top of page

Make Color-Combo Backgrounds with a Brayer

I did an experiment the other day to test out which inks would work best using a brayer.

What is a brayer?

A brayer is a tool that rolls with a handle. It's often used for block printing. But it can be used for a variety of things, such as rolling ink onto paper. Especially when you have a stamp ink pad that includes multiple colors of ink.

Here is one you can get on Amazon:

Let me show you my experiments.

How to use a brayer to make color-combo backgrounds

Here are the other supplies you’ll need:

Mixed media background with a brayer supplies

The first ink I used was the Kaleidacolor brand that was more than likely made for this technique. It is a water soluble dye ink.

To start, you want to put the brayer over all colors of the ink combination and roll the brayer back and forth. But you want to get ink over the whole roller, so you’ll need to lift it off the ink and rotate it a little till the whole roller is covered with color.

How to use a brayer with a dye ink pad

Once its covered in ink, roll it across the watercolor paper.

I cut my watercolor paper before hand to the size of the brayer.

Using a brayer with dye ink pads

I did several passes through with more ink each time.

After I was satisfied with the amount of ink, I misted with water the back of my watercolor paper. Then turned it over and sprayed the front so my colors would blend.

Spraying the back first, keeps the paper from warping up in the middle.

Dye ink pad mixed media background technique

Here is what mine looked like after it dried:

Dye ink color combination

I thought it looked pretty cool, even in the spots the water pooled a little.

And now, to try the other inks.

The next ink I chose to try was from a set I got on Amazon like this:

Pigment inks

It’s more of a pigment based ink - tho I searched through many product info on Amazon and was unable to find out if it is in fact pigment.

After I rolled it onto my paper, I could see that it came off looking a little cakey, with the ink sitting on top of the paper.

Using a brayer with pigment inks

I did it with a few different color combinations. And while it did dissolve a little in the water, the colors did not blend like the dye ink.

Pigment ink backgrounds

They could still be used for backgrounds, however.

The last thing I tried was sticking three mini distress inks together. I wanted to try it with the Tim Holtz distress inks, because I know that they have a cool reaction to water.

Using a brayer with distress inks

But unfortunately, there was too much space between the ink pads so it did not turn out very well.

Distress inks with brayer

Good effort tho, right?

I’m sure we’d all agree that the first ink pad was the best. And so it was that one that I used to make this postcard:

Mixed media art with brayer

Now it’s your turn to go experiment!

See all my mixed media background techniques to check out and try!

Get the supplies on Amazon:

And I always appreciate any shares or pinning 😄!

Brayered ink backgrounds - mixed media technique

Use a brayer to make color-combo backgrounds


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