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Tools for Texture

TOOLS FOR TEXTURE

Textures from left to right: Golden Heavy Body using a cake decorating tool, Heavy Body with Molding Paste using a handmade burlap wand, Williamsburg with Wax Medium using a flat scraper, and Williamsburg using a wire brush. (NOTE: Once used as painting tools, kitchen utensils should not be returned to the kitchen for use with food.)

Tools for creating texture in painting can be found at any art or craft supply store. Many artists find alternative uses for tools that are not originally intended for art-making. Some artists even make their own!

Historically artists made tools from feathers, bone, hair, twine, plant fibers, metals, and so on. Each tool was designed to optimize the desired result.

In this demonstration we will explore the effects of various conventional and unconventional tools and the unique textural marks they make with Heavy Body Acrylic, Heavy Body Acrylic mixed with Molding Paste, Williamsburg Oil and Williamsburg Oil mixed with Wax Medium.

We’d love to know what unconventional tools you use in the studio. Please share in the comments below this post!

Notice how the differences in texture are not only determined by the tool, but also by the media. Williamsburg Oils are inherently stiffer than Golden Heavy Body acrylics and will retain ridges. Heavy Body will increase in stiffness with the addition of a medium like Molding Paste and oils soften in Wax Medium.

Bristle Brush Tool Marks

Using Heavy Body

Using Williamsburg

Heavy Body + Molding Paste

Williamsburg + Wax Medium

Palette Knife Tool Marks

Using Heavy Body

Using Williamsburg

Heavy Body + Molding Paste

Williamsburg + Wax Medium

Plastic Card or Scraper Tool Marks

Using Heavy Body

Using Williamsburg

Heavy Body + Molding Paste

Williamsburg + Wax Medium

Silicone Spatula Tool Marks

Using Heavy Body

Using Williamsburg

Heavy Body + Molding Paste

Williamsburg + Wax Medium

NOTE: Once used as painting tools, kitchen utensils should not be returned to the kitchen for use with food.

Handmade Tools - Bundle of Bamboo Skewers Marks

Using Heavy Body

Using Williamsburg

Heavy Body + Molding Paste

Williamsburg + Wax Medium

Here are some other unconventional tool suggestions:

  • Plaster tools
  • Food and cake spatulas or cake icing knife
  • Hair picks and hair combs
  • Dried plat materials, dead flowers branches
  • Pocket knife
  • String or ribbon
  • Yucca fiber
  • Credit cards, old hotel keys, AARP cards
  • Back brushes
  • Rubber stamps
  • Medical gauze
  • Corn cobs
  • Knitting needles
  • Squeegee
  • Chop sticks
  • Dish scrubbers and sponges
  • Found fibers, mesh, lace etc.

NOTE: Once used as painting tools, kitchen utensils should not be returned to the kitchen for use with food.

5 Responses to Tools for Texture

  1. Hugh Myers December 17, 2019 at 11:34 am #

    Fingers. I use my fingers/hand to spread my paint. I’m not looking for texture so much as the control direct contact gives me. If you think oil is a better media for color gradient and the like, try fingers with acrylic.

    • Scott Bennett December 18, 2019 at 3:07 pm #

      Hi Hugh,

      While we know that artists will use their hands and fingers from time to time for applying paint, this is not something that we can recommend, as long term exposure of the ingredients in paints of all kinds, can increase potential for physical reactions. While our products are generally considered “non-toxic” this refers to the products being used “as intended” and not with any “excessive skin contact”. Here is more information for you: https://www.goldenpaints.com/healthsafety_health_index

  2. Rona Foster December 17, 2019 at 8:11 pm #

    Tools I use for texture: Rubber pointed ceramic and painting tools, Rubberized shelving, Metal screens, Corrugated cardboard, Bubble wrap, Combs,

    • Scott Fischer December 18, 2019 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks for sharing Rona, these sound like some great options for artists!

      Best,
      Scott

  3. Ronda Palazzari December 23, 2019 at 12:48 am #

    Straw brooms. Either bunched together or individual strands.

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