Once your paper mache shape has dried, you will want to start painting and decorating it! You would have spent a good amount of time and effort shaping and creating your paper mache base, so the last thing you would want is to ruin your paper mache project by using the wrong paint.
There are many different types of paints available, so it can be difficult to figure out which one is best to use for your project.
Which is the best paint to use for paper mache? You can use a variety of paints for paper mache, including acrylic, poster or tempera, oil, watercolor, and gouache paints. Acrylic and tempera paints are the best options, as they are water-based and non-toxic. They will give a matte finish and can be varnished easily.
Once you understand the properties of the different paints you can use for paper mache, you will be able to decide which paint will be best for your project. We’ll also walk you through some of our favorite choices, so keep reading if you want to know more about the best paints for paper mache.
The Best Paper Mache Paints
Paper mache is compatible with a few different paints, so you aren’t too limited to what you are able to use. The paints are all different to work with, and they all offer slightly different effects once dried.
|Rank||Product||Type of Paint|
|1.||U.S Art Supply 24 Color Acrylic Paint Jar Set||Acrylic|
|2.||Crayola Tempera Paint Set||Tempera|
|3.||Ohuhu Oil Paint Set||Oil|
|4.||Castle Art Supplies Watercolors Paint Set||Watercolor|
|5.||Winsor & Newton Designers’ Gouache||Gouache|
Here is all you need to know about the different paints you could use for paper mache, to help you decide which is best for your project.
1. Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paints are possibly the best to use for paper mache. You can get very creative with decorative painting techniques and different faux finishes when using acrylic paint. Acrylic paint colors can be mixed together to form your own shades.
Almost every acrylic paint is water-based, and it is better to choose a water-based acrylic paint as it will work better on the paper mache, and it will be easier to clean up once the project is finished. It is also waterproof, so make sure to wash your tools properly after use.
However, being waterproof does work well with paper mache projects as it will protect your work from potential damage.
Quick-drying, waterproof and water-based, acrylic paints are probably the best option for paper mache. You can mix your own colors, and get super creative with how you decorate your project!
U.S Art Supply 24 Color Acrylic Paint Jar Set
This set contains 24 high-quality, vivid colors in 100ml jars. There is a full rainbow of color available, and the superior performing acrylic paints will give life to your work.
The colors are all high-intensity and made with premium quality pigments. They have a smooth consistency which allows the colors to be diluted well with water for blending.
Safe and easy to use, the paints are acid-free and non-toxic and are water-based, allowing for easy cleanup.
2. Poster Paint (Tempera)
There is so much that you can do with poster paint, and it is such a great paint to keep at home for many different craft projects. Poster paint is generally non-toxic, water-soluble, and very safe to use.
Poster paint has a fun texture that is easy to work with, and which creates some beautiful effects on paper mache. It can be used in very much the same way as acrylic paint but dries faster. Poster paint is also fully washable, so you don’t have to worry about any messes sticking around for long.
As it is water-soluble, poster paint can be diluted to create a water-color style texture, or it can be mixed with some PVA glue to form a glossy, thick, oil-paint texture.
Mix colors together, mix the poster paint with other mediums, and get started painting your paper mache project and be as creative as possible. The best part is that you can clean up any messes really easily afterward with some water.
Crayola Tempera Paint Set
With 6 bright colors, you will be able to create some fun, vivid projects! The Crayola Tempera paint does not drip from the brush or separate over time, keeping consistent for the best performance.
The paint gives the ultimate opacity and coverage, and the creamy consistency dries to a matte finish which will not flake or crack.
The Tempera paint works well on absorbent surfaces, like paper mache, and will appear just as bright and vivid once it has set on your work. The paints are non-toxic, making them safe for all ages!
3. Oil Paints
Oil paints are a little trickier to work with, but can give some beautiful results. They stay wet for longer than acrylic paint, which allows you the flexibility to continue painting over a few days.
If you are wanting to blend colors together, oil paints are the best option. As the oil paint dries slowly, you can easily create subtle blends, working wet-on-wet to create smooth transitions in your painting.
However, this also means that it could take quite some time to finish your project, as you would have to wait a day or so for the paint to dry before you can start adding layers or finishing off edges. If you do not wait long enough, you could end up blending some colors that you never meant to actually blend together.
Oil paints can help you achieve some stunning effects on your paper mache project, you just have to have the patience to wait for the paint to dry!
Don’t forget that you should work in a well-ventilated area when working with oil paints as they can have a very strong smell.
