How to Paint a Clay Sculpture

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Paint changes the character of any clay sculpture. Certain colors are considered warm and others cool. When combining colors from the same color family, you convey harmony and peacefulness. Mixing cool colors with warm colors, such as blue and orange, is a way to express dissonance through your sculpture. Decide upon the type of expression you'd like when you begin.

Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic spray primer
  • Tubes of acrylic paint in desired colors
  • Acrylic retarding medium
  • Brushes
  • Palette
  • Acrylic sealer
  • Choose an acrylic spray primer. The shade should be similar to the paint color you plan to use. Primers usually come in neutrals, such as white, black, gray and rust.

  • Wait for the clay sculpture to dry completely, then spray an even coat of primer over the entire sculpture. Allow the primer to dry.

  • Purchase tubes of acrylic paint. Look for a good grade of paint. Paint with student grade or better.

  • Squeeze some paint onto a palette. Mix an acrylic retarding medium with the paint to extend the drying time. This gives you more time to work. Use water to make the paint flow, as acrylic is a water-based paint.

  • Dip your brush into water then the paint. Brush the paint onto the sculpture using even strokes. Allow it to dry then add another layer of paint.

  • Buy an acrylic spray sealer. Choose a matte, glossy or satin finish.

  • Spray the sealer over the entire sculpture in a well-ventilated area. Don't touch until it dries completely.

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