Can I Use Acrylic Paint On Different Types Of Clay?

People who have been doing clay arts & projects for years know how good acrylic paint is for clay. Acrylic paint is great for the components it has and the quality it brings to clay arts. In this article, we’ll be answering the most asked question by artists or people who plan to enter the world of clay art.

So, Can you paint the clay with acrylic? You can use acrylic paints on different types of clay. This includes air dry clay, polymer clay, natural clay, fimo clay, fired, and unfired clay. Acrylic paints come in various forms i.e. liquid, spray or etc. Selecting the right type of acrylic color is most important before you apply those to clay-made jewelry, pots, sculptures and/or etc. 

Below I added details on which acrylic colors are suitable for what type of clay. In addition, I put the step-by-step guides as well. So, keep reading.

Can I Use Acrylic Paint On Clay?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Air Dry Clay?

You can use acrylic paint on air-dry clay. Acrylic paint is the most accurate type of paint for using on air dry clay models. Acrylic paint sustains more on air dry clay models than any type of paint. 

It is on one hand long-lasting and on the other hand, it’s very reasonable. So it’s a win-win situation. As Acrylic paint is thicker, it provides a better base for the sculpture.

There are two important questions regarding how to use acrylic paint on air-dry clay. As these two are very similar concepts, people often make mistakes.

Can Use Acrylic Paint On Air Dry Clay Before It Dries?

You can’t use acrylic paint on air-dry clay before it dries. Because it can cause your clay to bend out of shape. 

The paint can even cause problems with drying and for that cracks may appear.

Can You Color Air Clay Dry With Acrylic Before Drying?

You can easily color air dry clay with acrylic paints before drying. Even before you mold and dry your clay, add some acrylic color and keep mixing up until your clay changes color. 

This way, the color will spread evenly. And by this, you can also change the color of your clay. This way, the clay will be much more sustainable and harder than the regular one you paint after drying normally.

Can You Paint Fimo Clay With Acrylic Paint?

You can color Fimo clay with acrylic paints. Yet, there’s a condition. You have to do it before you bake the clay. 

If you have a plan to apply it after you bake, you’ll need both sand and sealing to safeguard your painting.

In this case, your acrylic color should be very pigmented. The higher the quality of your acrylic paint, the painting looks nicer. Whether it’s water-based or not it works nicely on Fimo clay.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Fired Clay?

Normally, artists use acrylic paint on fired clay. There are different methods for coloring fired clay. And in every method, acrylic paint plays a vital role.

If you’re planning to underglaze your fired clay, use the water-based acrylic colors. This creates a liquid underglaze and makes the clay surface look much better. Plus, make sure you do that with layers.

Most importantly, fired clay has many pores. For the color to sink in, you need paint that absorbs quickly. 

Fortunately, acrylic paints do that quickly into the fire clay and give a beautiful finish look.

Can You Acrylic Paint On Unfired Clay?

Once your clay dries out you can use acrylic paint on them. Unfired clay’s finish look depends on the method you use. 

Normally, when clay doesn’t require any functional use, then it’s painted before firing. 

Acrylic paints are specially made to color the uncolored, unfired clay to make them look colorful and vibrant.

Also Read: Can You Color Cement With Acrylic Paint?

Can You Color Polymer Clay With Acrylic Paint?

You can color polymer clay with acrylic paint. As Acrylic is a water-based color, it spreads evenly into the polymer clay. 

Can You Paint Colored Polymer Clay With Acrylic?

When you paint on a raw polymer, it sits perfectly and smoothly. However, you can paint a colored polymer if you want. You need to use heat to change or make the existing color fade as most of the colors contain dye. 

If the color doesn’t contain dye, and there’s a chance of bubbles or burns, in that case, you can use the method of layering the colors. 

Put at least 2-3 layers onto the colored polymer clay. It’s smart to use dark colors in this case. If the color is already fading, you can go for light colors.

Can You Acrylic Paint On Polymer Clay Before Baking?

You can use acrylic paint or polymer clay before baking. However, in that case, the color has to dry up from the clay before you bake it. 

White polymer clay is usually painted before baking. Before you start baking, make sure there’s no alcohol or color inside the clay. It can deteriorate the structure. 

If you want a bright and vibrant finish look, go for pigmented acrylics. If you don’t want your painting to be vivid, go for acrylic water-based soft colors. 

Make note, you have to do these paintings, when the clay reaches room temperature, not before that.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Clay Jewelry? 

You can definitely use acrylic paint on clay jewelry as it adds bold and aesthetic designs and patterns to your jewelry. However, it’s important to paint on clay jewelry before baking as there’s a chance that paint can change color if you bake it earlier. 

Wait for the clay to cool down completely before you apply any color. When you apply the finishing touches by painting on your handmade clay jewelry, it makes it look very beautiful. 

Artists who do crafting, select acrylic paint because it’s reasonable, non-transparent & effortless to work with. 

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Clay Earrings?

Acrylic paint makes clay earrings gorgeous. You need to mitigate the color by adding more water to it. Keep in mind that starting from a very thin layer is the trick. Wash the clay earrings, clean if there’s any dirt, and then put a thin layer of acrylic paint on them. 

Most of the clay earrings are either stamped or curved. So, this process of painting goes really well for them. You can keep adding thin layers if you’re not getting the color you desire for. 

If you’re thinking of painting your earrings after baking, in that case, seal the painting, for that choose a glossy sealer. It will enhance the look of your earrings. 

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Clay Pots?

Acrylic paints are worthy of painting on clay pots. Acrylic paint doesn’t wash or flake off and most importantly it can’t be removed from any surface you apply, that is why using acrylic on clay pots is the best option.

