Preparing the clay (for painting on top of it)
Acrylic paints (all uses)
...gen. info ...other uses
...metallic, pearlescent & glitter acrylic paints
.........making your own metallic/pearl. paints
...thin-bodied acrylics
........Neopaque (non-metallic) ...Lumiere + LunaLights (metallic)
...other acrylic paints (?), etc.
...acrylic "mediums"
Oils + oil-like paints, etc.
.....true oils + oil pastels
....heat set oils (Genesis)
....water-miscible "oils" (water-mixable... Max, Artisan)
Water-Soluble paints (permanently soluble) --watercolors, tempera
Misc. re paints... & other paints
Colored Pencils

Stencils, etc.
Antiquing ...& patinas
Crackling, stretching, & manipulating paint
...acrylic paints, inks...tempera...clear finishes...etc.
Misc. (re all paints + books/etc.)

Polymer "paintings"
...liquid clay
...thinned solid clay
...relief & onlay
......drawn outline on wood, masonite, fabric
......drawn outline under glass, acrylic, translucent papers
...other materials & ways
...misc. re "paintings"

Printing (with paints & inks)
....screenprinting (reg, w/ "frames")
.......simpler stencils
....PhotoEZ ...Print Gocco (no reg. frames, photosensitive)
(Photosensitive) polymer plates for texture plates


--see info on markers & inks, dip pens used with inks, etc, in Letters-Inks

RAW clay (using paint on or in):
... oil paints can be used, but be sure to bake after application to thoroughly dry them (5 min at 250) ...(some types of "enamel" aren't good)
......"water-mixable oils" such as Artisan by Winsor Newton or Max...on raw clay... use with water ...let dry, but also bake to set
....acrylic paints can be used on top of clay in various ways, or between clay sheets, but let dry thoroughly before baking because acrylic paints can cause bubbling in the clay if they are baked inside clay while wet (they still contain moisture, which turns to steam when heated... a little may be okay, esp. if tube paint)

BAKED clay (using paint on):
....oil paints can be used on top but probably best to bake after application to thoroughly dry them (5 min at 250)...(some types of "enamel" aren't good)
......"water-mixable oils" such as Artisan by Winsor Newton, or Max ...on baked clay... use with water...let dry, but also bake to set
....acrylic paints can be used on top (but may need several layers for best coverage, and/or see gesso below in Prep.for Painting)
.........(if using the "heat set acrylics" like Genesis, then bake afterward to cure)

You can, of course, also mix your own paint colors by buying several basic colors, along with white and black (see Color)

PREPARING the clay for Painting Opaquely ON TOP of it

(see more on preparations for various paints & chalks, etc., below in their individual categories)

(see just above for summary of paints to use)

Generally color is built into the clay, since virtually any color can be mixed when using clay, but some people (especially sculptors and those who haven't done other things with polymer clay) add color by painting on top of the clay instead.
Some who build color in for all other parts of a sculpt, e.g., may still use paints and other mediums on top of clay for thin washes to create lip and cheek color over skin-colored clay though.

....(If using Sculpey clays to paint on), in general it's better to use Super Sculpey clay rather than plain white original Sculpey in the box, since SS is so much stronger... long term your pieces will hold up better using it. Jodi Creager
....SuperSculpey (not Sculpey III) baked at a slightly higher temp (just under 300 degrees)
will darken, but it also proves to make the clay fairly strong. Katherine Dewey
( especially good if you will be painting the baked SS or covering it with more clay)
...Kathy Dewey uses Premo beige clay, then paints over it (she is a renowned artist with two books on sculpting). Patty B. (was this a change from SS?)

In order to paint on baked clay, the clay must first at least be cleaned, and possibly primed, to make the paint adhere well:

(including hand oils) and possibly waxes
on the surface of the clay can keep water-based paints from sticking well to the clay, or cause them to bead up (... underbaked clay will also cause these problems)
... so before painting anything on polymer, degrease the surface first by using a little soap and water and a toothbrush, then rinse ( this removes any residue that remains on the surface after baking and gives the piece a better tooth for the paint to cling). Jodi
........ I have also used concentrated dishwashing liquid to de-grease clay - you then have to rinse under the tap and dry it with a tissue, but it works too.
...or degrease with alcohol ...alcohol based solvents: surgical spirit, isopropyl, methylated spirits, denatured alcohol (many of these are virtually identical but under different names in different countries)... I expect you could use gin or vodka if you wanted (but what a waste!) Sue
.......I think they all just evaporate so quickly that they do not have a chance to attack the clay, just degrease the surface.
......If you brush over the surface of baked polyclay with methylated spirit (denatured alcohol) you can get even the thinnest acrylic washes to stick without beading. Nail varnish remover works as well..... I get some good watercolour effects on clay like this.
...I had a bit of problem with using too much nail polish remover at one time - that is acetone based and did crack the clay. Sue
... If you are painting on Fimo, it is better to seal the surface first with matt or gloss varnish before degreasing and painting ... this stops the paint bleeding into the clay in time - only a problem with Fimo in my experience, though. . .Sue
...the shiney areas on your clay probably mean that you have tended to over-smooth the clay more in certain areas with either a tool or your finger... to remove the shine, you can 'wet' the surface with water and rub ...something I recommend to do before painting anyway. Jodi

since acrylic paints are somewhat translucent, one or more coats of white or light paint or gesso underneath may be necessary before beginning to "paint" (see also Dipping, just below)
..gesso (also called a "ground" or "size") is just a very opaque acrylic paint, used for priming canvas and other surfaces to receive paint comes in white, black, gray and a very few other colors (most common is white)... most of the major paint companies put out some version of gesso
... there is also a relatively new "clear" gesso which leaves a very nice "tooth" on the surface for holding paint
...."gesso has been around for a long time and there are many recipes for its ingredients... one ingredient is calcium hydroxate (plaster) or similar material which is what gives it "tooth" for drawing the paint into the ground (as opposed to floating on top).. gesso gives a flexible adhesion, which keeps paint from flaking off since canvas tends to expand and contract with environmental condition changes." Bob Tavis
.using gesso will help paint stick better, and allow it to appear richer and more opaque (...then may need fewer layers)
......I too would start with a one coat of gesso before painting (.... thin it 50/50 with water and do maybe two coats , drying well in between)... Jodi
....I paint on pc all the time, oil paints and acrylics.... I simply use a gesso primer first, then corresponding sealer. I have pieces that are over 15 years old that still look 'new.'
...or instead of a white or light coat, a particular primer color which is most suited for the piece can be used, and layers of paint may be built up over it (... could be a dark color for shadows, or whatever basic color you want to show).
.if you are painting acrylics on Fimo in particular, it is better to seal the surface first with matt or gloss varnish, then degrease and paint.... this stops the paint bleeding into the clay in time - only a problem with Fimo in my experience, though. . .Sue
...gesso is for use on both porous and non-porous surfaces.... coats textured surfaces to create an even, smooth, white non-porous painting surface yet on the other hand creates a slight texture or "tooth" over smooth surfaces for easier paint adhesion...apply over dark colors or surfaces when basecoating in a lighter color - results in fewer layers of paint and will keep your lighter basecoat color brighter
.......also ideal for basecoating paper mâché, canvas, masonite, tin cans, shortening cans, etc
.......can also be used to fill in slight imperfections in wood can be sanded when dry for an even smoother surface. rainee also dries fast! To keep ridges from forming, paint quickly, do not try to put too much on your brush, and don't use a sponge brush. J. Smith
....I suggest priming it with light coats of Floquil or Krylon primer prior to painting.
....You can use automotive bumper spray primer ( made for vinyl ) or any good primer as a base then paint away (but what about propellants in sprays later reacting with cl

I might sand a little first to get the paint to stick better .... Black Feather ...(just a little... maybe with steel wool?)

....Oborochann dips her small baked clay figures into diluted acrylic paint to give an even overall covering and avoid brushmarks (using a wire through the top loop in the item).... pops any bubbles she sees ... then hangs them to drip dry, removing with a brush the drip that forms initially ... could also be used for priming
....the also then adds details with a pigment pen or or dots of acrylic paint stamped on (for more on this, see Letters-Inks > Inks for Drawing & Writing)
....and also then dips the item in clear gloss finish the same way as into the paint --see more on that technique in Finishes > Dipping, under Varathane) (photos in middle of page)

(...for adding color by using washes of paint or chalks, et c., on flesh-colored clay for coloring only cheeks, lips, eyes, hair or other areas --rather than painting opaquely over all the clay -- see Heads > Skin > Coloring Skin
. . . and also below in Acrylics, Water-Miscible Oils, Chalks, and maybe more)


General Info

Acrylic paints are the paints used most often to "paint" on baked polymer clay, but they are also with clay used in various other ways as well.
(for painting on baked clay and dipping clay in diluted paint, see above in Preparing the Clay before painting).

The problem with using acrylic paints inside raw clay is that they contain water, and water can turn to steam in the oven and physically bubble up under the clay or create areas of opaqueness and plaquing
....however, some clayers have successfully used acrylics in raw clay (as opposed to using them on clay then allowing to dry), but they feel that only a little acrylic can be used, and that it should be well-distributed in the clay so there aren't larger pools of moisture may also be that the acrylic paints in tubes work better because they are more concentrated color, with less water
...bubbles can arise in any clay, but plaquing may not show up much in opaque clays (or a small amount of white opaque clay might be added when mixing to hide them)

(some examples of the other ways acrylic paints can be used with clay:)
...... washes (
paints thinned with water or acrylic mediums for some translucency or backgrounds, etc.)
......dry brushed (paint worked into dry bristles then applied very lightly-- from just the tips)
(rubbing paint all over a sculpt or textured clay, then wiping off the topmost surface, leaving paint only in the crevices).. usually a dark brown
......highlighting a stamped or textured area, often with metallic paints ...can be different colors (can also then flatten the textured area)
......ladled on and shaped in relief as pastes (or painting details with a tiny brush in the normal way)
......applied on top of raw clay (for example in mokume gane... or when applied, dried, and then used for stretching to crackle, etc.)
(or combine any of these uses)

A coat of finish may be applied afterward only if you want (see Finishes)... antiquing may be done afterwards also, if desired.
...I use no sealer or varnish unless I desire a glossy finish, e. g. shiny eyes. Katherine Dewey
...Usually, when I apply (a thicker layer? of) acrylic paint on a clay surface, I'll cover it with a thin layer of TLS for protection from scratching off, etc.). Desiree
...the best (and cheapest) sealant that I've used is diluted PVA glue (white glue). after you've drawn or watercolored on clay ...this works wonderfully well. As it's water based, one can dilute it with water to whatever consistency one needs.....The beauty of this polymeric glue is that it doesn't react with clay plasticisers, will withstand baking temperatures and is completely clear when it dries. ... Alan V.

(for metallic or pearlescent acrylics in particular, see below in "Metallics". . . though they can be used in the same ways as regular acrylics)

Acrylic paints -especially quality artists' paints like Winsor Newton- seem to be the best for clay

tube acrylic paints are often better to use on clay (and possibly in clay) than the bottled acrylic "craft" paints tube paints, there's more of the acrylic (thicker, less watered down), they stick much better, and they fade less in the long term
....(BRANDS--more below) I find that the brands Grumbacher and Windsor Newton have a better 'stick-ability'. Jodi Creager
...of all of the acrylic paint brands, Liquitex (jar?) seems to adhere the best. Katherine Dewey
I have been painting polymer clay for jewellery, minis, and dolls for about 15 years and
......I find the most important thing is to get good quality "artist's acrylics" like Liquitex or Winsor Newton, because some cheaper craft paints may bleed or react (there's no need to use ceramic or specialty paints unless you are deliberately seeking special effects). Sue
I usually change to Liquitex or Golden if I'm looking for translucent paints (...even with those brands you have to double check the label to make sure they ARE translucent).
...If you're just using acrylic paint as a wash or for antiquing, either thicker or thinner types will work
......but if you want a more opaque antiquing effect, the thicker acrylics in a tube or a jar seem to work better

"craft" paints in bottles
all tend to be much more opaque, which can sometimes be a useful trait
.... I sometimes like using inexpensive paints in the 2-ounce bottles because they don't dry instantly like the higher-quality acrylics do, so I have a little longer open time to work with them (they have more water). Irene
.....I can recomend either Folk Art or Americana's acrylic paint....they both have much more body to them Folk Art paints, the containers with the gold caps are called "artists' pigment" colors, and have the highest pigment content in the line. Diane
......the paint I consistently use now is Americana's DecoArt... colors are bright; the paint is creamy, and I get good coverage
......I learned to paint using Delta CeramCoat, but the company was sold several years ago and I feel they have started skimping on how much pigment they use. J. Smith
.....I don't much care for Apple Barrel (even though it is made by Plaid who also make Folk Art)... Apple Barrel doesn't have as much pigment in it as other brands.
........if you decide to use the cheaper Ceramcoat acrylics, make sure to "color test first, especially if you paint onto the wet clay or paint onto baked clay and rebake (those paints tolerate the heat, but they can get a minor "color shift" that is good to know about before you bake it on your good stuff)
.......however, for painting small things (like eyes, your signature, tipping, etc.) the Creamcoat bunch are also the CHEAPEST

...I usually have to add a drop of dish soap to bottled acrylic paint for painting.
....... if you l put a drop of liquid Ivory in your water that you use to thin your paints the paint will not bead up

Some of the cheaper craft-type paints (espeically reds) may begin to bleed after a year or so.
...the (bottled?) red acrylic I painted on (for lipstick) bled ...and then embedded itself into the clay and turned orange... the whole area around the mouth was orange way into the clay so that light sanding would not remove it. I had to cut out the stain and rebuild the mouth... I don't know if adding another color to it might contain the migrating red....Dawn
....That's happened to me was with one of the acrylic craft paints, I've had better luck staying with Liquitex, but its still chancy, especially with reds. Sarajane
....Liquitex red is the best red I have used ... and Folk Art green is the best green I have used. Annette
....What might help is to coat the area with matte or gloss medium and let it dry before painting with the red; a sort of barrier layer. . . I'm also intrigued by the idea of using the relatively new "clear" gesso for this purpose as it leaves a very nice "tooth" on the surface. Halla
... always coat the cured clay with a layer of matt varnish (acrylic or water or spirit-based) before you paint. This prevents any bleeding or adverse reactions. My samples treated like this, using Fimo spirit-based varnish, show no problems after 3 years so far.. . .Sue Heaser
....... I tried Flecto Varathane as a barrier layer and the cheap red acrylic craft paint... not only spread, it also turned orange-er.... I'm thinking its best to use that kind of paint on paper projects and not PC (it was fine with Liquitex paints though). Sarajane

You can also 'set' the paint with a 150-250 degree bake for only 10 min. or so (though it's not necessary)
...acrylic paint will be much harder and "baked on" if you bake it after painting
...most acrylic paints can bubble up or craze when they are heated ( too hot, or too long?, but okay if a little or thicker tube acyrlics?).
...paints intended for fabic painting and heat setting, will work with the clay also. Matilda
I can't scrape the acyilic paint off no matter how hard I try, if it's been baked.

thin and even coats of acrylic paint are the best ... and load your brush lightly. Annette

to minimize brush strokes (in larger areas?), use a nice sable brush dipped in water (a tip I learned from Lisa Pavelka in using her PolyGlaze). Trina
...(so true for all water-based mediums?...or dip in medium instead, per below?)

When painting, I suggest that you use a flat brush rather than a round brush... one that will cover the most area for the project you are using..... for wide coverage, I have a large assortment of flat brushes with chisel points..

rubber-tipped "brushes" can also be used to apply paint just where it's wanted when using acrylics or acrylic mixes

lessons and techniques for painting on miniatures ... with various paints

So I can paint small pieces more easily, I attach a small object to the top of the golf tee with Fun Tack
...... the tees can then be stuck into floral foam or something similar for drying. Cynthia

I paint in thin washes of acrylic paint, as opposed to one or two thick coats, to achieve the wonderful rich and semi-translucent look (of that beautiful skin on the African American dolls we are known for)
...I find that the paint sticks better on the polymer if it is applied in this manner ....being sure to let dry throughly in-between washes. Jodi

Don't use water to thin your acrylic paints...they will bead up and not adhere as well to the clay
. . . . . instead thin them with gesso, or an acrylic medium, or Varathane (acrylic wood finish) can thin the consistency of the paint to make washes and tints... or just to make thinner coats). Sarajane
...I tint Varathane with regular acrylic paints for glazes and antiquing..... I'm sure you could use Pinata inks (alcohol-based), too. Kathy W.
...mixing a few drops of Future floor finish into the paint on your palette will also make it adhere better to baked clay. Kathy R

I rather like thin washes of acrylic paints (over a solid color?) which are more translucent than solid applications of paint (as a background or a ground colour).
......I find that when I paint in washes though, I have to use a dry brush, or otherwise the paint beads on the surface.
..... a particular color of acrylic paint used as a primer( which is most suited for the piece) could be used instead of white primer, with layers of paint built up over it (...the primer could be a dark color for shadows, e.g., or whatever basic color you want to show through).
animals are all sculpted in a base color clay, a color close to the natural fur, feathers, or scales color to reduce painting.
..........painting for these creatures is usually a light drybrushing, followed by washes and glazes.
Katherine's long lesson on texturing and coloring the fur of her sculpted lifelike mouse (bottom of page, under Finishing)
..she first uses titanium white acrylic paint on a dry brush over the whole mouse
...... then uses raw sienna/burnt umber-colored clays with a bit of water to create a staining wash the consistency of cream to go lightly over the whole mouse a couple of times, letting dry between
...... then she highlights with dry brush (white on certain areas, or pink wash of raw sienna, cadmium red, and white for nose/mouth/ears):,,HGTV_3768_1389670,00.html

tips for common painting techniques --drybrush, washes, detail ...Polychrome Finishing Tech's- by Katherine Dewey

When I screw up, I use a Q-tip wet w/ hair spray to remove both Future Floor Wax and acrylic paint (on baked/cooled clay).

to make shiny enamel-looking paint, acrylic paints can be mixed with Varathane or Future (..little or a lot)
mix water-based polyurethane (Varathane) half and half with acrylic paints (
"Frames with Flair" by Suzanne McNeill)
........for a dimensional look that can be applied with squeeze bottles for raised designs, mix 6 tsp. baking soda to 3-1/2 to 4 tsp of the paint. MJ
to get a "glazed pottery" look like Fiestaware style.. mix acrylics with Future, then paint with it. carlie
......mixing a few drops of Future into the paint on your palette will make it adhere better to baked clay too. Kathy R

"interference" paints. . . surfaces painted with these colors look different colors depending on the angle at which they are viewed and the angle of the light striking the surface. These paints contain tiny flakes of mica, coated with titanium dioxide, which enable the paint to refract its complementary color
.....they can be used alone, or mixed with non-interference acrylic paints, or layered translucently over an already painted area. Judy (see interference powders in Powders)

(from a message re terra cotta) . . . Patio Paints (check out michaels)... acrylic?.... are supposedly designed to be outdoors, if that is your concern.

I suggest you try water mixable oils instead, such as Artisan by Winsor Newton because they work so well.. Katherine Dewey (see details below)

To create a durable, soft, and washable fabric paint for fabrics from regular acrylic craft paints, mix them with Textile Medium (it's in the same rack as the acrylic paints). Sheila in NC

other uses & misc.

Katherine Dewey's many tips re painting on clay sculpts... drybrushing, etc.

Judi Maddigan's polymer clay painting tips for faces (also glazes, gen. info, etc.) ...
Christel's very complete lesson on making & coloring a troll (or other) face & head with acrylic paints

Chrissie's figures are completely covered (arm/legs skin,etc) with opaque acrylic paints (+gloss med.?)... somewhat flat appearance of colors

Laukkonen 's lesson on making faux abalone, using black (acrylic) paint on each mini-stack of layers, indented with fingers, re-cubed, then cut (or cut with wavy blade) (see more in Faux-Many)
...for lighter mother-of-pearl, but don't use black paint and don't mix black into the pearl or silver clay.

(see below in Misc., for achieving a crackle finish from stretching metallic acrylic after drying)

thinned acrylic paints (or colored white glues, or possibly liquid clays) can be combed, swirled or otherwise created in interesting patterns (then allowed to dry) for interesting and possibly textured sheets of pattern
......created on a slick surface (glass, freezer paper, silicone sheet, etc).... then attached to other surfaces, including clay
......or the paints could be swirled directly on a permanent surface like clay
Jana Ewy's ("faux vinyl") lesson on pressing 4-7 colors of acrylic paints (thinned to cream consistency) between 2 sheets of freezer paper (coated sides in) after .. she places second sheet on the painted first sheet, pressing paint outward toward edges before removing top sheet and allowing to dry... she uses to cover boxes (with spray adhesive),,hgtv_3289_1376364,00.html
.......she zigzagged the colors (trying not to overlap them) onto the shiny side of freezer paper, then put *another* sheet of freezer paper, shiny side down, onto the paints; then she pressed the paint between the sheets (almost) out to all edges and corners with her finger which also caused the paint to cover the interior completely (and avoids bubbles).
.......when she pulled the papers apart, there was a sort-of wavy pattern created
........let dry about 12 hrs. and remove the "vinyl" sheets.
........later, use spray adhesive (or other dry adhesive?) to adhere to boxes, put on cards, etc. (the photos only show one or two variations)
....... I noticed was the "good sides" of each vinyl sheet were not shiny, and had to be varnished to make them shiny too...or the back sides could be used (they were nice but didn't have that neat secondary pattern)
....the pattern could be varied by how a finger is dragged, or maybe if other manipulations (like combing) were done first. would be neat to do the same with liquid clays. Since they have to be baked, I don't think freezer paper would work (don't know what the coating is comprised of) but 2 pieces of metal or glass might work ...or maybe aluminum foil would be better since it could be *peeled* off as she did (that sort of "pulled" the pattern into a slightly different effect).
..........(.I put a few lines and drops of colored liquid clay directly on a sheet of clay , then I sandwiched it between another sheet (of clay?), smooshed and separated. It came out pretty good. Alicia)
...Another neat pattern would be to make "Rorschach" prints ("ink blots") with the liquid clays or with regular paints. I had a great time one day *for hours* just using tube watercolors on squares of plain paper, folding, and opening to reveal the symmetrical pattern . . . I was totally mesmerized and had a hard time stopping <g>.
... As for using the "vinyl" later with clay, one thing would be to glue shapes or cut-outs of the patterns onto regular clay, maybe with a molded shape on top. Or if using liquid clay, I guess I'd try wrapping it around boxes, pens, etc., the same way she did, or using on cards, etc. Would make a great looking postcard, though it would need to be backed with cardstock or clay. There's probably lots more though... Diane B.
....(I've even done something similar with acrylic paints squirted in shapes on aluminum foil, then removed and added to a t-shirt (with more acrylic paint), etc., but hadn't thought to use a second sheet like she did.
...(see Kathy R's similar technique for making a texture plate with 3-D or smooth texture paint on folded cardstock by allowing the paint to sit a while to thicken up, in Textures > Making your own)
...also see Misc > Marbling for more ways to use various paints (on starch, etc), to create marbled, dragged, patterns

similar lesson using tacky white glue (1/2 c) mixed with acrylic paint (1 tsp) to create sheets of pattern

for a dimensional paint that can be applied with squeeze bottles for raised designs, mix 6 tsp. baking soda to 3-1/2 to 4 tsp acrylic paint. MJ

Styli'stick paint, from Pébéo... some kind of acrylic paint which can be ironed onto clothing-fabric (temporarily) with slik setting after drying 24 hrs. ...dries to a soft film ...may be peeled off and used on other fabric

according to info at trade shows, both (thoroughly cured) polymer clay and acrylic craft paints are safe for use in scrapbooking...regular acrylic paints will buckle paper, though..... (in order to attach the polymer piece to the page though, you must use an acid free glue --best I've found is Glue Dots or Red line Tacky Tape). Laurie D'
(... for which inks are acid-free, see Letters & Inks)
(.....and for ideas on scrapbooking, see Cards > Greeting Cards & Scrapbooking)

antiquing or highlighting dimensional textures or impressions created with stamps, texture sheets, or molds
(see much more about antiquing and highlighting in Molds > Highlighting, etc. and in Powders)
...Maureen C antiques and/or colors the upraised segments with acrylic paints (thinned for soft effect?)
...(or could use inks, fluid chalks, or various inclusions in clear mediums see below in making your own metallic paints, etc.) (may be gone?)
.. textured sheets which have been antiqiued or highlighted with various paints can also be flattened and still retain the pattern in the flat sheet
more on that technique in Texture > Flattening Antiqued and/or Highlighted texture sheets)

acrylic gel medium ... comes in versions from very soft to very stiff, to some with fibers or sand in it. ....made by both Golden and Liquitex tints up beautifully with just about any paint or paint pigment you want to put in it. looks white, and when you add tint it will look very pale. However, the stuff winds up drying clear, so your original colors show through.
...comes in glossy, semi-gloss, and flat ...takes about 24 hours to cure completely (lets you work with it longer).
(It was originally set up FOR paper or canvas, and definitely works on polyclay --I used it to make my dragon scales originally).

