Epoxy Clay Outdoor Squirrel Sculpture After It’s Been Painted

Waterproof squirrel sculpture made with epoxy clayThe epoxy clay squirrel sculpture is now finished. You saw me make him in the last video, using an epoxy clay called Free Form Sculpt, made by the Smooth-On company. The grey clay doesn’t look bad all by itself, but Billy Dillard, a fellow YouTuber, reminded me that the UV rays from the sun can damage epoxy.

To protect the epoxy and to make him look a little more like a squirrel, I used an exterior house paint over a sprayed primer that is also made for exterior use.


Looking for great ideas for your next paper mache project or a gift idea? Check out my patterns and videos for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts.


In the video you’ll see me mixing powdered pigments into my white latex paint. I happened to have some in the studio – I bought them about five years ago (I can’t remember why) and I remembered them during a conversation with our friend Jim Kransberger. He was talking about using powdered pigments in glazes for clay (he moved on from paper mache a long time ago) but I decided to give them a try in the latex paint. It worked, but I’m glad I didn’t need any really dark colors. Of course, you can get tons of colors of latex paint at discount prices at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

The squirrel is surviving outside!

I used a can of paint that I had on hand, a flat exterior white latex, and the matte finish is really nice. I can see why Dan Reeder uses it for his dragons and monsters. I thought he was just trying to save money, but if you like a matte finish, the latex is really nice. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a supplier of universal tints, the kind the DIY stores use in their mixing machines. Without them, you just have to grab some cans of paint and start throwing them together until you get a color you like.

Unless, of course, you just happen to have some powdered pigments sitting around in your studio, collecting dust.

Update: the squirrel has been outside for four months in Minnesota weather. As I write it’s -3 F. The squirrel has been sitting on the bench my dad made through rain, sleet and snow, and is undamaged. I know I’ll be making a lot of sculptures with epoxy clay in the future.

 

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35 thoughts on “Epoxy Clay Outdoor Squirrel Sculpture After It’s Been Painted

  1. Hi Jonni,
    my next projects out of germany. I saw your video about „Epoxy Clay Squirrel Sculpture, Painted“.
    I tried to make a little owl for our garden. The base is made of styrofoam. The outer skin is made of apoxy clay. Painting: Gesso white, acrylic paint and finally transparent varnish. The feet of the bird are made of brass wire and epoxy. The bird is fixed on the branch by means of two brass pins and can be removed again at any time. The length of the owl is 8.7 inches.

  2. Jonni Good – Am a very frequent visitor to your web site and get tons of information from you. I have a question about a clock that will be adding my design too. Want to use the “Free Form Sculpt Epoxy Putty – Trial Size” for a final finish. Will the “Free Foam Sculpt”, purchased from Amazon, stick to Styrofoam, wood and plastic? Have the product in the trial size as purchased from Amazon. Have included a rough drawing to show you the product that I will make. The clock alone has a dial that is 12.5”, the Styrofoam is attached to the outside of the clock. All things, the Bears, the leaves, acorns and frame for the clock are made from Styrofoam 2″ T by the width of Bears and etc. It, in the final finish, will be done adding a hard board base of ¼”, the leaves, acorns, frame and Bears will be Styrofoam believing the “Free Foam“ will make a hard surface for the foam. Hope this decision only tells you what I mean. if I need to put a layer of paper mache to the Styrofoam tell me that too. Thank you very much for the Information. Jerry

    • Hi Jerry. The Free Form Sculpt seems to stick to almost everything except silicone and waxed paper. However, I haven’t tried using it on foam. The Smooth-On website says it will work on a variety of surfaces, including “wood, metal, glass, stone, and concrete.” They have great customer service, by the way, and you can contact them by hitting the “support” tab at the top of this page.

      I think the epoxy clay will work very nicely for you, and allow you to get some great detail. Do contact them, though, just to make sure it can be used as a hard coat for foam. (And I hope you’ll let us see that clock when it’s done – it’s going to be gorgeous.)

  3. Your squirrel is so realistic. What a grand piece of art!!! By the way. I thought all crafters, whatever their medium, had stashes. lol Hugs Jonni

  4. Hi Jonni,
    You can get pigments from Smooth On to colour the Epoxy..I haven’t tried them yet but intend to get some the next time I order.

    I’ve been sorting out photos of my pieces made from Free Form..I will post them on the Making of the squirrel page

    Sylvia

  5. Jonni that squirrel is beautiful…..I always look forward to seeing your work of art…….keep it coming

  6. That is a beautiful little squirrel — a stupendous job! And I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who buys stuff and five years later find myself wondering why…..

