How to Paint on Polymer Clay Dolls With Acrylic Paint

Written by alice stewart
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How to Paint on Polymer Clay Dolls With Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paint is water soluble and will form a water-resistant barrier on the polymer doll when it dries. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Polymer clay is a flexible artist's material that can be used to create items such as jewellery and charms. Polymer clay also provides a suitable substance for sculpting clay dolls, and after firing and setting, polymer clay dolls can be painted. You can use acrylic paints to apply facial features and skin tones directly onto polymer dolls. To achieve a professional finish, you will need a thin paintbrush and acrylic paints, both of which can be purchased from hobby stores or online retailers.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Scrap paper
  • Thin paintbrush
  • Acrylic paints
  • Palette
  • Water bowl

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  1. 1

    Decide on the features you want to paint on your polymer clay doll. If you are unsure, look in reference books or on doll-making websites for some ideas. Painting directly onto the polymer clay is a precise art, so you should not improvise or guess unless you are an experienced artist.

    How to Paint on Polymer Clay Dolls With Acrylic Paint
    Your doll will need eyebrows, lips, eyes and eyelashes for a realistic look. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Sketch the outlines of the features you will be painting onto scrap paper. Select the acrylic paint colours you would like to use. Squeeze some of the paint onto a paint palette and dilute it with a small amount of water to create a smooth consistency. Practice applying the paint on the sketched pencil features with the paintbrush.

    How to Paint on Polymer Clay Dolls With Acrylic Paint
    You can practice drawing features on paper before painting your doll. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    To colour the skin of your polymer clay doll, apply a basic colour wash. Blend a small amount of several colours, such as peaches, yellows, pinks and browns, to create a flesh-coloured skin tone. Mix the paints with a touch of water on the palette until you achieve the desired colour and consistency.

    How to Paint on Polymer Clay Dolls With Acrylic Paint
    A paint palette allows you to easily and effectively mix acrylic paints. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    Place the doll face up on your workspace. Apply the flesh-coloured wash over the doll using the paintbrush. Start with a light wash; you can always apply more layers to create a darker finish. Leave to dry naturally for 10 minutes. Turn the doll face down and repeat the process.

  5. 5

    The same technique applies to painting other features onto the polymer clay doll. Always practice on the scrap paper first, then slowly paint directly onto the doll with a thin paintbrush, allowing each facial feature to fully dry before starting on another. Thoroughly wash the paintbrush between each colour change by rinsing it under cold tap water and drying it on a paper towel.

Tips and warnings

  • You can make acrylic paint last longer by painting the polymer doll with a coat of matt or gloss clear varnish.
  • If you make a mistake, simply allow the paint to fully dry before applying a thick coat of paint over the problem area.
  • Always ensure that the polymer clay doll has been correctly baked and cooled before you begin painting it.

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