I like my images to have a place to sit so I often sponge a little ground for them.
A cute image already colored - I used the cake from Birthday Best
Ink – a lighter and darker version of the same color
Sponges – my favorite are cosmetic sponges. I write the name of the color on them so I can use them over and over.
A mask of your image (just stamp the image on a sticky note and cut out)
Place your mask on top of your colored image. When I made this mask, I positioned the image so that the sticky part would be on the bottom of my cake as that is where I will be sponging. To save time, I didn’t bother to cut the top of the cake out on the mask. I won’t be doing anything to that area.
Place a full sticky note across the piece to mark where your ground will be. Notice that I line the edge of my sticky note up with the edge of my piece on the left side. This will ensure that I’ll have my ground line level. If your image is wider than 1 sticky note, just stick 2 of them together! How high up on the piece should your ground be? I never go more than 1/3 of the way up. I also like to go up just a little higher than the widest point of the image. I’ll show you what happens if you place this wrong in just a minute.
Now, I find that it is easier for me to pull my sponge upward rather than downward so I simply spin my piece upside down. I start with the lighter color of ink. I dab my sponge onto the ink pad a couple times. Then starting COMPLETELY ON THE STICKY NOTE (not on your piece) I place the sponge down and push it straight up to the edge of the piece. I do not go move up and down – only up. Ink your sponge and repeat this motion as you gradually move across your piece from one side to the other. By always starting completely on the sticky note, you prevent any dark blobs of color or leaving the shape of your sponge on your piece. I will have more ink on my sticky than on my piece! By always moving upward (not up and down) you get that nice fade of ink as your sponge begins to run out of ink as you get close to that upper edge.
Now I move to the darker color of ink. I repeat the same steps except that I start a little further down my sticky note and lift my sponge before I get to the end of my piece. I want to keep the darker ink close to the sticky note and not cover up all of my lighter ink.
Remove your sticky note masks and your piece is ready to be placed on your project.
What happens if you do not place your ground in the right spot? In this picture you will see that the ground is placed too low. This makes the cake look like it is floating above the ground. Ug!
In this piece, the ground was placed too high (almost cutting the piece in half!). The ground swallows up the cake and doesn’t allow it to really stand out. Yuck!
And here is my finished piece on my project. I hope you’ll give this technique a try. Consider using green inks for a grassy area or blue inks for water. Enjoy!