People have been painting plaster as far back as 7500B.C.
Crafters can make many things with plaster of Paris, such as nature impressions, decorative eggs, porcelain frames, and leaf prints. For more plaster crafting ideas, visit 41 Unique Crafts Using Plaster of Paris.
Whether you purchased an unfinished plaster statue, made sculptures, decorated old plaster walls, or create fun crafting projects for children, you will want to use the right paint for the finishing touch.
This post will share our favorite plaster crafting paints and how to prepare and protect the pieces when finished.
Read this if you are looking for Best Paints For Painting Miniatures And Models
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Best Paint For Plaster Crafts
You can use any paint on the plaster of Paris sculptures, but you will find the best results with water-based acrylic paint. Acrylics dry very quickly, which makes them easier to apply in layers. Acrylic latex paints are 100% acrylic and have no vinyl, making them more durable and adhere to surfaces better than cheaper paints made with vinyl.
The type of craft you are creating will determine the quality of acrylic paint you will need for the art. For example, if you are making crafts for your children to paint, student-grade acrylics will work fine, but you will need a higher quality paint if you plan to sell nature impressions at local craft fairs or online.
To learn more about the difference between student-grade and artist-grade acrylics, read, Artist Grade Acrylic Paints – What You Should Know.
Best Student Grade Acrylics
Blickrlic Student Acrylic Paint is a good quality paint at an affordable price. With over 30 different colors, you will have an unlimited range of colors for your plaster crafts.
Blickrylic is non-toxic, making it the best choice for children’s crafts. It dries quickly to a semi-gloss permanent finish.
Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints is a dependable quality paint at an affordable price. These lightfast, vibrant color acrylics have a creamy consistency for easy blending.
Liquitex Basic Acrylic paints come in various sets, saving you more money because you will not have to invest in colors you will not use.
Amsterdam Standard Series Acrylic Paints are affordable, non-toxic, and easy to clean with just soap and warm water, making them an excellent choice for young crafters. The paint has a thick consistency making them feel like oils.
Blick Studio Acrylic Paints are well known for dependable quality, vibrant colors, and buttery oil paint-like textures at affordable prices.
Blick Studio Acrylic paints dry to a permanent lightfast paint, making them an excellent choice for any crafting project.
Best Artist Grade Acrylic Paints
- Golden Heavy Body Artist Acrylic Paints and Sets
- Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylics
- Matisse Structure Acrylics
- Pebeo Extra-Fine Artist Acrylics
Choose the correct type of plaster for your art projects.
Pottery plaster – is ideal for slip-casting molds
Molding plaster – is easy to mold but weaker than the pottery plaster
DAP Plaster of Paris – is a popular choice for artists and is ideal for hobby use, molding, and casting.
The most popular plaster for crafters is plaster of Paris powder. Plaster of Paris is a fine white powder made up of gypsum and is used to make many things, including casts, crafting molds, and finishing touches on buildings, monuments, and sculptures. The plaster is easy to use, does not crack or shrink, and dries very quickly, making it ideal for crafters.
How To Prepare A Plaster Sculpture For Painting
Before decorating the surface, the first step is to ensure the plaster is completely dry before painting the first coat. Read the manufacturer’s curing time recommendations, as some brands will dry faster than others. For example, the plaster of Paris will dry within ten minutes, while other plasters could take up to thirty days to cure.
After thoroughly drying the mold, you will want to use primer paint for the base coat and cover the entire surface before decorating the sculpture with acrylic paints. Plaster is a smooth surface. The thick consistency of acrylic paint will not properly adhere to the plaster surface if it is not primed.
It is possible to use thinner acrylic paint if you do not have an acrylic primer. Use paintbrushes to apply thin coats of thin acrylic paint to penetrate deep into the plaster. Let the paint dry thoroughly, then add another thin layer to create a strong bond so the thicker acrylics can adhere to the surface. Continue these steps until the surface is completely sealed. Once the plaster object is sealed, it will be ready for thicker paint.
Another common way to seal it with a mist coat, a water-down emulsion. The watered-down plaster sealer will shrink into the plaster pores, making it possible for thicker coats of paint to stick to the surface.
Lightly sand the object with fine-grit sandpaper if you notice any air bubbles after you primed the surface.
Once the craft is primed and sanded, it will be ready to decorate.
There are many different ways to paint your plaster molds. You can apply the paint with a paintbrush, sponge, cotton swabs, or even toothpicks.
How To Seal A Plaster Statue
The last step is to seal your plaster objects after decorating them.
You can use many materials to seal your projects, including Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS (UltraViolet Light Stabilizers). This sealer is used as a sealant over acrylics. A waterborne acrylic polymer varnish that dries to a protective and dust-resistant surface.
If you place the sculpture in your garden, you will want to use a waterproof sealant to protect it from the outdoor environment.
Can You Use Spray Paint For Plaster Sculptures
You can use acrylic spray paint for your plaster crafts, but you will want to prime the entire piece first. Priming the object will create a better finish with spray paints.
Spray paint your plaster objects outdoors or in a ventilated area. Read the manufacturer’s warnings before using spray paint. Apply thin layers and let the paint completely dry before adding a second coat. Wear latex gloves to protect your hands when using spray paint.
Final Thoughts On The Best Paints For Plaster Crafts
Whether painting concrete statues or making fun crafts with kids, the type of paint you use is essential for the finished project.
Before you go to the store and invest a lot of money on art supplies you will never use, list what you will need.
Painting plaster sculpture materials:
- Clean cloth
- Primer or emulsion
- Matte finish paint or semi-gloss acrylic paint (metallic paint or spray paint if you prefer)
- Golden Polymer Varnish
(Note: you might need other materials depending on your project.)
If you create crafts, acrylic paints will be perfect for crafting projects.