Buy a bottle of "extender" (any brand) which makes the paint more translucent and also increases it's "open" time, which means that the paint stays workable for a longer time.
.... If you brush it on and let it sit after you get it where you want it, the brush marks will "flow out" of the surface.
..."Student" grade would cost a lot less, but, the colors are less saturated and contain more "filler" than the artist grade. Those can be mixed with the extender, as well, to take out the brush texture. Elizabeth

what I would try if you want to use a spray... is go to walmart or a hobbyshop and pick up a small Testors airbrush .... the kind that uses a can of compressed air that is usually in the same area of the shelves... then you can mix your own spraypaint using only safe for polymer acrylics and water... you can then reuse the cheap airbrush anytime you want to paint something like that again … Tommie
....or buy an artist’s manual sprayer …Sue Heaser

Metallic ..Pearlescent ..Iridescent + Glitter acrylic paints (regular bodied)

( for pearlescent inks, see Letters-Inks)

Using metallic acrylic paints is so much simpler than using metallic powders... wish I'd discovered them years ago!
.... The great thing is that metallic acrylic paints can be used the same ways as metallic powders can -- that is, painted onto unbaked or baked clay, then baked -- with no problems whatsoever..
....the advantages are that the colors are REALLY nice... the paints are inexpensive
.... you don't have to mess with the flying dust particles of powders
.....never have to glaze after using a powder because it could rub off. ...using the paints is so much simpler (if applied well, powders don't need sealing tho).

Iridescent, pearlescent, interference, and metallic acrylics combine conventional pigments with powdered mica (aluminum silicate), etc.
...colors have shimmering or reflective characteristics, depending on the coarseness or fineness of the powder
...interference paints are "made from titanium coated mica flakes with an outer layer of a transparent, light-absorbing colorant rather than traditional pigments"?

....some metallic paint lines offer only "metal" colors like gold,copper,silver (including the thicker "metallic" tube acrylic paints)
.........some lines may also offer interference metallic "colors" though (Golden)
....some do offer metallic colors in red, blue, green, etc., though
........ Lascaux pearlescents, "artist quality"(many) colors...

SOME BRANDS of acrylic metallics
... I prefer Liquitex and Golden for their metallic-type paints, as I haven't had as much luck with Creamcoat bunch.
.......Liquitex acrylic paint's interference or iridescent colors are nice...

...Heather uses
Plaid and DecoArt brand metallics (see her lesson just below)
What I used is called Accent- Jewelry Colour (acrylic "craft" paints). ....they are water based and go on quite nicely when applied to unbaked clay... baked as normal.
I have squeeze bottles of metallic acrylic paint (Folk Art metallics by Plaid), and had forgotten about them!!... haven't tried them yet though
.........the bottle mentions "heavy pigmentation for maximum coverage" and "longer open time"...shake well... for regular use, let dry 1 hr. also says transparent or watercolor effects can be achieved by mixing these with (Folk Art) Extender ...on brush. Diane B.
I have some old Tulip Colorpoint metallic paints (for applying dots of color in patterns on t-shirts, etc.) ...wonder if they would work in the same way

I bought Plaid's Folk Art Metallic Acrylic Paints from Michaels and absolutely love them... they are a much cheaper than some of the other paints used for dichroic, and personally I would say they are just as good ($2 for a 2 ounce bottle, and sometimes on sale)....they also come in dozens of metallic, shimmery, colors and shades ...the colors, texture, application and end results seems to be exactly the same as some of the other paints used for dichroic
... I use them for crackling but also painting (see more below in Crackling)
....I've put it on before curing as well as after
....and I've dipped the painted pieces in Varathane, or UTEE. Shannon
....I got some at Ace Hardware, and they're just regular old craft paints, they were in the home painting section and used to do stencils
..If they're not pearly enough the way they are you can also just add (more) mica powder. Nancy

Metallic mica powders can be mixed into an adhesive medium ... (some examples would be glues, sealers, liquid clays, paints, Diluent, etc.).

I love to "tip" (highlight) my clay rose earrings in gold or silver to give a extra elegant look.

(you can also make your own metallic, pearlescent or glitter acrylic paints... see below in "Making Your Own Metallics")

If acrylic paint is baked on clay, it's impossible to scrape it off afterwards no matter how hard I try.

Heather P's lesson on using metallic acrylic paints (like Plaid and DecoArt brands) with stamping (..or texturing)
.... she applies paint to stamp with a cosmetic sponge .... stamps scrap clay ... then uses sponge to apply a diff. color(s) of metallic paint to the upper areas (highlighting) ... lets dry
( this case, she also trims clay to desired shape...then adds simple cane slices to the edges of the clay... trims them to only a small frame ... bakes... coats with Future--necessary?)

Lucy A's paints all parts of her mini shoes w/ gesso first, then with several layers of pearlescent inks (and fancy nail polishes), but could have used metallic acrylic paints instead

Emma R's illuminare beads ...suface of the "base" clay (possibly marbled clays) has been colored randomly with pearlescent inks or paints (possibly thin-bodied ones like Daler-Rowney's Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic Colours, or heat set Lumieres) or mica powders or could have been something similar using a carrier of translucent clay or liquid clay, etc.
... onlays of various types are then added and rolled down into the surface (cane slices, curving ribbons of watercolor sheets, etc.)

Mary V's dragon painted with multi-colors of metallic paint (gone?)
...(see more links below)

(Lumiere paints just below are also metallic acrylic paints, but they are thin-bodied and are especially strong colors
...can use both metallic paints in many of the same ways)

GLITTER acrylic paints

Liquigems Acrylic Glitter Paint in green, blue, red, "opal" pink, plus gold and silver (colors could be mixed to create more colors?)
....heavy concentration of mica flakes (in transparent medium?)
.... I found a new, to me at least, product to play with - Crayola Glitter F/X paint (a fine, multicolor glitter in clear medium). . .. it's an interior latex paint, milky white in color when applied. It dries clear, but shows fine multicolor glitter when light shines on it. try it, I grabbed a pen I had covered with red, white and blue clay and sealed with Future.... I dipped the pen in the can and just let the paint drip off....when dried, there was no masking of the underlying clay colors, but a fine reflection from the glitter... looks like a sky full of fireworks... had a slightly rough texture, but accepted another coat of Future with no problem.... Now I'm thinking fairy wings... Carol Beebe?
..... I used a blob of Tulip fabric paint with glitter in it to hold the feathers on the clay, and it stays on quite well. I had it left over from fabric painting days...In fact, I tested, and it requires real effort to scratch and peel it off, tho it can be done. .... I just squeezed the tube.... No scratching.
......... it probably would also work for cloisonne ....I only had gold and silver, so I never messed with it much! Sarajane
..........would also work for painting on clay?

...for the glittery areas (instead of using nail polish after baking), she could have mixed (Jones Tones or Art Institute) glitters into either gloss Flecto or into Future, then used that as paint for certain areas. Patty B. (see more in Finishes)

Thin-Bodied acrylics... Lumiere & Neopaque & Luna Lights

Neopaque ...thin-bodied (non-metallic) acrylic paints, by Jacquard
....very opaque... designed to cover dark backgrounds with light application
... bright even on dark surfaces..... like Lumiere (see below), but not metallic
....on light backgrounds, their color is less intense

Lumiere... thin-bodied metallic (or pearlescent or iridescent) acrylic paints, by Jacquard
...may "dry," but they won't actually be permanent (defined only as washable?) until cured (...can be important for some projects using Lumieres, less important for others):
...slightly metallic-pearly... very intense colors
...available in Hi-Lite, Pearlescent, and Metallic colors

Lumiere brand paints . . ...intended for fabric (leave fabric soft and supple)...must be cured to withstand washing.
...I just discovered those paints thanks to Leigh while we were at Shrinemont. The ones I've bought are beautiful pearl colors and are great for use on Polymer Clay. I've been buying mine from Wilma at the
...I’ve experimented with every brand of fabric paint there is, and these are the best I’ve found – definitely not the typical fabric paints you find in craft stores! ...they apply evenly to almost any surface, including paper, canvas, basketry and wood – yet they leave even silk soft and supple..
....The colors are brighter, more heavily pigmented ...because they are particularly reflective, you may wish to tone them down with white, silver, a darker color, or a matte color, according to your taste...I would rather be able to tone down a vibrant color than be stuck with a dull one that nothing can brighten! The only bone I can pick with Lumiere is that they don’t yet make a metallic black, dark brown, Christmas red, or yellow.
....I'm so glad I got some Sunset Gold Lumiere. It's a rich gold as opposed to their yellow-y plain gold. In fact I like it so much, I used tiny amounts of it over their Silver to warm the Silver slightly and give it a little more character. Linelle
...mix Lumieres with regular matte acrylic colors for an even more extensive range of metallics...add the Hi-Lite colors for subtle, reflective, opalescent effects... and the Super Sparkle for extra glitter.
...The Lumieres are gorgeous, and yes, they're just as brilliant after they've been cured.

You can apply them to raw clay, wait for it to dry to the touch before you further manipulate it into the shape that you want, then cure.
...Or, you can cure your piece and paint on it with the Lumieres with one-coat coverage (no need to cure if not needing to be washable, etc.?).
...if I put Lumieres on top of metallic leaf (on clay) that I didn't let dry enough ( felt dry to the touch but it wasn't completely dry), the pasta machine scrapers just scraped the whole thing into a mess. ... so now let it dry a couple of hours to be safe. Linelle

I usually wipe a cured piece with alcohol before I apply Varathane, so I'd do the same with a cured piece before I painted on it with Lumiere Acrylics... it seems to remove surface residue so that the finish can grip the surface more directly. Have a great time with these.. they are truly fantastic paints for use with the clay. Elizabeth

can also use for highlighting or antiquing as with using other paints

....Kris's lesson on impressing clay with a stamp, applying Lumieres to the upraised areas (let dry thoroughly), then flattening with a hand roller is somewhat less distinct, but still present ....sort of like texture sheet mokume gane or one ghost image mica technique (these are made into solid lentil shapes, and have top loops and cording added)
(see more on this technique using paints and other colorants in Texture > Flattening Antiqued and/or Highlighted texture sheets)

Consuelo painted on a sheet of black clay with silver Lumiere paints (reminiscent of black and silver "scratch art")
... I have a project in Oct 2005 Bead and Button on making painted polymer clay beads. DottyinCA.

for crackling Lumieres, I'd recommend that you dilute them about 1/2 and 1/2 with water before you apply them to the raw clay sheet, and then apply thinly --this will eliminate a lot of the body of the paint so that it can crackle or thin itself across the surface of the clay as you manipulate it instead of stretching so much (there is so much mica in the Lumieres that diluting them does not seem to remove any of their sparkle)
... and when applied to a white base, I don't believe the colors will even appear to fade down with dilution....they will lose their opacity though ...applied to black base clay, they will not appear as intense as the full-bodied paint. Elizabeth

You can use it to paint on layers of clay for a different type of mokume gane effect (from Tory Hughes) . Jill
....(for using inks rather than paints in the same way, see Letters-Inks and Mokume Gane)

I also dilute the Lumieres when I'm using them for mokume gane
--too thickly applied, and the dried Lumiere paints are the devil to cut through neatly from the top of a mokume gane stack. Elizabeth
(see more on Lumiere paints in Mokume Gane > Paints)

.....To cut the clay when it's coated with dried Lumiere paint, saw back and forth with a very slight downward pressure, using a very sharp blade. Don't push down. DottyinCA

As for scraps of clay with paint on them, unfortunately the paint won't mix into the clay so it can be reused
....however, you can often pull or scrape off the paint. DottyinCA

polymerclayexpress' lesson on applying (metallic) Lumiere paints to Buna cording (layered and spongy appearance, or solid)

how can I minimze paint strokes with Lumieres?
...use a nice sable brush dipped in water (a tip I learned from Lisa Pavelka in using her PolyGlaze). Trina (so true for all water-based mediums?)

The Lumieres are very metallic and so they compliment the mica, magic leaf and wire that I tend to use in my work. Dianne C.

There are dozens of techniques that you can use with Lumiere paints
...stamping, sponging, stenciling well as hand-painting, airbrushing, screen-printing
(check out Sherrill Kahn's books "Creating with Paint" and "Creating Stamping with Mixed Media Techniques" for some beautiful techniques that will also work on polymer clay)

I made some chysanthemum canes with Lumiere paints. The ones which I made up right away turned out fine.
....but the canes which I let sit unitl I got to them---over a month later did not reduce well
.... in fact the translucent layers could be separated out in sheets. The more that I worked at reducing, the more the layers separated from the paints.... Don't know if this was due to the translucent clay or if the Lumiere paints prevented the clay from reducing. Jeanne

other sites for Lumiere:
Dharmatrading...wonderful, wonderful, wonderful place to deal with
On this site you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the info: Dotty

Luna Lights ....are quite thin and more like an ink (in fact, have been marketed as Luna Lights Inks..DB), but dry like paint. extremely well with the clay. Dotty
......basically a "thin acrylic paint" probably (metallics and non-metallic colors)...flexible, water based paint.... on metal, plastic, ceramics, etc..
.....I've noticed that Luna Lights are exactly like metallic airbrush acrylics --same viscosity, similar coverage, etc Margaret D.
...Carol's or Tracy's Art Angel Pins...cutout shapes of polymer, stamped, finger painted with Luna Lights, then dusted with copper pearl ex. (can enlarge by hovering over bottom right corner, then clicking)
...Tracy's lesson on Luna Lights on black clay beads with widely crackled gold leaf and diff. color paints here and there.. dry...bake..gloss glaze....a little dichroic

..lots of good analysis and tips re Luna Lights from Tyra
...they will crackle fracture just a little bit on raw clay (not enough for doing any of the techniques which need clear fracturing however --see below in Stretching for more on using them this way) . . . coated and fired on black clay and then covered with ...glaze, they are beautiful!! When fractured just the little that they capable of, then glazed, they look a lot like dichroic glass. Dotty
...Tyra mentions that one of the main things the makers suggest using these for is making Rorschach-type ink blots (on paper) to be used as backgrounds or cutouts... she feels the special paper they use for this is basically just freezer paper (the glossy coating keeps the open time longer) ... but could do this with a clay sheet?? as well?
.......with the freezer paper I tried Lumiere Paints, Crayola Pearl Brites, Ordinary Metallic and Pearl Acrylic Paints and The Pearlescent Inks by Daler and Rowney and they all worked! ...I also created backgrounds using both white and black glossy card stock and they both worked reasonably well... I also had great success with acetate. Trish (some effects)

Making Your Own Metallic Paints

using metallic powders

Mica powder (like Pearl Ex) or real-metal powder (or other pigments) can be mixed into a clear liquid medium to create a metallic" paint" which can be applied in various ways.
......the resulting paint mixture will take on the characteristics of the medium it is mixed with (e.g.., gloss, flat, frosted, or iridescent..., and can look dense and opaque or lighter and more subtle depending on how much mica powder is used (or how much the medium is thinned)
...many clear mediums can be used

I like the "lighter-more-spread-out" look when I mix just the smallest bit of metallic powder into my Future
...then I bake the peice for 5 min and see if I want more or not (depends on the final look I'm after, but I always bake between coats of Future)
...I have a small container that I keep just for my mixture. Connie

Rustoleum's Varathane can also be used as the carrier for metallic powders ...but it is a bit milky when wet, and could make seeing the "color" while it's being created a little more difficult?

Elizabeth's lesson on mixing mica powders into gum arabic powder to make paints
...she mixes the metallic powder with the gum arabic powder (4 to 1)... then adds drops of water, and mixes till liquid
...she then lets it sit (and evporate) 1-2 days before using (or can use a "convection" oven to concentrate it)
...apply with wet brush (she applies to paper), often building up layers of color

I mixed Fimo's real-metal powders, called pulvers, (or Authentic Metal Powders by Houston Arts) into Future & into liquid clay
....... the Future +pulver makes a smoother line of "paint" & adheres well to baked clay
........the TLS (liquid clay) +pulver "paint" gives a grainy line (and must be rebaked to cure, of course).
12 real metal powders in metal colors (then click on Metallic Powders)

i put a lot of metallic powder into liquid clay and I thin it some with Diluent-ClaySoftener
..... if i touch my finger into the liquid clay lightly and brush quickly across something (highlighting) , it spreads the powder so it looks like you used the powder alone!!... the difference here is that the powder is baked on with the liquid clay, and sealing is unnecessary!! most cool, huh? Sunni
....You can see a sample of liquid clay tinted with Pearlex pigments here, I used it to make the tail of my merhorse, it looks almost like dichroic glass or a very blueish crystal opal. (gone) Laura

...Pearl-Ex mica powders (or real metal powders) can be mixed liquid clay to color with (i.e., antique silver for grey, or gold which turns out yellowish)....can use as a paint ... I have been putting stripes on my ornaments this way. mamadude
....... Mamadude used a rubber-tipped painting "brush" tool to apply it ... or use whatever works... stamps?
I use Kato (liquid clay) and also TLS along with the Pearl-ex powders (and other powdered pigments too), for making faux stained glass, for painting on clay, and for many other uses as well. Jeanne
...some liquid clays bake up clearer than others (TLS is the least clear), and that could affect the look of the mica powder paint depending on how thick it's applied

see Kellie's use of Pearl Ex colors as paint (using paintbrush ..which medium?)
... she colored different sections of raw clay (which had been delineated by impressing a bent wire shape into a sheet of base clay)

USArtQuest's page on using Pearl-Ex into various clear mediums (Products & Techniques > Tips & Tech's)

(see more on using mica powders in clear mediums in Powders > Pearl Ex)

using acrylic paints

You can mix your own pearlescent paint colors by using Pearl white acrylic paint with non-metallic acrylic paints:
......get more colors by mixing in non-metallics in basic colors like a red, a blue, and a yellow or gold), along with black

clear mediums can also be mixed with metallic acrylic paints:
...mix with acrylic paints into water-based polyurethane (Varathane) (half and half --"Frames with Flair" by Suzanne McNeill)
.......for a dimensional look that can be applied with squeeze bottles for raised designs, mix 6 tsp. baking soda to 3-1/2 to 4 tsp of the paint. MJ
..or mix them into Future ......mixing a few drops of Future into the acrylic paint on your palette will make it adhere better to baked clay too. Kathy R
..or mix metallic acrylic paints into liquid clays for painting
... I think Golden brand acrylic paints (in tubes) are just awesome to tint liquid clays .....the colors I found that I love so much are all iridescent copper, gold and silver! ...they are are SOOO rich!
........ I just finished the inside of a rock purse with the copper, and think I'll use it as a base on the outside as well. Jan

if using Lumiere paints (see above?) ...add the Hi-Lite colors for subtle, reflective, opalescent effects... and the Super Sparkle for extra glitter.

for more info on making polymer paints, see below in Paintings, and also in Finishes,


i store these new "paints" in little 1/2 oz serum bottles. sunni

for glittery areas ---instead of using nail polish after baking, she could have mixed (Jones Tones or Art Institute) glitters into either gloss Varathane or into Future, then used that as paint for certain areas. Patty B. (see more in Finishes)

Delta CeramDecor's Perm Enamel (the "Clear" medium) can be used on glass, tile, and ceramic
... (remember, just because something is named "enamel" doesn't mean it can't also be acrylic... this is acrylic?)
...I often mixed small amounts of Pearl Ex into Perm Enamel Clear to tint it for painting in select areas:
...Clear alone does give a really nice thick shine and it takes long enough to dry that it levels nicely and brush strokes diappear... I found though that it really works best only on flat pieces, not anything 3-d or sculptural.
... I re-baked for 20 min. at regular clay temp to cure and harden the finish, as it will peel off if you don't (though don't re-bake for at least 12 hours until it is completely dry or it will bubble... it may feel dry to the touch after an hour, but still be a little moist or sticky down under the "skin") Patti K.
...the top photo shows feathers and dots drawn or impressed into beads... then depressed-area shapes were painted
... the wild rose jars (near bottom) use the same method ...but the (non metallic?) purple color areas are painted over the gold acrylic paint in order to achieve the faux enamel effect. Patti K.

Other acrylics (?)

