Q. What is my Paint Your Own figurine made from?
They are typically made from a material called ceramic bisque or unglazed porcelain. This is why it is matt and hasn’t got a glossy finish, and is therefore a good absorbent base to paint on. If you want a glossy finish after painting your figurine you can use a spray or ‘paint-on’ varnish or sealant. Be careful to let the paint dry fully before applying varnish and then allow the varnish to dry completely before handling.
Q. Can the figurine break?
If dropped onto a hard floor or knocked over forcefully, yes the figurine can break, due to the nature of the materials it’s made from. Make sure when your painting it that it’s placed safely on a sturdy table and not near an edge, where it can accidentally fall.
Q. What paints should I use to decorate my figurine?
Most Wild in Art figurines come supplied with a blister pack of acrylic paints, usually featuring primary and secondary key colours. These can be supplemented or replaced with your own choice of acrylic paints.
Acrylic paint is a great material, as it is easy to apply, can be thinned down with water to get a smoother consistency, or applied thickly to create bold texture. There are lots of colours and brands available, and it can be fun to mix your own.
Q. Can you recommend any brands of acrylic paints?
Many of our artists use the following brands to paint their large sculptures.
- System 3
Q. What brushes should I use?
There are a huge range of brushes available for both professional and amateur artists, which span many prices and sizes. For acrylic paints, ideally you want to use brushes made from synthetic hairs, in a selection of sizes; large ones for applying blocks of colour, and finer ones for more intricate details.
Q. Should I outline with a brush or pen?
If you are planning to add intricate details or outline parts or your design, you will need a steady hand. Young painters might feel more comfortable using acrylic marker pens. There are lots of manufacturers, but Posca is a quality, reputable brand that produces acrylic markers in a wide range of colours and nib sizes – including in neon and metallic colours!
Q. Can I use felt tips, Sharpies or other pens?
We don’t recommend these materials, because the results can be inconsistent. Felt markers can sometimes spread, smudge or run if they come in contact with water or varnish. If you decide to use these materials, perhaps test in a discreet area first.
Q. Can I use paper mache, Décopatch or add 3D elements?
We hope you will let your creativity go wild when decorating your figurine. There is no limit to the materials you can use or the additional elements you can add. You may want to think about where it will be displayed, as this might affect the suitability of some materials. Additional elements should be glued securely using a craft, hot or super glue. Always ensure there is suitable supervision for young children and people with additional support needs.
How to paint
- Plan your design first on paper – use a sculpture template if available to plot out how you are going to bring the figurine to life.
- When you are ready to start painting, cover your work areas with newspaper or protective sheeting.
- Protect your clothing with an apron or painting shirt – acrylic paint is very difficult to get out of clothing once it has dried.
- Part fill a cup with water (a recycled tin can, or yogurt pot is perfect).
- If using blister paints, pop them open and give them a little stir. Sometimes they will solidify and need loosening up. If using bottles or tubes of paints, squeeze a small amount of each colour to be used into a pallet or on to a plate. Start with pea-sized amounts – a little goes a long way and you can always add more.
- Wash brushes in the water before using a new colour, and always have tissue or kitchen paper available to dab or dry brushes between use. This stops them getting waterlogged and colours becoming too diluted or runny.
- Allow paint to dry fully before painting over it, especially if using a different colour.
- When you finish, leave your figurine to dry overnight somewhere warm, but not on or too near a direct heat source.
- If you want your figurine to look glossy, carefully apply varnish to the dry paint, and then let this dry thoroughly before handling. When using varnish, ensure there is suitable supervision and it is applied in a well-ventilated space, following manufacturer’s instructions.
Decorative techniques, paints and mixing suggestions
- You may want to add a little dab of water to paints to thin them for easier application.
- You can mix colours to make different colours or shades e.g. yellow and red will make orange; blue and red will make purple etc.
- You can add white to lighten, or black to darken, most paint shades. Just add a little bit of paint at a time. Mix the paints with your brush and then add some more if you want to (keep washing your brush before you dip into a new colour).
- If paint gets on clothes, materials or other surfaces, they will usually wipe off or can be washed or dabbed out, unless they have completely dried.
- You might want to create effects by using tape or stickers to create patterns.
- Try swirling wet paints together for more abstract results or scraping through layers of wet paint with the end of a brush or pallet knife.
- While paints are still tacky, this can be a good time to sprinkle on glitter, for a more sparkly, textured effect.
- Why not draw over dry paint with metallic pens, add stickers, buttons, ribbon, pictures, feathers or threads?