How to Color Air Dry Clay At Home


10 Everyday Paints to Color Air Dry Clay

Did you know that you can make colored air dry clay? I ’ ve kept seeing other crafters mention in their articles and tutorials, that you can color air-dry clay with cushy pastels or acrylic paint. normally, they didn ’ thymine indicate or do it, barely casually mentioned it .
It bugged me for weeks ! How to color air dry clay? What can you use to make colored clay ? so, I decided to run an experiment. I used white DAS air hardening clay and 10 ( actually 12 ) paints and colors to make tinge clay. Is DAS breeze hardening clay good ? Read my experience with the clay .
You can buy air drying clay in limited colors : white, terracotta, and grey colors. On the contrary, polymer clay comes in lots of shades, effects, and textures. If I want to be claim, colored air travel modeling clay is available for children ( for example, this kit ), but it has a different, downy consistency compared to the ‘ regular ’ mud .
But now, let ’ s beget to the playfulness region and the results !

Table of Contents:

colored clay

What I used to color air dry clay:

  1. acrylic paint (glossy, matte, and metallic),
  2. tempera,
  3. fabric dye,
  4. fabric paint,
  5. watercolors,
  6. soft pastels,
  7. black Chinese ink,
  8. instant coffee,
  9. turmeric,
  10. food coloring.

Every paint or color type mentioned above is suitable for coloring air dry clay. Some are easier to work with, some have downsides, but you can color small pieces of clay with them.
The best paint to color air dry clay is tempera. It’s easy to incorporate into the clay and gives rich color. The only reason I picked tempera and not acrylic paint is being washable. Acrylic paints are as good as tempera, but make sure you protect your clothes, table, and hands.
Let ’ s start with the process of coloring clay, then I ’ ll parcel some general findings, and I ’ ll summarize them in a table with suggestions .

How to color air dry clay

first base, you have to know that it ’ randomness MESSY !
Protect your worktable, clothes, and hands .
I covered my mesa with a musical composition of plastic wrap, and I used thin rubber gloves. I haven ’ thymine covered my clothes, but you have to know that, acrylic paint once it ’ mho dry won ’ t come off. therefore, choose your ‘ craft clothes ’ wisely .
Soften the clay a little moment by molding it with your hands. Flatten it a little sting and poke one or more holes ( based on the size of your cadaver ) and fill them with the paint of your choice .
You may need to add a few drops of water when mix powdered pigments. It will help to mix evenly and so the clay won ’ metric ton dry out .
Stretch it, mold it, fold it until the pigments distribute evenly. It will take a couple of minutes ( the bigger the clay, the longer it will take ) .
coloring clay

How to achieve the same color shades?

Did you manage to make an amazing and alone colored clay ? And now you wonder how to replicate it either for personal practice or if you sell handmade goodies .
There is a ‘ magic trick instrument ’ ! -the clay mixing ruler .
It ’ randomness perfect to duplicate colors. Put the rule on the mud and put the paint in one of the holes for measuring. But don ’ thymine forget to write it down so you can achieve the hues over and over again !
For example, 10g cadaver + one A blue + two A greens ( ‘ A ’ stands for the hole size on the ruler ) for a nice greenish blue color .
You should besides write down :

  • the paint type (e.g. acrylic, tempera, also the name of the brand),
  • the exact color names (e.g. primary blue, cobalt blue, sky blue, phthalo blue, etc.)

For liquid paint use a pipet. These plastic disposable pipette droppers are perfective for measuring and adding ink, liquid watercolors, or liquid food coloring to clay .

General findings of coloring clay at home

1. Mixing

Paste-like colors were the easiest to blend in the cadaver. With the liquid paint, I had to be careful, because it was fluid. Powdered pigments weren ’ t actually hard to incorporate but took me longer. Mixing a bigger chunk of breeze dry clay with gunpowder would take importantly longer and more unmanageable to incorporate than using a paste or fluid .
so, for coloring small pieces of clay, every character of paint is perfect. For a larger project, I suggest using wet colors .

2. Color saturation

First of all, you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be able to make those vivid and solid colors that come packed in children’s clay or polymer clay. Unless you make homemade tune dry clay. It ’ sulfur super easily to mix pigments into the clay before it ’ randomness cooked, and you can make the colors a batch richer. Check out this tutorial for 3 homemade air hardening clay recipes .
The end colors are pastels, more vivid while hush wet, and lighter after drying. You can control the tinge impregnation to a certain degree by adding ore pigments. But since you are using a white medium you won ’ thymine be able to make actually solid colors.

