Add color to your scrapbook layout with Gelatos by Faber-Castell
Here are some gelatos tips and techniques that will help you add color to your scrapbook layouts, mini albums, art journal, or any paper crafting project.
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What are Gelatos?
Gelatos by Faber-Castell are a creamy, highly pigmented, water soluble stick. They are odorless, lightfast, archival, and acid-free. These creamy sticks of color come in a tube that works like a lip balm tube – you uncap it and twist the bottom to push the pigment up. Currently there are 52 colors including white, black, gold, silver and metallic. Their colors are designed to match current trends in paper crafting, rather than the standard artist palette.
Faber-Castell has a few product lines ranging from kids art supplies to professional quality fine art materials. Art & Graphic is Faber-Castell’s line of professional quality art supplies, and Design Memory Craft is a set of products aimed at crafters. All the products in their Art & Graphic fine art line have a lightfast rating, and are labeled with common artist names for colors (such as cadmium yellow, and phtalo green) and will color match between products – meaning a cadmium yellow pitt pen will be the same color as a cadmium yellow colored pencil. The products in the Art & Graphic line are archival, acid-free and suitable for use in scrapbook, mini album, art journal, and other paper crafting projects. Gelatos are not part of their fine art line. This means they do not color match with the other Faber-Castell products. While this is one big drawback to using gelatos, I still love using them.
Gelatos are part of the Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft line. These creamy sticks of pigment glide on smoothly and are water soluble. I could not find the binder used to create the stick on the manufacture’s website, however they do state that all their products are non-toxic. They are lightfast (but not rated), acid-free, odorless, and non-toxic – all qualities we look for as paper crafters.
Gelatos are sold indivually, in sets ranging from 2 to 33 sticks, and in a double scoop size (a bigger stick that is twice the size of the regular stick). Some of the sets also include accessories such as a dauber, paint brush, stamp, or spatula.
How to Use Gelatos
Here are just a few of the ways you can use gelatos:
- Scribble it right on your page and leave it as is
Apply gelatos directly to your scrapbook layout – just color it on. This is a fun technique I often use on paper that has a texture, like watercolor paper or embossed paper, or over modeling paste. Sometimes I lightly rub gelatos over modeling paste letting just the raised area catch the color.
- Scribble on paper and smudge
There are several ways you can smudge gelatos. The simplest is to use your finger. Just scribble it on your paper, then rub with your finger or dip you finger in water and rub. This will give you a heavier, more textured coverage. If you want smooth coverage prepping your paper with gesso first will help you achieve that look.
You can activate gelatos with water using a paint brush dipped in water or a water brush. Depending on how much pigment you have colored on your paper and how much water you add you can get a translucent watercolor look or a more opaque look.
Scribble lots of gelatos on your paper, spray with water (or water with some perfect pearls added if you want some sparkle) and tip the paper to make drips. Or add water with a brush to make the drips, which ever is easier (or you have at hand).
Scribble on your project then smudge with a baby wipe. This is a great technique to use to get smooth, even coverage. If you do this over a layer of gesso, you’ll get the best results.
If you are having a problem getting gelatos to smudge or blend, prepping your surface with a coat of Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso will help. Gesso will seal your paper and provide a smooth work surface for your color to spread on.
- Paint with it
Scribble gelatos on your craft mat and pick up the color with a wet paint brush or water brush. You can actually paint with them similar to watercolor paint. You can also mix colors to create your own custom color. Or use it straight out of the tube by touching a wet paint brush or water brush right to the gelatos.
- Packaging technique
Scribble some on plastic packaging material, spritz with water and smooch onto your layout. You’ll get a fun, free form watercolor look on your paper.
- Stamp with it
Color right on your stamp, spritz with water and stamp. You can color various areas of your stamp with different colors that will blend together a bit when stamped giving an ombre effect. Or soften gelatos with water on your craft mat then paint onto your stamp and stamp.
- Over a resist
Create a resist pattern with Goosebumps Texture Spray, embossing powder, or masking fluid, then apply gelatos over it using any of the methods described above. When using masking fluid be careful not to rub too hard or you can rub the masking fluid away loosing your resist pattern. Remember never put a nice brush into wet masking fluid, as it will ruin the brush. Use a toothpick, or inexpensive throw away brush (like the small 10 for $1 watercolor brushes at the dollar store) to apply the masking fluid, or better yet use Masquepen Art Masking Fluid as it comes in a fine line tip bottle.
With any of these methods make sure the resist is totally dry or set with a heat gun before you apply gelatos. If you used Goosebumps Texture Spray or embossing powder, rub the area with a dry paper towel after applying gelatos to remove color from the resist area. If you used masking fluid, rub the masking fluid away after the gelatos are totally dry.
- Make a mist and spritz
Scribble gelatos into a small bowl, add water and stir with a paint brush. Once the pigment is fully dissolved poor the mixture into a small spray bottle and you have your own custom mist. Your can mix multiple colors to make your own custom color.
- Color Art Mediums with Gelatos
Gelatos can be used to color gel medium, modeling paste, and gesso. Simply cut off a bit of gelatos with a palette knife on to your craft mat. Mash it up a bit and add a scoop of the medium you want to color. Mix the medium with a palette knife on your craft mat or a ceramic tile until all the color is blended in. I like my Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knife #12 best for this task.
- To Highlight Dry Embossed Paper
Holding the gelatos perpendicular gently rub over dry embossed paper (paper you have embossed with an embossing folder) catching just the raised area. It really highlights your embossed design.
- With a Stencil
Color gelatos on an area of your paper and smudge the color. Cover with a stencil then use a baby wipe to remove color. The color will be lightened in the areas you rubbed with the baby wipe giving you a great tone on tone effect. If you prep the surface with gesso first, you’ll be able to remove more color getting a higher contrast effect.
Another method is to scribble on an area of your paper, but this time don’t smudge it. Cover with a stencil then smudge the gelatos with a baby wipe through the stencil. This gives you a mix of scribbled and smudged areas.
Surfaces to Use
My favorite surface to use with gelatos is cold pressed watercolor paper, as the texture of the paper is really highlighted by gelatos and cold pressed watercolor paper is a surface made to work with water. Designed to work on porous surfaces, gelatos are great on paper, art canvas, fabric and unfinished wood. I’ve even used them to color cork or chipboard embellishments before adding them to my scrapbook page.
If you prep your surface with gesso first gelatos are much easier to blend and you’ll get a smoother look to your project. Plus if you are using cardstock, a layer of gesso will help the paper withstand water and rubbing. Simply paint a coat of gesso onto your project and allow to dry, or dry it with a heat gun.
Gelatos Supplies and Tools
Here are some supplies you can use when working with gelatos. All products are linked to make them easy for you to find, just click on the photo.