Acrylic skins are made with acrylic paint and gel medium. Why not just mix the paint and gel medium on your journal page? Because creating a skin is more versatile. The skin can be cut, stamped, printed, or stenciled. It can be placed where you want it to be, not where it accidentally wound up. It adds an interesting texture and color to your art journal pages.
Here’s how to make your own acrylic/gel skin:
Cut a piece of plastic wrap about 12 inches x 12 inches. Smooth it out on your work space. Put the plastic wrap on a light piece of paper so you can see and control the color mix. Drip several colors of acrylic paint on the plastic wrap. Don’t use tube watercolors, as they aren’t plastic, and right now, you want plastic.
Once you have all the acrylic down the way you want it, pour about the same amount of gel medium over the paints, spreading it around as you pour. This is semi-gloss, so it will be clear, but not have a high shine. If you want a high shine, use gloss. You can also use matte medium, but it has a tendency to be a bit translucent rather than transparent. Don’t dismiss it, it’s quite an interesting effect, particularly when mixed with gloss gels.
Using a palette knife, blend the paint and the gel until you get an interesting mix. Do not over-stir, otherwise you’ll get a muddy color instead of different color blends.
Once you are finished blending, the hard part starts–patience. Before you peel the skin off it has to have cured overnight–and that’s in Phoenix. You may have to wait longer if it’s humid where you live. Peel it off too early, and you won’t get a single piece, but rather rubbery bits. It does need time, so I like doing skins before I go to bed at night. That way, they are ready the next day. I deliberately made this uneven–thinner and thicker places. I think it’s more interesting to play with.
—Quinn McDonald never got over playing with paints.