How is polymer clay painted?

Painting polymer clay is relatively simple taking into account a few elements, whether it is fired or unfired beforehand, the type of paint to be applied, the technique, the drying and firing times.

We will tell you how to paint this fantastic material and decorate fimo or polymer clay in the right way.

painting fimo

What is the Best Way to Paint on Polymer Clay?


Polymer clay or fimo is an incredibly versatile medium, used by both amateurs and professionals in the art and craft world. One of the most common questions is how to paint on this material to get the best results. Below, we’ll explore some of the best techniques and tips for coloring your pieces.

paints for fimo

Painting options


Soft pastel or pastel chalk:

How to Use: Scrape the powdered cake and apply it with a brush on the clay, either before or after firing.

Sealing: It is important to seal the color once finished.

Acrylic paint:

When to use: Although it is possible to bake the clay with acrylic paint, it is recommended to paint after baking.

Drying and Sealing: Let the paint dry for a few days and then apply a sealer.

Polymer-based paints: They are ideal due to their compatibility with polymer clay.

Avoid watercolors and tempera paints: These paints are not suitable, as polymer clay is not porous and will not absorb these types of paints well.

Colored polymer clay:

It is an alternative to painting, of course, you can buy color blocks in the required shades and model directly with them, avoiding the need to paint.

Tips for applying paint in this polymer paste


  • Make sure the clay surface is clean and free of dust or grease before painting.
  • Use soft brushes and apply thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.
  • Sealing: Sealing is crucial to protect the paint and ensure its durability. Use a specific sealer for polymer clay.
  • Consult with the manufacturer: For best results, consult with the clay manufacturer about recommended paints and sealers.

Can polymer clay be painted over without being baked first?


A common question among hobbyists is whether you can paint polymer clay before baking. The answer is yes, but there are several factors to consider to get the best results.


painting unfired polymer clay

Advantages and disadvantages of painting unfired polymer clay



Creative Flexibility: Painting the clay before firing allows for greater flexibility in the creative process. You can experiment with colors and designs without worrying about the final hardened state of the clay.

Ease of Manipulation: Soft clay may be easier for some artists to paint, especially in fine details or hard-to-reach areas.



Reduced Durability: Paint on unfired clay is not as durable as on fired clay. Unfired clay has not completed its curing process, which means the paint may flake or scratch more easily.

Paint Adhesion: Paint may not adhere as well to soft clay, which may require multiple coats for adequate coverage.


Recommended Paint Types


For painting unfired polymer clay these will be more suitable options:

Water-based paints: Acrylic paints are an excellent choice because they are easy to use and do not damage the clay.

Alcohol-Based Markers: Markers such as Copic can be useful for coloring fine details in polymer clay.


Tips for painting polymer clay without baking


  • Test First: Perform a test on a small piece of clay to see how the paint reacts.
  • Multiple Coats: Since paint may not adhere as well, consider applying several thin coats, allowing time to dry between each one.
  • Sealers: Use a sealer or polymer clay varnish to protect the paint and give it a more durable finish.
  • Suitable Tools: Use soft brushes and avoid tools that may damage the soft surface of the clay.

Subsequent baking:

Once your creation is painted, you can fire it to cure and harden both the clay and the paint. Follow the specific firing instructions for your brand of clay and use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is correct.

Conclusions on painting this material


The key to getting the best results with our polymer figures is to choose the right paint, prepare the surface well, apply the paint correctly and be sure to seal the final job.

On the other hand, applying paint to unhardened parts in the oven is definitely possible and can be a useful technique in certain projects. However, it is important to be aware of the limitations and take additional steps to ensure the durability and quality of the final finish.

Painting on polymer clay offers a world of creative possibilities. With these tips and techniques, you can transform your projects into very special works.


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