How To Use Acrylic Paint On Clay Pots?

  • First, dip your clay pot in water and scrub them using a cleaning brush.
  • You have to make sure there’s no dirt in there or else the color won’t sit.
  • Let the pot dry overnight or for 2-3 days for extra safety.
  • Use a clay pot sealer if you want to be extra cautious.
  • Then you can directly jump into painting the pots, and add some decor if you want to.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Clay Sculpture?

Clay sculptures can be painted using acrylic paints. However, you need to follow some steps while using acrylic paint on clay sculptures.

  • First, use an acrylic paint primer and match it with the color you want to use on the sculpture.
  • Now, wait until the sculpture dries. Again spray primer and wait for it to dry.
  • Prepare your palate with acrylic and water. You can use a retard medium to stretch the drying time
  • First, soak your brush in water and then paint. Stroke evenly to paint. First spread one layer and then wait for it to dry. So that you can paint again.
  • Finally, use an Acrylic spray sealer depending on which finishing look you want. You can buy matte, glossy, or satin acrylic spray. After it dries, you’ll get a beautifully painted clay sculpture.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Natural Clay?

Painting on natural clay is the easiest way to do crafting. Of course, you can do that easy crafting by painting acrylic paint on them. You can make it easily at your home without any oven. 

There are two ways of coloring Acrylic paint on natural clay. You can either do it by putting direct paint on natural clay or you can paint it after the clay dries. 

In order to color natural clay, avoid water and use the paint in its actual form. Too much water can create cracks in natural clay. 

Use gloss varnish or spray-on varnish to seal your color. While using Matt varnish, keep in mind that you can only apply one layer. However, for glossy varnish, you can add multiple layers. I think an acrylic sealer is the best option for that.

Can You Bake Acrylic Paint On Clay?

Most of the acrylic paints are bakeable. Clay is the perfect medium for using bakeable acrylic paint on them. One of the best characteristics of acrylic paint is that it doesn’t melt. 

Make sure you use non-toxic bakeable acrylic paints on clay materials that you use for eating or drinking. Such as plates, mugs, bowls, or glasses.

Pro Tip: When you bake acrylic paint on clay, the baking automatically seals your painting. So, you don’t have to do an additional step of sealing the painting on clay.

Can You Bake Acrylic Paint On Polymer Clay?

It is reliable. Artists usually suggest applying acrylic paints on polymer clay as  Acrylic paints are thick. Choose your acrylic color wisely while baking acrylic paint on polymer clay. 

Make sure the paint has good pigment and it won’t create chipping. Just directly apply acrylic colors to your polymer clay project. You can use a regular oven or a toaster oven, it’s totally up to you. 

The temperature must be between 260-280 degrees Fahrenheit. The cases of thick clay may vary. 

Pro Tip: Polymer clay isn’t the right choice to create utensils because it is non-toxic. You may use it to make sculptures or other craft arts.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Dry On Clay?

It actually depends on the technique you use for mixing acrylic paints. It can last from 30 minutes to 24 hours. The thicker the coat of paint, the more time it’s going to take to dry. 

You can use different types of glazes to extend or reduce the time of drying. Thin films may take twenty to thirty minutes. Whereas, thicker ones can take two to three hours. 

However, the professional ones can take more time. In short, you can’t possibly fix a definite period of time.

Also Read: Can You Add Water To Any Type Of Acrylic Paints?

Suggested Materials You May Need

Like any art project, prepare your clay with a good spray primer, then paint it with the best Acrylic paint possible and brushes.

After that, finally varnishing it are the steps you need to follow. These are also the materials you need to use in order to paint acrylic on clay.

#1 Sculpey Artist Set : (Recommended Primer To Paint Acrylic On Clay)

Preparing clay sculpture with a base or primer is the first step as I said in the article. I will recommend Sculpey Artist Gloss Glaze to use on clay.

Because this set of primer is specifically made for clay and ceramics. To enhance the charm of your clay sculpture, these tools are very good and easy to work with.

Whether the clay art is miniature or sculpture, use it on your clay art, and trust me you will get a glossy and beautiful sculpture that will perfectly relay your thinking of yours. In this pack of four, you’ll get tools for both sealing and varnish.


#2 Crafts 4 All Color Set : (Proposed Acrylic Paint For Clay)

It is really important to ensure whether you’re using good quality acrylic paint for your clay or not. Because it depends on the paint and how your clay art will turn out. So, for that I recommend you to use Crafts 4 All Acrylic Paint. It comes in 12 colors.

So, in one packet, you’ll get any color you need. These colors actually stay very nicely on clay. Air-dry clay, clay sculpture, a normal clay-no matter which type of clay you use, everything can be done with these acrylic colors.


#3 High-Grade Mink Fish Tail Fan Shape Brushes Set : (Suggested Brush To Paint Acrylic On Clay)

Using the right kind of brush decides how your clay will eventually look. If the brush isn’t good, the strokes won’t be good either. Which will cause your art to deteriorate over time.

That is why I recommend using High-Grade Mink Brushes. These sets of brushes also provide the variety you’ll need to work on different types of clay.

Over To You

I’m sure after reading this article you’re excited to do crafting using Acrylic paint on clay. After all, who doesn’t love crafting, Right?

Do you think it’s really fun to craft with clay? Do you think that Acrylic is actually the easiest painting option for us?

Did you like the ideas we gave? If so, please tell us the ones you loved and why?

Other Topics:
1. Can I Use Unicorn Spit With Acrylic Paint?

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