How to Paint Coral

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Things You'll Need

  • Tarp

  • Spray paint primer

  • Spray paint lacquer

  • Acrylic paint

  • Sponge brush

  • Artist's paintbrush

  • Sea sponge

  • Goggles

  • Face mask

Don't throw away your coral; paint it instead.

If you have a genuine coral piece or a ceramic coral statue in a bright hue that does not fit your home decor, you don't need to throw away your piece of art. Instead, consider giving it a quick coat of spray paint or painting it with acrylic art paint. Choose a color that better fits your style. Spray or paint light coats of a solid color. Add dimension to your coral piece by painting two different colors onto the coral surface. Real coral reefs are filled with vibrant hues, but your coral colors do not have to match a real piece of coral. Be creative and use your imagination.


Spray-Painting Coral

Step 1

Lay a tarp across your work space. If you can, work outside where the air flows best. If you must work inside, open up your windows so there is good ventilation.

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Step 2

Rub your coral statue or coral piece with a damp, clean cloth to remove dirt and other particles from the surface. Lay the coral on the tarp.


Step 3

Shake up your primer spray paint according to the can instructions. Take off the cap, and lightly coat your coral with the primer. Allow it to dry. Coral has a porous surface, which means it could absorb a lot of primer. It may take two or three coats of primer to cover the coral.

Step 4

Shake the spray paint lacquer according to the can instructions. Take off the cap, and spray a light coat on the coral. Allow it to dry. Apply a second coat and allow that coat to dry. Continue adding coats of spray paint until the coral is completely covered. Once your coral is dry, you can display it as is.


Sponge-Painting Coral

Step 1

Place your coral piece on your covered work space.

Step 2

Dip a sponge brush, which you can purchase at your local craft store, into a liquid, acrylic primer. Dab the coral with the primer and allow it to dry. Dab several coats of primer on the coral piece until it is mostly covered in the primer. Allow the primer to dry to the touch.


Step 3

Dip a new sponge brush into your main color -- such as a bright orange-red or a royal blue. Sponge the paint on the coral piece so that it is covered in the main color. You may need to sponge on two coats.

Step 4

Shake up a can of spray paint in a complementary color, using real corals as inspiration. For example, lightly spray pink accents on a piece of coral you have painted purple, white accents on a red piece of coral, and yellow accents on an orange piece of coral.


Step 5

Dip a paintbrush in an accent color, such as pink, white, or yellow. Lightly swipe the paintbrush down the sides and branches of the coral. You will leave vertical lines of paint.

Step 6

Place a dry sea sponge in water. Squeeze out the water. Dab the vertical lines with the sea sponge to soften them. Allow the paint to dry.


Step 7

Spray a light spray of accent color on top. If you spray too much, use the sea sponge to dab away the excess and reveal more of the base color of the coral piece.

Step 8

Spray an acrylic sealer on top of your painted coral. Allow the paint to dry before placing the coral on display.


Look to real coral for color inspiration. The Red Sea Whip coral is a mixture of red and white hues, the Red Finger Gorgonian is mixture of pink and purplish hues, and the Orange Tree Gorgonian is a mixture of yellow and orange hues.

Wear goggles and a face mask when using spray paint.



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