Have You Tried the Subtractive Stamping Technique?

I’m not going to lie. I found this technique difficult to get right. In fact, it took me 3 or 4 tries using various combinations of paint and mediums for it to finally work out how I wanted.


So what are we doing?

We will be using a stamp backwards, so to speak. We’ll be using it to pick up paint vs. using it to add an image.


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 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, choose a color contrasting to the first color. So if you painted your page a light color, 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, paint over your background color completely. 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. Obviously, 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!


Have fun with these and for more backgrounds that use stamps, check out these:



Get these supplies on Amazon:






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

Subtractive stamping - a background technique



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