DIY about “painting air dry clay”(Best way)

If you like to make clay crafts don’t miss this amazing tutorial about “painting air dry clay”. It is an amazing way to paint this kind of material because its drying is very fast and you don’t need to wait so long. 

It really is the best way to create clay crafts, as I found the result to be the best I have tried.

painting air dry clay

You should know that there are 3 types of clay: 

  • Normal air-drying clay
  • Fimo polymer clay
  • Elastic polymer clay   

Their characteristics, as well as their types of work, are different. In this specific case, we will see the air-drying clay, as I am sure that it seems the best option especially if you are a beginner with clay.

Now let’s see more information, more tips, and some data that will be useful to start working with it. 

Let ‘s get started!

DIY Painting air dry clay(2022)

This type of clay can be found in craft stores and is very economical, a package is usually 1 kg and you can make a lot of things with just a little. 

The only detail is that this clay can stain more when you have it wet, but do not worry because it comes out easily with water. 

Another thing is that you will need some tools to work with it, like a cutter to cut it and others to make details (maybe you can use a fork).

Also, keep in mind that clay is not as hard as porcelain, so try to think of decorative crafts and not for everyday use as a plate, as it could break (in this case it could only be a decorative plate).

Let’s see the essential materials you need to work it: 

  • Dry-drying clay
  • Acrylic paint
  • Brushes
  • Cutter
  • Sandpaper
  • Glass with water (or spray with water)
  • Apron or old clothes

I recommend you to have a spray with water to spray it when you are modeling (you can put water on your fingers to soften the areas you want). 

painting a clay bowl

Step by step of “clay painting” or “painting air dry clay”:

  • Step#1.

    Start kneading the clay with your hands and then stretch it with a rolling pin. You are going to stretch it until it is about 3 millimeters thick. Also if you want to make a bowl, for example, you can use it to cut the clay with its base and you can insert it into it to take its shape (don’t forget to roll the edges and details with wet fingers).

    If you make another craft, you can work it directly with your hands or other tools to imitate its shape.

  • Step#2.

    Once you have created your clay pieces and they are well dried, we can start sanding. I recommend using fine grit sandpaper so as not to erode the surface of the pieces. You will also need a brush to remove any dust that remains on the surface and between the gaps.

    I recommend that you do this part of the process outdoors, use a chin mask and wear old clothes or dental dams (most importantly, do not choose to sand in a very windy place).

  • Step #3.

    The best paint for clay that you can use is acrylic, (if you don’t have a specific paint for clay) as it is very effective and resistant to use on clay.

    It is also a plastic-based paint with great coverage, with a super fast drying that you will love.

    As for the coverage, you should look at what type of opacity the tube of your paint has in its indications, that is to say, that if it has a high opacity (you will see it reflected in a black square), it has high paint coverage and you will not have to apply several layers, but with one or two layers your color is ready on the surface and it will not become transparent. On the contrary, if you have a low opacity (transparent square) you will have to apply more coats of paint.

  • Step#4.

    Another tip is to add a drop of water to each handful of paint you choose, as water keeps it from drying quickly. It usually happens that when you paint with acrylic it dries and hardens, so water is ideal so you can paint more comfortably. 

    The best option is always to place the paint in a bowl and not put it directly on the clay, so you can work more neatly and you can make color combinations. 

  • Step #5.

    Another good thing about acrylic-like paint for clay is that you can cover the paint you have underneath (as this would not happen if you had a water-based paint like watercolor), this will be useful if you have made a mistake in placing the color and want to change it.

    Another advantage of acrylic is its plastic base since if you apply a varnish, the colors will not mix. Keep in mind that with such a base it will be difficult to remove the paint with soap and water afterward, so I recommend that you remove it with paint thinner to better preserve the brush.

  • Step #6.

    If you want to give a touch of clay painting you can varnish it once it is dry. You can choose the type of varnish depending on your design, you can also choose between some with a glossy effect and others with a matte effect (here when you apply it try to use an old brush because varnishes tend to damage the brushes).

    The layers of varnish can also vary, you can place 1 or 2. The important thing is to let the piece dry between coats (you must also be careful so that it does not stick to the surface where you place it).

And now you know perfectly the painting air dry clay technique!

You can also wet your brush from time to time with water when you apply the varnish, so it does not remain too much excess. In the end, you can wash it with water and soap but if it is very dense you will also need a solvent.  

Finally, to keep the clay well, you just have to close the package tightly and put tape around it, then you can put it in a plastic bag to protect it even more (no need to put it in the fridge or anything else).

I hope this tutorial has helped you. You know I love it when you are challenged to create and explore creativity.

Happy crafting!

See you in the next step-by-step!