Do you love to make crafts out of paper mache?
After spending so much time molding and shaping your paper mache base, the last thing you will want to do is ruin it by using the wrong paint.
There are many different paints available, so it can be challenging to decide what kind of paint you should use for your crafting project.
But what type of paint should you use?
Many types of paint can be used on paper mache. Acrylics are the most popular choice because they are easy to use and dry quickly.
This post will share our top-picks for paint and some great tips to help you with your paper mache projects.
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Bests Paints for Paper Mache
The most popular paints used on paper mache projects are acrylics.
Acrylics come in many colors and can be easily found in your local craft store or online.
What Types Of Paint Can Be Used On Paper Mache
Any paint you can apply to paper is ideal for paper mache projects, including gouache, watercolors, oil paints, acrylic, poster paint, spray paint, and tempera paints.
Even though you can use many different types of paint for paper mache projects, acrylics and tempera are the most popular choices.
The difference between acrylic paints and tempera paints are:
- Dry fast
- Lightfast (not prone to discolor when exposed to light)
- Acrylics come in a wide range of colors
- Acrylics come in a liquid or spray form
- Drying time depends on the surface
- Not lightfast
Best Acrylics For Paper Mache Projects
Blick Studio Acrylic Paints and Sets are the perfect choice for students, hobbyists, and anyone aspiring to become a professional artist. This set offers high pigment concentration with a buttery texture and strong coverage power with intensely bright, vibrant colors that blend beautifully. Unlike most student-grade paints, Blick Studio Acrylics contains pigments mixed and ground using a traditional steel three-roll mill process, resulting in brighter colors.
Golden Heavy Body Artist Acrylics are popular among student and professional artists. They are made with the most extensive assortment of pure pigments and are known for having smooth, buttery, and thick consistency. If you are looking for high-quality acrylic paints, these are for you.
Liquitex Basics Acrylic Colors are a perfect choice for students and artists searching for trustworthy quality at a reasonable price. These acrylics blend easily, dry quickly, and are lightfast. When dry, these acrylics are water-resistant and permanent.
Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylics have a thick buttery consistency with rich, brilliant colors. These paints are ideal for printmaking and collage and work great on paper mache projects. They offer a 12-piece set which is the best option for beginners.
Golden Heavy Body Matte Artist Acrylics
Golden Heavy Body Matte Artist Acrylics provides a uniform flat finish which is perfect for paper mache projects.
These are some of the best paint choices with bright colors for all art projects, including paper mache crafts. For best results, apply light coats and let the paint completely dry before adding another coat.
Best Tempera Paints For Paper Mache Crafts
Another popular paint choice for crafters is tempera paints.
Another popular paint choice for crafters is tempera paints.
Tempera paints are not permanent, thinner, and more liquid than acrylics. For best results, apply the paint lightly so the paper will not warp or wrinkle. Tempera paints are best on paper, newspaper, cardboard, and poster boards.
Chroma 2 Washable Tempera paints produce a vivid, intense color with a thick creamy consistency, unlike many lackluster washable paints. Chroma 2 Washable Tempera paints have a vivid, intense color with a thick creamy texture, unlike many lackluster washable paints. Chroma 2 Washable Tempera paint can be used on paper, tissue paper, newspaper, canvas, and cardboard.
If you are looking for environmentally friendly paint, The chroma Green Series Tempera paint is just for you. The green series removes the most hazardous ingredients and uses 25% less energy to produce than other brands.
Blick Premium Grade Tempera paint is top of the line with a thick consistency that is easy to stir. There are various blendable colors to choose from and are easy to wash with soap and cold water.
Crayola Premier Tempera paints come in a flip-top cap squeeze bottle and are perfect for school projects. These craft paints come in six colors and dry to a matte finish.
Can Spray Paint Be Used On Paper Mache Projects
You can use spray paint on paper mache, but the paint is very wet, which might make the paper wrinkle or warp.
