Mat Magic


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
Anyone remember this product? We had a lot of fun with it a long time ago. I have some powders and paints left and have forgotten how to do something I'd like to try.

Brian Wolf did painted panels with what I think is white glue and powders but I can't remember how to achieve it although I've tried several things. Any help here from some old-timers?

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Forum Support Team Angry_Badger
Staff member
I do panels with just the powders. Mask off the panel (masking tape for delicate surfaces) and apply powders with small foam brush and scrub into panel. If you are doing any pen lines, do them first. Be sure to knock off or blow off any loose powder. These imitate wash lines pretty well as they are not terribly intense.
I've fooled around with the colors and have even blended color from one side to the other of the panels. You can get some pretty neat effects.
Hint: the masking tape may tend to tear the surface paper, but warming it with a blow drier will help it release. Just don't leave the tape on very long or it will stick aggressively.


WOW Framer
And it's a good idea to wear a mask. Where I worked in the 90's, the girl who decorated suede mats with the powders eventually had to quit, because it gave her migraines.

Terry Hart cpf

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Yep, just straight powder using Scotch 811 removable tape for masking. I don't know about making paint from the powders. Seems like your best bet for that would be gum arabic but then you would have made a watercolor so why not just use watercolor. I've made nice inks for line work using methyl cellulose and pigment that seemed to me to be pretty close to the original formula mat magic inks. Maybe you could get a hold of Brian & ask him?


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I still have some of the powders and use them exclusively when I have to do a washline panel,
which is not often nowadays. I do the same as Wally up there 👆 except I use a big chevron of
3mm matboard to mask the panel and work round. The loose powder won't hurt the unmasked
areas. You can brush it gently off. When it's scrubbed in I take a drafting pad (magic sausage) and
rub the whole mat. This knocks back the intensity of the color and leaves the 'subtle' tint.
I find some colors work better than others.

Using wet washes is the trad way, but is very stressful. Powders are fairly idiot which is a good thing
in my case.

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I took a class many years ago from Brian Wolf on these techniques. I use shaved pastels to make powders. One idea he mentioned was to layer colors, and create abstract textures by masking the first color in places using a thinned solution of white glue, letting it dry, and then pouncing another color over that.

Brian is going to be teaching a class like this at WCAF this year, and I'm taking it again, just for fun. He's a great teacher, and a great guy.

If you are interested in advanced mat decorating, Russ Wood (Grey Owl here on the Grumble) is teaching a couple of classes, and he is great at all the techniques, and also a great guy. He also explains his system for pricing these kinds of techniques.
:cool: Rick


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
Rick, you hit it. It's the white glue thingy. :) I tried it half-heartedly but will dive in again. I use 811 tape as well. Will be kinda fun to do this. And I'd forgotten about just shaving off chalk. Mercy.

P.S. Nice to see so many familiar names in answers here. :)


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I just remembered of a time many years past when I found out that Mat Magic powder were disco'd.
I drove to a suppliers trade counter (there was one in them there days within driving distance) and scooped
up their entire stock (which was about £1 a pot). Still got quite a lot of it. 😁

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...It's the white glue thingy. :) I tried it half-heartedly but will dive in again. I use 811 tape as well. Will be kinda fun to do this. And I'd forgotten about just shaving off chalk. Mercy.
Other fun stuff...
As well as thinning white glue for texturing, try the same with opaque white and black glues. You can make similarly-interesting effects with matte and glossy acrylic mediums, both liquid and gel. And for colorants, try squirting tiny dabs of watercolor or gouache straight from the tubes into your liquid/gel binder. Also, scrape fibers off the top paper of matboards, and scrape the flocking off of suede boards. Make a ball of string or thread to drop and/or drag on your wet concoctions, or dab it with a wad of paper.


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
Good Grief! I'll be happy now! Love to mess with this stuff and still have folks who might allow it. :)