A brayer is a small rubber roller that is attached to a handle. It was originally used by printers to spread ink over typeface.
Brayers come in various densities: very soft (like foam rubber), soft (actually relatively hard but it gives when you apply pressure to it), and hard (like a car tire). Rubber stampers will find the soft density best suited to their work. They also come in various lengths and it is usually best to use a size that most closely matches the size of your project.
A brayer is most commonly used to create backgrounds. The simplest application is to roll the brayer over an ink pad until it is evenly coated and then roll it over a sheet of paper. You can do this over a single color pad or a multi-color pad and create all the background colors you could ever need.
You can also create multi-colored backgrounds using more than one ink pad. Roll the brayer over the first pad, then roll the brayer over only a portion of your background paper. Clean the brayer (or use another brayer if you have one), then roll it over the second ink pad. Roll the second color over the remaining section of the paper. You can separate the paper into two distinct colors or blend them at the line where they meet for gradual change in color.
Use markers to color directly on the brayer and then roll it over your paper or, if your brayer has a detachable roller (Hunt makes one), wrap rubber bands around the brayer, ink the brayer and then roll it over your project to create wavy lines.
If you have a small stamp that you need to print in reverse, you can. First ink the stamp, then roll the brayer over it, turn the brayer over so the image is now facing the opposite way and then roll the brayer over your project-voila! a reverse image.
You can disperse ink through a piece of cheesecloth to create a pattern. Fist pull a few strands out of a piece of cheesecloth that is larger than your project. Place the cloth over your paper. Then after your brayer is inked, roll it over and over the cheesecloth until the ink is deposited on the paper.
Use a brayer to spread Liquid Applique (a puffable fabric paint) to create a suede-like look or use it to spread glue when layering. The possibilties are endless!