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  • Stefania Boiano

5 of my favourite hardware store tools for abstract mixed media painting

Generally the use of brushes makes the surface and the texture of our painting a bit too obvious. With a brush you are too much in control of what happens between the paint and your surface. In abstract art we want to create marks visually appealing, not only for the viewer but also to surprise ourselves.

As abstract painters we do love to be surprised by what happens on the surface, we love to create accidents and move the paint around until that ‘wow!’ moment. That’s one of the way to keep our inner child engaged, entertained and creatively tickled.

So, next time, instead of going to a fine art materials shop, head to your local DIY store and have fun in choosing some tools you have never used before or pick something with a question in mind: “In how many ways could I use this in my painting practice?“.

It’s a simple exercise useful in 2 ways:

  1. helps you to get out of your comfort zone

  2. stimulates creative excitement

Below, you find my favourite 5 tools.

1. Masking paper roll

Some ideas for creating textures with Masking Paper Rolls:

  1. Removing paint – by rolling it on and lifting it up

  2. Applying painting on a surface – by spreading paint on the paper roll first and then placing it on the painting.

  3. Leaving marks – by applying paint on the paper and then place it on the painting and on the back of the paper scratching and making marks. This way the paint will be transferred on the painting based on the marks you create.

  4. Stamping and mono-printing

2. Combination Spreader Trowel

With the spreader you can have fun making stripes and lines of different thickness on your wet paint.

3. Wallpaper Smoother

Compared to a squeegee this tool is more flexible. Once you spread the paint either directly on the smoother or on the painting it allows you to move the paint around in different ways just by applying more or less pressure on it.

4. Metallic brush

Perfect tool to scratch your surface either when the paint is still wet or when it’s almost dry. On Amazon is a bit expensive, you can find it really cheap in One Pound shops.

5. Sand paper sheets

I always have a few sheets of sand paper of different grits, from fine to coarse. I love to scrape the top layers of paint and make the ones underneath appear back again. The marks you leave on the painting are raw and rough and look naturally aged rather than finely handmade.


Never stop your creativity to what is obvious. Think out of the box to make something which corresponds really to yourself, to your way of being. The more you think independently the more your creativity will spark.

I would love to hear what are your favourite 5 unusual painting tools?


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