Molding Gel & Acrylic Techniques

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    • Molding gels can be used as the base of a painting. Apply the gel directly or mixed with acrylic paints. Because molding gels are non-absorbent when dry, thin paints will rest on top of them like liquid on a piece of glass. Artist Patti Brady puts acrylic paints of varying viscosity, such as fluid acrylics and airbrush acrylics, into a cup without stirring them. She pours the paint over the dry molding gel. The paints swirl and puddle for an abstract result.


    • A palette knife works well for painting with molding gel. In this stage, the gel is usually mixed with pigment. Stir the gel and paint together slowly to avoid causing foam. Create defined shapes by laying a stencil on the paint surface before applying the molding gel mixture. Cut shapes in cardboard to make thicker stencils. While the gel is wet, dab it with brush bristles or drag a palette knife edge through it to create more texture.


    • Glazing is the process of applying a transparent layer of paint over a painting. Glazing with a molding gel not only enhances the color of the piece, but also adds texture. Brady suggests that the underlying painting be light in value. She mixes 10 parts of gel to one part of paint for the glaze. The pigment used with the gel should enhance the underlying color. Brady applies the glaze with a palette knife, using a different tinted gel for each major part of the painting.


    • Molding gels work well in collages, both as a glue to hold objects in place and as a textural element. Prepare a surface with gesso and allow it to dry. For a thick collage piece, create a design in the wet gel with a palette knife, comb or brush. While the gel is still wet, insert collage objects into it. After the gel has dried, paint over it or mist it with acrylic paints. For a flat collage, use a thin layer of molding gel like paste to attach an item, such as an image, onto the painting surface. Collage projects can be done on canvas, heavy watercolor paper or altered books.

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