AngelWing's Radiant Pearls . . . pearlized paints in jars with emollients mixed into them similar to oil paints ...they are .translucent, like watercolors.
...shading and blending techniques?... use with rubber-stamped images or apply straight from the jar as a watercolor... embossable. Katie
Radiant Pearls don't dry on any type of plastic (including polymer clay). Katie
...Radiant Pearls need to be applied to porous surfaces (to uncoated paper, fabric, unglazed tile) in order to dry. Last I heard, it will never dry on clay, not even with heat-setting.
..........However, you can make beautiful pearlized accents by mixing powdered mica colors into TLS, so if Radiant Pearls puts out a powder form?, that would work just great. (You may have to thin the colored TLS to make up for the increased viscosity from adding the powders.) Eliz.
~I stamped ornaments on Sculpey III for xmas presents and painted them with Radiant Pearls (metallic paints which don't dry on plastic..). . . . After 3 weeks they still weren't dry so I poured clear embossing powder over them and threw them back in the oven for 15-20 min. Turned out like glass. Tonnia (techniques)
....I found out recently that they won't dry when painted over acrylic paint either. Katie
...I haven't used the Radiant Pearls but I know the main difference between these and other paints is that they don't mix together well.... In other words Blue and Yellow don't make Green. So you get side by side color in whatever pattern you mix.?? Trina
....I tried painting RP on paper that I then placed on a sheet of clay and followed with a layer of TLS and baked. The resulting piece looked okay, but I came across it recently (about 2 years since making it) and the color faded terribly. Ellen M.

Another option, by the same company, is Radiant Pearls' line of pigment powders and solutions called Primary Elements. They have about 25 colors of pigments in VERY rich colors, and accompanying solutions for fabric, paper, glass and, of course, polymer clay. You just mix a little solution and pigment and then paint it onto the clay.... You can cure the Primary Elements with the clay. ...more info about both product lines at: Margaret D. far as I can tell, "Liquid Leaf" (Plaid, Modern Options) is solvent based (and can be mixed into raw clay, but is not the same as similar sounding acrylic products like metallic liquid acrylic paints Liquid Gold, etc.??)
...metallic acrylics or sovent based??? . . Plaids' Liquid Leaf contains both a primer and a film of gold.
Plaid's Liquid Leading create the look of real leading lines with this waterbased, non-toxic formula.
...Can you use these to blend right into the clay?. . . (using another liquid leaf I) made some beads, baked them and whalaa...They're gorgeous! They really look like you've added gold foil or similiar material.
Treasure Liquid Leaf is a combination of red primer and metallic particles, which when applied, closely resembles traditional gold leafing. Apply with a brush and protect when dry with Treasure Sealer. Treasure Gold is effective for achieving metallic finishes on a variety of surfaces and is applied with a soft cloth. It will dry almost immediately and can be buffed to a fine lustre. Thin or remove using Turpentine or White Spirit and seal with Treasure Sealer.

Angelwings' Twinkling H2O's . . . shimmery (mica?) watercolor cakes embedded with mica powder to make them shimmer and glow.. .acid free ...dip a wet paintbrush or "waterbrush" into the solid cake of color and begin to paint ...on paper, canvas, rocks, eggshells, wood, etc. ...five 6-color packs....use group TW-605 (the light "iridescents" containing no pigment) to lighten the other colors without losing the shimmer
......These products look really cool, but they won't do the things on clay I do with Pinata Inks. They are waterbased and need water in the brush. They need to be used on a base which will absorb water and "set" the pigment into the surface, then the base (paper, canvas, wood) dries. This would not work on clay as there is no absorbtion of water by clay. The alcohol ink deposits the pigment particles on clay as it evaporates, "setting" the pigment that way. I think it would take way too long for water to evaporate off the surface and you couldn't layer colors... I've never found a way to use the radiant pearls effectively with clay, either--even though the colors are scrumptious! Patti
....(technique for dark cardstock, or clay?...certain areas like those between embossed dark stamped lines can be bleached out with a waterbrush, allowed to dry and then painted over with these paints . . . any wet paintbrush will work, but a waterbrush is much more convenient ...have special handles that are actually receptacles for water. To add more water to your project, just squeeze the handle. Or to clean the brush between colors, just squeeze until the water flows through the brush, then gently wipe the brush on a paper towel. ..

?? Plasti-kote makes a spray paint called "Bumper Chrome" (is this acrylic??). The can says it gives a chrome-like finish. I have had great luck with this. My pieces have the smooth, mirrorlike finish and look Chrome, an effect one cannot get using regular metallic silver acrylics or paints. I purchased my Bumper Chrome, and many other finishes I use at the auto parts store. (has lasted 2 years on baked Super Sculpey with no problems). (nothing bad in the spray propellant though?)

Acrylic "mediums"

"mediums" ....each "paint" contains has a pigment, a vehicle and a medium.
....the medium in oil paint is either safflower, linseed or some other oil, like walnut, for example (...the vehicle would be turpentine or paint thinner)
...the medium in acrylic paints is polymer (...the vehicle is water)
...pigments are can mix your own paint with pure pigments using a vehicle and a medium of your choice can purchase premixed mediums that have different qualities to aid in the painting process oils, mediums can be used to create transparency for glazing, impasto (thicken paint), speed or slow drying time, etc. acrylics there are similar types of mediums Bob Tavis (see below)

acrylic mediums:
...made from acrylic polymer emulsion ....the various types can be mixed together...dry slowly by evaporation
...form durable films when dry which are flexible and water/chemical/UV resistant
1. when added to an acrylic paint, they alter various characteristics of it:
........handling characteristics (tackiness-tooth, on fabric can control bleeding and allow smooth application, etc.)
.......appearance (shiny, matte)
.......volume (viscosity or thickness, vs. runniness) to create many different effects
2. when used alone, have excellent adhesive qualities so can be used as glue (even decoupage)

acrylic gel medium
... comes in versions from very soft to very stiff, to some with fibers or sand in it. tints up beautifully with just about any paint or paint pigment you want to put in it. looks white, and when you add tint it will look very pale. However, the stuff winds up drying clear, so your original colors show through.
...comes in glossy, semi-gloss, and flat ...takes about 24 hours to cure completely (lets you work with it longer).
(It was originally set up FOR paper or canvas, and definitely works on polyclay --I used it to make my dragon scales originally).

These are created by different manufacturers, such as Liquitex or Golden... usually available at craft stores (and art stores).

listing of the various types of acrylic mediums(& their characteristics and what they're often used for):
...Gel Medium ...used to extend acrylic paint, alone as an adhesive (see Glues > other glues), and as a clear finish
...Heavy Gel ... Matte Gel
...Gloss Medium... Matte Medium... Iridescent Tinting Medium

...Glazing Medium... Matte Varnish ...High Gloss Varnish ....Gloss Varnish Flexible Surface
...Acrylic Slow-Dri Medium
...Super Heavy Modeling Paste
(see more on acrylic mediums in Glues > Acrylics, or bottom of page)

"OIL"-type paints
+ Heat-Set "oils" (Genesis)
+ Water-Mixable "oils"
+ Oil pastels

true. OILS

(various brands ... "artist" quality, "student" quality, etc.)

You can use (true) oil paints on top of baked clay.... or in raw canes and clay, liquid clays, raw canes & mokume gane ...because you bake it later and that sets the paint more quickly
....these would eventually dry on baked clay but it takes a long time, so it's best to rebake to speed up the process.
some people like to bake the oil paint for 5 minutes at 250 to set it more quickly (rather than waiting for it to dry thoroughly) (...will also work with regular "painting"?)
(...for heat-set paints like Genesis, see below)

The oils in oil paint will not react with the baked clay if they are in a linseed oil base, not petroleum based . ..
......however, I just prefer not to use them on my things as they take too much time to dry throughly. Jodi C.
(.........though you can bake 5 min at 250 to set paint )
...."enamel" paints are suspect though (depending on what they really are)
....some paints (the heat-set "oils" which are really acrylics) will not ever dry on polymer clay unless they're baked.
... some do dry, but then turn sticky after a year or more - be careful! Sue (see linseed oil distinction just above?)

oil paints can be used to color solid clays, especially translucent clay marblizes really well in the clay (how much depends on how you mix it). Sharon

oil paint can also be mixed into liquid clays to color them

I paint on baked..translucent clay with oil paints and cotton swabs (gradient color)
--they blend fantastically...they don't dry out right away... and you can get lovely sheen without using a buffer. Louise

I paint on pc all the time, oil paints and acrylics. I simply use gesso first.... (later a corresponding sealer). I have pieces that are over 15 years old that still look 'new.' )
(....see more info about preparing the surface of baked clay for best results with paint above in "Preparation")

oil paints can be used as an antiquing in the crevices, and as light "glazes" on baked clay"

antiquing baked clay
...Gwen Gibson used mostly oil paints for filling in the grooves of clay created by her etching transfer process, but from what I can tell she did usually rebake for 5-10 minutes (probably just to speed up the process of drying though).
....oils fall into the grooves much better than acrylics. can just squeeze on some oil paint, rub it gently into the engraving. Then using a cardboard, or the chisel end of one of those clay shaper tools, remove the excess paint from the surface. You want the paint to be only in the grooves...rebake for about 10 minutes if using oil paint to set it.
...Gwen does use primarily oil IS messier...harder to cleanup. ...Somebody else said they had some "clay degradation" with oil paint. Quite frankly, I spend enough time on my stuff to NOT want to lose I'm sticking with acrylic paints. Jodie
(though "degradation" may be a result of not curing the clay completely?)

patinas . . .( liquid clays --with inclusions such as oil paints or powders)
. . . .these can be stippled on with a brush, sponge, etc.... or they can be painted on to cover all or just certain areas, then rubbed off to remain only in the crevices, etc.
...these can also be layered over each other, or used with other surface manipulations like transfers, stampings, sheets created in vairous ways, etc.
... I used oil paints and I was extremely happy with the results - much more gentle than acrylics. Louise

(for more on patinas created in various ways, see Fauxs-many > Aged & Ancient Effects)

to color several areas of baked clay, put a tiny bit of one color onto the baked piece in whatever area you want... rub it off leaving just a hint of color
...a second application of the first color can then be done to heighten the saturation.. . . . Then you can use a different color in another area. Gives a lovely, soft glow of color. Dotty in CA

You can paint with oils over a sealing of acrylic paint too.. . . household vinyl emulsion paint has the same effect.... I suppose this is worth it if you really hate acrylics... and don't mind waiting for oils to dry (still takes several days to 6 months for complete drying - look on the tube.).
...I like using compatible things though, I suppose, to cover all eventualities for the long term. Just be cautious! Sue
...I paint on pc all the time, oil paints and acrylics. I simply use a gesso primer first, then corresponding sealer. I have pieces that are over 15 years old that still look 'new.'

Donna Kato used oil paints in a mokume gane technique on Carol Duvall...she said that the oil paints cure in the heat of the oven and there is not a problem with degradation
(see faux abalone mokume gane above in Acrylics)
... 5 min. at 250º will cure it... you can use your oven, or embossing gun or the special gun or curing boxes that are sized specially for canvases.
...soap and water, or 91% alcohol clean-up.
... If you make a mistake, you can remove the paint from cured polymer until you cure the paint."

Oil paints (for tinting liquid clays, etc.).... Joann's, etc. store has sampler sets of oil paints for $8 - 12 .... 6-12 small tubes, but as Irene noted... they'll last just short of forever at the rate you need them for tinting TLS. I'm sure that you can find these samplers at any art supply and many craft supply stores that have fine arts sections. Wayyy less expensive than the Genesis line, and every bit as effective. Elizabeth
...Also those paint by number kits may be something to check out for small quantities of oil paints. Netta
(...Even the Genesis paints come in a 6 color set.....about $15. All colors can be made with these. Tricia?)


...("oil paint in a stick" ... refined linseed oil blended with a quality pigment)
...they are just marvellou, sort of like a compounded paint (in a crayon form) that is heat set. ....draw on your pc and throw in the oven...the colours are really great, the chart on the site doesn't do it justice. Robin

...can use same techniques, mediums and surfaces as with tube oil paints, including varnishes odors or fumes... 51 professional colors, 16 iridescent

oil PASTELS???
(see more on all "pastels" below in Pastels)

I use Sennelier oil pastels (quite expensive) but CrayPas will work just as well (not as fine a colorant but available everywhere, not just in art stores, and are cheaper. They do the same thing as the oil paints i.e. coloring, but it's impossible to use to much if you do it this way:
....(for surface coloring)..take a clean, glossy tile and be sure the oil pastel isn't 'healed over' and rub around in a circle to release a dime size or quarter size circle of color. Add tls (liquid clay) to this and mix until you've got the shade you want (now, of course if you're doing a mold, I guess this wouldn't work as well, you'd have to cut off a wee bit and crush it up. . . . I do all of my faux finishing this way...vertigris is several shades of teal green and a hint of copper...apply each with a dabbing motion to cover piece until it looks right...ater baking you'll be amazed how good the piece looks (this is great for that piece that 'just doesn't make it' other words).. Carolyn

It really is according to what you are doing and the colors you want, as to what colorant will work the best for you. I have found that the artist's powdered pigments work the very best for tinting liquid clays. Although they are expensive, they really go a long ways. ...With both the oil pastels and the powdered pigments, it sometimes takes a little while to get them to dissolve really well. So I make up little pots of all the colors I use and have them ready.. Jeanne R.

(similar in use to Shiva Paintsticks above?).....I bought boxes of oil sticks which are used to mark metal for layout in welding and fabricating shops (can also buy them from stores which sell acetylene gas and other welding supplies) The sticks are about 4" long and about as big around as a nickel. They have a cardboard cover on them and like oil pastels will develop a "skin" that must be removed before using. These come in all the primary and secondary colors, plus white, black, silver and gold. Real cool stuff to use. Just another source for oil paints, and yes I have a set along with several different brands of artist quality oil pastels. Patty B.

Hi Dianne - I've done a little bit of work with pastels and liquid clay. I use the chalk form because I can scrape a smidge from the bar for the color I want. You don't need much to made a deep rich color. I've mixed different colors of pastels and blend them in TLS to get the desired color.
....You can also use pastels on raw clay for blushing and it works well and stays in the clay after baking. Since I make mostly sculptures, I haven't had an issue with them scraping off. Hope that helps a bit. Sooz

HEAT SET paints (Genesis) ... sorta like colored liquid polymer clay?
behave like oils when used

Genesis paints are called oil paints but are not truly oil paints
....... they're actually a polymer based paint that won't harden until heated. Dotty (a "thermoplastic")
....These behave like oil paints, but they thin with water ....and clean up with water and soap or 91% alcohol ....and must be heat-set
...(??) From the first time I read a description of these Genesis "heat-set oils", I thought, yeah, right.....this is basically coloured liquid polymer clay, ie, that is, some kind of LS-like stuff, with pigment added. I think calling it "oils" is a marketing ploy. Cath
...You can even use it to clean regular oil paint off your brushes. Not that you would. But you could. Lisa T.

(see more just below on the characteristics of these paints)

SUPPLIERS +more info (click on Paints & Accessories)

These paints are rather different than other types of paint.
.... they do not dry at all , but must be "cured" the same way that polymer clay is cured (in an oven at 250-280 degrees, or with a heat gun)
....mixed-up paints and paint left in a brush never dries (so they don't need to be cleaned between sessions and mixed colors on a palette will "keep indefinitely)
.......(the Genesis representative) had one paint brush he'd begun using when he first started doing presentations that he'd NEVER cleaned... it was still wet.... unbelievable, really!

...can make any paint layer wet or dry as long or as short as you want.. impasto & glazing are easy
...however pigments look diff. than oils

These are marketed by one company: Genesis Artist Colors.
....not actually oil paints... but are ground in some sort of synthetic polymer that behaves rather like oil.
....they don't dry by oxidation the way oil paints do.... must be heated which sets is permanently --so the paint stays wet forever.
....for drying, you can use a special heat gun (sold by the Genesis company) but can’t use a hair dryer because it doesn’t get hot enough....or a special drying oven (sold by the Genesis company). ...can use a regular oven, but may get paint on it...
...a disadvantage to heat set paints is that they are made by only one company which won’t say exactly how they are made... they claim the paint is archival, but you have to take their word for it. . .

I have been working with them, and think they have a lot of possibilities.
....They are not pvc-based (?), but they seem quite compatible with the clay
.....they adhere nicely to the clay... and their tinting strength is fantastic.
.....The only problem I've had so far is with trying to sandwich the wet paint beneath a layer of translucent clay and having the translucent plaque..though my translucent layer probably wasn't mushed down hard enough, and maybe it can't be due to the viscosity of the paint. (I haven't tried all the Genesis mediums yet, though.) Just another problem to solve. Bonnie in Houston

Summary of WAYS TO USE these paints with polymer clay:
...just paint or use washes of them on baked clay, using a brush, or on a baked film of liquid clay... for pictures, sculpted faces, patterns, whatever
.........(more on some of that below under Polymer Paintings). an antiquing paint, it works great... I often use the Burnt Umber on light colors; Cadmium Red is great over impressed or carved black.
.........(lesson): make and bake the item first... when cool, sand and buff it... rub the paint over it, and rub off any excess.... rebake for 5-6 min's in at 250 degrees...then buff the surface again (the Genesis areas won't buff up (on their own), but the rest of the piece will. Dotty (.. Katherine Dewey says it will buff if a bit of liquid clay is added to it the Genesis)
......see also below in Antiquing and Patinas)
......(see also etched transfers using oil paints, in Transfers > Etched)
...stencil them in a pattern over the surface of the clay, then bake.
...sandwich them between layers of clay, and then use one of the mokume gane techniques with them....after taking slices off a mokume gane pad you can lay them onto a base bead, or a clay sheet and then bake.Dotty
.....would work as well for spiral canes or any other stacks or layered techniques?
...mix it with (liquid clay) to color it.... then use as you would use the liquid clay

.....the texture of the paint is very buttery and a delight to use.. If you love oil paints, but hate to wait for them to dry, this is the stuff for you!
.... for refined painting on clay, say a portrait or some other rendered subject, they work much better than Liquid Sculpey (...
but that's why I do the things I do with TLS... I like a more abstract textural approach and TLS works very well for that)
.....My DH cures his paintings (on masonite or illustration board) in my convection oven.....the only serious drawback is that this limits the size of the paintings. The Genesis people will construct a drying box for you but it isn't cheap.
..........(larger areas of) paint can also be set with a heat gun, but this is tedious and we feel that the convection oven does a better job.
.....They have a whole range of colors. and offer different sets, or you can buy them individually.
.....They do mix with liquid clay.. Jody Bishel
..Susan S's lesson on painting faces of sculpts with the flesh-colored and other colors of Genesis ... washes, etc.

for washes and stains, I prefer Genesis paints to acrylic paints as they leave no "edge", a real problem with acrylics.

I've even used them in an air brush. Katherine Dewey ....(for more on air brushes, see Finishes > Sprays)

inclusions....Donna Kato mixed titanium white Genesis paint with some colored powders (I'm pretty sure this was the brand - D'UVA chromacoal powder )
...then she
used it in her mokume gane and it was a really neat effect. Geo in MI
...Donna's lesson on using Genesis paints in a mokume gane stack ... she put the Genesis colors
here and there on a sheet of translucent , then spreadit around with fingers... added a sheet of metallic leaf on top ... final sheet cut and stacked into a mokume loaf,,HGTV_3238_1383760,00.html

They are a bit on the expensive side....You'll find, however, that quality oil paint in the same pigment concentration is just as expensive. Bonnie in Houston
. . .I have to say that these are NOT expensive paints (for what you get)... you get use out of every drop of paint in the bottle. You NEVER wash paint out of your brush, you wipe it all out of the brush and use it later. (You know that when you are working with most other paints, you will have a thin layer of paint on your palet where you might have blotted your brush... that quickly dries and is wasted. Because this stuff never dries, you can just swipe that right up and use it.). Reagan

CURING: Genesis paints are supposed to be cured ato 250- 280 degrees for "several minutes" can do that either in a regular/toaster oven, in one of their drying ovens, or using the special heat gun they make just for curing Genesis paints
... (their heat tool would cure the paint on polymer clay with that amount of time, but only partially cure the clay underneath as you won't be heating the polymer clay for the full time required)... (is this a problem?... or referring to using the paint only on previously baked clay?)

Genesis paints cannot be buffed unless you add a touch of liquid clay to them. Katherine

I bought the sampler kit which is in little plastic containers. When you cut off the tops, you have to store it so it won't tip over. Genevieve
.their "starter" kits include a heat gun, some colors, some mediums, and a video.
.......they generally run $60 to $80 retail tho' you could probably find a kit for much less though (I've seen one for about $40).
Margaret D.
...I also bought the sampler kit, and after opening a few of the tubes, I simply stood them up in a small (kalamata olive) jar.. It has been several months, and the paints, which don't "flow" in the first place, are still workable, and all I have to do is squeeze a small amount out of one of the tubes to color my TLS or make my MG. They're fun! And easy to clean up! deb

WATER-MISCIBLE Oils...(Artisan, Max, Duo Aqua,etc.)
(aka... water-mixable oils)

..I've applied them to both unbaked and baked clay. ... and always mixed with water
...they can be used for antiquing and patinas as well (see below in Antiquing)


Many people ...mistakenly refer to water miscible oil paint as “water soluble” oil paint: that’s not technically correct, any more than there is such a thing as water soluble olive oil. . . .
Water miscible "oil paints"...are oil paints made with a form of linseed oil that has been modified so that, when water is mixed in, it doesn’t separate.
...It is therefore possible to clean brushes in water rather than solvents, clean your palette with water, and so on.
...It is also possible to thin the paint with water, although manufacturers usually recommend against adding a whole lot of water. When mixed with water, the paint forms an emulsion (tiny droplets of water surrounded by oil), so the refraction index of the paint changes. That means that there is a noticeable shift in value; dark colors become a bit lighter. The paint returns to its normal value when the water evaporates away, making it difficult to judge values when painting (acrylic paint—another sort of emulsion—has the same problem).
...They take about as long to dry (oxidize) as regular oil paints.
....Water miscible oil paint can also be thinned with regular solvents, and manufacturers produce various mediums. They can even be mixed with regular oil paints, although no water should be added to such a mixture.
....Oil painters who try water miscible oils often find them to be kind of “sticky.”
Because each formulation is different, it can be a bad idea to mix paints from different brands. )

BRANDS + "oil" ingredients
...Winsor & Newton-- "Artisan Water Mixable Oil Color" (modified linseed and safflower oil)
............ I've been using these paints on Premo for a few years now because they work so well, and like them as much as Genesis heat-set paint). Katherine Dewey
...Grumbacher --"Max Artists' Oil Colors" (produced using alkali-refined linseed oil or sunflower oils.)
...HK Holbein -- "Duo Aqua Oil" (activator which alters the structure of the linseed oil).
...Royal Talens "Van Gogh H2Oil" (produced using a quick-drying, odorless vegetable oil).
.........(esp. for "hobbyists"), Royal Talens and Holbein have decided not to produce paints using such traditional coloring substances as cadmium and other heavy metals which are more toxic.

