Add texture and interest to a scrapbook layout with modeling paste.


Here are some modeling paste tips and techniques that will help you add texture and interest to your scrapbook layouts, mini albums or any paper crafting project.

Mixed Media Scrapbook Page

Read about this layout by clicking here.

Gelato and Modeling Paste Scrapbook Layout

Read about this layout by clicking here.

What is Modeling Paste?

Modeling paste is gel medium with marble dust or other filler added to create a white opaque medium.  It creates an opaque texture on a variety of surfaces including paper. Modeling paste goes by a lot of different names; molding paste, embossing paste and texture paste to name a few.  It’s all basically the same stuff.

There are a few different variations of modeling paste available from art supply manufactures.  Here are some made by Liquitex:

  • Modeling Paste (Regular): This extra heavy body and very opaque paste is used to build heavy textures on rigid surfaces.  It dries to the hardness of stone and can be sanded or carved when dry.

This one is best on rigid surfaces. Paper is flexible, so not the best option for scrapbook layouts.

  • Flexible Modeling Paste: This slower drying modeling paste dries to a hard, flexible surface.

A possibility, but this might weight a bit too much for your scrapbook layout.

  • Light Modeling Paste: This modeling paste is lightweight and flexible. White, low-density filler has replaced the traditional marble dust in this paste making it light weight. It has a consistency similar to cake frosting and holds a shape well.

Did you say bingo when reading the light modeling paste description!  It’s both flexible and light weight, exactly what we need when working on a scrapbook layout.  The Liquitex Light Modeling Paste is what I use on my layouts.

How to Apply Modeling Paste

When applying through a stencil I like to use a palette knife. My favorite for this task is my Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knife #23. This palette knife is a bit more rigid than other styles and I love the long flat edge for applying and smoothing modeling paste through a stencil.  If you don’t have a palette knife you can use an old gift card or scrap piece of chipboard.

If I’m creating a free form shape, then I like to use my Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knife #12. It has a smaller pointed head which I find useful for making shapes and drawing lines in the paste. You can use the back of a paint brush or an old butter knife if you don’t have a small pointed palette knife.

Heating modeling paste with a heat gum will cause it to bubble and loose it’s shape a bit.  Depending on your desired outcome, this may not be an issue. For this layout I am simply adding texture to the background, so heating it with a heat gun wasn’t an issue.  If you are trying to capture a specific shape, then it’s best to set it aside to dry on its own.

How to Color Modeling Paste

In the art world modeling paste comes only in white, but in the scrapbook world manufactures market a rainbow of colors. Personally I only purchase white artist quality Liquitex Light Modeling Paste.  If I want colored modeling paste I either color over it after it’s applied and dry, or I mix pigment into it to create the color and quantity I need.

Once applied and fully dry, you can paint over modeling paste with acrylic paint, watercolor, pastels, ink, markers, gelatos….  Pretty much anything can be used to color dried modeling paste.

You can also add color to the paste prior to applying it to your layout. Scoop out a bit onto a ceramic tile or craft mat, and mix in pigment to color it.  You can color modeling paste with acrylic paint, watercolor tube paint, gelatos, ink, pastels, reinker,…. pretty much any pigment will work. If you add acrylic paint, reinker, or ink remember you are adding liquid, so you are watering it down a bit. Be careful to not add too much liquid and end up with soup!  I like using mashed up gelatos, ground hard pastel, loose pigment that comes in a jar, or good quality tube watercolor to color my paste as it adds little to no water. I mix color into the modeling paste using my Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knife #12 on my craft mat. Small containers with tight fitting lids purchased at the dollar store are just perfect for storing excess colored paste for future use.

Remember to Cleanup Right Away

Clean up your work surface and tools quickly. Once dried modeling paste can be difficult to impossible to remove. I use my palette knife to scrape up as much as I can (my Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knife #23 is my favorite for this task) and put it back into the container. Then I wipe the area with a baby wipe followed by a paper towel to get up the rest. I use this method on both my craft mat and stencils.  Remember to clean both sides of your stencil. I find a baby wipe gets off more than running the stencil under water in a sink. I’m also careful to wipe up the threads on the jar and my palette knife.

Modeling Paste Supplies and Tools

Here are the basic supplies you’ll need to work with modeling paste. All products are linked to make them easy for you to find, just click on the photo.


Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knives

Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knife #23


Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knives

Loew Cornell Steel Painting Knife #12

Liquitex Light Modeling Paste

Liquitex Light Modeling Paste


Craft Mat