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How to Paint on Slates

Slates make the perfect decorative item to paint on, as they are easy to prepare and finish. From painting names and welcome signs to address markers, there are a variety of things that can be painted slate. While real antique roofing slates can be used, they can be hard to find depending on where you live. If you are having difficulty finding old roofing slates, many craft supply stores sell craft slates for painting in a variety of shapes.

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  1. Wash the front and back of the slate with warm water and mild soap to remove any dirt and grease. Allow the slate to dry completely.

  2. Spray the entire slate with two coats of matt finish spray. This will seal the slate and make the paint adhere more easily. Be sure to let each coat of matt finish spray dry completely before spraying the next coat.

  3. Transfer your drawing or pattern to the slate by taping the pattern to the slate at the upper right and left hand edge. Insert the graphite paper black side down underneath the pattern. Trace around the pattern lines using a stylus or pencil.

  4. Apply acrylic paint to your pattern using various sizes of paintbrushes in the paint colours of your choice. Most colours will take at least two coats of paint to cover the slate. Let each layer of paint dry completely before painting the next coat.

  5. Finish the painted slate by spraying with two to three coats of matt finish spray. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.

  6. Tip

    Using a stylus to trace your patterns will enable you to keep the pattern intact longer than using a pencil or pen.


    Always use spray finishes in well-ventilated areas and wear a dust mask.

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Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic paint
  • Artist quality craft paintbrushes
  • Transfer paper
  • Graphite paper
  • Stylus or pencil
  • Clear matt finish spray
  • Dust mask

About the Author

Kay Baxter is a freelance writer that has been writing articles since 1999 on a variety of subjects such as small equine and art instruction. Her book "Miniature Horse Conformation" was published in 2007. Baxter has also had articles published by "Better Homes & Garden" and "The Horse Magazine." Baxter attended Illinois Central College, majoring in art.

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