You all know me well enough by now to recognize that I don't normally play around with many techniques that have messy reputations, but embossing paste is one of those mediums that has intrigued me enough to purchase a few jars to play with... And, it's always good to try something new, right? :)
Embossing paste actually turned out to be less messy than I anticipated when I planned ahead! Yay!!!
Since I knew I needed to work quickly with the pastes, I decided to accompany this article with video, instead of stopping mid-stream to try to shoot step-out photos of the process. Be sure to switch to 720p for best viewing quality. More text and still-shots are below the video.
NOTE: Since this article and video were created, Dreamweaver Embossing Pastes have been added to the webstore to help with availability; these pastes work the same way and have the same consistency as the Studio 490 pastes featured in this article/tutorial.
Here are some pre-planning tips:
- Protect your work surface with a non-stick craft sheet
- Keep a roll of removable tape handy for anchoring masks and stencils down firmly all around
- Have a pan of warm soapy water prepared and sitting nearby so you can drop dirty tools and stencils into it immediately after use. It will be easy to scrub them clean later on; otherwise hardened/dried on paste is very difficult to clean off
- Paper towels and baby wipes are also helpful for quick clean up while working
- Because the paste starts to set up and begin drying quickly, be prepared to also work fairly quickly and not spend too much time overworking the paste
- Palette knife
- Embossing pastes
- Masks, stencils or templates; those with smaller or more diminutive designs and patterns tend to be easiest to work with--in other words, if there's a lot of open negative space, it's a lot harder to get an even, smooth fill
- Card stock or other surfaces where texture and dimension is desired, i.e. stretched canvas, or a wooden frame, etc.
- Work on a flat surface for best results
- Position a mask over project and anchor into place along the perimeter using removable tape; it helps to lay the tape strips down in a clock-wise (or counter clock-wise) order and then, when you're finished applying the paste, to remove them in the opposite order. The last piece of tape acts as a hinge so you can carefully lift up the stencil and avoid smearing or disturbing the wet paste
- Use the back side of the palette knife to scoop up some paste and apply to project in the same way that you would frost a cake, spreading and flattening the paste across the surface to fill in the stencil design
- You can angle the knife to level the paste and squeegee the excess off and away from the stencil, taking care not to actually remove paste from the filled in areas
- When your design is complete, begin removing the tape carefully (see step 2), until you get to the last piece. Lift the stencil up and away, along with the last piece of tape
- Set project aside to air-dry; depending on thickness applied this could be 25 minutes +/-
- You can speed up the drying process with a heat tool, however applying the heat too strongly/closely can cause the paste to bubble (which may or may not be a desired result)
Embossing pastes are formulated to provide different finished results and you can choose the paste according to the desired finish:
Studio 490 White: Opaque (more or less, depending on thickness applied), textured finish; feels somewhat "spongey", as opposed to rock hard.
Can be custom tinted by placing a dollop of paste onto a separate surface, i.e. a small paper plate, and adding droplet or two of alcohol ink, acrylic paint, or pigment powders such as Perfect Pearls. Can also be colored directly on after an application fo the paste has dried by painting with Distress Paints, etc.
Studio 490 Black: Opaque, textured finish; feels somewhat "spongey", as opposed to rock hard
Studio 490 Translucent: Clear, hard, glossy/glass-like finish; can be used for resist effects with watercolor mediums
Viva Decor Ferro Metal Effect Paint: Hard, fine grit finish with metallic glint/shimmer (this dimensional paint works just like an embossing paste). When dried, this paste is quite thick and very hard; you may want to pre-trim your panel beforehand to the desired size, rather than trying to cut through it.
I found embossing paste quite fun and very easy to use, and although I'm not a mixed media artist myself, I think it's a fantastic and versatile way to add interesting texture to my card designs!
Here are a few finished cards I made after playing with the embossing pastes:
•Thanks Ever So Much•
I hope the finished cards spark some ideas for you when it comes to using this fun textural medium!
Mama Elphant Water Blooms Clear Stamp Set (Congratulations, Thanks ever so much)
My Favorite Things Gift Card Greetings Clear Stamp Set (Chevron/Congrats!)
Delicata Golden Glitz Ink (Congratulations)
Woodgrain Washi/Decorative Tape (Presh by My Mind's Eye) (Thanks ever so much)
Studio Calico Wood Veneer Butterflies (Thanks ever so much)
Memento Espresso Truffle Ink (Thanks ever so much)