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All Things Ampersand

Project: Gessobord – Peace, Love, Joy

Prop this festive little Gessobord panel onto your mantel, surround it with greenery, and wait for guests to pepper you with compliments! And be sure to make several to send home with them – it’s an ideal holiday gift, easy to make.

Because the color palette isn’t the traditional red and green, and it features ferns rather than pine branches, this artwork can remain on display year-round. The message of peace, love, and joy resonates just as much in April and September, not just December.

If you prefer the look of Christmas, switch to a holiday palette: Substitute wine red paint for the purple, use red and metallic gold alcohol inks on the words, and die cut pine branches from Peridot Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz instead of Amethyst Gemstone ferns.


  1. Use an almost dry brush to add Warm Penny and Dark Patina Dazzling Metallics acrylic paints to a 6” x 6” Gessobord, keeping most of the color toward the edges. Wipe away some of the paint with a crumpled paper towel, leaving a mottled effect as well as random brush strokes.
  1. Using the Ladders 9” x 12” stencil, stencil narrow Ladders toward the left, wider ladders toward the right, using Brilliant Purple acrylic paint. Apply paint with a brush so it will intentionally pool and crawl beneath the stencil. Go for the look of painted strokes rather than crisp edges.
  1. Add Brilliant Purple to the top and bottom sides of the Gessobord, allowing some of it to extend onto the top surface. Add Warm Penny to the right and left sides of the Gessobord, allowing some of it to extend onto the top surface.

  1. Alter a 3” x 5” piece of Ruby Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz with alcohol inks in shades of purple and brown, using an ink applicator tool to create a dappled effect. Back the piece with clear double-sided adhesive sheet. Die cut the words Peace, Love, and Joy.

Note: A metal adaptor plate or Big Shot Machine with Precision Base Plate is REQUIRED for die cutting Shimmer Sheetz. Review Els van de Burgt’s YouTube tutorial if you are new to this technique. Shimmer Sheetz is placed FACE UP on the metal plate/Precision Base Plate, the die is placed CUTTING SIDE DOWN on top of the Shimmer Sheetz, these layers go inside your machine’s standard die cutting ‘sandwich’.

  1. Die cut two large ferns and one small fern from Amethyst Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz. (No need to back with double-sided adhesive.)
  1. Use tiny snippets of Tombow Xtreme Adhesive Tabs to adhere the spines of the ferns. Trim and position as shown.
  1. Remove the protective backing from the words and adhere them to the panel. Note that part of the fern toward the bottom is tucked below the flourish on the ‘y’ in the word Joy, other parts are just above the flourish. See close-up below:

  1. For a subtle extra touch, use a Clear Glaze dimensional ink pen to add a row 3D dots across the top and bottom of the Gessobord, as well as larger 3D dots scattered around and between the words.

  1. Optional: Tone down some of the sparkle on the Amethyst Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz by very lightly sanding the ferns before adding them to the project. The core of the Shimmer Sheetz is silver and will look antique. That said: I left it sparkly! I love the way Amethyst Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz reflects light and it has the most amazing blue/purple tones on the surface.


  • 6” x 6” Gessobord (Ampersand Art Supply)
  • Paintbrush
  • L378 ‘Ladders’ 9” x 12” stencil by Carolyn Dube (StencilGirl Products)
  • Clear Glaze 3D ink pen (Sakura of America)
  • Shimmer Sheetz in Ruby Gemstone and Amethyst Gemstone (Elizabeth Craft Designs)
  • A Way With Words ‘Peace, Love, Joy’ die set (ECD)
  • Susan’s Garden ‘Ostrich Fern’ die set (ECD)
  • Clear Double Sided Adhesive Sheets (ECD)
  • Dazzling Metallics acrylic paints in Dark Patina and Warm Penny (DecoArt)
  • Americana Acrylics in Brilliant Purple (DecoArt)
  • Tim Holtz Alcohol inks in Currant and Purple Twilight (Ranger)
  • Tim Holtz Ink Applicator Tool (Ranger)
  • Big Shot machine with Precision Base Plate (Sizzix or Stampin’ Up!)

This is part of our on-going series of projects with artist Judi Kauffman. Judi is a nationally known designer, teacher, writer and product developer whose expertise includes collage, stenciling, paper crafting, stamp arts, embroidery, needlepoint, knitting, crochet, weaving and fabric piecing. She has written and produced three videos and is the author of five books. Judi developed and taught college level studio art and graphic design courses for over 40 years, as well as art programs in public and private schools (elementary through high school levels). Judi earned a BFA in printmaking from Cornell University and an MFA in fibers from Antioch University. She credits her parents (both artists) and her grandfathers (a tailor and a blacksmith) for encouraging her to pursue art and for being among her favorite teachers.


2 comments on “Project: Gessobord – Peace, Love, Joy”

  1. Avatar Bibi Lindahl says:

    Oh, such yummy colours!! Looks like a fun mixed media project to make, right up my alley! Love the effect of light sanding on the Shimmer Sheetz. Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. This is wonderful! Love the colours, the dry brush and the pop of shimmer! Glad I bought some Gessobord recently! Love squares. Gotta get the squares next time!

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