Water mixable oils feel like regular oil paints, but can be thinned and cleaned with water (but too much water will cause them not to stick well and lose their integrity) no unhealthy solvents are necessary
...can mix regular oils into these in small amounts (and retain its water friendliness), but mixing in a large amount will require (caustic) solvents
...can also use or thin any oil "medium" rather than water ...
...can be mixed with other media, such as watercolor, gouache, or acrylic paints....also waterbased metallic, pearl, and interference colors (though not too much?)
...can use with any brush ... on any surface

Baking or rebaking helps to dry and set the paints, though I like to let them dry as much as possible before baking.

I use these on flesh clays to add that spark of life... I let them dry, then gently brush the surface with Diluent (which helps to remove brush marks before baking) . Katherine Dewey

more info and opinions on differences between brands (for regular painting)
...some of the oils (even colors within brands) are sticky, some thick, some thin, etc.. ...every brand has a different color range and differing amounts of pigment of the benefits is the set up time... you can usually paint over them easily in a day or two.... but wait 6 mo-1 yr for full curing (before you varnish). Diane
... I've noticed I have to use a much lighter touch using bristles than I did with regular oils. Pat

more on types of oil paint, and their differences from acrylics

There are generally three parts to a paint solid part, and two liquid parts. Combined, the two liquid parts make up the medium or vehicle. The solid part is mostly pigments, which are particles that provide color and also help make the paint opaque. The binder (usually a natural or synthetic resin) is that part of the vehicle which eventually solidifies to achieve the dried paint film. The solvent or diluent (often an organic solvent, or water) is that part of the vehicle that is volatile and does not become part of the paint film. The major function of the solvent is to thin the paint to make it easy to apply.
After application, the liquid paint solidifies, leaving the binder and pigment as a colored coating. Depending on the type of binder, this hardening may be a result of processes such as curing (in oil paint, this takes the form of oxidation of linseed oil to form linoxin), evaporation (most water-based paints are emulsions of solid binders in water; when the diluent evaporates, the molecules of the binder coalesce to form a solid film), cooling (encaustic, or wax, paints are liquid when warm, and harden upon cooling), etc. ....Since the time of the Renaissance, siccative (drying) oil paints, primarily linseed oil, have been the most commonly used kind of paints in fine art applications; oil paint is still common today.
...However, in the 20th centry, water-based paints, including watercolors and acrylic paints, became very popular with the development of latex and acrylic pigment suspensions. Milk paints (also called casein), where the medium is derived from milk, were popular in the 19th century and are still available today. Egg tempera (where the medium is egg yolk) is still in use as well, as are encaustic wax-based paints. Gouache (pronounced 'gwash' and is a sort of opaque watercolor) was also used in the Middle Ages and Renaissance for manuscript illumination. The pigment was often made from ground semiprecious stones such as lapis lazuli and the binder made from either gum arabic or egg white. Guache is also commercially available today.

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint containing pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer resin. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water), the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting. Acrylics are sometimes used in place of watercolors because acrylics dry closer to the desired color (slightly darker, usually), while watercolors dry lighter (and often unpredictably, especially for beginning artists). Acrylics can also be used as an alternative to oil paint because acrylics dry much faster than oil paints.
..... Acrylic paints can achieve an oil-paint-like effect, and do so in much less time. Applied to look like oil paints, acrylics are somewhat limited due to the superior color range of oil paints, and the fact that acrylic paints dry to a shiny, smooth (some say 'cartoonish') effect--not surprising since acrylic paints are, basically, plastic.
...(after drying?)... acrylic paint can be removed with turpentine, mineral spirits (also known as white spirits), ammonia, and rubbing alcohol.

Oil is a generic term for fluids that are not miscible with water. The name comes from Latin "oleum" for olive oil.
Oil paints, which consist of pigment suspended in an oil (usually linseed, or other natural oil) base, can take a very long time to dry.
Linseed oil is an oil derived from the flax plant... the linoleic acid in linseed oil is also used as a dietary supplement
Petroleum (from Latin petrus–rock and oleum–oil) or mineral oil is a thick, dark brown or greenish flammable liquid, which, at certain points, exists in the upper strata of Earth's crust. It consists of a complex mixture of various hydrocarbons, largely of the methane series, but may vary much in appearance, composition, and properties. It can be shortened to the prefix petro-, as in "petrodiesel". . . . After a drilling and pumping process to extract it from the strata, petroleum is refined by distillation...the products include kerosene, benzene, gasoline, paraffin wax, asphalt, etc.

A so called "enamel paint" is any paint that dries to an especially hard, usually glossy, finish. This is a commonly used, yet fanciful term, implying that an ordinary latex or oil-based paint has the same properties as true, fired vitreous enamel. Some enamel paints have been made by adding varnish to oil-based paint.
.....I've always understood the term 'enamel' as referring more to the look of the dried finish rather than the solvent or carrier for the pigments in the many and varied kinds of paint we have available now. Specifically, to me, enamel has always meant a hard, very glossy shine to the dried finish. Ke
...and because it resembled actual glass-based enamelwork. They were originally based on mastics or resins which carried the pigments and oil fractions to keep them liquid until used. Alan?

...These days, the ("enamel"?) paints are likely to be based on plastics though which harden either by evaporation of solvents or by a physical change when they're exposed to air - more than likely it's a combination of the two effects....Since the ("enamel"?) paint is plastic based, there's a likelihood that it contains some plasticiser or at least some 'mobilising' agent which allows it to expand and contract after it 'dries' when exposed to heat or cold for example.... It's quite likely that clay plasticisers which remain present after baking could adversely affect the paints sooner or later if they were in contact with them. I don't think the degree of interraction could be predicted - as you suggest, it could be days, weeks months or even years before any plasticiser or other constituent incompatability problems showed themselves.. Alan

Varnish and shellac provide a protective coating without changing the color. They are essentially paint without pigment. Unlike paint, which is opaque, varnish and shellac are clear or translucent.
Lacquer is usually a fast-drying, solvent-based paint or varnish that produces an especially hard, durable finish.
solvent ...A liquid, usually volatile, which is used to dissolve the binder in a coating, and which reduces the viscosity of the coating, See diluent. (some definitions)

Latex:- A dispersion of a solid in a liquid. Often used as a synonym for a dispersion binder. a dispersion of a polymer in an essentially aqueous medium. See emulsion.
Medium:- The phase in which the pigment is dispersed; the vehicle; often a solution of binder, solvent and dispersion additives. Methylated Spirit:- A commercial version of Ethyl Alcohol which has been made non-potable by the addition of adultarants. The original adultarant was methyl alcohol along with substances to give it a bitter taste and a repellant odour....
Pigment:- A powdered insoluble solid which provides optical properties such as colour, reflectance, opacity.
Plastisol:- A dispersion of fine polymer particles (usually PVC with plasticiser) in a non-volatile organic diluent. The polymer does not dissolve at ambient temperatures but upon heating the polymer dissolves and forms a solution which results in thermoplastic film/moulding upon cooling.
Size:- A coating applied to a surface to improve the adhesion of the subsequent coats. A thin varnish used as a first coat in metal decorating (i.e., when printing tinplate sheets prior to forming into cans). In the decorative trade used on surfaces before applying wallpaper. Also applied to coatings for textiles which stiffen them.See also primer, sealer, filler, bonding liquid, undercoat
Thermoplastic:- A material which is softened by heat and hardens on cooling. the process of softening and hardening can be repeated
Thermoset:- A material which permanently hardens (polymerises) when heated, but is not softened by heat.

WATER-SOLUBLES (permanently soluble) --watercolors + tempera

gouache and true watercolour paints are prone to bleeding on polymer clay
. . . .they dry fine, but after a year or two, especially on translucent clays or flesh clays, they begin to bleed.
.... I have a mini tea set, about 5 years old that was made with Fimo translucent... the red flowers have sort of flowed through the clay…even under the varnish topcoat…they only go on after careful de-greasing (gouache is best but they are even more unstable than acrylic). Sue

Sue, have you tried watercolors ...and also watercolor pencils?
...a thin layer of translucent clay (#7 on the pasta machine) baked over the watercolor, then sanded and buffed, and you have beautiful enamel like color that wont wear off, and isnt as glossy as liquid varnish
the best (and cheapest) sealant that I've used is diluted PVA glue (white glue).... can dilute it with water to any consistency
......the beauty of this polymeric glue is that it doesn't react with clay plasticisers, will withstand our baking temps, and is completely clear when it dries.
.....after you've drawn or watercolored on clay, this works wonderfully well. Alan V..

But do these sealers also prevent bleeding into the clay after a year or two?
... water colors and tempera tend to bleed into the fillers in the clay, especially fillers used in Fimo and Cernit... varnish will not stop this infiltration. Katherine Dewer

for more on watercolor pencils, see below in Colored Pencils

glycerin is also a very good watercolour paint additive - it prevents rapid drying. Alan

watercolors as inclusions in translucent clay. . . to tint them
(may work even though they contain water, which can create bubbles or plaquing, because you don't need too much, and the tube types are thicker?)
...I took out a tube of water color paint and used it to tint translucent Premo.... used different amounts of paint in eachand baked
.....they came out very nicely -- saturated with color, not muddy... not crumbly... sanded and buffed up well. Ginny B.

I’m enjoying "watercolor painting" on polymer clay pc with alcohol inks (Pinata), which behave like watercolors. make them like watercolors, you just water them down with the extender or rubbing alcohol make pastels of any of the Pinata colors, you add the white (opaque) ink. Kat's Creations
...Patricia Kimle's "watercolor" painting using alcohol-based inks. . . . softly washed colors, color bleeding, color layering ...her book including this technique will be coming out soon
.........when painting on clay with Pinata Inks....there is no absorption of water by clay
...rather the alcohol ink deposits the pigment particles on top of the clay as it evaporates, "setting" the pigment that way. Patti B.
..syndee holt's demo on painting with alcohol inks on a transfer?, coloring book style (click on each)
(...much more info on using inks for watercoloring on polymer clay, see Lettering-Inks > Alcohol Inks > Painting)


add much more

(for using tempera or other watersoluble paints for "crackling," see below in Crackling)

(there's also a technique for creating the look of a watercolor painting applying tiny, very thin cane slices to a background clay base, resulting in a completely flat surface ... see Canes-Instr. > Overall Techniques > Component Caning)

MISC. re paints... + OTHER paints

Jacqueline Lee used milk paint as a way to antique polymer clay at Shrinemont 2004... and the Las Vegas Clay workshop
......The milk paint that we worked with is by Aspen Art Stamps and they have a bit of information on their website about it.
......on page 43 of the 2004 issue of PolymerCafe, there is some information about the Vintage Milk Paint by Aspen Art Stamps. Helen
...I've used milk paint with polymer clay -- if you use it on the outside you can get a soapstone kind of look, or antique look. Tonya
...milk paint is actually a "recipe" of ingredients that varied between geographic areas, but is basically a combination of milk protein (casein), lime and a variety of natural pigments such as iron oxide, lampblack, berries, dried plants and many others.
.....some manufacturers have duplicated the milk paint formulation in a dry powder mix.
.....the colors are deep and rich, long lasting and extremely fade-resistant and have a texture that cannot be duplicated with today's commercial paints... it bonds extremely well with most porous surfaces...most manufacturers offer milk paint primers or other surface preparations that increase the milk paint's ability to bond to non-porous surfaces. shrinks more than standard paints as it dries

creating the salt effect is pretty easy to get "starburst"shaped patterns
..actually anything really wet will work with salt (including any types of water-based paints-- acrylic (possibly diluted), watercolor, fabric, Lumiere, etc.) ....when salt gets wet, it "explodes" giving bursting effects... then after everything dries, just brush off the salt residue. Trina
...can use plain salt (smaller or more subtle?), rock salt or Kosher salt are larger flakes, plus other "salts"?

......"exploded salt" (Silk Salt) is used by the silk painters really like pretzel salt --it's been puffed and air in it
......when it's sprinkled on wet colored ares, (dyed fabric, watercolor paper, etc.)... salt absorbs the dye as it dries, leaving textured, halo effects.. works best on medium to dark shades (see a bit more on this in Letters-Inks > Alcohol Inks > Other uses)

For an entirely different look, you can spritz a wet waterbased paint with rubbing alcohol, this will cause the paint to spread or disperse from the alcohol. Should work on baked clay too. Nina O.


colored pencils (use soft ones for best results)
...Prismacolor is definitely considered one of the finest brands of colored pencils available. The lead is soft enough to give brilliant color and blending capabilities, but not so soft as to break up.
....colored Crayola pencils were shown by Toni B. for transfers (not direct drawing?) onto clay (which work great and are cheaper than Prisma pencil she says).
...Mail order is a good way to go here. Currently, ASW Expess in NC has them in their catalogue at 40% off mfg. price as follows: Sets: 12 colors- $7.59 24 colors- $15.19 72 colors- $45.39 120 colors- $75.69 Shipping is free! Their phone number is 1-800-995-6778 ASW's catalogue is varied; it's listings change from time to time. They carry a decent amount of materials. I have ordered from them and service is excellent.

MOST INFO re using colored pencils has moved to Transfers > Colored Pencils
(coloring directly on baked clay... or coloring on photocopies or transfer papers first, then transferring to clay) are some examples though: .... and,,HGTV_3238_1378909,00.html,,HGTV_3352_1909744,00.html (Gerri's) (bottom of page)

Watercolour colored pencils are, by definition, water soluble - the cores are pigments, solulbisers and binders such as gum arabic (or a synthetic equivalent)..... So you'll have to seal them into the clay....otherwise if it were to become accidentally wet, some or all of the pigment would be lost. . . . - simply brushing on a waterbased varnish would naturally disturb your artwork. I use an aerosoliser instead (have you seen the type with a dip-tube and a mouthpiece which are joined in a simple 'venturi' style sprayhead? They're sold in artshops for pastel and chalk stabilisers and are quite inexpensive . ..they're metal and so can be used with lots of different solvents and water based solutions.) The beauty of them is that they allow very small quantities to be sprayed onto a surface - with minimal disruption of the medium to be stabilised; so they are perfect for use with pastels, chalks and even powders on clay. An viable alternative would be one of those air-pumped sprayers (perfume, cooking oil etc) filled with diluted acrylic varnish (remember to wash it out after use though!....otherwise it'll clog) Alan
...(see more on sprayers like this in Finishes > Sprays)

A friend says that she has also covered the watercolor pencils with the Future with no problem by using a very soft brush, flooding the surface with the Future, and letting it sit overnight. DottyinCA

see more on using watercolors above in Water Solubles (watercolors + tempera)

(soft, hard, pencils, oil, water-soluble, oil "pencils")

definitions + differences

some companies may offer more than one type of pastel

examples of all types of pastels + info

(mostly from Wikipedia) Dry pastel media can be subdivided as follows:

(chalky consistency)
Soft pastels
("pastels", "French pastels"?) —most widely used form of pastel
...made with a gum or methyl cellulose binder ?

...sticks have a more pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter colors
...can be readily smudged and blended, but it results in a higher proportion of dust
...require a fixative to prevent smudging
...vary from hard (Faber-Castell Polychromos) to very soft (Schmincke), with many variations in between.
...extensive color lines, like Sennelier
Hard pastels
... less pigment, more binder and less pigment, resulting in less brilliant colors than soft pastels
...can be sharpened to a point so useful for fine details... often used for outlining and preliminary sketching, and backgrounds with soft color
...can be used with other pastels or other media for drawing outlines and adding details

Pastel pencils —pencils with a pastel lead
...useful for adding fine details

(waxy or crayon-like consistency)
Oil pastels

.....sticks made with pigment, non-drying oil, wax binder ... look and feel like crayons
.....soft, buttery consistency... intense colors
.......compared to hard and soft pastels, oil pastels are:
.........more difficult to blend
.........cleaner, and do not rub off as much ...resist not pose any health risk in terms of breathing dust not require a fixative... never fully harden (can be smudged in storage)
.....when used lightly, effects are similar to pastel chalks
scholastic grade, e.g., Loew Cornell (harder, and less vibrant) ......Pentel?
student grade e.g., Van Gogh (softer, and more vibrant).
professional grade e.g., Sennelier, Holbein (softest, and most vibrant)

"oil color pencils" ?? those by Willow Hollow ...what type are these? (....oil pigments suspended in wax base)
... can be purchased at Michaels, not in the art section but in the wood craft section. (page 4)

Water-soluble pastels -- similar to soft pastels, but contain a water-soluble component such as glycol (which allows the colors to be thinned out using a water wash)

The pastels I bought for painting portraits come in grades of softness
....... I just bought a set of Yarkas, recently... they're much softer than Rembrandts or NuPastels (now called Prismacolor NuPastel) ....think I could probably color the clay directly with those (with Sennelier brand soft pastels, I am almost sure you could).
..........I have a huge set of the Sennelier pastels and their irridescent pastels too...and both are wonderful! I've been using them for some time in my parchment crafting. Love the irridescent line!
...pastels are also graded by lightfastness, and labelled as to pigment purity.
......"student grade" pastels like .Alphacolor aren't as lightfast and don't contain the high concentration of pigments of the artist grade pastels.JAN

using pastels with clay

Karen L. uses sharp oil pencils ... or sometimes Prismacolor colored pencils
...Lessons at her website:
.....preparing the clay for painting... covers a ball with cane slides, rolls, then mostly flattens one side... bakes?
.....combine pearl and translucent clays and adds to rounded? side of bead as base for drawing
...smooths as much as possible... bakes
.....drawing the face

drawing a dragon eye on an oval cabochon
........prepare baked clay (she uses an oval cabochon) by sanding with 320 grit wet-dry sandpaper
.......draw with very sharp pencils
.......can also use an Xacto blade as "eraser" (to get thin lines, etc.)
.......for blending can use a "blending" pencil or 400 grit sandpaper
.......after drawing, seal and finish by brushing on liquid clay thinned with Diluent-Softener
....... bake 10-15 min, no longer
.......repeat layers of liquid clay after cooling, up to 4-6 layers (so thick enough for later sanding)
......... can sand with 400 between some layers
.......finally sand with 800 grit
.......buff to high gloss
..........or dip in Varathane (2 layers, sanding with 800 after first layer)

Karen L's earlier lesson
...I find its easier to work on slightly curved surfaces (for beads?)
...I bake the clay as usual, then sand it with 320 grit sandpaper
...then I draw with the sharp pencils ...if you make mistakes, use the sandpaper as an eraser.
...bake to set the pencil ... 200-275 for 5 minutes put a clear sealer on top, thin liquid clay to the consistency of heavy cream, then coat the surface with a thin film of it ...bake 275 for 12 min
.........(repeat the liquid clay & baking steps at least 3-5 times)... use more than one coat so you don't sand right down to the drawing later
....finally, sand and buff
....can also coat that with Varathane or (another, or spray?) acrylic sealant
... let dry at room temperature... heat set with a hair dryer on high for 1 minute. Karen
OR just use Varathane to begin with??

Karen's lesson at HGTV re drawing a face with oil pencils on a translucent clay ball
...then framing the face with a disc of clay & bits of a stamped, shaved, mokume stack, as a frame or "hair",1789,HGTV_3238_3314063,00.html

Karen's drawings on larger flatter wall hangings using oil pastels and layers of liquid clay (on translucent or iridescent base clay)
... framed, some with mixed media
.....these are great for drawing landscapes too... Karen

Jai's paintings ... "carved" .translucent clay (some not translucent?) pieces painted on with artist grade chalks and pastels in layers, cured between... glazings, etc.
.... if held to light, paintings are translucent ...some also trimmed with gold (more highly carved) ..(flat or flatter)

Karen's tip for correcting colors that may fade (pinks, purples, reds):
....before baking, let drawing sit in bright light or close to heat source for a while
... if colors fade or change, adjust color... then bake

First make a palette for your artist pastels with sheet of rather coarse sandpaper (180 grit would be good)... tape it to a piece of cardboard ...then rub the soft pastels on the sandpaper, just a couple of swipes loosens a LOT of pigment.
........arrange your colors the way you would an oil palette, to avoid color crossing... blues in one area, yellows in another, etc.

Then to paint with them, use a sponge-tip eyeshadow applicator(by the dozen at the Dollar Store) instead of a brush
.......moistened with a teeny bit with a 50/50 alcohol-Diluent mixture (good for smoothing away fingerprints.)
........these are much better than a brush for applying the colors to raw clay. could also get those "pointed" Q-tips to use... disposable and you can do some really fine details with them. Elizabeth

I have had some interesting results by grinding pastels, mixing them with water, then painting onto raw clay
.... I let the "paint" dry before baking and wash it off afterwards.... the clay absorbs some of the colour, and the results are quite precise. Anne

Nora Jean's painting with pastel dust and water on uncured Sculpey, then cured
..."brushes" were 8 hairs from an eyeshadow brush taped to the end of a tooth pick. Painting done with magnifying glass
.…. (also see Miniatures?)

pastels, however, should not be used on scrapbook page embellishments since they contain oils.


Decorating Chalks ...... cakes of concentrated chalk color
... concentrated pigment. .... acid-free....... come in palettes of various colors
...Linda Welsh's lesson on coloring grapes and leaves with decorator chalks (onlays on baked bowl) ...for leaves, she picks up lt. green chalk heavily with a brush, then dabs from the center out on each leaf...then uses medium green from the outside edges to the inside... then uses darker green in same way...other colors can be used to highlight tips . . . for grapes, dabs purple chalk here and there ...then repeat with blue and purple . . .bake... antique with Bumt Umber acrylic... seal with "thin coat of acrylic sealer to protect".,1789,HGTV_3240_1397231,00.html
by Craf-T Products:
...APPLICATION: .Use cheap cotton swabs for small areas, and eyeshadow or makeup sponges for larger areas. ...a diff. applicator for every color.
.....apply with a back and forth motion... reapply chalk until the desired intensity of color is achieved.
.....blend the chalk colors with a circular motion for a gently blended effect.
.....apply lightly for a soft look, or more heavily for intense color. not to use fingers to apply since they have natural oils.
..... chalk will set within 40-60 minutes after application.... permanent after 24 hours keep chalks from smearing or migrating on paper, use an acid-free spray fixative like Blair No Odor Spray Fixative (don't use hairspray to seal your chalks, not photo safe). artist's white plastic eraser will remove chalk without leaving a mark (pencil erasers may leave dark smudge & may contain an oil).

Tonja's stamped pendants, highlighted with "Powder Chalks (most saturated colors), Liquid Chalk Inks, Byzantia Paints, and Pearl Ex" powders)

Ordinary kids' chalks can also be used for raw clay
. . . . I made some "palettes" for my kids' classes by gluing a cut piece of sandpaper to the inside of a box, then drawing a grid with a permanent marker. I rubbed each of the colors into one square of the grid, creating a bit of powder in the crevices. . . .the kids used a soft brush to pick up some powdered chalk, then dabbed it onto (their sculpture's head and/or hair) until it was dark enough --"stroking" won't work nearly as well.
...the effect will be softer than an acrylic wash, but looks great on faces or things like angels and flowers where you might want a soft effect. These you might already have at home.) does sink in? a bit over the years and become less saturated and maybe a bit darker... DB

eyeshadows ... use as other chalks but these are more intense than ordinary chalks

(for Colorbox's Fluid Chalk inkpads, which act like a semi-transparent matte paint, see Letters-Inks > Chalk Inks)
(for liquid chalk markers, see Letters-Inks > Chalk Inks)

(for artist chalk pastels, see Powders > Chalks)
(for coloring transfers with chalk, see Transfers > Pastels, Chalks, Dusts)

I was looking for powder to use for my fairies and their wings...i wanted some blush for cheeks ect and have been using makeup blusher but i wanted powder which didn't have a glitter look to it.
.... I went into a cake shop and noticed they had some colour food dust in about 80 colours , i took some home and i was amazed how good they came out, they stick to unbaked clay and also a little to baked clay and if that wasn't enough, add water and you have paint...... its also safe to have around pets and kids as it edible...kasaj101

??I use chalks on certain pins that I make and teach. When I first started making them....I tried the Krylon Matte Spray too to seal it. Seemed to be fine for a long while. I kept one pin for myself and one day went to my jewelry box to wear it and it was tacky! Really sticky …Shawn ( applied to thickly, or not allowed to dry between coats?)

I made the heart shape first, dusted on the colored chalk with a good soft brush
... then onto the uncured clay I drew the designs with milky markers and metallic gel markers.
....I then covered the bead with a very thin #6 sheet of translucent clay. (Donna's phototransfer encased technique is a bit different...the chalking and drawing is done first around the transfer then a sheet of translucent is applied)
....this is all then run thru the pasta machine ,then applied to a bead core. Geo


I've been dying polymer clay for years. Like fabric, the intensity of the dye comes, not so much from the length of times in the dye vat, but how many times it is dyed and rinsed. Much of the wood tone in the Dryad sculpture at Arrowmont came from fabric dye (Rit dye? or something more like Procion?).

You can also use concentrated tea to stain polymer. . .

A couple of months ago, for no reason, I bought some 'wood & reed' dye at a local art supply store. It's a very dark, very fine powder. Last night, while playing around, I decided to see what kind of effect the dye would have with the clay and paint. I very lightly dusted some black powdered dye on a piece of polymer clay. Later, I silk screened over it with some white paint.
....The cool and unexpecting (at least to me) part was the dye slowly and partially soaked up through to the white paint, creating a kind of speckled effect that could be seen on the surface of the paint. Even though the dye was black, only the red particles soaked through, giving the white paint a pinkish tinge with red speckles. The effect was rather strong but it toned down a bit after baking. The pinkish cast faded quite a bit, but the red speckles stayed. I made a light plate cover out of the experiment:: (click on Next to see the baked version). I still plan to glaze the thing to seal in all the different things I coated the clay with (inlcuding the dye)....I see some interesting potentials with this stuff. Desiree
....I noticed that even when lightly dusting, because it's so fine and light, it went everywhere. I'm sure that's intentional so the dyes will dissolve quickly in another media like water or oil or paint. Are there any unusual or extraordinary safety issues that you know of? Desiree
....I try to treat them with the same respect I do Powdered pearls etc. I don't wear a mask..but am very careful about inhaling around them :) Of course..I avoid any drafts when using them too. A mask might be a good idea...I just dont happen to use one. Jan R.
....I've used them quite a bit with TLS. I have several bottles of various colors here that I've used in painting etc.. Jan R.
..... You don't need the PhotoEZ silk screen, per se. You can use any kind of stencil, like the types sold for paper crafts and decorating. Then, you need a couple of colors of acrylic paint and perhaps a pearlex powder or two. Desiree (see Stencil subcategory below)

Donna Kato had some colored powders with her at our retreat. I'm pretty sure this was the brand - D'UVA chromacoal powder She mixed them in with the titanium white Genesis paint and used it in her mokume gane. It was a really neat effect. Geo in MI.

alcohol-based inks (like Pinata) are intense, transparent, acid-free, alcohol-based colorants (dyes). ....they are one of my favorite inks for clay. Eliz.
(...for much more info on these and many ways they can be used, see Letters-Inks > Alcohol Inks)

powdered temperas (see Inclusions > Powders for temepras, pigments, etc.)


rubbery "brushes"( Clay Shapers and Colour Shapers) come in various sizes, shapes, and firmnesses
...I love the smallest #2 sized set...I do pretty smallish pieces though..the biggest full body was maybe 8-10" tall. My favorite tip is the Taper Point~it is the only one I have in Soft and Ex~Firm. My other favorite shape is the Angle Chisel Ex~Firm. But I must admit I love them all. They get into little nooks and crannies wonderfully. I like the soft tipped one for more of a final smoothing type fella. BTW~I have used these with paint as well and they are great and clean up beautifully!
(see Sculpting-Tools for more on these)

also palette knives for paste painting

I've taken to buying packages of head-cleaning brushes at Radio shack to get the sort of foam brush that I like to use with interference paints. They come 10 to a package for under $2.

I use acrylic paint on baked/cooled clay.... I have better results for tiny things using a toothpick rather than a paint brush.

Lee Valley's small brush-like disposable applicators (lifted directly from the dentistry business) let you apply tiny amounts of oil, paint, glue, stain, etc., very accurately and controllably, and also good for cleaning...,110,42967


"antiquing" --Burnt Umber acrylic paint (or another dark brown or black --or even any other color) is rubbed or toothbrushed into all the crevices of the baked clay for several minutes... then rubbed or rinsed off of just the higher parts (use dry, or damp?, flat cloth.
... more or less of the paint will stay in the crevices depending on the length of waiting time and degree of wiping
…you can use a touch of soap if needed to remove any film left on the upper parts
...some people do just one section at a time..... let dry before continuing.... can use oven to expedite
...the color created with acrylic paints is generally stronger and more opaque than for patinas

oil paint gives the clay a more glossy look .... acrylic paint gives a more matte look. Dotty in CA

There are various mediums to use for creating antiquing or patinas on polymer clay:
....acrylic paints
... oil paints (and water-soluble oils)
... liquid clays tinted with inclusions such as oil paints,. alcohol inks, and metallic powders)
... clear finishes (such as Future (with inclusions such as powders or acrylic paints)
....or even colored pencils, e.g.
.......these can be stippled on with a brush, sponge, etc., or they can be painted on to cover all or just certain areas
.......these can also be layered over each other
.......or used with other surface manipulations like transfers, stampings, sheets created in various ways, etc.

(for more on antiquing see just below, and also in Molds > Antiquing)

"patina" --in the polymer world, this term seems to have come to refer to one of various surface effects which cause the surface to look softened, mellowed ... or to make it look marked as from age or use,
....but it can also mean colored and dimensional from oxidation
(original definition: a film formed on copper and bronze by exposure, or by treatment with acids, etc.)
...the first type has somewhat transparent coatings (the original background surface or color usually shows through)
.....may completely cover and color or stain the dimensional areas... or they may be left only in the recesses as with "antiquing"
......oil type paints may work best for this because they're generally more translucent, and leave a softer color behind
...the second type is usually opaque and dimensional, though can also incorporate oil paints
(for more on patinas created in various ways, see Fauxs-many > Aged & Ancient Effects) )

oil paints ....often baked after applying to clay (5-10 min) ...maybe just to speed up drying though?
...oil paints fall into the crevices (especially shallow grooves) much better than acrylics when glazing or antiquing
...they ARE messier though ...and harder to clean up.
...they also stain the whole surface a bit
...oil paints give a lovely, soft glow of color, somewhat glossy (acrylics more matte finish) color several areas of baked clay, put a tiny bit of one color onto the baked piece in whatever area you want... rub it off leaving just a hint of color.
......a second application of the first color can then be done to heighten the saturation
......then a different color can be used in another area. Dotty in CA
...Gwen Gibson used mostly oil paints for filling in the grooves of clay created by her etching transfer process...rebaked 5-10 min
...for shallow grooves in flat clay, just squeeze on some oil paint, rub it gently into the engraved areas... then using a cardboard, or the chisel end of one of those clay shaper tools, squeegee the excess paint from the surface...rebake for about 10 minutes if using oil paint to set it)
...someone said they had some "clay degradation" with oil paint... I don't know about that, but frankly, I spend enough time on my stuff to not want to lose I'm sticking with acrylic paints. Jodie
........("degradation" may be a result of not curing the clay completely? ... should be fine)

water-soluble oil paints
......I used Pthalo blue H2O oil paints on my textured tiles.... I dabbed it all over a too-bright metallic silver, and immediately rubbed off all the highlighs. What a beautiful "new" tile ...and the oils covered those deep valleys of the texture better than the acrylics... the metallic did not resist it either. Jane
heat-set oil paints an antiquing paint, Genesis works great
.....lesson: make and bake the item... when cool, sand and buff it... rub the paint over it, and rub off any excess... rebake for 5-6 min's in at 250 degrees... buff the surface again --the Genesis areas won't buff up (on their own), but the rest of the piece will. Dotty ........Katherine Dewey says it will buff if a bit of liquid clay is added to it the Genesis
(.....see "Oil Paints" above for a bit more on using all oil type paints)

acrylic paints
... stipple the paint on ( jabbing with a rather stiff brush so that the paint gets into all the recessed areas)
....wipe off the surface area, leaving the paint in the recessed areas .... let dry thoroughly can also sand the surface after drying if you need to remove any residue
.....buff if you want a shiny upper surface. Dotty
....can rebake to set the paint even more (200-250 degrees for 5-10 min)
.... I've used them for years and find them to be quite permanent.... after drying, I re-bake the piece for 10 min or so at about 200 degrees
......these won't stand up to being cleaned with household cleaners like 409 or Fantastik, but for normal handling and even cleaning with a damp cloth, acrylics are fine. Irene
(for more basics on this antiquing, see Molds > Antiquing)

acrylic paints in tubes ("artists acrylics") are thicker than most bottled crafts acrylics, so many prefer to use them for antiquing
......colors often used are .Burnt Umber, .Black, .Titanium White (bleached and unbleached), Red Oxide, .gold, etc.
...I use just regular old (i.e., cheap) craft paints for my patinas and antiquing

tinted liquid clays (tinted with oil paints or alcohol inks)
.........because liquid clay, oil paints, and alcohol inks are translucent, they can resemble the kiln-fired glazes of ceramic pieces, especially if gloss finish is applied afterward

I found that if the clay is slightly warm, the antiquing will grab quicker. syndee

If you plan to antique over Pearl-X powders, make sure you've rubbed the powders on really well (or you will wipe a good portion of it off with your excess paint!!) syndee

I usually use 3 colors of acyrlic to antique things because I absolutely feel that I get better results this way.
....I start with the lightest color ...rub it in.. let it set for a while.. rub it out
....then do the same with other 2 colors

acrylic paints are the best bet for bright colors for antiquing
......I have used bright red, blue, yellow and purple on other projects, and loved the look. Dotty in CA
e brave with your colors:. paint over a white clay (impressed with leaf stamps) is absolutely beautiful paint on silver clay paint on turquoise clay . syndee

Heather R's white antiquing on black Balinese Filigree
Denise in Austin's white "antiquing" on dark mask (near bottom ... Lulua Mask) (inaccessible?)

Antiquing can also be done over metallic powders or leaf, crackled finishes, in different areas or a piece or different colors used sequentially, etc.

Experiment with your paints, glazes and rubbing compounds! can always remove a color if you don't like it, using a toothbrush and some dishwashing liquid (asumming you aren't working on something delicate)

Donna Kato makes a faux brocade look (" Brokato ") by impressing raw clay with texture sheets or stampings, then antiquing-backfilling the impressions with gold acrylic paint (in tube) by wiping the raw clay pattern until the highlights are mostly removed
.........or as a flat variation of the pattern by first completely covering the texture thickly with gold paint and drying, then applying a (different) color of acrylic paint to top surfaces (tapping on the thick paint with finger) and drying
....... can then also roll over gently to flatten the texture and to spread out the pattern (hand rolling may be gentler than pasta machining to avoid actual crackling)

(see also crackle mediums just below in Miscellaneous, which can be antiqued)

Plaid Enterprises has a line of "waterbase, all-purpose translucent glaze they call "Glaze Vernis" for Trompe l'oeil which comes in a variety of colors --including some greens that would be useful for making the verdigris on copper (as well as copper, silver, gold)
.........they are created for Decorator Blocks and Decorator Tools. … found them in Michael's wall decorating dept.
Aleene's makes a paint called an Enhancer. I have the Verdigris color, which is a perfect green to add to that copper. Kat

soft lead pencils can be applied, then rubbed to a rainbow patina on Pearl Premo and on Translucent Premo.
... I had an article in Kids Crafts about this, and it's also in my book Polymer Clay for the First Time. syndee

see also: "Polychrome Finishing Techniques", for several layers of transparent coloring:

.... stretching & manipulating paints, inks & finishes ...

To create a crackled effect, various liquids can be used:
....regular acrylic paints ...heat-set acrylic paints... acrylic inks... clear acrylics (also with inclusions)... tempera (water soluble)...and even metallic ink from markers
(in addition to metallic leaf and foils)

Many paints, inks, and other mediums won't stretch once they're dry
.... if they're placed on top of (or between layers of) raw clay --which will stretch-- and they are then both stretched, the dried medium will fracture into small islands
......for paints, these are generally the better brands of acrylics and inks, esp. metallics and pearls
....the more the raw clay is stretched, the larger the spaces between islands of the medium become

basic lesson:
...apply the paint (or or ink or clear finish) on all or just on parts of raw clay (often a sheet of clay)
...let it dry well
...pass through pasta machine on a thinner setting to crackle it (or brayer it, etc)... or just press in certain areas, then pasta machine again to even out

Can also layer, manipulate, then stretch thin painted sheets
..........stack the colored sheets
......... then can score... etch... carve ... onlay lattice, etc.
(Elise Winters' class --Stretching the Polymer Canvas: painted, pushed, pierced, and pulled polymer clay)
...also many sections (often strips) of onlay or inlay with interesting areas of crackling

Play around with the amount of paint/ink, etc., on the clay
.....make sure liquids are completely dry.

Crackled areas can also be antiqued to show up the crackling more (esp. for clear crackling?)

Powders like metallic powders (& embossing powders, tc.) will stick to the clay in between the crackles, making it look like the foil is floating on the powdered surface (the one I saw had colored powder, but clear might be cool too)

You can even crackle a "painting" (or a colored pattern)....
....paint a scene or whatever you want on the clay...then crackle it (once each direction?)... as long as you don’t keep passing it thru the pasta machine, you’ll get what you painted but in a crackle effect... It’s cool! Mary V.

Could the paint or ink be cut, separated, stamped, combed, etc., before stretching?... or after strethcing, then pasta machined again?
....esp. if the inks were on an interesting background sheet, they could be stretched until there the bits of paint or leaf were very widely spaced.

Paints can be used to create surface effects on clay (or other things) by manipulating it while wet (can simulate wood grain or many other patterns) . . . see details in Faux Turquoise-Wood > Wood > Surface Techniques)

A hardware store tile-layer's adhesive spreading tool (flat, notched) allows you to comb paint on clay (especially interference paints) (Elise Winters showed that)

acrylic paints & inks

....metallic and pearl paints/inks seem to work best
....good quality paints/inks seem to work best

Elise Winters ran into the problem of some paints not crackling when developing her crackle technique (they simply stretched with the clay or peeled off when stretched)
...some good-quality metallic or pearl paints that work
......some Goldens work pretty well, as well as Rembrandts. Dotty ... also Liquitex

To crackle the Lumiere paints (heat set, thin body acrylic paints), I'd recommend that you dilute them about 1/2 and 1/2 with water before you apply them to the raw clay sheet, and then apply thinly --this will eliminate a lot of the body of the paint so that it can crackle or thin itself across the surface of the clay as you manipulate it instead of stretching so much (...there is so much mica in the Lumieres that diluting them does not seem to remove any of their sparkle)
... and when applied to a white base, I don't believe the colors will even appear to fade down with dilution....they will lose their opacity though ...applied to black base clay, they will not appear as intense as the full-bodied paint. Elizabeth
..Luna Lights paints (more like inks) do fracture just a little bit (not enough for doing any of the techniques which need definite fracturing however, like Elise's ....when you thin and stretch them trying to make them fracture, they get fainter in color and finally blend right into the background color
. . . (on the positive side, when they are coated and fired on black clay and then covered with Fimo mineral-based glaze, they are beautiful!! ...look a lot like dichroic glass. Dotty)
...see Tracy's beads above in Metallic Paints for dichroic look using random cracked gold leaf and Luna Lights

Some paints will get gummy if left too long on the raw clay before curing! Valerie (but let dry well)
... the key is to thin the paint a bit and not put it on too thick. Trina

...Daler-Rowney Pearlescent Acrylic "Ink" is really a pigment ink which contains mica... same as Pearl Ex "ink" and other pearlescent acrylic inks?
Posh Rainbow inks will also fracture

Linda Geer's lesson on applying various colors of Daler-Rowney pearlescent inks to a sheet of black clay in random streaks and squiggles... tilting the clay a bit to let some of the colors run together... and letting dry thoroughly
.... then running thru a pasta machine at a slightly thinner setting to crackle the ink
(...she then cuts a bit of the sheet to fit inside a metal bezel and pours into some clear embossing powder, before baking)

Jean S's various examples of this technique:

Lynne's streaks of various colors of pearlescent acrylic paint (actually Dahler Rowney?) applied to raw clay , then crackled (Altoid, pens, frames)

Linda Geer's covered jar using crackled inks of various colors on black clay (gone)
Brigitta's crackled Daler-Rowney inks... various colors placed here and there on black clay before crackling cut into short strips then wrapped around skewer for "beads" (gone?)

opals ....I dab some pink, aqua, and violet inks onto a blue-to- green Skinner blend sheet of Premo metallic clay
...let dry ...cover it with a thin sheet of blue, green, and pink tinted translucent (bleached)
...then I run the "opal sandwich" through the pasta machine to bind the sheets and also to crackle the inks inside
...I cut the final sheet into strips, or tear it into irregular shapes form "opal collages," I have also combined these sheets with sheets of translucent clay backed with gold leaf. Elissa

for a crackle effect mokume gane stack, I used (Daler-Rowney Pearlescent Acrylic) inks (I was inspired by Allison Ingham)
...she tints translucent clay with Premo Pearl colors for 4 sheets...+ regular Premo (yellow clay & a bit of yellow PearlEx) for 1sheet
...each sheet is then painted with a similar color of ink
...the ink is allowed to dry which will cause it to begin cracking (without stretching??)
. .she suggests putting the ink on thinner, or the stack will be difficult to cut (when dry, the inks are fairly tough)
... she then stacks the inked sheets... and then makes curved, angled cuts to remove pieces which (look like sm, 5-layer, curved-rainbows)
.......most of these she curve-slices again to use as bits for covering base beads . . Mia
.....Mia's lesson

make a little different style of crackle with your Daler Rowney paints:
...paint a sheet of raw clay with 2 coats of Future, letting each one dry before the next step.
...then paint on your Daler Rowney's ...let that dry
...and run it through your pasta machine, decreasing the thickness one number at a time until you get the effect you want.--Suzanne

(... for crackling with clear liquids, see Finishes > Crackling)

Helen Breil uses metallic clay in various ways as component parts of her jewelry --looks like leaf (Step by Step Beads --Sep 2004)

Helen Breil's "2 colors of Pinata Inks
"textured foil (leaf?), no inks"

whose? and which paint/ink?

(....for info on crackled metallic leaf and foils, see Leaf)

clear acrylic mediums (..or tinted)

"crackling mediums" can be purchased (Michaels, etc.) .. these generally come as 2 parts
...... some brands have an opaque underlayer, but the ones we're probably most interested in have a clear underlayer so they can be used on top of other designs, transfers, etc.)
...a single layer of acrylic finish (like Future) can be used instead, esp. for fine crackling (can also be tinted or have inclusions)

metallic powders in Future work well too... Paulo
... Future will thicken up if I leave it out overnight or in an open container for a couple of days color it, add some acrylic paint. Nora-Jean

(...for more on clear crackled layers, see
Finishes > Crackling

tempera.... water-soluble paint

DB... add my stuff and finish

Tony Aquino crackles tempera water-soluble paints on clay (..but they must be sealed afterward).

BASIC technique:
..paint tempera on raw clay...let dry (~30 min) through pasta machine...seal with liquid clay or clear finish
...though many variations are possible (pg. 1)
....articles in Polymer Cafe--Fall 2003 + Winter 2003 (Surface Treatments, Tempera on Polymer Clay...Parts 1 & 2)
use the regular Jazz Liquid Tempera......don't use Jazz Gloss Tempera (not compatible with clay)
...Jazz was developed by Tony..." a brilliant opaque watercolor" ..colors are very saturated & thick consistency (can be thinned with water)
...Tony uses the metallic colors ......(gold,silver,copper, etc. will look like cracked metal leaf)
...(tempera's natural matte finish will usually be made glossy when dry, in one of several ways)
...less expensive than most paints.... and very much non-toxic
...lightfast ..."it's a generalization that temperas are more susceptible to fading than other paints
......our Jazz temperas use many of the same color pigments and color index numbers that the best tube acrylics and architectural coatings use (some of which have a poor lightfastness rating and some are rated excellent)
..... unsealed tempera has been known to last for many months for seasonal or holiday displays on windows"

since (dried) tempera is not permanent without sealing, a water-resistant seal over the paint can be created (then it's just as permanent as any paint)
... with acrylic medium (matte or gloss)
....or with other acrylic gloss sealers ...or Tony uses liquid clay (and re-bakes)

...lesson showing crackling + patterns created by using liquid clay in some areas
blue tempera on pearl white clay here
I made this on the number #3 setting painted it with tempera paint let dry, stamped, then ran through the pm through to the number 3. Kat

2. then he rubs off any unsealed paint not protected with liquid clay after baking under running water

....(so could liquid clay be used to place tempera and/or crackle only where wanted for designs or solid areas? --similar to embossing powders before baking, which will stick only where the embossing ink/etc. was... hmmm, most of the designs shown on that page don't even seem to be crackled, so did he use the liquid clay to paint or stamp designs only where he wanted the tempera to stick?) can impress the clay with some sort of texture or stamps or marks before applying paint (patterning will result from crackle and texture)
......Sept/Oct issue of Step-By-Step beading has an extremely comprehensive article. Margaret D.

