How to Add Texture to Art Prints

I prefer the look of original paintings, but can’t always afford the price tag. I’ve been looking for a way to make one of my inexpensive prints look more heavily textured.


geranium pic before

A pretty picture; it was just a little “flat” on the surface.

I know this is probably sacrilege to some of you fine artists out there, but it’s just one painting (for now) and in no way could take the place of a real painting done by hand. But I’m a decorative artist, not a fine artist. Well, maybe I’m a little fine. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one! Aaannyway, I came across something called gel medium and decided to give it a try. I believe it’s normally used to give extra body to acrylic paints. I chose Extra Heavy Gel Medium (Gloss) by Golden. I bought it online through Ultrecht, but I know they carry it in other arts and crafts supply stores, too.

Now don’t go trying this on something with real monetary or sentimental value! I chose a framed print that I’d had for a long time. I liked the picture, but wished it looked less “factory-made”.

I went to Michael’s and picked out a plastic palette knife and a larger brush designed for acrylic paints. There are many shapes and sizes of palette knives that can be used for different effects. I applied the gel medium with a couple of different sizes of brushes based on the brush strokes I could see in the print. I also used the palette knife to smooth some of the petals and give a little bit of a raised edge in places.

geranium pic during

 It looks white when you apply it, but turns translucent and shiny when it’s dry. I let that layer dry and then went back in to get the places that I missed and to add a little more texture in areas. Then, after the 2nd layer dried, I went back over the whole thing with the larger brush just to blend it together. I actually practiced some strokes with a brush and with the palette knife on a little garage sale painting I was intending to throw out. It turned out so cute, I decided to keep that one, too! I would caution you to start out with light layers. There are a couple of areas on mine that are a little thicker than others. You can always add more, but once it’s dried, it’s there to stay.

geranium pic after close up

I had to take this photo with a light shining from the side in order for the texture to show up on my camera.

Overall, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. It just gave my cheap (but cute) painting a little oomph.

I wonder what it would look like with the semi-gloss gel medium? Does anyone else have a product they like for this sort of application?


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  1. Great idea! It makes the painting “pop” and look more expensive. I can’t wait to try it!

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