Master Paste Original: First Thoughts

This is going to be a tricky one to unpick because there are a lot of firsts going on in this exploration. Ostensibly, this is documenting my first thoughts on Master Paste Original (MPO) wax paste, but since it’s also my first time using painting knives, the results are likely to be muddy.

Master Paste Original

I started by using MPO pigmented with oil paint (D-R Georgian), but initially found it difficult to balance the ratio of paint to paste. Ultimately, I needed a lot less paint than I expected: a tiny dab of paint for a teaspoon of paste was sufficient. Too much oil had the entirely expected effect of turning the paste into a goopy, slow-drying cream that I recall far too well from mixing up wax and oil paints at university.My lovely new silver paint was far too oily to use and, in any case, the metal flakes didn’t fare so well in a wax medium and the whole thing turned a rather unappealing shade of green-grey.

Cleanup was pleasantly quick and pretty easy. When the wax dies it can be scraped off the knives, or they can be heated an wiped ad per my usual cleanup, and I expect some sort of spirit could be used too.

I’d like to find a way to make the paste a bit wetter, although that may improve with better ratios of paint to wax. At the moment it seems to dry very quickly and become lumpy and unspreadable.
Other problems I ran into was the hot air gun pushing the molten wax around, and some issues with mixing colour which almost certainly come back to ratios again. Although Michael Bossom’s technique of interrupting the air flow with a sieve seems to work for him, I could use a blowtorch to burn in instead of the heat lamp.


The first thing I noticed was how difficult it was to get fine detail with the knives. I suspect that will be good for me, but I can see it being frustrating. Perhaps I could use them in conjunction with brushes and hotplate wax, or the tools I already use. Something to explore, certainly.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the MPO. I’ve wondered before how I could get a glaze without disturbing the paint underneath, and this is a possible solution to that question.


I have since learned that there may be some health risks associated with heating cold wax paste. I will have to do more research on the matter before I feel comfortable burning in MPO again.