You can manitpulate it in diferent ways to get really neat looks.
....If you use a rubber stamp before you put it through the pm, you get that image within the crackles (like the photo) ..where are links??
.PatriciaHouTX let clay show though = spaces between island crackles or whole areas
......crackle (anytime crackle, will separate coatings)
......don't paint that area have paint color show through (as crackle islands) = paint on a paint color ... paint liquid clay everywhere.. bake... rinse off extra paint
.....darker shade of paint color (Tony calls this "staining") as (crackle islands or anywhere) = paint on a paint color ....... paint on liquid clay where want darker ...bake...rinse off extra paint
.......some colors will "stain" more than others

to antique, wipe color

Desiree used a crackled background (panel) under her plain leaf onlays (for the tops of her boxes...middle of page)
... the under surfaces of the boxes have crackling only

other liquids to crackle

Jean/stargazer ...used metallic pens, (I think), I forget now (to create a crackle finish).
... "I puddled some so I could swirl it around on top of a sheet of clay.".... then let it dry and THEN stretched the clay sheet to get this crackle finish ...Nora Jean
.....This sounds a little like Elise Winter's technique, not exactly, but similar. ... and since it's done on unbaked clay, you could certainly put it around a rounded tube shape


MISCELLANEOUS all paints + books/etc.

The Art of Polymer Clay .Creative Surface Effects, by Donna Kato
...surface treatment techniques: stencils, stamps, paints and inks, sculpting, inclusions, special effects, and finishing ...image transfers ...projects: beads, bracelets, pins, pendants, boxes ....essentials of polymer clay, color blending, Skinner blend, etc.

(for info on the properties of the pigments that create color in polymer clay, paints, etc. see Color > Helpful Tips > Pigments)

The eye ends of those big needles also make great dip pens for TLS, paints and frisket. Halla

ll the (stamping) ink pads have "reinkers" which are tiny bottles of ink meant to refresh/refill the pads. However, they can be used as "paint" as well. That would probably be better than using the pads for clay artists. ...available online through many sources. Jessica

A " painting board "for holding painted or varnished obejcts as they dry can sometimes be found at craft and hobby shops (each board has a multitude of tiny points spaced pretty close together that you can place your painted object on) see details on these & on making them in Finishes > Misc. for All Finishes)

High Desert Polyglaze, by cre8it..(4 colors, mixable)
...few lessons:
.....tinted (pastel) and extremely matte finish... for simulating a bisque finish on polymer clay (especially on plain white Sculpey-in-the-box)... "removes any plastic-y look" from polymer clay
...developed for polymer clay (or other non-porous surfaces) which both tints clay (will be thicker and darker in the lower areas of textured surfaces, similar to antiquing) and also glazes it

....(for the clear "Poly-Glaze" finish sold by Lisa Pavelka, see Finishes > Finishes Created for Clay)

Dar paints (then also Futures) the "silk" adhesive tape she puts on her (book-type) blade holder as an outer spine, overlapping front and back)

Delta Paint Jewels paints. . .. "the only paint that offers 21 glossy, transparent colors that look like they are lit from within... no other paint like it. ...creates a glass like look to a wide range of non-glass surfaces...wood, paper, paper mache, metals, etc. ...applied directly from the bottle which is offered with a needle nosed tip ..or with a brush."
.....Maybe you could dip a baked bead into this paint and it will give the look of an encased bead.
......Or you could make the raised designs as well since the bottle comes in the small tip. Amanda
... I have used these on pc and can tell you they will dry, but they peel off pretty easily. As someone posted, Delta intended them for paper. ...just don't use the clear as a finish and expect a durable long-term quality product. Patti K.

Paint Jewel Liquid Lead – pewter, gold and white... squeezable bottle with a needle nosed tip ...can be used with Paint Jewel colors to create Stained Glass inspired look. and (proj's)

made with polymer pastes + other ways

There are various ways that polymer "paintings" can be created on flat surfaces (of clay, liquid clay, or other "canvases" like tiles, switchplates, ball ornaments, masonite, removable glass, etc.).

...polymer clay itself can be thinned with Diluent (now called Sculpey-Softener), mineral oil, or liquid clays (translucent or opaque version) for making thinner or thicker "paints" and "pastes"of different viscosities
...colored and metallic powders (mica powders like Pearl Ex, real metal powders, embossing powders, etc.) can also be mixed into those same mediums to create paints and pastes of varying thicknesses
, a well as more particulate things aware that the resulting paints won't harden until they're baked, so there's plenty of open time to work in ...they also leave no brush strokes
........... (bake at regular time and temp. as for regular clay... can be baked multiple times)

...tinted gel mediums ...and certain paints like Genesis ....and even alcohol inks (used alone, like "watercolors") can also be used to create "paintings"
....paints can be painted onto baked liquid clay films (rather than used as the paint), or onto raw clay w/ drawing scratched on it or freehand)
..."paintings" can also be created by puzzle-piecing shapes of clay , or applying solid clay pieces "sculpted" into place and texture
....(several techniques may also be combined in one painting)

There are a lot of possibilities for polymer "paintings"
....When I analyze the differences in Suzanne's, mine, and yours (Valerie's, I can see that you have more of a bas relief look, Suzanne's has the brush stroke look to it
and one I just posted of mine is more of a graphic design

....the one on the front of my web page though is much more like yours in that small elements are sculpted and added (I used mostly Premo and TLS mix)

....not to mention what one can get with painting with liquid clay completely --sort of like the stained glass effect of the windows farther down that page. Jeanne R.

tools & application:
paints and pastes can be applied with brushes, palette knives, or fingers, or other tools...
....they can also be textured or "combed" with tools like sponges, rubber-tipped brushes, wadded plastic wrap, etc.. Katherine Dewey

you can also create freeform bas reliefs with some of them, which is nice for landscapes
...there are so many potential applications for this product that I could go on, and on, and on. Katherine Dewey

some bases ("canvases") :
...baked clay (sheets... beads-pendants, etc.)... or sheet of raw clay
...baked liquid clay films
...masonite (with several coats of white gesso for smooth painting, or white glue for thicker painting)...Art Board (see more below)
...wood (dry in oven several hrs, then coat with liquid clay...I do many bakings. Valerie
..."cardboard" photo storage box (tacky glue for raw clay, 5 min. epoxy glue for baked items) or a ceramic tile (finished clay can be removed after baking and glued to another surface... or left on the glass)
.......round glass ball ornament (colored or clear... no glue nec. if mechanical hold)
...plexiglas sheet, covered with sheet of plastic wrap --remove finished clay from plexiglas & wrap, bake on cookie sheet
....tracing paper or waxed paper (to see through, then removed)

A good board to do polymer clay painting on is the masonite board called Art Board, sold in Michaels.... at ours, it's located in the same row as the canvas gessoed ones (that don't work well)
..... Art Board comes in various sizes (it does not say masonite on it though )'s white on one side (gesso side) and dark brown (masonite color) on the back a clear wrapper with a blue circle in upper left and the size. Jean
...I used one of those
pre-gessoed canvas boards they sell at Michaels, and I'm sorry to report that the board kind of warped. It also kind og bubbled up in spots. I laid tiles over the bubbles and weighted down thye board w/ 2 phone books while it was still hot. The bubbles flattebed out, but the base is still kind of u-shaped. Laurel

I tried to do a 24x36" painting in clay on clayboard (had been told that it was good in the oven to over 300 degrees and it would not shrink or expand as it was ready for use with clay)...I first made it ALL in clay----about six pounds of clay at least. But when I went to cure it, the board warped like a banana and I could watch it expand and contract........I think when we get into making a painting that large, the clay just does not have the ability to stretch that much when the wood expands. Jeanne

Guide to Surface Treatments and Finishes, by Ellen Marshall...Polymer Cafe magazine, Fall-Winter, 2002
....contains charts, tests, drying times, pictures of results, and deals with many products from dye based inks to acrylic paints. Jocelyn

painting with liquid clay, etc.

I've been having a great time experimenting with a liquid clay we have here in Australia, called Castaway.
........ it is usually used for making molds, and is much the same as Liquid Sculpey in it's behaviour although I'd say Castaway is a little thicker.
........ this very small landscape painting (2" x 2") only took 15-20 minutes using mostly broad strokes with the palette knife rather than "brush" strokes
.........the house and foliage texture were added with a wooden skewer....even thoughthe Castaway is pink, the medium still picks up the colours of the oil paint remarkably well as you can see. was painted directly onto a tile, and is paper thin because I wanted to see how thin I could go without tearing it when removing from the tile after baking. It peeled off just fine apart from the torn edges which I rather like anyway.... Jenny (website gone)
...It sounds like the material Jenny has is similar to the thicker and opaque original LS (not TLS), which would not be thick enough right out of the can for palette knife painting. Jody B.

...for painting with metallic or other powders mixed into clear mediums (like Diluent, liquid clay, acrylic gel mediums, etc.), see Powders > As Paints

painting with thinned clay clay "pastes " & solid clay

Marie R's students' paintings with very thin clay paste applied with brushes or fingers? (not heavily textured) snow and landscapes (mostly)

Byrd Tetzlaff's many ethereal landscape paintings
...backgrounds often more like paste ...but foregrounds often shallow bas relief or onlay
and (gone)

sunni's various paintings
...(lesson) it's kinda like palette painting with oils or acrylic paint where the paint is thick and applied with a palette knife
....only instead of a knife, i use my fingers to squidgy the paint around, a needle tool and a kinda nutpick looking tool (not a real nutpick but has the same basic shape with a blunt, rounded tip (and I use it most).
....for each layer, i apply a sheet of clay and then color it, form it and add to it as necessary, to make the painting more 3D.....i use this method for bas relief & cameos as well.. canvas is a baked, 1/16" sheet of scrap clay (medium on my pasta machine), cut to shape and baked.... then i build my scene for baking, whether it's thinner than paper or it's 1/4" thick, you bake the clay AT LEAST for the minumum time recommended on the packaging for the clay you bought. make a note of the temps and times, cuz it will vary from color to color for the same brands!! some fimos are 265, others are 275.
--i use unleached premo as it's a nice, soft clay and gets quite pliable when conditioned
--i marble-mix clay colors similar to the way you would mix paints on your palette scraping a dab of a color here and another there ...and then smashing them in a new spot until they look the way i want them to
...or i pick up the clay mix and smoosh it in my fingers for faster mixing if i want a whole new color instead of marbling.
--for shading, i apply teeny, teeny scraps of clay... then smooth
.....i apply almost no pressure so that only the clay i've just applied gets worked, not the clay under it
...there are times when i can apply globs and bully them, others where i apply thinly.
(re painting of martywoo's watercolor shack, in link above) ...clay diluted to very thin paste like olive oil
....roof shingles created with horizontal, overlapped and rippled, gray sheets... colors painted on themwith finger to get painterly watercolor effect
....the background (tree area) was accomplished by applying several colors higgledy piggledy in torn pieces, and then smooshing and squidgying them with my fingers. --sunni

Jenny Dowde's paintings (using Liquid Modelene)... (also some abstract, then covered with metallic powders)

Denise G's elaborate "palette knife effect" landscape painting using solid clay (Premo) + liquid clay (Kato), and acrylic paint (-how?)

Cynthia Toops started out treating each bead as a (blank) painter's canvas (before she discovered canes)
....'I use (polymer clay) like I use paint, so if I needed a certain color I would mix just a little bit of it and then press it really thin, kind of like an oil painter, dabbing my colors onto the clay.”

Jai's tiny texture-paintings on flatish clay beads ("impasto") ... no liquid clay used as thinner? and
......(first outlines her design into raw clay )....adds tiny bits of clay for the base colors with a toothpick
... then adds and shapes more clay onto base clay ... may add a bit of metallic powder to parts... bakes ...acrylic gloss finish) ?

relief and onlay
(thicker, "sculpted" clay paintings)

(also see links just above)

Dar's seascape painting with palm trees on a ceramic tile (onlay and puzzle-pieced)

Lisa P's lesson on covering the top of the lid of a photo storage box
...(using 5 min epoxy glue for baked clay "flower" frames with photos... and tacky glue for raw clay embellishments --either on the small raw clay items before placing, or on box surface for edges & allowed to tack up),1789,HGTV_3352_1399654,00.html
... Lisa's completely covered photo box, embellished with bas relief underwater scene &
Noah's Ark
Tarah's bas reliefs in two sections of a shadow box (kid)

Terry Lee C's ..portrait of an older couple ...bas relief

Mary Lamoray's sealife, landscapes, and animals with backgrounds, etc. .....bas relief to high relief
Heather R's lesson on making underwater scene on switchplate with high relief onlays
Cheryl's beach scenes on large oval beads ... faux sand & ocean, plus onlaid flowers, etc.

Korena's spring scene on the outside of an egg, in relief

Pat S's sealife and other tiles (mostly flat onlay)
Adria's fairly flat paintings of landscapes ....using relatively few, large pieces ... uses lots of mica clays

Cheryl's seascape ...with white liquid clay used white areas of breaking waves
Jane Zhao's underwater seascape, using canes (on an egg?)

Joan's many bas relief switchplates often with with "scenes," landscapes, other themes like kids, sports, animals, flowers, etc. ....
metallic patterns and effects

Denise G's still life of flowers (mounted in wood frame) using Premo and Kato Polyclay

Garie Sim's students'... their fabulous high relief to low relief "paintings" (click on each!) (few more in the other galleries)
(see also below in drawings under glass, for more of them)

Valerie's various framed paintings --high relief mostly, but some mixed with low relief or flattened cane slices
...scenes of a tree in the woods, stone wall and ovens ... also symbolic icons

Terry Lee C's other paintings
.... seascape with figure

Consuelo's wonderful decorated pine tree and snowmen, night sky with stars, snowflakes

Marie's lesson on making a bas and high relief winter scene on a colored glass ball ornament (no liquid clay or glue nec, but could)
showing clay snow on the ground shaped with a metal "clay shaper" (like small, short stiff palette knife, wood handle) clay on surface, then manipulate with the shaper or fingers into hills, valleys, drifts, etc.
...(for the snow "shadows") she mixes white Premo with small flecks or gratings of turquoise, dark blue and possibly lavender clays in the pasta machine until they begin to melt into the white

Amy's small brighly-colored "paintings" in small frames, with an onlay of a house, sun, etc, on a patterened clay sheet background
...... also an entire childlike scene ..e.g., of a house front, yard, flowers, etc. (click on Framed Artwork... and on Magnets)

Caroline's seascape painting with onlaid sailboats and "frame" of window curtains (website gone)

Kim K's using metallic powders for "painting" different colors on a bas relief scene)

.... I recommend using colored clay underneath the coats of powder to save time, use less powder, and give more depth
..... some of the powders may have been Midnight Pearls and Powdered Pearls (many of whose colors which seem brighter on clay), but rim is Pearl Ex Aztec Gold (thank you jjjjami). Kim K.

Jeanne R's "scenes" made by onlaying various colors of soft clay she finds under her pasta machine onto a clay sheet (often overlapped, for colorful sunsets, etc.)
...and ( on each)

Mary L's lesson on finding an image in a marbled sheet of clay (like doing a Rorschach inkblot)
... to define the image, she traces around the outline with a needletool, etc., then presses down all the clay around it to create a bas relief ... then textures the background clay

Diane Maurer's pictures and landscapes (hers made with paper, but could be polymer).... for inspiration

drawn outline on wood, masonite, or fabric/canvas, esp.

Patterns/images can be drawn directly onto any material which can tolerate the heat for curing polymer clay
... many of the objects and materials just above may have be drawn on before adding the clay, but some materials may work better for larger flat surfaces... for example:
......masonite, wood
......natural fabric like cotton, or thicker ones like linen, canvas, etc. (pre-wash any that may shrink)
...paint liquid clay onto each area before laying clay on, or saturate entire fabric

Suzanne I's lesson on creating a small painting with sheets of clay on masonite (info from Suzanne):
...she does a pencil sketch outline on masonite "hardboard" (normally dark brown), painted with (white) acrylic gesso (sev.coats?)
.........or pre-gessoed hardboard can be bought from art supply stores or Dick Blick on-line
...then she lays sections of differently colored (or marbled, Skinner blended, etc.) clay sheets within the pencil lines (blocks at time), using liquid clay underneath
...she textures the raw clay all over (or just here and there to simulate palette knife work and/or brushstrokes)
...bakes periodically so that part can't get messed up later ( first shebaked up to 10 times on larger ones, but now much less)
...she continues laying parts, texturing & baking, till finished
Suzanne I's wonderful larger & smaller (demo) paintings with clay on masonite (Floating Mkt, Curacao; Cliffs of Acapulco).... look almost like polymer paste
....hardboard (masonite). . . I cut those larger pieces into lots of standard picture sizes.. for polymer clay
...for the polymer clay, I prime the surface with Tacky or Sobo white glue, and let it dry before starting to work. (for painting, I use 2 or 3 coats of gesso.

Valerie's bas relief to high relief framed paintings
...When I work on wood I always prep it.... first I dry it in the oven for several hours, then coat it with liquid clay.
....I always apply my background first, and by the time I am finished the painting usually has been in the oven a dozen times or more. Val

oddacity's bas relief face, hair, sweater bodice painting with abstract clay background (some parts using metallic powders)
... created on canvas coated with liquid clay (canvas curved during baking--not pre-washed tho?

(...see much more on creating flat-ish images in Sculpture > Bas Relief
... and also in Kids > Sculpting > Relief Sculpting)

drawn outline under sheet of glass or acrylic, or translucent papers

A drawing can be made on paper (OR a photo, magazine image, coloring book page, etc could be used)
.......the image is placed underneath a flat transparent or translucent material so that the lines can be seen and followed when "painting" with the clay
...If the material can tolerate our baking temps, the clay painting can be baked right on it (then removed later, or left on)
......sheet of glass, sheet of smooth tracing paper or waxed paper (...or tape one of those on the glass)
...If the materials can't tolerate the baking temp, the painting can be removed first, then baked alone
.......for a sheet of acrylic, for example, can tape plastic wrap, or tracing/waxed paper to the acrylic until time for baking, then peel it off the clay

(If you want clay be thinner and runnier, mix a small amount of Sculpey Diluent, vaseline or mineral/baby oil into it first)

Garie has his students draw an image on paper... then re-create the drawn image in bas relief with clay (or in 3-D)
...for creating bas relief, the image could be placed under glass as a guide, and the clay modeled on top of it... then baked on the glass) (click on each!)

Chris Glasscock made beautiful, thin bas relief scenes on glass (snow & deer winter scene, barn scene)
... baked on glass, then put in a frame,1789,HGTV_3352_2013966,00.html

Toni's students' bas relief paintings made over magazine images or famous paintings (Silverado HS, LasVegas)
......use a sheet of acrylic with a sheet of plastic wrap on top of it (taped down) the image with pieces of clay ... then hold the ends of the plastic sheet and place finished painting on a cookie sheet, carefully removing plastic wrap from underneath as they do so... they bake the painting for 30 min
......they work only with a wooden skewer and fingers
......their clay pieces also appear to have been finely textured with tiny lines in these photos, with a final effect like crewel embroidery
......(they also sell some of their pieces to earn money to buy more art materials for class),1789,HGTV_3236_2755049,00.html

...I have used greeting cards this way covered with plastic wrap, then made pins. Sharon K. could also use your own photographs as image guides, or coloring book or stained glass images, as well as lots of other thingsl. DB

lesson on using a coloring-book-type line drawing, on which clay shapes are added to create a picture
(this is air-drying clay, but could use polymer clay then bake... from Bond Kelly Clay

...also, place a sheet of glass over the drawing to create and bake on (gone?)

(Sculpey clays, and maybe the upcoming formulation of FimoSoft, will be too brittle after baking for making these paintings... would be better to use Premo, FimoClassic, Kato, or Cernit brand clay)

...see also mosaics (regular grouted ones) in Mosaics
.......and "micro-mosaics" formed with tiny clay ropes
.......and Pietre Dure
...see also mandalas in Onlay > Uses > mandalas
...see also Sheets of Pattern > Crazy Patch for ways of using textured or non-textured comonent pieces to create a generally abstract final image

flat onlay ("slice painting")

This technique involves placing very thin slices from one or more canes onto a clay base, one at a time --then rolling them into the surface to create a "picture" or pattern with a completely flat surface

........for all info about this technique, see Canes-Instr > Overall Techniques > Slice Painting

other materials & ways to create "paintings"

(....for painting with chalks & pastels, see above in Chalks ...)