When spray painting a paper mache project, the paint has to be sprayed in multiple light coats. Make sure you have enough space and time for each coat of paint.
Several acrylic spray paints available will dry quickly for the project.
If using latex paint on your projects, ensure it is oil-based to cure properly before applying another coat.
For the best results, follow these tips:
- Prime the surface
- Spray multiple light coats
- Wait until the paint is completely dried before adding another coat.
- Lightly sand any imperfections before adding another coat of paint.
What Is Paper Mache
Paper mache is a French term meaning chewed paper and is a technique used to create various shapes and objects by molding moist paper and paste. The adhesive used for the craft acts as a binding agent and forms a hard shell when dried. Popular crafts are paper mache letters, paper mache boxes, pinatas, or even vases and jewelry boxes.
Common Paper used:
- Newspaper strips
Common adhesives used:
- Flour and water paste
- Drywall compound
- Pre-mix adhesive
- Diluted white glue
- Mod Podge
Do You Have To Seal Paper Mache Before Painting
Paper mache will not be fully waterproof without some sealant. If you paint it with a regular acrylic or watercolor, the surface will soak up your paint and dry in blotchy patches that can never be covered up and might ruin your crafting project.
How to prepare a paper mache sculpture for painting?
First, you will want to make sure the sculpture is completely dry. Next, you will want to seal it properly so that the wet paint you apply will not make the paper mache, not warp or bubble.
You do not have to seal the paper mache before painting, but the torn paper layers might wrinkle or peel off when applying paint. Ensure it is completely dry before painting if you will not seal your paper mache creation. Sealing the project is recommended if you want a smooth surface to paint on.
How to Prepare Paper Mache Before Painting
Depending on the paper and glue you use for your project, you might notice uneven and bumpy areas of dried paint.
Follow these steps before applying paint:
Lightly sand the paper with 220 fine-grit sandpaper until the area is completely smooth.
Prime the project by cleaning the surface free from debris with a dry towel and apply a thin layer of gesso with a paintbrush. Add more layers if needed after the gesso has completely dried. Ensure you get into all of the cracks and seams of the paper. Continue to add layers until the surface is completely smooth.
Best Sealer For Paper Mache Projects
Gesso is a good option for paper mache. It is a sealant and primer in one, which will help your painting go smoothly and look nice once it dries.
Gesso will prime the surface so the paint will adhere smoothly and fill in any gaps you may have on the surface of your project.
Best Gesso Products:
- Blick Artists’ Acrylic Gesso
- Blickrylic Gesso
- Liquitex Acrylic Gesso
- Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Gesso
- Utrecht Studio Series Acrylic Gesso
How Do You Get A Smooth Paper Mache Finish
Due to the materials used for paper mache projects, it can be challenging to create a smooth finish. However, there are some tips you can use to make your finished projects smoother.
- Use the correct paper – absorbent papers like newspaper or cardboard work the best.
- Rip the paper instead of using cutting it. The ripped edgest makes it easier to adhere to the other paper.
- Use enough paste to soak the paper.
- Use fine-grit sandpaper for sanding any uneven areas after the paper mache has completely dried.
- Seal the project before painting it. (you can paint paper mache without sealing it first, but the wet paint might make it warp or wrinkle.
Protecting Paper Mache Shapes
After painting, you can protect the paper mache surface by spaying an acrylic sealing spray on your craft. For a protective finish layer, lightly spray Golden archival spray varnish on the entire finished piece. The Golden Archival Spray Varnish can be used on acrylics, watercolors, oils, pastels, and tempera paints. Even though you protect your craft with an acrylic sealer, it might not be completely water resistant.
Final Thoughts On The Best Paints For Paper Mache Projects
Whether this is your first paper mache project or you have been creating different crafts for years, the type of paint you use is essential for the finished project. Instead of purchasing cheap acrylic paints that will not give you the best results, purchase quality paints that will produce the best results.