Joseph’s Coat Technique uses clear embossing over a bright background to reveal these colours when a dark colour is applied over the top. My friend Steph and I explored this technique on one of our ‘play dates’. There are lots of YouTube videos on the technique that you can watch. They all start with applying coloured ink to a piece of cardstock, whether by using a brayer or applicator. It doesn’t really matter how you do this first stage, the idea is to create a background using clear bright colours to use as a starting point. We used my Tim Holtz Distress Stain Dabbers to spread colour on our cardstock. You can simply create a range of different colour combinations without any idea of what stamped images you might apply later or you can plan ahead to make sure you have certain colours appearing in strategic places on the card to match with your desired image that will be applied.
The second stage involves stamping onto the coloured cardstock using a clear embossing ink, covering it with clear embossing powder and then heat setting it using a heat gun. Most of the instructions I saw advised you to use stamps with a solid image for the best results, but we got some good results using outline and detail stamps as well (as long as the detail isn’t too fine).
The third stage requires you to take a leap of faith and apply a dark coloured ink over the top of everything on your cardstock. Some people just rubbed an ink pad over the top, we used a sponge applicator to gently apply the ink in a circular motion over the top. Then you use a paper towel to wipe the dark ink off the embossed image to reveal the bright colours underneath. It really is quite stunning to see the detail and colour being revealed. I found that the Distress Ink colours Black Soot, Ground Espresso, Chipped Sapphire and Pine Needles worked well.
I found that it took a while to get into the technique but then I really got onto a roll and was creating all sorts of different colour combinations for backgrounds, with lots of different stamps spread all over the room. Just go with the flow and create a whole lot of images that you can work out how to turn into cards later.
Here are some of the backgrounds and images I created, showing the coloured background with the clear embossed image next to the version with the dark colour over the top.
You really can’t go wrong with the technique because there aren’t any rules, but some things I found useful to note were that:
- darker colours on the initial backgrounds can cause a ‘blackout’ area on the final image – stick with lighter colours
- finer detail stamps can work but make sure there is enough space between the details for the dark ink to penetrate
- remember that you will be seeing the colour on the lines not in the space in between. It likely won’t really matter but for example I was picturing a butterfly with blue colour between the lines rather than the ‘blue-lined’ butterfly that I ended up with.
- be careful not to move the stamp or you will get ‘ghosting’ and unwanted lines or spots on your embossed image; also use an ’embossing buddy’ to wipe the card before stamping to avoid extra embossing powder sticking. You can sometime rescue your image by cutting it out.
- metallic inks have different properties to the transparent stains/inks so it may be better to avoid these
And here are some of my finished cards: