Friday, March 14, 2014

How Do I Color Thee...?

There are several ways to color your clay sculptures. Here's a quick run down of some of my favorite ways to add color to the raw clay.

  1. Acrylic paint—Knead the paint right into the clay. Use a small amount of paint to begin with. Remember: it's always easier to add more paint than to take it away.
  2. Food coloring—Knead small amounts into to clay. Paste food colorings also work, but when working with these I always wear rubber gloves to protect my hands from getting dyed in the process. 
  3. Mica powder—When you knead these into the clay, since the mica powders are dry, you may need to add just a drop or two of water to maintain the consistency or the clay.
  4. Glitter—Knead it into the raw clay. You may need to add just a drop or two of water to maintain the consistency or the clay.
There are also multiple ways to color a finished piece of clay sculpture:
  1. Acrylic paints—Perhaps the most frequently used method of adding details to a finished piece, just paint it on.
  2. Water color paints—Straight forward. Just paint them on, taking care to use only a minimal amount of water so as not to soften the clay.
  3. Mica powders—These can be dry brushed onto the piece, much like applying blush :), or they can be mixed with a medium and painted on.
  4. Inks—Stamp pad inks can be applied by dipping an artist brush in water and picking up color from the stamp pad. 
  5. Glimmer Mist or Perfect Pearls Mist—Carefully misted onto a finished piece, these can add a lovely hint of shimmering color.
  6. Permanent markers—These add rich details to your piece. 
  7. PPA—I love this medium for a final coating for my pieces, sealing and protecting the sculpture. It comes in both matte and glossy, so I have a choice depending on what I want the final piece to look like.
As with all things related to art, just because it hasn't been done before, doesn't mean you shouldn't try it!! These are just some of my favorite coloring agents, but I know there's got to be loads more.

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