Thursday 9 April 2015

Brushing Up On Brushos

Hi everybody! It's Toni here and I have the pleasure of presenting  the very first of our 'Inspirational Posts'. These posts will be popping up now and again, throughout the months, as we take it in turns to share some of our favourite products and techniques, which we hope will inspire and get those creative juices flowing. I've chosen to have a play with Brushos and this is what I've found out about these little pots of magic crystals !

Although they seem to be the new guys on the block, Brushos have actually been around for decades. I know this, because I had them in my classroom many moons ago! We used them as a dye substitute for colouring fabric. They are not fixable on fabric though, so it means that any fabric coloured with them,  must be for decorative purposes only.
Brushos crystals come in small plastic pots. A useful tip is to bodge a few holes in the top, a bit like a pepperpot, so that that they can be easily dispensed.
Here's a birds eye view of mine. I bought a set of eight colours and a single pot of Prussian blue. I started my experiments by firstly mixing a little of each colour with water in a palette. The colours are very intense so you only need very little. I jotted down the name of each colour, and painted a sample of each mixture on to a piece of water colour paper
On a second sheet, I spritzed each box with water and sprinkled the Brushos directly into each compartment. The colour spreads in a most fascinating way. I used these sheets as a colour reference for the rest of my experiments. I then cut lots of uniform squares of cream coloured card, approximately 12 x 12 cm. This is the size I often use in my card making, so it can be quite a handy for building up a supply of colourful  backgrounds. I started off by spritzing a piece of card with water and sprinkling on Lime Green Brusho, then spritzing the surface again to activate the crystals. This is what it looks like..
So the basic application I used is , spritz, sprinkle, spritz. You can decide whether to blot the surface or dry with a heat tool. I found that blotting the surface made the colours lighter and removed some of the detail.
 Here are some of my further experiments, I shall try and keep the details fairly brief but feel free to ask questions in the comments box if there is anything more you'd like to know.
In this group, the first picture is the background, next you can see the stamping, I used black Archival ink and heat embossed with clear embossing powder. The third picture shows where I have used bleach to remove the colour and highlight the eye. Bleach works really well, but observe all the usual cautions. Here are some more bleach experiments...
In the first picture, I applied the bleach to a rubber stamp with a blending tool, In the next two samples, I used the same blending tool to apply  bleach through a stencil. This was fast becoming a favourite technique, I love these effects.
Oops ! just found some more bleach effects. The first is Stamped, and in  the second one the colour has been removed with a fine paint brush. Do use a brush with man made fibres, as bleach will rot natural bristles. The background of the second sample has been sprayed. I made up a few Mini Misters with water and a tiny scoop of Brusho crystals. I used Rose Red and yellow Ochre on this one.
Tearing myself away from the bleach.......
In the first picture, I've used the Brushos to water colour the stamped image, in the second picture the sprayed background has been embossed with a script embossing folder, the writing was then highlighted with Treasure Gold paste applied with the back of a piece of Cut and Dry foam. In the third sample, I mixed a very small amount of Prussian Blue Brusho, into white embossing paste, and applied it through a Wendy Vecchi Stencil.
Three more, hope you're still with me ! The first one from this group, was initially stamped with Versa Mark and heat embossed with clear embossing powder. Brushos were then applied with the spritz, sprinkle, spritz and blot technique. In the next sample, I applied gesso through another of Wendy Vecchi's stencils, dried with a heat tool and then applied  Rose Red and Prussian Blue. In the third picture in this group, The Brushos were applied through a Layering Stencil using Mini Misters.
In this last group, the first one shows a background that has been embossed and highlighted with Treasure Gold. The second one has a Terracotta background, that also has a spritz of Tarnished Brass Distress Spray and a stamped image. It's a pity the glitz doesn't show up in these two as it goes really well with the Brusho colours. In the last sample, I've used the thickening powder, that came in the Brusho set, to make a paste. It's a bit like wallpaper paste, I spread it through a Layering Stencil and sprinkled some Brushos on top. I need a bit of practice with this as the paste is much thinner than embossing paste and is inclined to seep under the stencil, interesting though. 
So, what did I do with all my samples........
I mounted all the samples and made them into a book. I used my favourite bleaching technique for the cover, I think it's very 'batik like'. I also stamped over the with a crackle stamp to enhance the batik effect, The Seam Ribbon has also been coloured with Brushos too. Here's a close up of the cover
Well if you've managed to get to here, I applaud you !!!. As you may have guessed, I'm definitely loving my Brushos. They are a wonderfully simple product that hold a myriad of possibilities. The colours are very intense, so you need only to use very little, to get good results. I think they are great for making backgrounds for stamping, stencilling and embossing and they combine really well with Distress Ink. I blended Distress Ink around the edges of several of my samples. So if you've been wondering whether to take the plunge I can only say GO FOR  IT ! Until next time, happy crafting x.


