How to Paint Sculpey Clay

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Sculpey Clay is a brand of oven-baked clay used to make decorations and figurines. The clay remains soft and malleable until it is cured at high temperatures, at which point it hardens into a slick material with a texture similar to ceramics. You can paint Sculpey Clay as long as you've taken the time to condition the material for adequate adhesion. Prevent eventual flaking by abrading the oven-baked clay. Ensure an attractive, long-lasting finish by applying the proper paint, using the appropriate method.

How to Paint Sculpey Clay
(Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Sculpey glaze
  • Natural-bristled craft brush
  • Canvas drop cloth
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Water-based acrylic paint
  • Polyester-bristled craft brush
  • Acrylic enamel
Step 1

Mold the Sculpey clay into the desired shape and bake it according the manufacturer's instructions.

Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media
Step 2

Let the Sculpey Clay cool for at least four hours after baking. Do not paint warm Sculpey Clay.

Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media
Step 3

Place the Sculpey Clay on a canvas drop cloth.

Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media
Step 4

Apply two coats of Sculpey glaze to the oven-baked clay, using a natural-bristled craft brush. Apply very thin coats to prevent ugly brush marks from showing on the clay's finish. Let the oven-baked clay dry for an hour between coats.

Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media
Step 5

Wait three hours for the Sculpey glaze to cure.

Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media
Step 6

Lightly sand the Sculpey glaze with a fine, 150-grit sandpaper until it feels slightly rough. Don't over-do-it, or you'll accidentally remove all of the glaze. Stop sanding immediately once the oven-baked clay feels rough.

Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media
Step 7

Paint the Sculpey Clay with a water-based acrylic paint. Apply very thin coats to prevent ugly brush marks from showing on the clay's finish. Wait two hours before adding a second coat. Don't handle the finished oven-baked clay for at least two hours.

Grayson Dere Photography/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • You don't need to apply two coats of paint unless coverage proves inadequate.
  • For a very glossy, more durable finish, paint the Sculpey Clay with an acrylic enamel.
  • You do not need to apply Sculpey glaze to your oven-baked clay prior to painting; however, the finish will last much longer and appear smoother and more attractive.
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