Making Acrylic Skins

You can create a thin, transparent acrylic “skin” to use either by itself or as an element in mixed media art.
All you really need is either clear tar gel or self-leveling clear gel. This demonstration uses the latter.


To make a skin, I will cut open a large plastic baggie and place one side (one thickness) on a level surface — preferably something that can be moved out of the way while it dries. I typically use the lid from my airtight paint palette.


Above you can see that I’ve laid out the plastic sheet, poured self leveling clear gel on top of the plastic, added a few drops of paint, and swirled it around a bit. I then let this sit overnight to dry, and after about 12 hours, it is dry to touch but still showing some white, as below.


When it is completely dry — after about 24 hours — you can use the skin as-is or cut it into any shape you desire. You can add it to any artwork, gluing it into place using any of the clear gels (I recommend regular gel gloss), or even stitching it into place.

Here are two pics of the swirled skin, progressively more dry and clear:





You can see in the pic directly above that the gel is completely transparent where no paint was mixed into it. Can you imagine all the ways you can use this in your art?!

However, you can also mix paint more thoroughly into the gel before creating the skin, to achieve an opaque effect. Perhaps the most interesting use of this technique, in my opinion, is mixing it with a glow-in-the-dark paint like Golden heavy body phosphorescent green paint or Speedball glow-in-the-dark acrylic ink. Again, for this demonstration, I have used the latter.

For this little test, I mixed up a bit too much gel, so I made two skins. You can see that I just grabbed a back-stapled canvas to use as my second, larger platform:


Again, I allowed the skins to dry for at least 24 hours before considering them ready to use.
Here are two sets of pics, showing the transparency and the glowing effect of each skin.
(click to view larger)

skinglow1a   skinglow1b


skinglow1c   skinglow1d

Now, I am SURE you can think of some uses for that!
Cut them into any shape you desire, glue them into your mixed media art using clear gel, and enjoy the glow when you turn out the lights!

You can see some of the glow-in-the-dark art I’ve made using various techniques, in my Etsy store, The Glowing Cross.


Here’s the slideshow:

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