7 Mixed Media Background Ideas for Your Art

Are you looking for a way to create an interesting background for your mixed media art? First you need to decide on your overall theme. Do you want a natural, rustic look or does your art need a bright, colorful background? Here are some ideas.

Corrugated cardboard. You can add a wonderful, natural look to your art by using corrugated cardboard. Remove some of the paper from the cardboard so that the corrugated lines can be seen. This is a good way to recycle some of that cardboard you’ve been saving.

Old textbook or songbook pages. You can find old books at library sales, garage sales and in second hand stores very inexpensively. The pages can be torn, sanded, tea stained, painted with watercolors and used to create wonderful backgrounds.

Textured fabric. I like to use fabrics such as burlap, denim or muslin to add texture to my mixed media backgrounds.

Modeling paste. You can create lots of cool, dimensional textures for your art by using modeling paste and stencils or other items such as plastic mesh. If you don’t want to buy the paste, you can make your own. There are a variety of modeling paste recipes online.

Paper napkins. Paper napkins are available in a wide array of patterns, designs and colors and offer an inexpensive way to decorate almost any surface. You can decoupage the whole napkin onto your background or cut out certain parts to enhance or act as a focal point in your art.

Crackle technique. This is a good technique to use when you want to add an aged, weathered effect to your art. The basic idea is to apply paint to your surface and after it’s dry, put on a coat of white glue or crackling medium and cover it with a paint that contrasts the color of the first layer.

Aluminum foil. Add texture to foil by wrinkling it and then smoothing it out with your hand. It can be colored with alcohol ink, nail polish or indelible markers.

Shelf liner. I like to buy shelf liner from the dollar store to use as backgrounds in my art. Often I’ll spray paint it before I use it. Note: I usually do my spray painting on newspaper which leaves behind a beautiful design that can be used as a background in other projects.

There is no shortage of materials you can use to create your mixed media backgrounds. Decide what type of art you will be creating and choose colors and textures that will complement your finished piece.