oz.) – Original, Matte and Shimmer finishes. The spray adds a unique speckled texture for use on paper, canvas, glass, acrylic, acetate and more.
Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist (2 oz.) – 24 colors in the palette of Perfect Pearls Powders. The water-based formula spray, acid-free and non-toxic, has a built-in binder.
Before discussing the various experiments, some observation about using mists:
Don’t start misting on your project before taking a few practices spritzes on a spare tag or scrap cardstock. It will help get your rhythm and ensure that the mister is operating without a clog.
Don’t be a hesitant mister. Although there’s a natural tendency to go lightly or slowly with something you want to do well, in the case of misting, that tendency will actually lead to more mistakes. A half-pressed spray will cause dribbles. Commit to the mist!
The more practice you have at misting, the better at misting you will become. I truly believed I would never be a “mister” until tackling this topic. Now, I actually find it enjoyable! However, it does introduce a degree of randomness to a project, and it’s messy.
Spraying Through Stencils
My first experiment was to spray the mists through stencils on manila tags. I placed the tags and stencils in a cardboard box, which I took outside. Depending on your goal, you can choose to spray close or farther away. It’s important to consider this common problem: by the time you think you’ve got enough coverage, you’ve more than likely applied too much product.
Let’s say you want your project to include only a portion of the stencil design. In that case, get closer to the stencil and spray in the region where you want the most product. I sprayed Hero Arts Pool Mists through the Tim Holtz Bubble stencil.
The most amount of product is in the upper-right corner, where I sprayed, although there’s quite a bit of coverage throughout. Obviously if I’d sprayed less, there would be less coverage overall with a concentration in the upper-right.
In order to evaluate the mist products, I stood 12-18 inches away from the surface. I wanted to spray as evenly as possibly through the entire stencil, and I moved around the stencil as I sprayed.
Too much product invariably means that there’s seepage under the stencil. For some of the tags, I sprayed multiple ones in order to get the right amount of coverage. Additionally, if I got too much coverage, I stood farther from the stencil when I sprayed. Of course, this means that you’re wasting product to some extent, because the farther away you stand, the more product you’re spraying overall.
The mist particles were fine and the spray provided solid, even coverage. There were a few larger spots. There was no discernable seepage under the stencil from too much product being applied. The color is translucent and bright.
The results are similar to those from the Dylusions mist. The spray provided an even mist with a few large drops. In general, the Adirondack colors are more muted than those in the Dylusions line.
The spray provided an even mist giving good coverage with a few bigger drops. There was some seepage that could be prevented with a less spray.
The spray provided an even mist giving good coverage with a few large drops. I don’t believe that the coverage is quite as solid as the Studio Calico spray, for the same amount applied.
For the above four sprays, I achieved solid and even coverage, without seepage under the stencil, as long as I stood at a good distance and didn’t overspray. I was not able to eliminate a few bigger drops, however, even with multiple tries with the same spray and stencil. The formula of the Dylusions and Adirondack products is more watery than that of the Hero Arts and Studio Calico sprays. The Hero Arts and Mister Huey’s spray bottles are both marked with “Shake Well” instructions. The inks of the Dylusions and Adirondack products saturate the paper more, whereas those in the Hero Arts and Studio Calico sprays seem to stay more on the surface.
The irRESISTible Texture Spray is a completely different type of product than the previously mentioned sprays. The spray contains a substance that creates texture. This product dried quickly on the stencil. In fact, I had to scrub the stencil, even though I put it immediately in warm, soapy water after spraying.
It is easy to “over spray” with this product, in which case there is a lot of seepage under the stencil. (See above left.) When I used a lighter hand, there was less coverage. (See above right.) In other words, it’s almost impossible to fill in the stencil with this product and not get seepage. Additionally, there is a large variation in the size of the droplets, so coverage isn’t even. I found that this spray works best with stencil images that allowed the image to take shape with less coverage. I also found that the nozzle got clogged easily with this spray. At one point, I was spraying a stream rather than a mist. However, it was easy to clean out the nozzle.
As you can see, there's some seepage and a wide variation in the mist size.
The spray is difficult to see on a lighter background. It’s also difficult to see this product during application. Overall, it provides a subtle shimmering effect. Although it might be difficult to see in the photo, there’s a wide variation in the size of the spray drops. However, the end result was one without any seepage under the stencil and the sprayed stars are flat.
The Dylusions White Linen spray mist is different than the other Dylusions mists as it is an opaque, rather than transparent mist. The spray bottle includes a metal ball to help with mixing the product before spraying.
I sprayed the White Linen mist on colored cardstock, since its visibility would be less on a manila tag. There wasn’t any seepage under the stencil, so it’s relatively easy to control. I have more information on the White Linen spray later in the article.
Although I might not use this method on a regular basis when creating a project, I wanted to see what the sprays looked like with a heat-embossed sentiment. On manila tags, I stamped a sentiment from the Tim Holtz Random Quotes set with VersaMark ink and heat set with clear embossing powder. I sprayed and swiped a paper towel across the tag to cover with the spray.
