Friday, January 2, 2015

Using my Hoard...Stipple Brushes

Ever since I rediscovered the stipple brushes in my sponge drawer and put them on THE LIST (#34), I've wanted to play with them. Do they work substantially differently from sponges? Are they worth the space they've been taking up in my drawer for so many years? Should I be using them more often?

If you're not sure what a stipple brush is, it's a flat-bristled brush intended for pouncing color through a stencil. Here's a picture of mine:

You'll notice that they have colors scribbled on the handle. I added those years ago (maybe 10 years ago) when I tried to stipple blue with the same brush I'd used for orange and ended up with a very ugly brown, even though I'd washed the brush between colors. I went out and bought 4, color-coded them, and haven't run into any problems since. You'll note that while there is one for yellow/orange, there isn't one for red...stippled red looks like blood, and just ewww.

Of course, it's been at least 8 years since these brushes got a work-out, as best I can remember.

So are they worth my keeping? Short answer: Yes.

Are they worth your going out and buying some if you don't have them? Short answer: Depends.

Today's card won't convince you of their value because the effect I got with a stipple brush wasn't substantially different from what you'd get with a basic--and cheaper--sponge. Instead of pouncing/stippling the brush (dabbing it straight up and down on the paper), I rubbed it in circles across the paper. This, it turned out, isn't a technique that allows the stipple brush to shine.

Here are the supplies I started with.

As you can see, the gradation of light to dark doesn't look substantially different from the effect you could get swirling around a sponge. In fact, a sponge might even have worked better, perhaps giving a stronger color on the bottom...the Hero Hues Ocean color is a very dark, rich blue-green. But my hand got tired from all the swirling while holding the brush, and I eventually gave up. The results were certainly good enough for government work.

The completed card background seemed a little dull, so I ran my clear Wink of Stella brush-pen over it, and also across the spray of water from the whale. The effect was AMAZING!

EEEP!!! This is AWESOME!

This will be a perfect birthday card for a kid, don't you think?

Using-My-Hoard Results
  • Wink of Stella Clear brush/pen: Thumbs up
  • Stipple brush: Meh (a sponge would do this easier and faster)
  • Whale Punch: Thumbs up
Tomorrow, we'll take a look at actual stippling.

stamps: A Muse
ink: Memento black, Hero Arts tide pool and ocean
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: stipple brush, copy paper for mask (cut out is 1.25" x 5", with 1/2" border on three sides), Wink of Stella clear brush


  1. Cute card! I love my stipple brushes (mine are exactly like yours), although I have never used them with a stencil. I use them to achieve an air-brushed effect. And love the idea of using a hoard list; it will help me use supplies that I don't remember that I have... and to get rid of the ones I don't need. And since I'm in the middle of a major down-sizing, that's a very good thing!

    1. Stipple brushes definitely aren't necessary. Glad the list is helpful for you!

  2. Somewhere in my stash I have mini brushes like these - for me not a keeper since I love my sponges :) -- I will have you know I am following my 2015 motto Make It Work and saved $12 yesterday on the project I made :). It will be on my blog next Thursday. I was excited! It's the little things....

  3. Am already loving this challenge of yours. Now to do the same at my house.

  4. LOL, "Government work" - hilarious!
    LOVE your card and the fantastic review of "Stippling" :-)

    1. Thank you for reading closely enough to notice the joke!

  5. In the past all I used were stipple brushes....I have a draw full of them! all sizes and shapes from cheap ones from the kids dept. of the craft store to expensive ones I bought at art continuum years ago. I do like them and use them off and on but I have to admit that since I started using ranger blending tools I don't pull out my stipple brushes as much as I used to. BUT I will keep them.
    stamping sue

  6. I have a few stipple brushes. I like their textured look even using cheap acrylic craft paint with a stencil. It will be fun to see how you use them in the next example. Thanks for today's post with your "meh" results - it's helpful to see what happens like this. You made it into a very nice card though!

  7. I have two stipple brushes and use them occasionally. I like the effect. But I haven't used them with a stencil. I'll have to do that soon.

  8. LOVE this! And I agree with sponging vs the stipple brush. I'll stick with the sponge, or my blending tool.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!