  1. Wonderful and inspiring ideas-thank you

    Love Chrissie xx

  2. Fabulous tutorial Toni, I have been teetering for ages as I'm always amazed by the results acheived. Think I will have to take the plunge! So many inspirational ideas, just need to ask re bleach, are you diluting it at all? Ruth x

  3. Hi Ruth, I used a very small amount of neat bleach, Domestos, as it has a thick consistency and stays where you put it. It also reacts very quickly x

  4. Wow amazing Toni! I love all of the wonderful panels you were able to make, each unique and beautiful. Wish I could get my hands on some of this stuff, you make it look so fun and brilliant! hugs :)

  5. Wow,thank you Toni,very indepth tutorial and very helpful....I have a love/hate relationship with these brushos but I'm slowly getting to grips with them!
    Big hugs
    Donna xxx

  6. A great post Toni, and some really useful tips - I've made just one hole in my pots which works well too. My salt to your pepper pot!!

  7. amazing work - thanks so much for all of your ideas - I only just got my brushos so this is really fabulous - love it x

  8. Ha ha Helen ! We better get those pots together ! Thanks for your lovely comments everyone toni x

  9. Fabulous Toni, each of your panels is a little piece of art in itself! Love the idea of pricking holes in the pots!....

  10. This really is a master class Toni! What a fantastic start to our inspirational posts! Sue C x

  11. What a fabulous post, Toni - full of so many brilliant tips and ideas. I have some Brushos, but haven't really explored their possibilities yet, so this is a fantastic bit of inspiration to get going! Thank you.
    Alison x

  12. Fantastic post Toni, some great ideas to try out.
    Yvonne xx

  13. What a wonderful post with lots of inspiration. The panels are all so unique but I am all gaga (is that a real word?) over the cover.

  14. Great inspiration Toni love all the different ways you showed x

  15. Great inspiration Toni - thanks for sharing this in depth tutorial. Nikki xx

  16. Excellent tutorials, and a fab way to display the samples. Your post is very helpful thank you.

  17. Wow I love your samples, all are real masterpieces of colours and designs!!


  18. Great results with the brusho colours, a lot of wonderful pieces.
    Have a sunny nice day,
    hugs Anja

  19. a fabulous tutorial Toni and as I have just been experimenting with brush's for the first time I am finding lots of inspiration. Love the bleaching effects too.
    Thank You for sharing

    Hugs Annie x

  20. Wow, fabulous experimentations with the Brushos, great summary of all the techniques we can use, and your final book with all the cards is super gorgeous, I love it!! Thanks for sharing. Coco xx

  21. Toni... what a fantastic and informative post ... love the samples and the all the info. I've used brusho paints for a while and I love them too ...
    Eileen xx

  22. great bkg and cards...I have been having a blast playing with my Bister and Brushos...

  23. Amazing post Toni! Just love all the different samples you've produced - makes me want to get mine out and have a play now! Juliaxx

  24. Hi, this was really useful. I have some brusho's but haven't been brave enough to really play. Must set aside some time and just go for it. You have answered some questions I had and given me lots of ideas. Thanks for sharing. I was pleased with this background Hugz

  25. Oh my gosh I am overwhelmed with gratitude that you took the time to write the blog post rather than just using you tube. As a hearing impaired crafter I find you tube impossible to use and where I once got upset that the subtitles won't work properly I now just don't bother with it and bite my tongue at people who are inconsiderate enough to say use you tube even when they know the situation. I tried without the sound once and went through 5 bottles of alcohol ink before I learnt the person doing the tutorial had verbally said use blending solution in the spritzer bottle and I was using water...needless to say it didn't work and I have never really gone for alcohol inks since. This, however, is PERFECT for me and I'm sure there are other crafters in my situation too. Thank you so so much for this I REALLY appreciate it.