The Dylusions and Adirondack sprays saturated the tags the most. Those tags are also the most curled. The Hero Arts and Mister Huey’s mists sat more on the surface, giving less intense coverage. The irRESISTible Texture spray was almost dry before I could swipe it across, and the cover isn't even.
The Goosebumps Texture Spray product is designed to add texture. It dries clear and is water-resistant, making it ideal for resist projects. I sprayed it through the Tim Holtz Stars stencil on a manila tag and then applied Salty Ocean Distress ink.
There’s a lot of texture and it certainly resists the Distress ink. The coverage is uneven and there was some seepage.
My next test was to remove the nozzles of the sprays and tap the product onto cardstock squares. I’ve noticed that a lot of mists are used for adding splatter accents to projects.
I was surprised that none of the products just easily dropped onto the cardstock. I had to tap the end to get the drops to fall onto the paper. For this technique, I prefer the drops from the Hero Arts, Mister Huey’s and Dylusions White Linen mist. I don’t particularly like the spread pattern of the Dylusions and Adirondack mists, and the drops from the irRESISTible Texture spray were raised and shiny when dry. You might be able to see a few Perfect Pearls Grape Fizz splatters in the square with the Dylusions White. I couldn't see the product being applied, so I wasn't sure they were there until they dried!
I also used a Studio Calico eye dropper to place Dylusions, Hero Arts and Studio Calico Mister Huey’s mists on cardstock to see the differences in how the ink absorbs into cardstock.
As you can see, the Mister Huey’s product appears to sit on top of the cardstock whereas the other two products spread into the cardstock. I was interested to see the difference in the formulas. (Please note: I wasn’t scientific about placing the exact same amount of product for the three mists.)
Painting with Sprays
I read in Dyan Reaveley’s book, My Creative Journal Journey, that the Dylusions sprays can be put into a Tim Holtz water brush and used to color a stamped image. Although I didn’t put the various sprays into water brushes, I did paint stamped images with the various sprays to see how easily I could paint with them and the appearance they gave. I stamped a flower image from the Dylusions How Does Your Garden Grow stamp set with Archival ink onto cardstock and colored the image by brushing on the mist full-strength, not diluted with water. I poured a small amount of the mist into a disposable cup and dipped my paint brush into the cup.
For this experiment, I tried to stay inside the lines. All of the products were relatively easy to apply with a brush. The Dylusions and Adirondack mists saturated the paper more than the Hero Arts and Mister Huey’s. I don’t particularly like the look that the irRESISTible Texture spray gives, which is shiny and bumpy. Then again, the product is designed to provide texture and wasn’t designed to be used in this manner. While I wouldn’t buy a mist in order to paint with it, it was good to know that I could do so.
In her book, My Creative Journal Journey, Dyan Reaveley shows how to roll over sprayed journal pages with a paper towel roll to remove excess color. I sprayed two Dylusions sprays onto a manila tag and rolled with a paper towel roll.
This is an easy way to create a background. The key is to avoid combining colors that are opposites on the color wheel—red/green, blue/orange, yellow/purple—because the color created with the combination will be brown. Even though I used the same two sprays, Dylusions Calypso Teal and Dylusions Dirty Martini, I got different results every time.
Stamping and Stenciling with Dylusions White Linen Ink Spray
As I already mentioned, the Dylusions White Linen spray mist is opaque rather than transparent. One interesting feature is that the spray can be used for stamping with the Dylusions Ink Spray Pad. (In fact, the Dylusions Ink Spray Pad is designed to use any of the Dylusions sprays as stamping inks.) There are many tutorial videos on the internet showing how to use the spray pad, which is oversized. I seasoned my pad for use, as directed by one of Dyan Reaveley’s videos, and then sprayed a section of the pad with the White Linen spray. I concentrated the spray in one section, slightly larger than the stamp I was using, as I didn’t want to use the entire bottle on the ink pad!
I stamped the same image with Memento Luxe Wedding Dress ink and with the spray ink on black cardstock.
While the Memento Luxe image is crisper than the one stamped with the White Linen mist, I was happy with how well the mist worked as a stamping ink.
I went ahead and sprayed the entire pad with the White Linen to ink the Hero Arts Raindrops stamp.The results are more subtle than a stamped image would be. You can see that the White Linen product is visible through the stamped black ink.
Additionally, the pad can be used to ink through a stencil. For this application, I sprayed a larger section of the pad. The stencil is placed onto the pad and then the tag is placed face-down on top of the stencil. I tried this technique using the Memory Box Starry Nights stencil and the Tim Holtz Stars stencil on tags I had created with the Dylusions mists. Applying the mist in this manner is relatively easy.
I finished off the tags with images and sentiments stamped in Archival ink with the Savvy Stamps Cityscape stamp and the Tim Holtz Random Quotes set. I wouldn’t buy the White Linen spray specifically to use as a stamping ink; however, knowing that I could do so is definitely a plus.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to like mists, but once I developed confidence in using them, I found myself thinking of projects on which I could use them. I like the vibrancy of the colors in the Dylusions line, specifically for blending to color a tag background. For projects on which I would want partial misting, I’d pick either the Hero Arts or Mister Huey’s. One advantage of the Hero Arts line is that the colors coordinate with their inks.
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