How to Paint a Resin Statue

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Resin garden statue.
Resin garden statue. (Image: Manit321/iStock/Getty Images)

Painting a resin statue is a bit like painting plastic -- unless the resin is prepared and primed first, the paint may peel off in short time, or it may not adhere at all. If you are repainting a statute that has spent time outdoors, give it a thorough cleaning first, otherwise you may be painting over dirt. Cleaning the resin piece, whether new or old, offers the opportunity to find small snags or seams that require sanding before painting.

Things You'll Need

  • Powdered cleanser or mild dish soap
  • Water
  • Sponges
  • Toothbrush
  • Craft knife
  • Fine-grit sandpaper or sanding block
  • Newspaper
  • Large cardboard box (optional)
  • Automotive or lacquer-based primer
  • Acrylic paints or model paints designed for plastic

Wipe the resin piece down with a little powdered cleanser or mild dish soap on a damp sponge. Cleanser is best for an unpainted resin piece, or one that is very dirty and that will be completely repainted. Mild dish soap is for resin that is already painted and only requires touchups; the soap is gentle enough not to harm the existing paint. Use a toothbrush to remove caked-on debris, such as for a resin outdoor figure. Rinse the resin object with tap water.

Examine the cleaned resin statue, looking for seams or excess resin that needs to be trimmed away before painting. Slice the resin ridges away with a craft knife, sliding the knife away from your body, instead of towards you, for safety. Use sandpaper to smooth rough ridges instead of or in addition to slicing the spare material with a knife. Wipe the dust away with a damp sponge.

Cover a work area in a well-ventilated location, such as outdoors, with newspaper. If the resin item is small enough to place inside a cardboard box, use a large cardboard box as a spray booth instead, setting the box on its side and setting the project piece inside the box, upright.

Shake the can of spray primer for a minute or so. Spray the statue using smooth, even strokes, holding the primer can 12 to 18 inches from the object. Start each stroke a little before the statue begins, ending beyond the end of the statue. This keeps the finish consistent, without bursts of primer on one area. Allow the primer to dry, then turn the statue to prime the other side. Allow the primer to dry completely.

Paint the statue with acrylic craft paint or paints designed for plastic models using an artist's brush. Work with one color at a time, allowing all the paint to dry before painting adjacent areas. If the entire statue is largely one color, such as a ladybug, you may opt to base coat the entire piece one color, then add secondary colors atop the dried base coat.

Continue painting the desired colors on the statue, painting large areas first, adding fine details last, after the paint beneath the details are dry. For instance, if the statue has large eyes, paint the eye color, then add pupils and details after the main eye color dries.

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