Sunday, 30 June 2013


Whilst browsing Pinterest one day recently, I came across some artwork that I really liked. Diffuse, mystical backgrounds, to which various elements had been added. I followed the links to see how it was done, and thus discovered Citrasolv art. It involved using a cleaning solvent (Citrasolv) to break up the inks in a printed picture, giving amazing effects!

Here's the Citrasolv website, where you'll find lots of info and examples.  

I couldn't wait to try it! The only problem was I didn't have any Citrasolv! It is, of course, an American product. Anyway, back in about 1995 while visiting the USA, I bought some stuff called Goo Gone. Like Citrasolv it is a citrus based cleaner, albeit made with petroleum distillates, which Citrasolv doesn't have. My American host was using some to get rid of the sticky mess left by labels when you try to get them off, and because at that time I had never found anything here which would do that easily, I bought some to bring home.
I didn't know whether Goo Gone would work in the same way as Citrasolv, but decided it was worth a try. I had about a third of the bottle left (been using it very sparingly!) First I tried it with an old magazine, but nothing happened. The inks didn't shift at all. Apparently many of the artists on the website use National Geographic mags, something to do with the type of ink and the fact that the photo pages are clay coated. So I scrounged a couple of old copies from my daughter.
They worked a treat! The Goo Gone produced some great papers, which I then scanned on the computer. Just wish I'd thought to scan the original photos too before I altered them, to compare. I'll remember next time! Since you'll never get the same result twice, it makes sense to scan your original altered pic, which you can then keep, and use a printed copy in your project. Once you've got your printed copy, you can then enhance it however you wish.

These are a few of the best results. 

And here's a card I made with the first one. I used my graphics programme to add the butterfly (one of my own photos) , and stamped the sentiment (by The Craft's Meow).

To the second paper I added a stamped fairy, some leaves hanging down from the top (both Lavinia Stamps) and some tiny butterflies (The Craft's Meow). I used a fine drawing pen to turn some of the blobs into flowers, and enhanced some of the elements, including the fairy's wings, with glitter glue.

Knowing I would want to do more, (and by then having only a few drops of my precious Goo Gone left!) I went online to see if I could get hold of some Citrasolv. Found it on Am*z*n, and ordered some forthwith. 

There's a very good YouTube video by Cathy Taylor, one of the artists profiled on the Citrasolv website. Once you find that one, which is a good one for the basic instructions, it will then lead you to others. 

I haven't yet had time to try it with the Citrasolv, but I have high hopes for it! And if it doesn''t work, at least I have a replacement for the Goo Gone! 


mamapez5 said...

This is facinating Lynne, and I just love your fairy pic. Goo Gone is amazing stuff and I have bought it in UK. Lakelands (plastics) do their own version too, which seems identical. I won'r be able to import a solvent to Spain, so I will have to see what is available here.
Now I am off to find out how it is done! Thank you for yet another inspiration to move me on to something different. Kate x

brenda said...

Having seen the fairy card first hand Lynne I can confirm that the background is absolutely amazing.

The technique is definitely on my to-do list.

Hope you have a good Sunday.

B x

Sally H said...

Wow, Lynne! These look amazing! I will definitely be giving it a go if I can get the stuff. I might try the lakeland brand to see if it works, as we have a shop here.

Laine said...

Wow, stunning work Lynne. Really fabulous creations.

Jean Straw said...

This looks like great fun and I love the beautiful cards you have made.
Jean x

craftimamma said...

Oooh, these are gorgeous Lynne. What stunning backgrounds and love the cards you made from them. Thanks for sharing as I had never heard of the technique or the product.

Lesley Xx

Izzwizz said...

I remember coming across this technique last year and hunting around for citrasolv without success, so well done on using your goo-gone and also for finding a stockist on Amazon! Love that mystical cave look with the stamped fairy. Fabulous effects, thanks for sharing. Maddy x

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