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Testing the new Soft Relief Pastes

2 Comments4 December 2014  |  Lesley Wharton

Soft Form Relief Pastes

I already use a variety of modelling and texture pastes, they are great for stenciling, mixed media projects and adding dimensional interest to your work. What would be different about these I wondered and the key is very much in the name.

Basic Stencilling

Using them in the conventional fashion i.e with stencils, the first thing I noticed was they have an almost jelly like consistency, except for the Transparent which is much softer and I shall come back to this one shortly. However, despite their appearance, they spread quite easily and a little does go a long way. I was very pleased with the initial results.

I also found that, as they were drying out. the surface settled to a nice smooth finish. I appreciate that texture pastes are not necessarily meant to be smooth but I like the idea that these can leave an even surface once dry. And you can get this finish with very little effort.

What next?

Because these pastes are manufactured by the same company who brought us Brusho I wanted to see how well they mixed together.

Using a palette knife I put a small amount of the Pearl Relief Paste onto an acrylic block, sprinkled over a few grains of Turquoise Brusho Crystal Colour and started to mix in the grains; I felt like a brick layer mixing sand and cement with a trowel! But I have to say the result was stunning. I now had a beautiful pearlised paste in the most gorgeous shade of blue, so exciting. Here are close-ups of the two pieces using it.

The first one is stencilled onto a piece of plain white mount board, the second was stencilled onto the same board and then coloured with distress inks. You can see the pearl effect and although the second one has taken on some of the ink colour, after buffing it still has a pearly sheen.

I then tried adding dry Brusho powder to stencilled wet relief paste which I then spritzed with a little water to activate the crystals. This was my first attempt and perhaps needs more practise but I quite like the result.

Next I used gold paste, which was then inked and stamped over with an Archival ink. Don't be put off by how dull the gold looks when you first apply it. Once dry it has a gorgeous golden sheen to it.

You can also apply the paste with a sponge, or even scrunched up kitchen roll. This was a sample I created for the Design Team blog and I used the White paste to stencil onto the already coloured tag. Using the kitchen roll gave a different finish, more subtle and with a slight texture.

Transparent Relief Paste

As I said earlier this one is much softer that the others and levels out quite quickly. So although you can use it with stencils the design will spread as the paste dries. You can see in the photo at the beginning of this article that the dots are not crisp, more like mini pancakes spread in a frying pan! However I do like the effect because, once dry, the paste is transparent; this was done again on white mount board and coloured when the paste was dry.

More exciting discoveries

Because of their consistency and the way the pastes reacted when drying I thought they might work well with stamps. So very bravely I took one of our Big Bold Backgrounds (Leafy Brocade) and spread a thin layer of Gold paste over a section of the stamp and left it to dry. I actually tried this first thing in the morning before I went to work and so it was the evening before I did the big reveal.

Oh boy! The result was amazing and so beautiful. Because the paste is soft it settled into all the intricate detail of the stamp.

Even more exciting is the fact that the layer is wafer thin and flexible. Now you have a piece of art that can be attached around things, decorating a vase for example or on a candle (providing that you didn't light it).

I also tried this method on one of our clear stamps (the brickwork image from Landscape Edges) and yes it works on here too.

Tips and Tricks

Here's a few things to watch for:

  • When you open these pastes they have quite a strong odour. However this evaporates once the piece is dry.
  • Make sure you wash stencils, brushes, etc with warm soapy water as soon as you have finished.
  • Use a baby wipe to remove wet paste from any unwanted areas of the stamp.
  • Once you have peeled off your piece of paste artwork, stamps can be cleaned with warm water and a fine soft bristle toothbrush if you have any residue left on the stamps.
  • Allow plenty of time for the paste to dry, especially when using it with your stamps. The first ones I did I had left for approximately 12 hours and they were just slightly tacky in one or two places when I removed them from the stamps. I tried it again, this time leaving it to dry for 24 hours and it peeled off much better.
  • Don't panic that it will ruin your stamp, if you are not convinced try it on one that you really don't mind 'messing' up.
  • When peeling off the dry paste you need to flex the stamp first to allow the paste to release, then just peel off slowly and carefully. Patience is the key, but even slightly torn pieces will still be useable.


I have just started playing with this product so these are only my initial findings, and know I have only scratched the surface of the ways in which you can use it, but I am very impressed with all the Soft Relief Pastes.

As I said in my introduction the key is very much in the name and because of their soft consistency I can see all sorts of possibilities using them in conjunction with rubber and clear stamps. I like the idea of being able to colour them with Brusho powders and I can see the effects you could create with the Transparent paste on a pre-coloured or patterned background.

Finally, the best advice I can give you is to open a pot and play, I know I'm going to, so watch this space.

Bernie Simmons
18 December 2014  |  22:11

Love what you have done I wonder if they would work on an embossing folder ....interesting :)

Nannie Annie
15 January 2015  |  23:51

Very interesting. Must give this a try sometime.