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Use Powdered Pigment to Color Your Paper Mache Clay
For years, I’ve been asked if it’s possible to add acrylic paint to make colored paper mache clay. And yes, you can – but when I tried it, the colors came out very light.
I know that concrete can be colored with powdered pigments, so I finally decided to find out if they would work for colored paper mache clay, too.
I’m very happy with the result. You can get a strong color with a small amounts of the powdered pigment, and it doesn’t change color when it dries.
I was just experimenting so I just bought a three-color set on Amazon.com. The earth tones are closest to the colors I most often use for my animal sculptures. You can see the grizzly bear at the top of this photo has the same yellow and browns that are in the fake Mexican pot I made for this experiment.
This website has more colors, in smaller containers.
It takes a bit of time to mix the pigments into the paper mache clay. If you only need one color, you could add it when you were mixing the other ingredients, and let the mixer do the work. I wanted three different colors, and I actually wanted some variation, because pre-Columbian olla I used as a model was made with real clay, and it has a lot of texture. It would have been possible to come very close to the original, if I’d taken more time. The only thing I’m not sure how to reproduce is the white crackling on the surface of the original pot. (If you have any ideas for that, let me know. I won’t be doing any more work on this pot, but that ancient, well-used surface is interesting, and it might work for another project. 🙂
If you’ve made colored paper mache clay another way, and it worked, please let us know how you did it in the comments below.
And if you have some ideas about how we could use colored paper mache clay in our sculptures, let us know that, too! 🙂