Ohuhu Oil Paint Set
The Ohuhu Oil Paint Set contains 24 vibrant oil-based colors, in a range which allows you to create just about anything you want.
The complete set is packaged in a travel-carrier, and all the paints are non-toxic, so they are suited for all ages and for all types of work.
Rich-pigmented paints in this set will allow you to create different effects and techniques on your paper mache projects!
Using watercolor paints on paper mache can give you some wonderful results, but you have to be careful not to get the paper mache too wet as it might bubble, buckle and warp. You need to seal the paper mache surface properly before painting it with watercolor paint.
For gentle, soft, and whimsical effects with your paper mache, watercolor is a great option. Watercolor paints are washable and super easy to clean. When diluting watercolor paints, make sure to not dilute it too much to make the mixture very wet. Try and dilute it just enough to achieve the hue that you want.
If you are wanting a watercolor effect on your paper mache project, just remember to seal it as securely as possible. A wet paper mache project will not turn out well!
Castle Art Supplies Watercolors Paint Set
The Castle Art Supplies Watercolors Pain Set contains top quality paint that will exceed your expectations.
The brilliant colors are suited for beginners and expert painters alike, and the colors all blend together beautifully. The luxurious and vibrant colors are all pigment-rich, and have the ability to be transparent and opaque.
All the paints are non-toxic, odor-free, and safe to use for any age. There are 24 different colors in this set.
Gouache can be described as more opaque than watercolor paint. This paint is commonly used for posters, comics, and design work, but works well for paper mache projects as well.
It can be re-wetted and diluted slightly, and it dries to a matte finish. The gouache paint becomes infused with its paper support, giving a solid finish when dried.
This paint is best used on paper, which is why it is such a great option for paper mache. However, true pigment color gouache paints can be quite expensive.
Gouache is suited to be used by beginners and is forgiving as it can be versatile for making changes. But because of its high price, it is probably better suited for more experienced painters and crafters.
Winsor & Newton Designers’ Gouache
These opaque watercolors are renowned for their brilliance and matte finish.
The set of 6 gouache paints are perfect as an introductory set for beginners or to add to an existing set.
There are 6 basic colors in the set, primary colors of white, black, green, yellow, red and blue, so you will be able to achieve quite a bit when painting your finished product.
Mix the colors together to achieve different hues and shades, and watch how the paints dry to a perfect matte finish.
How To Seal Your Paper Mache
Before painting your paper mache project, you need to seal it properly first, to ensure that the wet paint does not cause the dried paper mache to bubble or warp. To do this, you should wait until the project has completely dried.
Mix up some PVA medium and water in a 1:1 ratio and use a soft brush to paint it over all the areas of the paper mache. Leave this to dry, and once it has dried, you can then paint over it using the paint of your choice.
Sealing your paper mache project also provides you with a good, smooth surface to paint over, instead of the potentially rough finish of the raw paper mache.
If you do not want to mix up your own base paint, you can use gesso. Gesso has a texture similar to acrylic paint, but is thinner and dries harder. It was historically used to prime panel paintings and other surfaces for oil painting. But it works for paper mache too!
Gesso is a primer to be used on surfaces and works well when used to prime paper mache before painting. It creates a barrier between your paint and the paper mache and gives you a more even base for painting.
Can I Use Spray Paint On Paper Mache?
You can use spray paint on paper mache. You need to choose your color of spray paint, hold it 12 inches away from the paper mache surface and move to cover the surface. Work back and forward to create a colored effect.
Take it slowly though. You can always go back and add more paint, but you can’t remove paint if you have applied too much!
There are some great spray paint colors, and even those with metallic effects, so you can get quite creative with finishing off your paper mache project.
How Do You Make Paper Mache Smooth Before Painting?
To make paper mache smooth before painting it, you need to use fine sandpaper to smooth the edges of the rough paper strips.
This method works best if you have used flour and water paste, as this often results tiny bumps of dried paste. Using fine sandpaper will help you gently remove the bumps and create a smoother surface to start painting.
Don’t forget that you will also need to prime the surface of the paper mache with a mixture of water and PVA glue, or with gesso, which is a traditional canvas (and other painting surfaces) primer. The smoother the surface of your paper mache, the easier it will be to paint over and get the effect that you want.
The Best Paper Mache Paint
You are fairly spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing which paint to use for your paper mache. The paint you choose will depend on the effect you are wanting to achieve, and how experienced you are at painting.
For beginners, and for children, acrylic and poster paints are great options as they are water-soluble and really easy to clean once you have finished painting. You can mix the colors together to create different shades, and get really creative with your paper mache painting.