Painting Projects

Painting project

Your CLAYTIVITY projects will be a hard, off white ceramic after they have been fired and will look awesome after they have been painted. Here are a few painting tips!

  • hand print project
  • rock pool candle holder
  • insects on a leaf
  • Painting project
  • Squamish Estuary and Wetlands
  • Tap into your imagination!

There is so much to learn through painting a project. Painting a 3 dimensional piece of artwork give students the opportunity to practice their paintbrush skills, and to really focus on colour and mixing palettes to get the desired hue and tone.

But a good painting experience is not just about the artwork itself. The experience is just as important, if not more than the results! Sometimes the best atmosphere is created when students are all engaged in a focused art activity together.

Allow plenty of time for painting projects. It takes a lot of focus and concentration which may be best limited to half an hour at a time so plan to complete in possibly two or three sessions. Complete the base or background one session then come back later to paint other areas.

Don’t worry if mistakes happen or colour spreads out into wrong area. Just Allow the paint to completely dry then paint over.

Before you begin

Often new ideas form or change once the work is in progress and that’s OK but it’s a good idea to have a plan before you begin. Think about how you will divide your project up into different areas, what order you will paint them and which colours you will use on each area. Any markings or lines you did when you made the project will help.

Tools and Materials

Don’t forget to cover surfaces e.g. with newspaper for easy cleanup before you begin.


You can use almost any kind of paint but for best results and a plastic finish to the surface, use Acrylics. Also try using Glitter paints or metallic acrylic paints for special effects. Eg Metallic paints applied with a toothpick is an effective way to add detail such as gold trimmings, necklaces, earrings etc on figures. If the paint gets a little too thick or globby, wet the paintbrush in the water pot first to thin it out a little and make it easier to spread. Wipe any excess paint or water on the brush on some newspaper or the side of the palette.

Paint brushes etc

Provide a selection of paint brushes from fine to wide tipped. Marker pens may also be used e.g. for adding lines, dots and other details after the project has been painted. Toothpicks and round pin heads are also great for adding dots, eg buttons, patterns, texture, pupils of eyes. Join the dots to form lines.

Water Pots and palettes

Give each student a palette and a little water for adjusting the thickness of the paint and cleaning paint brushes. Large yogurt pot lids make excellent inexpensive palettes, and can be used over and over again. Simply wash or peel off the paint after it has dried.



Squeeze a small amount of two to three colours onto a palette or just one or two colours at a time. Let the artist choose! Two or three colours can be mixed to make any number of new variations. For example, try mixing blue and yellow, or green with yellow and blue to make different greens, or any colour with tiny amounts of black or white to make different shades.

Paint brushes

 Show students how to use a paintbrush just the right size for each area, clean their brushes after each colour application and remove excess water by wiping on newspaper. For best results, encourage everyone to empty and refill water pots frequently.


Paint the largest area first, often this is the base or background and smallest areas last, finishing with fine detail once all areas are covered and. Allow the paint to completely dry before changing colours and wash the paint brush well in clean water.

Encourage students to paint every bit of their project using a fine brush to get into tiny nooks and crannies. Pay attention to detail!

Have fun painting your projects!

Setting up for a CLAYTIVITY class

Here is what you need to set up. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it looks!


  • Add value to the students’ experience with stories, background information or work related to the project.
  • Ask students to come in clothes that don’t mind getting a little clay on them!
  • Forewarn the janitorial staff – the floor may need a little extra attention afterwards!


  • Please provide name badges or label for each student.
  • Water to ‘glue’ components of clay together.

Instructor will provide clay, tooth picks, small water containers and mats for students’ use

instructor’s space

  • The instructor will need a sturdy table where the students can watch and follow instructions, with access to an electrical outlet, for short throwing demonstration on a portable wheel.

Instructor will cover this work area with a drop cloth.

a clean-up plan!!!

  • Place finished projects in trays provided by instructor,
  • Return toothpicks, water containers, unused clay to the instructor’s table
  • Please rinse working mats rinsed and place in one pile by sink.
  • Wipe down tables/work areas and wash hands thoroughly. Avoid throwing muddy clay/water down the drain! Use A bucket of water!
  • Consider assigning a mop and sweep up task.

I didn’t know cats can ride horses!

A clay date Workshop

Two imaginative young artists joined me for a clay-date in my ‘back yard’ studio for some part hand-building & part pottery wheel experience.

They learned how to make horses and I learned that cats sometimes like to ride or even go to sleep on horses, especially on cold wintry days. They also did an amazing job for their first time ever experience using a pottery wheel. I helped them each make a cup but ‘M’ had her own ideas and made her cup into a castle tower!

What happens next?

When the horse projects, castle tower and cup are completely dry, they will be fired in a kiln, then we are going to have another clay-date – we’ll paint the projects, make another project and/or practice throwing-skills on the wheel.