top of page

A Fresh Twist on Stamping: Unveiling Acrylic Paint Subtraction Techniques

In today's tutorial, I'm flipping the script. Instead of using stamps to add color, we'll use them to lift wet acrylic paint from paper, unveiling unexpected patterns and designs.

It's an easy yet eye-catching technique that adds depth and intrigue to your artwork. Ready to give it a try?

Let's get started!

Subtractive stamping for mixed media and paper art step by step tutorial

The materials you’ll need:

First, I’ll tell you how I had difficulties.

In order for the technique to work - the stamp picking up the paint - you need to thin your craft paint a little. Water doesn’t work because it dries too fast, and the regular gel medium is too thick. But I found a winner with gloss Mod Podge.

The first step is to paint your paper a background color. Choose something either on the darker side or the lighter side.

Always start with a layer of paint to do the subtractive stamping technique

Cover the whole piece or page.

Start with a coat of craft paint to start this background technique

Let that dry.

Once it has dried, choose a color contrasting with the first color. So if you painted your page light, now choose a dark color.

Mix your chosen color with some gloss Mod Podge. I used equal amounts of both.

Use a mix of gloss mod Podge and craft paint to thin the paint for use with background techniques

Now, get your stamp ready To be used quickly after this next step.

Using your Mod Podge/paint mix, completely paint over your background color. Do this somewhat fast.

Add a second layer of paint to do the subtractive stamping technique

After your page is covered with the new color and while still wet, stamp it with your clean background stamp.

Press your stamp into wet paint do to the subtractive stamping technique

If your page is as big as mine, you’ll have to lift the stamp, stamp the excess paint on something else, and then stamp it again next to your original spot. Continue to do this until the page has been stamped evenly - or however, you decide you want to do it. You might just want to use one image stamp vs. background stamps, and that’s your call. Anything works.

‘But your page should now look something like this:

Find out how to do this subtractive stamping background technique

Here are a couple more I made:

You can do this subtractive stamping technique

An example of subtractive stamping background technique

And there you have it!

You also might be wondering...

How do I clean my stamps after using them with wet acrylic paint?

Cleaning your stamps promptly after using them with acrylic paint is crucial. Use a wet cloth or baby wipe to gently rub off the paint. If the paint has dried a bit, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush under lukewarm water. Always avoid using hot water as it can cause some stamps to lose their shape. Once clean, let the stamps air dry.

And to see another tutorial on how to reveal hidden colors, make sure you check out the Background Technique Using Rubbing Alcohol.

And for more backgrounds that use stamps, check out these:

Get the supplies for this tutorial on Amazon:

Subtractive stamping - a mixed media technique
Subtractive stamping for mixed media

Subtractive stamping - a background technique


Subscribe to My Website. I let you know when new projects posted 😁

Thanks for subscribing!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites


My recent posts:

bottom of page