How to use Dreamweaver Crackle Embossing Paste


Hi everyone! Kate here. I’m very excited to be sharing this tutorial with you today and can’t wait to show you how fantastic this technique is and how easy it is to create stunning images for your cards, scrapbook pages and altered projects. I’m going to be using Dreamweaver Stencils, Matte Black Embossing Paste, their new Crackle Embossing Paste and Versamagic Chalk inks as well as some basic supplies to show you how to create an aged, crackled image that has depth and dimension. This is a three step process so let’s get started…

crackle-paste-011The first thing you need to do is gather your supplies and prepare your work surface. You are going to need:

  • a plastic work surface to protect your table (I use a clear desk mat from Ikea)
  • a small tub of warm, soapy water and a soft cleaning brush
  • blue painters tape (NOT masking tape – that’s too sticky and will rip your paper when you remove it) or Scotch Removable Tape
  • paper towels
  • Dreamweaver Offset Pallette Knife
  • 1/4″ & 1/8″ Dreamweaver Stencil Brushes
  • watercolour paper or Stardream cardstock
  • Dreamweaver Matte Black & Crackle Embossing Pastes
  • Dreamweaver stencils
  • a variety of  Tsukineko VersaMagic Chalk Inks in colours that are suitable for your image

Cut a piece of watercolour paper or Stardream cardstock that is big enough for your design with at least a 1/2 inch border on all sides. I recommend watercolour paper or a heavy cardstock like Stardream because there is a lot of moisture in the embossing paste so if you were to use a light weight paper it will warp when you put the paste on it and then the paste can seep under the stencil.

Lay your paper onto your plastic mat and apply your first strip of tape so that you cover the top edge of your stencil and the top of the watercolour paper. Be careful not to cover any of the image that you are going to be embossing. This first piece of tape is called a ‘hinge’ and is very important later on when you are removing the stencil.

Put tape on both sides of the stencil and then the bottom. Your stencil will now be held firmly in place and the edges of your paper are protected.


Now the real fun begins!  Using your Offset Palette knife give the black embossing paste a little stir and then scoop up a generous amount on the bottom of the knife.


Keeping the knife at a 45 degree angle gently run it over the stencil so that you get paste into all the open areas. If you need more paste just pick up more from the jar and keep spreading it until the stencil is completely covered. It’s just like icing a cake but there are a couple of things that you want to remember. First, don’t put on too much paste and second, avoid overworking the paste as this will cause it to seep under the edges of the stencil.

So that you have a nice, smooth surface to put the crackle paste onto you now need to gently run the edge of your pallette knife over the whole surface to remove any excess paste (you can put it back into the jar). Be careful not to make any lines or remove any of the paste from the image – just smooth out the surface. IMPORTANT – remove any paste from your pallette knife right away with paper towels or by washing in the tub of soapy water and drying your knife. Your pasted image should look something like this…


Remove the tape from the bottom and sides of the stencil and then gently lift up on the bottom of the stencil towards the hinge, holding the paper down. Remove the stencil and the last piece of tape carefully. Wash off the black embossing paste in your tub of soapy water or place your stencil in there to soak.



The black paste will take anywhere from a half hour to an hour to dry before you can do the next step. To check if it’s dry just touch it and it should feel firm and none of the paste should come off on your finger. If it feels at all damp just give it a few more minutes.

Once the black embossing paste is completely dry reposition your stencil over your image making sure to line it up exactly. This is very important. If you are not lined up correctly the crackle paste will leak around the stencil. Tape the stencil down using the same method and order as shown above. Apply a thin layer of the crackle paste over the black paste being careful not to overwork it. A thin coat will give you fine crackle and a thicker coat will give bigger crackle. This paste takes 1 -2  hours minimum to dry and crack but a thicker  coat will sometimes take even longer than that. I actually like to do this step and then leave my project overnight.


When your crackle paste is dry it will be white, have a matte finish and fine lines going through it. The black paste underneath is what makes the cracks more visible so you always want to use a colour of paste under your crackle paste that will give you a lot of contrast.


The crackle paste has a somewhat porous surface when it is dry that is perfect for applying and blending pigment inks with your stencil brushes. I love the VersaMagic chalk inks for this because of the fantastic range of soft, matte finish colours and how easily they blend. Dye based inks can be used but you won’t get the same shading and blending and they tend to look a little spotty.

For this part of the technique I like to reposition my stencil over my design with the Scotch Removable Tape. Your paper has had painters tape on it twice already and sometimes a third application can cause tearing so just to be on the safe side I use the Scotch Removable Tape that is really easy to remove without any tearing but will still hold your stencil in place.


Select three or four colours of inks that you want to use on your image. You should have a light, medium and dark colour. When applying colours to your designs always start with the lightest shade first. Pick up a little bit of ink by gently rubbing your brush on the pad and then work the ink into the bristles and remove any excess by rubbing it onto a folder paper towel. You want to have a little ink on your brush, but not too much as this will make your design look blotchy. You can always add more colour if you need it but it’s almost impossible to take it off when there is too much, especially if it’s a dark colour.


Starting on the metal part of the stencil move your brush is a circular motion bringing it onto your image where you would like to apply the ink. This technique is called ‘rouging’ and it allows you to add colour a little bit at a time to your design and blend and soften it. By starting on the metal part of the stencil and working onto the paste you are less likely to add too much colour to any one area. If you need more ink on your brush just pick some up from the paper towel or the ink pad.


Next add your medium colour and then your dark colour to add more shape to your image and highlight the crackle. Be careful with the medium and dark colours. A little goes a long way! When you are happy with your image remove the tape and stencil and you are done.

crackle-paste-27 Let the inks on your image dry for a few minutes and then you are ready to put your masterpiece onto your project.

Here are a few samples that I made so that you can see the different effects you can get just by changing the colours of inks and your choice of stencils.



Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my tutorial. I know it was very long but I wanted to make sure I covered all the bases. If you would like more information on all the Dreamweaver products there are lots of tutorials here and you can see lots of beautiful samples made by the Dreamweaver design team in our Company Showcase Dreamweaver gallery.