(....for painting with alcohol inks like Pinatas as you would "watercolors" to make paintings onto raw clay, etc....see Letters & Inks > Alcohol Inks > paintings)
......when painting on clay with alcohol-based inks, there is no absorption of water by clay ...rather the alcohol ink deposits the pigment particles on top of the clay as it evaporates, "setting" the pigment that way. Patti B.
...also see Kat's explanation of using these above under "Watercolors"

baked films of liquid clay can be painted on with some paints (Genesis heat-set paints, for one)
....I'm continuing to explore using TLS (or Kato liquid clay) as a ground for painting with Genesis "oil" paints... I baked the liquid clay on a sheet of glass first.
.....then I can lay the clear, thin baked sheet of liquid clay right over my sketch and begin painting without having to redraw, transfer, or underpaint
......the drawback to using TLS is that it doesn't self-level (as does Kato) leaving a bumpy, rippled surface (this might be used to great effect for special texture if that's what's wanted though)
.......I also tried a thick layer of Kato liquid clay, then turned the baked film over to the smooth glassy side. Tinidril (bottom of the page)
...have you tried putting the TLS in between two panes of glass to keep it flat?.. squish 'em and put a weight on top
......then both sides will be shiny, but if you want one side to be matte, paint the TLS on parchment paper and then lay the pane on top with a weight. Sue
.....I haven't tried this method, sounds like a good idea... a shiny surface would be OK because when the Genesis paint dries it's matte. If I want to gloss it up I can coat it with Kato. Tinidril
.....the difficulty I had with the TLS sandwiched between paper and glass was that I couldn't get the air pockets out without making the thickness of the TLS uneven (pushing the air out made some places very thin and some very thick). Placing a weight on top might work... what about poking a hole through the paper above the air pocket? Hmmmm, needs more experimenting... ;) Tinidril
...when the painted liquid clay film is placed over a dark color mat board, it takes on the appearance of pastels on dark paper, kind of a cool effect! Tinidril

Consuelo painted on a sheet of black clay with silver Lumiere paints (reminiscent of black & silver "scratch art")
....Lumieres are a heat-set, metallic paint

Genesis paint (must be heat set) ... I've used them a little since my DH has a set....If you love oil paints but hate to wait for them to dry, this is the stuff for you!'s texture is very buttery and a delight to use.
....these work much better than (liquid clay) when you want to do refined painting on clay, say a portrait or some other rendered subject,
...They do mix with TLS though. ....I believe that Amaco is their distributor now.
...My DH cures his larger paintings (on masonite or illustration board) in my convection oven. The only serious drawback is that this limits the size of the paintings. The Genesis people will construct a drying box for you but it isn't cheap. The paint can also be set with a heat gun, but this is tedious and we feel that the convection oven does a better job. ...they have a whole range of colors and offer different sets or you can buy them individually. Jody Bishel
(for more on Genesis water-mixable "oil" paints --actually acrylics but behave like oils?--, see above under Oils above, and
in Mokume Gane > Paints)

acrylic "gel mediums"
...can be used on paper, canvas, or on polymer clay (I originally was using it to make scales from my dragons)
.... they come in all sort of textures, stiffnessnesses... and gloss through flat
....take about 24 hrs to cure completely so there's a lot of open time ( can work with it longer).
... they tint up *beautifully* with just about any paint or pigment you want to put in it . ...when you get the container, the gel looks white, and when you add tint it will look very pale, however, the stuff dries clear, so your original colors show through (...this eliminates the color limitation of the "structural" paints which are not clear).
... some good brands are Golden and Liquitex .... available at art supply stores, and Michael's
I've been trying some of the Golden gel mediums and some of them have a lot of elasticity. Jeanne
...I am thinking that I could have cured my individual polymer pieces ...then tinted the gel medium and used it like paint to build up
.......gel medium never has to be baked (so warping would not have been a problem with the clayboard). Jeanne
... You can also run it through just about any cake-decorating tip to make designs. Barb
(...more info on acrylic mediums and their types above under "Acrylic Mediums")

The black dye paste sold by the Fimo people (to turn scrap clay into usable black clay) does work well, but it is mes-s-s-y! You should probably wear rubber gloves and mask your work area well. Your food processor will need a *thorough* cleaning afterward and don't use any tools you can't clean well. After it's mixed it, it doesn't seem to come off on anything though.

Future can act as a substitute for resin ... it will thicken up if I leave it out overnight or in an open container for a couple of days color it, add some acrylic paint
......then pour or paint that thickened stuff inside cups, bowls (or as pond, etc.) to simulate a transparent or translucent liquid (gravy, etc.)
......or pour/paint over bits of food stuffs on miniature plates as thick paint-glaze
...this goopy stuff is interesting and not as scary as resin is to some folks. Nora-Jean

misc. re "paintings"

I don't use any finish on my pictures when completed. I tried it and I just don't like the look at all. Personal preference thing. I had one piece in particular that come to mind. It was a picture of Lilly Pads behind a group of tree trunks. Looked really nifty. Then I decided to put on some flecto varethane, matte finish. Yuck. I am ashamed to show it.
.....Even with a matte finish, it just doesn't work for me at all. for one thing, you cannot easily see the picture any more, because even matte is too shiney (?).
...I do have one mandela that I made entirely with pearlized clays. I am thinking about putting a finish on that to bring out depth, but I like the piece a lot and am afraid of ruining it, so i probably won't. Bottom line, I don't recommend sanding or buffing or putting on a finish of any kind. Naked Clay. -byrd

polymer "paintings" might also be:
...bas relief (for those see Sculpting > Bas Relief)
...caned landscapes (see Canes-Instr.> Landscapes)
...inlaid puzzle-piece sheets, like Bob's faux wood parquet or Sue's pietre dure simulations, or Cynthia's micro mosaics, e.g. (see Faux-Turq,Wood, and Mosaics, and Sheets of Pattern > Crazy Patch)
...scenes created by placing cane slices very close together
.........if translucent clay is the only background clay in a cane or canes, slices can be placed close together or slightly overlapped and thereby have their edges melt into each other becoming effectively invisible (see Canes-Instr. > Translucent, Close-Together)

"painting" that looks like it was done on canvas. ...a new idea for someone to try....
....print out a color or b&w photo image on your inkjet printer (not a mirror image) .... tape this down on a sheet of glass or cardboard or whatever....paint over the image with liquid clay as if you were doing an oil painting ..... when you get done, cover it with a piece of fine gauze cloth .... then add a coat of liquid clay... bake. (This or some variation of it should give you a "painting" that looks like it was done on canvas. ( learned this trick from my grandmother before polyclay was invented. We used it on those paint by number kits). Smoke

PRINTING & STENCILS (with paints, inks, etc.)

There are various ways to "print" with clay.
....Paints or inks (or even tinted liquid clays or polymer pastes, acrylic mediums, etc.) could probably be used in one way or another.
...Generally, the color would be applied to the uppermost areas of a textured or relief surface, then pressed to paper or clay to create a reproduction of the upraised areas. But it's also possible to use the depressed areas (engraved, etched) to transfer the color by applying color in the low lying areas only, then pressing paper or clay over the whole area and having it be pushed down into the crevices and to pick up the ink.
...Some of the materials that might be used to create textured areas for printing are:
baked or raw clay (possibly also etched transfers or other materials which can be indented ...woodburning tools, etc.?), photosensitive photopolymer plates rubber (rubberstamp sheeting, or erasers, latex rubber), 2-part epoxy putties, copper or other metal sheets, hot glue or dried white glue, heat-impressable foams, maybe even

Or the coloring can be applied through screens such as polyester "silk"screens, PhotoEZ, with photosensitive or other materials used to mask areas not to be printed.

Simulations of printing can also include antiqued textures, "etched transfers", etc.

(to see much more on all these techniques, look in: Texturing > Texture Sheets, Carving > Etching, Stamping, Molds, Transfers)

(for making carved and/or impressed clay plates (for printing on paper with paints or etching inks .. see Carving > Etching, and also Texturing > Texture Plates)

Hard Stencils

(info on stencils for cutting sheets of clay and for masking is in Cutters-Blades > Stencils and Templates)

Stencils can be made from various materials... like paper, waxed paper, cardstock, and even strips of masking tape or shapes of self-adhesive paper (ike Contact paper), etc. are other possibilities.

Brass stencils are very thin and their images tend to be smaller than other stencils, so can be useful for clay (they're usually used for "dry embossing" done on paper using a ball-tipped stylus over a light table) acrylic "embossing paste" can be used with a brass stencils to create a raised pattern (it comes in opaque white as well as translucent and is the consistency of buttercream icing) ...I've only seen it at art stores and rubberstamping stores so far
......a narrow metal spatula (like for frosting a cake) is used to apply to the paste over the stencil (which has been taped down temporarily on the receiving surface).
......after a few swipes to remove the excess embossing paste, the brass stencil is carefully removed to reveal the image which is now raised. takes 40-60 min to dry.
... paste can be mixed with Pearl Ex or other non-liquid media to give it color (when left white, it looks fabulous on dark-colors) Valerie in Chicago

Patterns can also be put on raw or baked clay through a stencil with:
....other paints or other media (e.g., metallic powders...chalk... paint.) can be applied to stencil with brushes ("stencil brushes" or others)... sponges ....rubber chisels, spatulas, or squeegees ...airbrushes....or whatever works.

You can also 'set' the paint with a 150 degree bake at least …The paint will be much harder and "baked on" if you bake it after painting (just regular temp.)

I've had lots of experience with airbrushing and my opinion is it's too much preparation vs actual painting, but if you want to do a real quick and dirty you can do it for pretty cheap. :-) A Badger airbrush will do just fine. It's not as delicate a line as some of the more professional one, but they are much more reasonable. I think you can get one for about $45.00. And for an air supply, if you are just doing a small job, those cans of air will do just fine. They last about a half-hour - which may not seem like a lot, but most of airbrushing is cutting the stencil and cleaning the airbrush and preparing the airbrush and waiting for the ink to dry, etc., etc.... :-) I don't know what you're using it for, but the little cans will be ok for anything if it's a small job. I like Paache also for more detail but I've used the Badger with fine results. If you're using thicker paints or glazes or whatever, the Badger is actually better because the Paache will gunk up really quickly. When I was doing a lot of airbrushing, I bought a co2 tank - I was somewhere where I could drive to get it charged up. CO2 is pretty cheap. If I was doing it now, I know there are companies that deliver. You can actually rent the whole get-up - tank, regulator, etc. Jacqueline

blow pens ("Blo Pens") can be used on polymer (baked only?), with or without stencils. They may be made in permanent and non-permanent pigments? Someone has said that the ones for decorating shirts are fine for polymer. What you get is a set of different colored pens which are placed in a holder attached to a squeeze bulb or blowing tube; when you express air forcefully it throws some of the vaporized pigment onto whatever it's pointed at. Diane B.
I think there may be several types of blow pens. I bought blow pens for my daughter. It paints like an airbrish. I used them on my eggs, but it took forever to dry. Then you will have to be careful, what kind of finish you put over that. I tried to use a brush and it smeared, so I had to to use a spray. Susan
I got my set at Michael's. It's for fabric, is priced 34.95 and I used a 40% off coupon. It has 10 pens and lots of stencils. I think it will work on clay. When you do it on fabric, you heat set with the iron so with clay you'd bake it in the oven. You can do a shirt and have matching pendant. There are smaller sets with fewer colors, but this big set has a foot pedal. You attach the end to the pen and don't have to blow it with your mouth. I think they have replacement pens. I hope so because these aren't refillable. You can check Genevieve


(for making "stencils"...the info in each can sometimes apply to all)

The following methods (mostly) require a special light-sensitive film or coating, and a source of ultraviolet light.The UV light will "burn" an image into the photosensitive material so it can then be used as a stencil or texture plate (for polymer plates). The film must be held rigid in some way to do this, though it's possible to do the the printing step without a frame when using products which already have a frame or embedded mesh.

A "silk screen" is a piece of fine mesh polyester or nylon which must stretched tightly in a (lg. or small) wood or metal frame... and then have a light sensitive film attached; reusable for other designs if photosensitive film is cleaned off the mesh with certain chemicals).

The following cannot be reused to create a new design (unless the same chemical is used?)
.... but they can be reused at another time using the same design --using the same or diff. colors, or on another surface
PhotoEZ is a silkscreen mesh attached to a photosensitive film (not reusable for other designs)
A Print Gocco machine has mesh streched in small cardboard? frame, with one-use UV (flashbulbs included).

Silk Screening
(or "screen printing" or "serigraphy")


(.....for info. on ordinary stencilling and airbrushing, see Paints)

"Silkscreening is a stencil method of printmaking, in which an image is imposed on a screen of silk or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance... and ink is forced through the mesh onto the printing surface."

The reason that using a mesh screen to apply paint to a surface is better than using an ordinary stencil and simply painting or pouncing the color on with a brush or sponge... is because a mesh screen will:
...apply the color very evenly all areas... with no brush strokes, or sponge patterning left
...allow each extremely tiny dot of color to be totally flat on the top (because of the squeegee action), which results in a very flat appearance

Completed silkscreens (with image) can be created in different ways.
...simplest: (best for small images) either using a small cardboard frame (or use illustration board or wood/plywood, or anything which will work) with the mesh & masking
....can make your own small wood frames for stretching the mesh (see "quick screens" & Jean Ray Laury below)
...or using PhotoEZ mesh-and-emulsion-sandwich screens (see below)
...wood or metal screens--hinged or not (esp. good for larger images or many prints)... screen mesh must be stretched tightly, then masking applied for the image, before printing (the edges of the screen where it meets the frame are sometimes also masked with masking tape as well because those areas would be harder to clean

OVERVIEW --general silkscreening:
The "silk screen" fabric nowadays is actually a special polyester or nylon mesh fabric (around $14/yd) which can be bought at art supply stores, or at silk screening supply stores
......... a low count mesh ( 37-105 threads/inch) allow more ink to pass through (often used to print on absorbent materials) ...high count mesh (195-305) allow less ink to pass through (often used to print on less absorbent materials...PVC, glass, metal, etc) and will give finer detail
......... "I prefer monofilament because the mistakes wash out more easily! Once you get the process down and ruin few screens, and want to keep the successful screens on file, then go with the less expensive multi-filament that doesn't wash out mistakes well."
....the mesh fabric is generally stretched tightly over a small or large frame (wood, metal, or cardboard if small) for ease of use, and multiple use
....some type of masking material is then attached on one side of the screen (see below)
....paint or "ink" is then squeegeed over the whole screen (and image masking material) ... this forces the paint down through the screen in any areas which aren't blocked by the masking material
....this process can be done onto waiting paper, fabric, clay, etc
.....diff. paints and inks must be used for various materials
...."masking" (to create patterns on the screen) can be done in simple or more complicated ways

Jean Ray Laury's book (Imagery on Fabric --a fabulous book!) can easiliy apply to clay instead of fabric
...the method she calls "quick-screening" is a combination of stencil and silk screen printing
...she gives loads of info on using plain paper, freezer paper, and photo emulsions for masking on her small screens, as well as "stencils" from thermofax machines
....she also deals with one way of making a less-complicated, temporary frame for silkscreening . . as well as many other ways to "print" on fabric (or anything).,1789,HGTV_3305_1391774,00.html
...8" x 10" silk screen frame covered in 14-mesh polyester (or anything close) available at large art supply store or university book store

.........the masking material can be simple (e.g. cut-out shapes of paper), but this doesn't allow as much detail in the image as the following:
........the masking material can be an opaque light-sensitive (photo emulsion) film, or a painted-on, 2-part liquid which forms a film when dry ... one of these is placed onto the mesh in the areas to be blocked from paint
............if the masking material is light-sensitive, the pattern will have to be "burned off"any areas you want paint to be allowed to pass through the mesh
.... (a UV light source like sunshine or a sun lamp is used for this)
............a very dark photocopy on overhead transparency sheet (or a special light blocking film called Rubylith)... or a drawing using India Ink, or a photocopy made on a translucent paper (we sometimes used good quality tracing paper so we didn't need to buy tranparency sheets), is what is laid on the film to create the actual pattern to be burned
.............after exposure (burning), the film areas which were blocked by the opaque/dark parts of the image can then be removed with a water rinse.
.....the completed screen is then ready to use for printing

masking materials used with regular silkscreening:
...the stencils can be made from various materials:
.....paper (up to 30 prints)
.........regular sheet of white paper may be used for the paper stencil. A drawing is made of any design or thick-lined letters may be used by cutting them with an X-acto knife. Take a clean screen and, using masking tape or packing tape, create a mask on the inside leaving an area that is smaller than the paper stencil free. Place the stencil on the surface to be printed, on top of the screen On the inside of the mesh apply some ink, print, and gather the ink against the frame. Now take it back to the starting point. If it you are printing on cloth, pass the ink over twice. Other surfaces require only one once over. Lift the mesh and notice that the paper stencil has stuck to the mesh because of the ink. Do not remove it if you are going to make more prints. Normally, a paper stencil can last for up to 30 consecutive prints.
....Jean Ray Laury uses freezer paper as stencils for adhering to mesh before screening it
....(water soluble) block-out or screen filler or masking tape can be used for some areas
.... films (cellulose on vinyl backing, Rubylith)... light-sensitive films (photo emulsions)

Consists of green cellulose layer on a vinyl support. Place a piece of film over a design you want to copy. The vinyl towards the design and the green cellulose facing upwards. Set with tape and trace it with an X-acto blade. Only the cellulose layer should be cut without perforating (adhere to mesh with laquer thinner)

screen cleaning...take screen outdoors for best ventilation... use a stencil remover paste or liquid sodium hypochloride, or use any commercial bleach with equal parts water... scrub on ... let set 5 min.. rinse with water...repeat several times.... mineral spirits/lacquer thinner will remove more diffficult spots.

Silk screens with photo emulsions are often used for production since they last through many screenings (prints).

Mix up your photo emulsion according to the directions on the package. The emulsion has two parts, the first being a viscous blue or pink liquid, the second a clear "activator." The emulsion is light-sensitive when these two parts are combined, attaining its greatest sensitivity when fully dry. However, in its liquid form, the emulsion is slow-acting enough to be used under regular lighting conditions as long as you work quickly and avoid the sun.

Before you can use the mesh in the frame, the cloth mesh must be cleaned and degreased.
....Rinse the screen and then apply a cleanser (Ajax/Comet) and scrub the screen with a brush or sponge. Be sure to wash out all of the soap after you have cleaned the screen. OR? (nylon?) Mix one part household bleach to three parts water or a strong solution of Mr. Clean detergent in a plastic spray bottle or bucket. (You can also use a commercial screen-degreasing liquid for this step, but it's more expensive.)
2. Sponge or spray onto both sides of the silk screen. 3. Rinse well with clear water.
4. Allow to dry fully.

....8. Spread newspaper on a table. Dampen a sponge and your screen. Place your film on the newspaper with the shiny side down. Carefully lay the moistened screen on the film. The film should begin turning a darker green. Using the sponge and newspaper, dab the water from the screen, pulling it and the film up through the screen. Do not rub or it will smear the film. Lay newspaper over the screen and roll it to remove any remaining water. Too much water and the film will dissolve, too little water and the film won’t adhere to the screen.
9. Allow the screen and stencil to dry overnight. Carefully peel the clear plastic backing from the screen. After use, remove any masking.

If making a hinged (fixed) frame, stencil must be placed on screen emulsion upside-down and backwards so it will print correctly.

...All of my pieces are made by layering images under tissue thin layers of translucent clay. Then, after curing, LOTS of sanding and buffing. Most of my work is hand buffed. I only use a buffing wheel for the most extreme, high gloss, glass like shine, which, I use very sparingly. I believe this method gives you the riches and most depth to your surface finishes.

inks and paints for printing
(depends on the surface material being printed on, and whether will need to be waterproof)
ACRYLCS? (water washup but permanent) ... on paper, fabric, clay, etc.
....I've tried the paint (or ink?) that PhotoEZ comes with and it seems to be very compatible with the clay. Dotty in CA
...I use Versatex textile paint which works great for me. Dotty
......(or use an acrylic paint with fabric medium such as
Golden's Silkscreen Medium or Golden's Silkscreen Medium for washable items), for fabric only?)
...if using acrylic paints, choose thick & slow drying types
......(& don't use acrylic metallic paints unless you use the standard res. mesh because they're just too thick?
......Gwen recommended the thickest verison of the brand Golden acrylic paint in her class, but folks naturally have other brads on their personal stock, including LiquiTex and Rembrandt (someone who's been working with the PhotoEZ about as long as Gwen identified Rembrandt as the best)
...the ink on that particular image may seem more opaque because I mixed the gold with titanium white (paints). Desiree
"block printing" inks (like Speedball, etc.) come in 2 versions (one is permanent , the other isn't --needs solvent for clean-up?)
...sweatshirts and t-shirts are often screenprinted with
a silkscreen ink called plastisol ink (or paint"?) --which may be related to the plasticizers in polymer clay?'s very permanent, but unfortunately requires cleaning up with solvents
...for printing on paper, water-soluble block printing inks can also be used for easier clean-up... can spray lightly with acrylic sealer afterward to make somewhat waterproof if desired

(If printing on baked clay)... the paint will be much harder and "baked on" if you bake it after painting with a 150 degree bake at least

All of my pieces are made by layering one or more (screenprinted) images under a covering of tissue thin layer of translucent clay... after curing, LOTS of sanding and buffing (most is hand buffed.... I only use a buffing wheel for the most extreme, high gloss, glass like shine, which I use very sparingly). I believe this method gives you the riches and most depth to your surface finishes. Seth
...Gwen Gibson often uses liquid clay over her final images, then sands and buffs.

"offset" printing..... once when photo silkscreening, I accidently rolled some (pattern) onto my work surface (throu the screen?)
... so then I used a sheet of raw clay to pick up the design from my work surface (this is the way offset printing works) and it transferred perfectly. ....s oooo, perhaps you could screen onto scrap raw clay, then pick up the raw, and offset it onto the baked clay. ?? Maureen

(I started screenprinting on polymer with Photo-EZ....but I found over time that I was not getting the surface properties that I wanted with it
.... plus I was unable to get good registration on multi-color screen prints that required tight registration) I moved to traditional frame-based screens and Diazo-Photopolymer (Dual-Cure) Emulsions. I love this water based system and use it in 95% of my screenprinting work). Seth

MORE INFO on screenprinting (lots of topics) (stretching, taping & sealing a regular silk screen)

simpler "stencils" for printing

Jean Ray Laury discussesmany types in her fabulous book called Imagery on Fabric
....for masking materials then printing (on fabric or on anything), she covers 4 basic methods:
plain paper
...clear Contact Paper (or freezer paper for fabric) emulsions ...(oil based) tusche & thinned glue (water-based)
...the book also deals with one way of making a less-complicated, small temporary??? frame for silkscreening
(the plain paper or Contact Paper prints usually yield "positive prints")
...plain paper method ... use a "hard" surface paper (can do 20-30 prints before becoming too waterlogged)... no soft paper or waxed paper (...tissue paper can be used but won't last long and will cause increasing visual texture in the print)
....for a positive print, cut paper to exact size of frame bottom, then cut or tear parts (gen. out of center) ... tape at least one side of paper to frame bottom... (do a test first) ...turn over and place frame-with-stencil on surface to be printed .. place small amount of paint onto

..her "quick screening" method for fabric could be modified for clay by using her Contact Paper method instead (see just below)
.....for this, uses a blank, stretched screen placed on top of a stencil to help apply paint evenly in the stencil's pattern (is described in a few of her books)
.....the follwogin lesson on that method is from another of her books --No Dragons on My Quilt,1789,HGTV_3305_1391774,00.html

.......she screenprints a simple shape using a small premade silk screen frame (8"x10" --with stretched 14-mesh polyester pref.) (available at large art supply store or university book store)...
.......because she's using more than one color, she uses a a freezer paper stencil for each color (all exactly the same height & width) for registration purposes ... she draws or traces the desired shape onto the freezer paper, then cuts it out with an Xacto knife
..... she then irons (med. hot) the freezer paper stencil onto her background fabric (on clay, we'd have to burnish it onto raw clay sheet, if it weren't baked?) ...places the blank screen in frame over the stencil ...
applies a couple teaspoons of Versatex paints (or other heat-set, water-base textile paints) somewhere on the stencil paper (not over the stencil opening), then squeegees it over the entire screen (couple of times if nec.)... (wash screen immediately) ...lets paint dry 1-2 hrs. then removes first stencil (and heat sets ... we woulnd't do this)
...apply second stencil with same registration (and squeegee second color on)

place frame over Contact Paper (CP), and mark frame's CP (plastic side up) over desired pattern & trace... cut through plastic only if poss., and try not to cross cuts (use continuous cutting)... remove cut shape... gently peel plastic from CP backing and press sticky side to bottom of blank mesh in frame so it completely covers bottom exactly (if need registration for second color, etc.)... turn frame over and burnish with a spoon through the mesh, esp. edges of shape
...(if stencil begins to loosen eventually, it can probably be rejuvenated by removing, cleaning paint, hanging to dry face out --stickiness will gen. return with most brands... readhere to mesh ...when finished with a run, clean screen well in cool water, using toothbrush if nec. (may be stained but still works okay)

PhotoEZ silkscreening
(sm. silkscreen & photosensitive film, in one)

What makes PhotoEZ silkscreening different from regular silkscreening, is that Photo EZ is comprised of a sheet of mesh with the light sensitive film already applied.
( a couple of steps in regular silkscreening can be avoided... and using it for small images can be easier)... developed by Bill ____
.....see "regular" silkscreening just above for more tips, etc.