    • Thanks, Sue. And yes, buying art supplies can be addictive. I decided that this is the month that I go through the stuff on my shelves and either use the products. Or at least play around with them a little, and try to remember why I thought I needed them, way back when…

  7. I just opened the email announcement and could not believe my eyes!

    I do believe this is one of your bestest ever my dear! Great Job!!!

    Ken

  8. Hi joni,
    Great squirrel. I’ve been busy making hat stands for display of my crocheted hats etc. Will send picts. Love your work. I’m just checking In.

    D. Smith

  9. I like the paint job- it looks very realistic and rather easy to do. Do you think if you varnished the piece, it would prevent the acrylic paint from peeling? The reason I ask is that when using Paverpol, they say to go ahead and use acrylic paint but make sure it is sealed every year to protect the paint.
    As a sidebar, I used to have this cute little epoxy sculpture out in my yard- store bought, not hand made. It was in a high traffic area for years and survived the occasional kick or bump with the hose. It only broke when a tree branch fell on it one time, and it was a small part that broke, not the entire piece. I am sure this little squirrel will last for years.
    This and the last tutorial were very informative. I may try this for the smaller parts of some of my sculptures, like for the legs and feet of some bird. Thanks Jonni!

    • Hi Eileen. Yes, I’m sure you could protect the acrylic paint if you use a good varnish with the UV protection. It also needs to be a varnish that’s intended for exterior use, of course. Sculpt Nouveau has some for exterior use that are weatherproof. They will probably have an odor while you’re applying them – and be sure to read the labels.

      Thanks for letting us know how durable your epoxy sculpture proved to be. That’s good to know.

      • Hi Jonni,
        Most of the model horse sculptors use acrylic paint, in fact I paint with an airbrush so the paint is quite fragile but after it’s finished, I use Krylon satin spray finish in a can and apply two or three coats and I have never had my paint fade or crack. Most of my sculptures don’t go outside but this spring I painted two commercial chihuahua sculptures, (resin) with Krylon primer and then hand painted with artist quality acrylic paints and sprayed with Krylon spray satin finish and even though the sculptures weren’t in full sun all day, they were in the sun for several hours of Arizonas hot sun several hours a day and they are sill perfect. I paint all my sculptures made with magic sculpt or cast resin the same way and all are as nice as the day I painted them.

          • Adorable squirrel-adorable artist. Jonni, I was hoping you would sit him on a post or something off the ground outside, but the flowers were very pretty.
            BTW did the last comment I sent with a link to ways to sell art break the internet? If it was a bad link or something I truly apologize. It seemed okay to me, but I really have no idea unless my antivirus program alerts me to a problem-which it didn’t. Or maybe it just worthless :(.

            • Hi Shelbot. The internet didn’t break, but your prior comment was hidden from me. It happens, sometimes, when we have a link in a comment. I don’t know why some sites are “banned” by the system, and some aren’t. I went out to the hidden folder and retrieved it. I have a good anti-virus program on my computer, and it didn’t object when I visited the site, so I don’t think there’s a problem with it.

              I probably won’t be spending much time on that site because I don’t have any artwork to sell, but it looks like it might be useful. Of course, if I did have any artwork to sell, I’d probable create a store page on this site, or build a new site. That way, I would be totally in charge of the design, and no other company would be adding links to my competitors on my sales pages. But that’s just a personal thing with me – not that I’ll be doing it anytime soon. But hey – you never know!

              I don’t think we’ve had a chance to see your work yet. Did you post some images, and I just forgot?

            • Jonni, no, the friend who could help me with figuring out how to post pix has a serious double vision problem right now. It may take months to heal (if at all). But, it’s even worse, because I can’t even work my camera. He’s a computer guy who can also use my camera when he’s better, but my other friends are oldz like me and don’t know any more about these newfangled internet or other machines than I do. Which is nothing. Sigh.

            • Oh well. We can wait. We’re patient. I do hope your friend’s eye problems heal up – that sounds really serious, and far more important.

            • You’re very kind. My vision is terrible, but I’d hate to have to wear a patch like he does and not know for certain if he’ll ever be able to use that eye again. PLUS he has to listen to my awful pirate jokes.

        • Gina, the painting you did on the two resin chihuahuas is really pretty. They look great. Didn’t it take a very long time to paint all those little details?

          • No, not very long. Probably a couple of hours on the larger one and less on the smaller one.
            Sprayed primer first, then penciled on the design. Then paint and finally permanent marker to make the design stand out more.
            Thanks for your comment.

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