The color of the clay
besides, using certain brands of air hardening clay will determine your end colors. For example, I used DAS air dry clay, which is more of a light grey clay that mutes the colors. Choosing bright white clay would make the colors more beaming .
Applying a varnish
normally applying some sort of sealant, varnish or lacquer enlivens painted objects. so, I did a modest screen within the experiment ( Craft Inception ! lol ). I used a water-based, flat varnish on half of the hearts to see if it would make a deviation .
As you can see in the photograph, the varnish helped a snatch. The clay hearts regained their semblance a bit .
however, some of them changed colors: the powder bleached and the watercolor painted cadaver ( more about this late ). I think it was a reaction between the ingredients. It ’ randomness something you should consider and test when you make your own projects if you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want undesirable surprises. See the solution in the photograph below .
colored clay samples

Colored clay results

1. Acrylic Paint
I tried three types of acrylics with a different eat up : glossy, matte, and metallic, to see if it would make a deviation. The glistening and flat acrylics worked and looked the same after incorporating them into the clay. The metallic acrylic paint had a elusive shimmery effect .
DIY colored air hardening clay 2. Tempera
The creamy texture blends nicely with the publicize dry clay. The pigments are rich adequate to give a dainty, impregnable color just like the acrylic paints. The advantage compared to acrylic paint is that tempera is washable and non-toxic. It cleans easily from the postpone, clothes, and hands ( heavily to get it off from around the nails ) .
3. Fabric Dye
I wasn ’ triiodothyronine satisfied with this type of paint because the package said ‘ Banana Green ’. The dye colored the clay to a light yellow and became bumpy after drying. The green color I was expecting appeared after applying the varnish. possibly I should have diluted the dye with a few drops of water, or used fluid fabric dye alternatively .
4. Fabric Paint
equitable like the acrylics and the tempera, fabric paint colored the clay nicely. It was easy to incorporate into the mud. I would recommend using it for this purpose if you don ’ t have any other type of key for coloring .
diy colored air drying clay 5. Watercolors
To color the cadaver with watercolors, I wet my brush and tried to dilute ampere much pigment as I could, before mixing in. I liked the decent imperial tad, which turned into a light tap after applying the varnish. I would substitute regular watercolors with liquid watercolors because they have rich pigments and beautiful bright colors .
6. Soft Pastels
I used a craft knife to turn a little piece of pastels into a powder. The pigments are not vitamin a potent as the others mentioned in the article. It was a piece challenging to blend in because bigger particles came to the surface all the time. They left color paths as I molded the clay. After drying the color became pretty subtle. The varnish didn ’ thymine in truth enhance the hue .
7. Black Chinese Ink
In the beginning, blend the ink carefully and slowly into the clay. If you hurry ( like I did ) it will squirt small black drops all over the place, about imperceptibly. Ink has high-pigment concentration, so they result in stronger colors. They are perfect for coloring tune hardening clay. For other colors, try alcohol inks.
colored air modeling clay 8. Instant Coffee
The embrown end discolor, after mixing the mud with blink of an eye coffee, is nice. however, there are two aspects I don ’ thyroxine like. While mixing the cadaver it became flaky. Although, I didn ’ t have any trouble rolling it out between two sheets of plastic wrap. It besides looks good after drying, but it has a light odd olfactory property ( not a pleasant coffee bean smell ) .
9. Turmeric
Turmeric had a light coloring effect on the clay in the first place, but after a few days, the upper partially became even lighter. It has a unaccented turmeric scent. The varnish didn ’ metric ton enhance the color in this case .
10. Food Coloring
Since it ’ s a liquid it was fairly easy to incorporate it into the cadaver. however, it seemed that the pigments weren ’ triiodothyronine as good. possibly because of the post, or in general, food coloring doesn ’ t have as rich pigments as watercolors, ink, or other paints. I would besides give a try to gel food coloring.
colored air dry clay INTERPRETATION : Moderate 1 – Liquid colors – challenging to keep on the clay at the begin. Moderate 2 – powder pigments – challenging to incorporate into the clay .
here is a table that summarizes my results for transparency and a few suggestions .


As you can see it ’ sulfur fairly easy to create colored person mud from boughten atmosphere dry clay. If you are a regular craftsman, I ’ thousand certain you have several of the paints I used for this experiment at home right now. I encourage you to try and make colored person clay ! Ask your spouse to join you, or involve your kids to make fun colored mud crafts together !

In my opinion, the best paint for coloring clay is acrylic paints or tempera. They colored the clay nicely and were easy to work with. If I had to pick one, I would choose tempera. The entirely reason is that it’s washable.
It was sol much fun to make this test. I was sol curious how it would turn out. I ’ molarity sure I ’ ll make other ‘ tests ’ like this in the future ( Soon ). The following one will cover how to add texture and all sorts of fun effects to the clay .
so, quell tuned ! Sign-up for my newsletter so you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate miss other fun experiments and crafts !

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