Monday, July 9, 2012

Puffy Paint FAQs

Since posting my puffy paint project, I have been asked a lot of questions.  As you read through these questions, keep in mind that I have not tried all of these techniques.  I'll give you the best answers I can and hopefully this will help you be successful in your project!  Let me know if there's anything I missed!
The most common problem I hear about with this project goes something like this: "I tried this with glue and it dried flat. Then I read your post and saw it was puffy paint.  I'll be trying it again!" 
I'm not sure how the glue rumor started, but glue will not work.  Many people have told me that they tried it and they did not get the results they wanted.  Just so you know...

Other Puffy Paint Posts:

Small Projects
For Katie
Canvas Project
Questions about the Process:

How did you glue the letters to the canvas?

  • After peeling the letters off of the wax paper, I used a paint brush to put a thin layer of mod podge on the back of each letter.  Then I carefully placed the letter onto the canvas.  I repeated this process for each letter, one letter at a time.  It doesn't take as long as you might think.

How can I stop the ripples in the letters? 
  • Wax paper is not a sturdy thing, so as your puffy paint pieces dry, they will ripple with the paper, but they will still peel right off.  The ripples are very small and barely noticeable, but if this really bothers you - use glass instead of wax paper.  The puffy paint peels off the glass easily and leaves you with ripple-free pieces.  You can use glass from any frame you have laying around.

Why can't you put the puffy paint directly onto the canvas?

  • I chose to put the puffy paint onto the wax paper first because then I didn't have to worry about making mistakes.  If you look at the picture above, you can see where I had to redo a lot of my letters.  Plus, puffy paint is notorious for're right in the middle of an awesome design and then BURP; an air bubble hits and it's all over.  Where you used to have a lovely letter is not a big blotch of puffy paint.  Putting the design right onto the wax paper allowed me to make mistakes without ruining my project.  
  • All that said - there are many people who have done this project that have put the puffy paint right onto the canvas.  You just have to be willing to live with the burps, because there is no way to avoid them.

Questions about the materials:

Where can I find puffy paint? 
  • I picked up my Tulip Puffy Paint at Michaels.  You can also find puffy paint at AC Moore and, most likely, your local craft store.  If you haven't found any at your local craft stores, check out Type "puffy paint" into the search bar.  Tulip 3D paint is the same as puffy paint.  It comes in many different colors.
  • Tulip Classroom set of 24
  • Red, White, and Black

Can you tint the puffy paint?
  • This is not something I have ever tried.  My best guess would be food coloring, but I make no promises on getting good results.  If you are looking for a color other than white search for "puffy paint" on  Tulip 3D paint is the same as puffy paint. 

What font did you use?
  • For the one I wrote about here I used Kozuka Gothic Pro. 
  • For this project, I used Scriptina. 

Did you go over your design twice?
  • This was not necessary for me since I made my designs very thick.  You'll get a smoother look if you do not do two layers of puffy paint

Can you use colored puffy paint?
  • This all depends on the look you want.  I wanted something a little more modern (as modern as puffy paint can be) so I stuck with a monochromatic design.  You can use any color you want.  In one of my projects, I painted the canvas purple and used white puffy paint.  The color scheme is completely up to you.  Puffy paint is the same - no matter the color.

Is the puffy paint made specially for the canvas?
  • Nope, just regular old puffy paint.

Where did you buy your canvas?  
  • I always have coupons for Michaels and, since canvases can be expensive, I usually buy them there.  Also, I buy the cheapest one I can find.  These projects are not made to last a lifetime, so I don't need gallery worthy canvases. 

Which mod podge is best to use?
  • Surprisingly, there are many different kinds of mod podge
    • matte, gloss, glitter, fabric, dimensional magic, kids glue, hard coat, glow-in-the-dark, etc.  You name it, they have it.
  • I used gloss for my projects because that's just what I had on hand.  I would recommend using matte because it won't show on the canvas.  There were a few times I had to pick up a piece and move it - this left a small amount of mod podge on the canvas.  It's only noticeable when you look very closely, so it doesn't bother me.  If you want to avoid that - go with matte.

Can I use wood instead of canvas?
  • Definitely!  This is one of those projects that is completely up to you.  Each choice, whether it's the color of the puffy paint or the type of background, is completely up to you and your design.

Can you use hot glue instead of mod podge?
  • The only problem you might run into is the thickness of the hot glue.  Because it is so think, you might see some space between the canvas and the puffy paint pieces.  You also might be able to see the hot glue.  If you use the hot glue carefully, this can work, but mod podge is your best bet.

Questions about the results:

Do you think it would work to spray paint over this?
  • Definitely!  When spray painting, it is best to do several light coats to ensure no dripping.  Since the puffy paint is smooth, start with a thin layer, let it dry thoroughly, and then repeat.   Add layers until you get the canvas completely covered.
Will it work in a scrapbook?
  • The wonderful thing about this very simple project is that you can place your pieces anywhere you wish. 

I hope that answering these questions has helped you with your project.  Good luck!


  1. I had a thought... I wonder if it would work to put the puff paint design on tissue instead of wax paper, then instead of peeling the paint off you could cut it out & mod podge the whole thing to your final surface. Tissue gives an interesting faded rice-paper like effect when mod podged that might be pretty. I might try it. :-)

    1. That's a great idea Jen! Let me know if it works. I'd love to see your finished project! -Virginia

    2. That does sound like a neat idea. Please post some pictures of it after you have completed it.

  2. ~~~
    How can I stop the ripples in the letters?

    Wax paper is not a sturdy thing, so as your puffy paint pieces dry, they will ripple with the paper, but they will still peel right off. The ripples are very small and barely noticeable, but if this really bothers you - use glass instead of puffy paint.

    I think you meant "-use glass instead of wax paper" :)

    Also, I think acetate ("paper" for projectors) might work well as well if glass is not suitable for kids use :)

  3. Thanks, Virginia! I'm very excited about this project. I'm going to do a selection of lines from ee cummming's "i carry your heart." Your pointers, I'm sure, have just made the difference between fun and challenging and throw-the-stupid-canvas-out-the-window! :)

  4. How did you get your puffy paint to peel off the wax paper easily? Mine does not peel off as easily as all the sites are claiming it is. Suggestions?

    1. Hi there! sorry - i don't have any tips for this. I didn't have any issues peeling mine off. I'm not sure what could be causing that issue. -Virginia