Printmaking Techniques: Why You Should Use a Brayer

In the following post about printmaking techniques by Cate Prato, you’ll learn why you should be “all about that brayer.”
A rubber brayer like this one is good for inking stamps,” Cate says. “Create custom stamps by spreading modeling paste through a stencil. Then spread paint on the stamp with a brayer.” Art by Carolyn Dube

Spread the Stamping Love with Brayers by Cate Prato

Q: What is a brayer?
A: A brayer is a multipurpose tool that looks similar to a paint roller. Using a brayer insures consistent results when inking, gluing, printing, and painting.

Q: What kinds of brayers exist?
• Hard rubber brayers are perfect for embossing, inking stamps, and gluing.
• Soft rubber brayers are ideal for inking stamps or to lay ink onto paper directly from your inkpad.
• Acrylic brayers are rigid. They can be used to smooth glued papers without damaging the roller, and they are good for spreading a thin layer of paint. Elastic bands or other elements can be wrapped or adhered to the roller to create texture without distorting the roller. Acrylic brayers easily wipe clean after use.
• Sponge brayers soak up a lot of paint, but they are inexpensive and a good tool to use for filling in large areas. This is the roller to use to brayer over mesh or stencils, as the foam will allow the ink to reach the paper.

Q: What are the benefits of using a brayer?
According to mixed-media artist Carolyn Dube, using a brayer is a quick and easy way to get paint onto your plate or substrate for the following reasons:
1. It evenly applies paint. This is very important when creating fine patterns or details in acrylic paint that you want to have standout.
2. It applies paint quickly, even to larger areas. Speed is important when you are trying to make a print before the paint dries.
3. Clean-up is quick and easy. Simply roll the brayer on scrap paper to remove wet paint. One brayer can be used over and over in different colors without making mud.

Brayers can be used anywhere you want to spread paint or ink over large areas (such as a gelatin plate) or tools (such as art stamps). Carolyn uses a rubber brayer to spread paint on the custom made stamps she creates using stencils and modeling paste. This fun and easy process yields gorgeous results–and the stamps you make become works of art in themselves.~Cate

Carolyn is featured in four brand new DVDs that are part of the Art Journaling Adventures with Carolyn Dube collection. The mixed-media video workshops are:
• Junk Journal Workshop: Unexpected Materials for Handmade Journals
• Fix It Fabulous! Improve Your Mixed Media Collage
• Breaking the Rules! Beyond Stenciling Techniques
• Breaking the Rules! Inventive Uses for Supplies and Materials

In the collection you’ll also score a vintage typewriter alphabet stencil, an “Are We There Yet” stencil, and 12 sheets of Dura-Lar.

Bringing brayers back,



Sign up for the Cloth Paper Scissors newsletter and get a free download on printmaking techniques.


Blog, Mixed-Media Supplies, Printmaking


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.