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Posted by on Aug 24, 2010 in Cardmaking 201, Stars and Stamps, Tutorial | 12 comments

Tutorial – Brayer Basics

Tutorial – Brayer Basics

Today’s tutorial comes to us thanks to Donna of Donna Inks. Donna is a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator and recently attended a brayering workshop with Michelle Zindorf.

A brayer is like a paint roller for ink. It spreads the ink to give a smooth look and blends colors for a variety of visual effects.

This past weekend, Donna, Julie and I “got away” to a cabin at a local state park for girl time and “Stamp Camp.” Donna shared some brayering tips with us and I was able to capture two of her creations in progress on my video camera.

In this first card, the background is brayered with three different blues. The lightest covers the entire page. The medium goes a little more than half-way down, and the darkest is just used on the top fourth or so.

Basic Tips

  1. Use good quality smooth paper, like Stampin’ Up!’s Whisper White. Georgia Pacific paper will not give as good a result.
  2. Start with the lightest color ink.
  3. Use a wide stamp pad to get an even distribution of ink. You will get lines if your pad is too small and the ink is not evenly distributed.
  4. Use only dye or classic ink. Craft or pigment ink will sit on top of the paper and won’t seep into the paper.
  5. You need more ink than you think. If you think you have enough ink on your brayer, add some more.
  6. Ink your brayer in one direction. Don’t roll it back and forth on the ink pad. You want to get an even distribution of ink on the entire roller, all the way around, without any bare spots.
  7. Use a steady medium pressure – not too hard or too light.
  8. Start rolling off your page to avoid making dark lines.
  9. If you do end up with a line – don’t worry. Use more ink and blend it in.
  10. Make long steady strokes, rolling across and off the paper on both top an bottom.
  11. Always store your brayer with the rubber side up, to preserve the round shape and keep it from warping.


On this card, Donna used a circle of cardstock to mask the sun, then brayered Summer Sun (yellow) about half-way down. The second color is Pumpkin Pie (orange), then the darkest color is Cherry Cobbler just at the top. The grass was stamped then filled using direct to paper and sponging. The sun was sponged with the yellow and the bird was stamped in black as a silhouette.

Here’s a video showing Donna making these two beautiful sample cards. It’s easier to see the brayer process on video than with still photos.

Brayer Basics from Kate Mrdja on Vimeo.

Thanks again to Donna for today’s tutorial! Please let her know how in a comment you liked the demonstration. 


  1. love that sunset card! beautiful colors and everything! is there a specific name for the roller? i think this would be one technique i would like to try 🙂

  2. The roller is called a brayer.

  3. That particular brayer is a Speedball brand brayer, but there's nothing special about it, any brand would work.

  4. This is a beautiful technique and your video was really helpful!!

  5. Cool idea! I linked to your helpful tutorial from today's scrapbook news article at 🙂

  6. I need to buy some Glossy Paper, so that I can try this again. I have all the other supplies and it's be fun to break it out.

    The cards you are all making are fabulous!!

  7. Ladies, don’t be fooled . This fantastic Brayer will save you time and mistakes. I use it when folding cardstock for a card, Brayer the folded edge. When applying a glued or double sided taped piece on the card I Brayer it. You will find other ways to use this tool. You will be happy because it saves your cards from fingerprints!

  8. Do you evenly ink the whole brayer? I would think the edge of colour would really show up then whereas on your card it looks like it fades.

  9. I am going to try that. You explained the process well and made it sound easy.

  10. Only thing I would do different is to brayer the yellow first layer, then put on the mask for the sun before doing the rest. Then you won’t have to sponge the sun.

  11. Beautiful cards. Just starting into this art so this looks like I could handle it. Great tutorial.


  12. You make it look so easy! I am going to my stamping room right now to try it. I have tried to get this look with spongs. It never comes out like I want it to, so many thanks.

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