I tried something that I thought would probably not work and that is to apply all the paint in one session; see muddy example below. I will be patient with the remainder, applying one color per session and allow them to dry - like the instructions state. Though the stamp pads called for in the instructions would not be as messy, I think anything would work. The paints I am using are various and sundry including Neopaque, Lumiere and I will try some inexpensive craft paint I have on hand. Thus far, I have used only an old toothbrush and a cosmetic sponge.