SOURCES for PhotoEZ:
....creator of PhotoEZ & his sister:
...........they also sell on Ebay
....through Gwen Gibson:


...Desiree's lessons (2 pages)
...Gwen Gibson's lessons
...PhotoEZ's lessons (using clay or other things, plus other tips) (note: one page is a PDF file)
...Nan Roche's article in the Feb 2000 Polyinformer re silk-screening on polymer clay (no website)
*Desiree's various silkscreened pendants
Linda G's freestanding cylinder-type lamps with silkscreenings on translucent clay
Paulo's lentil shapes and inro box (website gone)

quick overview . . . PhotoEZ is a photo-sensitive plastic film with an embedded mesh.
.... Exposing the film to *strong* light actually changes the film from a water soluble material to a water resistant one. ...If you selectively block light from certain areas, then soak the film in water, the parts that didn't see light will dissolve away leaving the mesh uncovered
... Your light source for developing the film can vary.....there's an instruction sheet included with the PhotoEZ sheets which has a table listing the proper light sources and the length of exposure time for each source. Desiree

To create the image on the blank PhotoEZ film sheet, parts of the film must be "burned away" by using an opaque photocopy or drawing to block the light during exposure (see more above). DB
...the more opaque you can make the image, the better.... I've found photocopied images aren't nearly as dark as laser printed images
....if you can go over the image with a black pen to intensify the opacity, you'll make a crisper stencil. Desiree

PhotoEZ mesh comes in two versions of "resolution" ...Standard or High
STANDARD resolution has larger holes in the mesh and may sometimes produce jagged, less fine lines... but it must be used for certain things.
........the standard resolution version is what Gwen used in her class. It works great.
....... I have only used the regular mesh and have gotten pretty fine details with it. I have some of the high resolution mesh ...I've not used the finer resolution PhotoEZ yet. Desiree if you want to apply any metallic paints (e.g. gold, silver, interferences, iridescents) you must use the standard mesh as the mica particles will irrepairably clog the high resolution mesh. ....and even when using the glitteries like gold or copper, you must use the paints labelled "Fine" (the Golden brand of acrylic paints has that type).
......another nice feature about the standard mesh with regard to polymer clay is it allows you to deposit more paint on the clay than with Riso (Print Gocco) screen process. Desiree

contact frame (for exposure). . .
....during the burning, the screen must pressed tight against the image or it will result in a fuzzy image from light leaking under it, so a "contact frame" (as with making contact prints in regular photography) should be used ... in this case, screen and image are sandwiched tightly between a rigid black foam-covered board and a piece of clear plastic (or glass)... clips are used on the edges to hold everything together tightly.
........ I now use a thick sheet of glass to lay over the image & screen instead of the plastic. It's very heavy so I don't need to clip the items together. Dotty in CA sure the edges of the glass are covered or burnished, or you can cut your fingers. Deidre

....this sandwich is then exposed to UV light... remove PhotoEZ...
soak in water, then rinse under running water till full image appears
I made my own contact frame using a piece of cardboard, black paper, a sheet of glass and duct tape.
I was able to expose some of the Photo-EZ screens and have been playing with the resulting screens . . . it has been great fun! Spend the extra few bucks, get the 5 sheet package and forget about the contact frame. You can cobble one up easily enough. Kathy
...I also made a larger one using two 10"/12" plexiglass sheets, 4 jumbo binder clips (one per side) and a black sheet of construction paper. It also works fine, plus I can develop an entire 8x11 sheet of stencils at one time. ...Gwen's black pad provides just enough padding for the paper/transparency and PhotoEZ sheet to nestle into though, thus doing a little better job of preventing light leaking in from the sides.
...What also helps is making sure the backing pad or black paper is truly effective in blocking light. I use extra stiff heavy black construction paper. I held it up to the sun and couldn't see any light peeking through.... If you make your own development (contact) frame, there are some key things to keep in mind.. . . Control the light so it only comes in from the top and is totally blocked from the back and the sides. The frame should be tightly clamped when in use. . . . Oh, and the top panel, glass or otherwise, should have no UV deflecting or light alterating properties in it. Desiree
...I too like using the cling vinyl sheet that comes in the kit. I have made my own contact frames, but still like to lay down the cling vinyl as a backing. I think because its soft and has some give, you get perfect contact.
........One of the best ways i have found to make a contact frame is to get a cheap 11X14 frameless picture frame. one that uses Swiss clips to hold a peice of glass to a backing board. I cover the backing board with black felt and then use 4 to 6 large butterfly binder clips ( like Desiree suggests). I like using the frameless rrame because the glass edges are finished and there is no need to tape them out. ...Dick Blick has them for 4 bucks...Seth

sandwich order: Place hard cardboard first, black felt second, PhotoEZ (green) third (shinny side up), photocopy fourth (copy side down), and glass last. Deidre

Be sure to remember to remove the plastic backing!! I don't want to tell you how many times I forgot to do that. Dotty in CA

(UV) light sources:
.... cool, full spectrum florescent light sources will work as well as sunlight ...I found a great light source at Orchard Supply Hardware. It's a 200 watt equivalent compact florescent bulb called a "Lights of America Mega Light". It's not cheap, though. It cost me $15.00. But it makes a crisp, sharp stencil, gives off a bright warm light, is supposed to last 7 years and only uses 45 watts. Desiree
..... Desiree florescent light (size?) works just fine for small graphics. It doesn't cover enough area for larger ones which I now do out in the sun. Dotty in CA
...sunlight is quite simple, the strongest light, and the quickest development situation.
..........however, since I work in an office during the day, I'd have to wait until the weekend to get the best light and develop stencils. Desiree
....sun lamps also have UV bulbs

So far, I've developed PhotoEZ with the following times and materials:
- sunlight and images on overhead transparency (develop time 50 -60 secs)
- sunlight and images on white paper (5 min)
- 200W EQV florescent light and images on overhead transparency (11 min)
- 200W EQV florescent light and images on white paper (35 min)
Though developing PhotoEZ with images printed on white paper takes longer, you don't have to buy the transparencies. Desiree
.... I held it outside in the sun for about two minutes. Deidre

...Sun exposure, on a nice sunny day, should be five minutes. That always seems to work for me.... I lay everything out on the grass in the sun, and turn on my oven timer. Dotty in CA

watch the timing carefully. ...the PhotoEZ instruction sheet specifies times for different lighting sources, but it may not be apparent that those timings are requirements, not guidelines.
If the film is under-developed, more of the film will wash away, perhaps in areas where you wanted it to stay.
.. If the film is over-developed, areas that you wanted to wash away may not wash away completely. Desiree)
...The reason your green plastic came off when you used a sponge is because your screen was underexposed. Dotty in CA

protecting undeveloped PhotoEZ from unwanted exposure: your PhotoEz in a dark place that's not too hot (..being in the light for a minute or so won't bother it though because it's a slow-exposing emulsion)
...You'll need to put your PhotoEZ "sandwich" inside something that really blocks the sunlight so you don't overdevelop the film. Desiree

cleaning the screens:
...especally if you're used acrylic paints for screening onto the clay, IMMEDIATELY (albeit gently) wash the screen in cool water to remove all traces of the paint. This is very impoacrylicrtant to assure your screen lasts as long as possible. Remember - IMMEDIATELY! ;-) Desiree
...The paint can dry very quickly on the screens making it difficult to clean, which clogs the holes of the screen and makes the next paint applications inferior over time.
.....Keeping a bucket of water near your work station, in which you can immediately submerse your screen in, can be handy. This makes your screen cleaning easier when you get back to it. Des?
To clean the screens, I use the rubberstamp cleaner put out by Marvy called "Marvy's Magic Cleaner". Works good for me. tlc
...Afterwards, I take the screen back outside in the sunshine and let it sit until completely dry. Dotty in CA

Also dry the screen as flat as you can, so that it will work optimally for the next use.
... because it has no rigid frame, one positive thing is that when you screen onto raw clay, and your screen is really flat, you can press it against the clay and it stays nicely in place. However, if you aren't careful and don't dry your screen really flat, it rather difficult to get it to snug against the clay. When this happens, the ink or paint tends to get under the image in places where you don't want it. Dotty in CA

Gwen Gibson's silkscreening with acrylic paint onto unbaked polymer clay
...apply the printed clay to whatever you want, and bake. Beautiful, beautiful things.

...Gwen Gibson introduced a few of our guild members to a silk screening technique using a relatively new material, whose creator is Bill ____ in San Jose, CA..... if you're familiar with the concepts and process of silk screening or stenciling, you should have little trouble grasping the basic concepts.
I use either side of the PhotoEZ when painting on the clay.... If you are silk screening on fabric though, which side to use is more important.. Dotty CA
...others recommend the ___ side?

(To adhere the PhotoEZ stencil to the material to be printed on) ...Use stencil adhesive (spray adhesive) or masking tape to help secure your stencil and prevent bleeding .. If you’re using spray stencil adhesive, spray from a distance of 1 to 2 feet with one quick squirt. This prevents clogging the stencil. PhotoEZ

I have doubts that anything is needed to seal if the paint has been properly applied and everything properly baked. I assume that once baked, the polymer and the acrylic practically fuse.
...However, Gwen Gibson prefers to cover the painted surface with a very thin layer of TLS (sanded and buffed).
..... I've done that on some pieces. I've used semi-gloss Flecto Varathane on other pieces. Both provide very nice but very different finishes. The TLS
gives you a finish that feels kind of like smoothed earthen clay. I haven't tried glazing with the full gloss varathane but I plan to soon.


other light blocking pattern/image materials:
... shapes you've cut out using dark construction paper
...stencils ... brass, etc.
...a rubber stamp image, stamped onto an overhead transparency sheet (make sure the ink is as opaque as possible)
... image printed or photocopied onto an overhead transparency sheet ... any monochrome image you can scan into, and print out from, a computer is a candidate
...Randomly sprinkle some heart shaped confetti on the PhotoEZ sheet, and expose to light. Remove the confetti and soak the sheet in water. The areas not allowed to see light dissolve away. ...Once dried, place the sheet on polymer clay. Wipe paint across the sheet. Whatever you've placed the stencil on ends up with little randomly placed painted stars. (to see these, go to D's below .."background pattern"...Desiree

You can randomly blob acrylic paint on the clay, tap and blot with your fingers, then perform a final blotting with the textured paper towels to remove excess paint.
...I'm hoping to use PhototEZ to make my own custom fabric for wallcoverings, draperies and upholstery in my dollhouse. :-)... tiny little white-on-white prints would be so pretty - Elizabeth

Desiree's use of powdered dye under the silkscreening (for more info, see PaintsPowdered Dyes --click on Next to see the baked version)

Gwen sometimes uses more than one screen for an image, so that she can create larger areas of coverage, then go back and print details on top of it in a different color with a diff. stencil. DB... can silk screen a background pattern made from one of your PhotoEZ stencils before adding the main image. Desiree
..... after applying the acrylic paint to raw polymer clay, it can be rubbed or pulled off . . . in some cases
........ if you screen, say, a second layer of paint to a piece, then when pulling off the PhotoEZ, it may pull off bits of first layer of paint with it. This tendency varies depending on whether you use Premo or Fimo and the brand of paint used. As far as clay goes, the tendency is much greater with Premo brand polymer clay than Fimo. I believe it may have to do with the variations in plasticizer or that there is more plasticizer in Premo.
....You can help the paint adhere much better by drying the paint briefly with a blow dryer. Just be careful to only dry the paint and not cure the clay. Desiree?

...On the side of your lentil with the peacock did you do two screenings, one for the shades of turquoise and the other shades of yellow? If so, how long did you wait before applying the second one?
...........Wait until the layer is no longer tacky - about 10 - 20 minutes, I think. Desiree

Can you cut the PhotoEZ sheets into smaller pieces?
....Oh, yes. No problem. I bought the 5 sheets in a bag packet. I've pulled out a full 8.5" X 11" sheet and cut it up into four 5.5" X 4.25" pieces, returning three of those pieces to the black plastic bag. Depending on the size of the image I want to develop, I may even cut that piece in half. Then I feel like I've got tons of film pieces to develop. Desiree

MORE IDEAS from PhotoEZ:
· Apply paint with small foam paint rollers or plastic spatula .... When using brushes make sure they are well loaded.
· Use as a rubber stamp by gluing foam on a block of wood, load with paint, place PhotoEZ™ on top and start stamping
..... wrap PhotoEZ™ around a paint-loaded paint roller and roll your pattern on.
· For a great way to emboss or apply gold leaf, try stenciling thick water-soluble glues such as Elmer’s® Gel Glue

steps to develop a PhotoEZ stencil
1) In a poorly lit room, remove a sheet of the PhotoEZ film from its black plastic bag. It's a rich emerald green. It may be necessary to cut the sheet to desired size. After cutting, return any pieces you're not going to use back in the black plastic bag to minimize developing.
2) Remove the protective plastic sheet from the film.
Make the following sandwich, starting at the bottom: - a black background (preferably very slightly padded), - PhotoEZ film (shiny side up, mesh side down), - light blocking pattern/image (more on this later), - clear glass or lucite.
3) Clamp the sandwich so nothing slips or moves.
4) Orient the sandwich so light directly hits the film. Develop film for the time required for that light source - no shorter no longer. The material comes with an instruction sheet that lists the proper development times per light source.
5) Unclamp the sandwich. If you examine the film, you'll see the areas exposed to light will be a slightly darker green. Soak the film in clean water for 10 - 11 minutes.
6) Gently shake the film while in the water and gently, gently wipe away the dissolving film with a soft natural sponge.
7) Sandwich film between some paper towels and press gently to remove excess water. Remove film from paper towels and allow film to completely air dry.
8) Re-expose film to light source for 10 - 11 minutes to further cure/toughen the film. Now, the film is ready for use.
9) Lay film, mesh side up, on polymer clay.
Squeegee thick acrylic paint across the film.
Immediately, if not sooner, put film in clean water and gently wipe to remove paint from the film.
Redry film. Desiree

I started screenprinting on polymer with Photo-EZ....but I found over time that I was not getting the surface properties that I wanted with it
.... plus I was unable to get good registration on multi-color screen prints that required tight registration (so I moved to traditional frame-based screens and Diazo-Photopolymer (Dual-Cure) Emulsions. I love this water based system and use it in 95% of my screenprinting work). Seth
(see above in "Silk Screening")

Last time I saw Bill, he was working on a alternate system which relied on thin flexible plastic sheets that clung together via static. ....the top sheet was clear, the bottom one opaque black.... When comparing the old rigid model to his (more flexible) prototype though, I have to say I prefer the control the rigid one provides. Desiree.)

Print Gocco machine for silkscreening (expensive)

There's also another article in the latest PolyInformer on using the Gocco printer. Also, they give info on where to get the items needed to do this. Dotty in CA
....Print Gocco website: (I believe the machine is over $100; it uses special light-bulb-flashes and special screens to burn in a screenable image).
One caveat: each exposure (pattern) will require two unused bulbs --around $1 for each bulb-- and one screen --around $2 each, so it may work best for production runs of the same image.

Kathy Davis has successfully used the Gocco printer, but she removed the screen from the frames, which makes it easier to apply the paint without having it creep behind the screen where it shouldn't be
.. . .after burning the screen, remove it from the frame, lay it down on the raw clay and burnish it with your fingers to make certain it's snug against the clay
.... then apply the paint and squeegee off. ....let paint dry..., then bake. (this is basically the way we do it with the Ez-Stencil screens). Dotty in CA


printing with Polymer Plates ("SolarPlates")
for impressing relief textures.... or crevice-printing
(plastic or metal backed polymer film --no frame needed)

(These are somewhat similar to the purchased or home-made "texture sheets" which are made from sheets of polymer clay or rubberstamp rubber material --those are discussed in Textures > Texture Sheets, and are also the material from which Posh Clear Stamps are made --see Stamps > Having Your Own Made...also polymer plates made from baked and/or raw polymer clay sheets can be used with inks and paints to print on paper --see Carving > Etching)

info and materials to purchase: (prices vary) ...

...this company.will actually create the polymer plates from your images like ReadyStamps does!)
...FAQ's for plates, types, cleaning, printing, etc.:

Photopolymer plates are generally used for printmaking.... they are plates of plastic (clear & flexible) or metal (opaque & not flexible), coated with a polymer that is sensitive to UV light. Seth
...The plastic-backed plates can be cut with scissors or an Xacto.

We can use these plates in various ways after exposing them --as sheets of texture, or shallow "molds" of images, or even for "printing" with paints & powders before impressing into raw polymer clay.... if cut apart, they can be mounted and used as stamps (see Stamps > Bought for some companies who make these).

These polymer plates all require exposure to sunlight or another ultraviolet light source such as sunlight, a sunlamp, or special UV fluorescent bulb... an image (computer printed or opaque drawing) is thereby "etched" into the photosensitive coating (film) of the plate with UV light... then the completed plate is then used as a thin texture or image sheet for stamping, texturing, bas relief reproductions, etc.

The newer inks in some printers will not work for these solar techniques because they are UV resistant, in an unusual way...UV passes right through the ink... transparencies printed for the purpose of exposing solar plates produce an etched plate that appears frosted, not the deep "rubber stamp" type impression I get with the regular dye-based printer inks. Katherine

The image is drawn onto transparent acetate, mylar, Xerox or a glass surface with light-stopping materials such as liquid opaque paint or ink, rubylith films, lithographic crayons and certain black pencils, or found objects, photographic negatives?, etc.
. . . or the image may be printed onto the acetate with an inkjet printer, a photocopier (set as dense and dark as possible), or oiled paper.
...This "transparency" is then used as a contact positive or negative to create the plate.
....intaglio plates are created from a positive image on the film
....relief plates are created from negative images

(After the image is copied or somehow created on the transparent film,) the film is laid on top of the Solarplate polymer, which is both light sensitive and water-soluble. . . . When light from the sun (or any UV light source) hits the plate, the parts exposed to the light harden (polymerize) but the parts of the plate blocked from light remain soluble and are then washed away with tap water.
......... this process leaves behind a relief on the plate, which is then used in the same way you use texture plates. Seth print (on paper), either oil based or water based inks can be used.

The plate is composed of two parts: steel, aluminum or film (which functions as a backing) and a polymer coating that hardens when exposed to UV light..
...(some or all?) polymer plates are also called flexographic plates because of their flexibility
... (The new eco- friendly photopolymers wash away with water and soft nail brush and require no special chemicals.) . . .
...Use the plates as you would rubberstamps or etching plates to impress patterns in the clay, though a release agent (water or talc) is required. (There's a little more to the process than stated here, but it really is a simple technique and the sun makes an ideal UV source.) . . .
I like the film-backed plates for their flexibility and shallow depth -- they work well with the pasta machine) Katherine
...Katherine has a guide on how to use these (scroll down to Solar Plates) & also some downloadable patterns

I am working out what i like each of the polymer thicknesses for. I sometimes like the deeper plates for diffrent techniques. i just got some .027 and a .007 to try out some ideas. More like etching than texture. Seth

..these plates have reduced time I spent scribing precise patterns in clay.
...the best time saver is the computer; images drawn on the computer are scalable at the click of a mouse and always as hand for me to print out ...and transfer to the plate and then to the clay. . . I'm now able to repeat both intricate bas reliefs or tiled textures in the size I want when I want. Katherine Dewey

Another factor to consider with creating photopolymer plates is the thickness of the linework in the (original) pattern. ...of course, fine lines etch with less relief than large areas (when making a plate). . . .the Tapestry pattern on my website (see elvenwork link above) produces an interesting (finished) plate with two levels of relief: the large fiddlehead ferns and grape leaves stand out in sharp relief while the finer scrollwork and vines are shallower.... easy to paint in two colors because of this effect.
.....lay on the first coat of paint with enough pressure to color both the fine line work (& the thicker leaves)....let dry.
.....lay on a second coat of paint with less pressure (this is the tricky part), just enough to color the thicker leaves, leaving the fine line work untouched.... let dry. Katherine

You can also leave paint or powder in the crevices of an image or texture by using a finished polymer plate as a stamp... (final result is like an "antiqued" image, though a diff. process is used)
...photopolymer plates are closer to rubber stamps in their applications for the polymer clay artist, but there is a method you can use to get a painted or powdered image (on a flat sheet of raw clay which looks) similar to, but not as precise as silkscreening .... works best with a shallow plate but I've done it with deeper plates to good effect.......... lesson:
...impress the design in the raw clay
...paint the raised (background) pattern using a costmetic foam wedge (or foam brush) by gently grazing the surface. ...let the paint dry
...roll the raw textured and painted sheet through the pasta machine to flatten it...the painted (or powdered) pattern will remain.
Best results depend on the depth of the plate, your skills with the applicator, and the type of paint (some may crack, an interesting effect). Katherine
... (a similar final effect can be created without a "stamp-like" polymer plate painting or powdering an already impressed clay sheet, baking, then sanding off the powder or paint from the upper areas, leaving only the stamped image treated)

The Artisans Choice product (Transfers Unlimited--see above under Liquid ) is also a UV-light-sensitive polymer system, but in a liquid form. Seth (their kit includes a fluorescent blacklight for exposing it).

I also love to take an element say a squigel and just start to " play" with it... retrograding it, rotating it until i have an "element" i like... from there i just try various step and repeats. . . . I can spend hours in a trance like state just trying out diffrent diapers. And the computer makes keeping diapers libraries and templates a breeze.
(....What is a diaper? a quick answer is a grid in which a repeating pattern is created... diapers can be very complex but once you understand the 8 basics you have a foundation to build any repeating pattern on.) Seth
...(for much more on repeating patterns and diapers, and creating them, see Canes--Instr. > Symmetry > Repetition)

See also: Transfers (chalks), Lettering-Inks, Pens, Color, Faux’s, Other Materials (glass paints, resins, etc.), Carving (true etching)