If you’ve been following my series of articles on using Powertex Bister in mixed media art, you might be ready to see some in action. This Powertex Bister planets painting was created for the Powertex UK design team and was published in the online magazine in June. It’s a fun example of how Bister sprays can be used to create interesting effects on a canvas.

This Powertex galaxy canvas is a fun project to try. Use Bister sprays and stencils to create your own style of art or canvas. If Bister sprays are new for you, you may want to read this article first. It’s got the tips you’ll need for getting the most out of your Bister sprays. You can also download my free Quick Guide to Bister.

Powertex planets canvas art by Kore Sage using Blue Powertex and Bister spraysMaterials list

Powertex and Bister sprays

  • Canvas
  • Blue and Ivory Powertex Fabric Hardener
  • Ready Made Bister sprays in Black, Red, Yellow and Green
  • Stiff cardboard to cut your own circular masks
  • Hairdryer

Prepare your canvas and card circles

Prepare the canvas with Powertex

Paint your canvas with Blue Powertex Fabric Hardener. If the Powertex seems too sticky, use a little water. While it’s drying, cut your circle masks. Draw around plates or lids and carefully cut out. Keep both parts of the card for later.

Spray the background

Spray with Black Bister

Arrange your circular masks where you want your planets. Darken the background with Black Bister Spray. Vary the amount around the canvas. Leave this to dry naturally.

Paint the planets

Use Stencils to apply circles of Ivory Powertex

Swap the mask for the stencil on a planet and paint the circle with a layer of Ivory Powertex, not too thin. You need the Powertex to stay wet for the next step. Do one planet at a time.

Spray the Bister

Spray with Bister

While the Powertex is still wet, leave the stencil in place and spray generously with Bister in your chosen colour. See how the Powertex layer is uneven underneath the Bister. This is good! Notice I’ve protected the canvas with card but it’s not essential.

Create the Bister crackles

Powertex Bister crackles

To create your Powertex Bister planets, heat the Bister with a hairdryer until cracks start to form in the surface. Note that a heatgun or tool can be too hot for this.

Repeat these steps for all your planets. The planets you’ve painted will stay wet for sometime. Don’t be tempted to heat them again. Avoid laying your stencils on top of the wet planets, they will stick. Instead hold paper upright to protect your canvas while you spray.

When you’ve painted all your planets, leave it to dry naturally. This may take a few hours if your Powertex layers are thick.

Starry night

Powertex stars

To add the stars I used a splatter of Ivory Powertex. Put half a teaspoon of Ivory on a plate and a little water. Use a very wet paintbrush to splatter it across the surface for stars. I had a practice on paper first with a flat brush!

Finishing touches
Powertex planets with Bister, Art by Kore Sage

Powertex and Bister planet art by Kore Sage

One of my planets had smeared a lot when I removed the stencil. I tidied it up with a bit of Blue Powertex and Black Bister when it was dry. The blue Powertex coming through the Black Bister looks even better than I expected!

Top tips for Powertex Bister planets

Each planet will take a while to dry so be careful when masking the rest of your canvas. I used a piece of printer paper held near my planets while I sprayed them.

To add dimension, use more than one colour of Bister on a planet to give it a darker side. Try Easy Structure paste or 3d balls to add texture before you use the Ivory Powertex.

It’s worth pointing out again that Bister is not permanent. If I get this wet, the Bister will react. To preserve the finish, I can spray this with a varnish. I use a Winsor and Newton brand that’s easy to find where I am.

I also have an article on using Powertex Bister granules which gives different techniques and effects. My Quick Guide to Bister is a free digital download with the basics all in one place.