How to Add a Patina to a Polymer Clay Item

Posted on January 15, 2013 in Hints, Tips, & Tricks, Tutorials by Katie Oskin

How to Give a Finished Polymer Clay Piece an Antique Finish on Kater's Acres Blog

Sometimes your polymer clay pieces need an extra something, just a touch of something special to bring out the details that you have embedded into the clay.  When you have carved or engraved your clay, you will often want to accent those pieces after they have finished baking.  Many artists call this adding a patina to polymer clay.  Other artists call it antiquing an item.  For today’s mini-tutorial, we’re going to call it an “antique finish.”  There are many ways to do this, but this is the way that I find the easiest…


How to Give a Finished Polymer Clay Piece an Antique Finish on Kater's Acres Blog

As with any project, the first thing that you will need to do it to gather your materials.  The most important piece being the one that you want to give the antique finish to.  Be sure that your pieces is well cooled before applying your antique finish.  If your piece is not completely cooled, the paint will dry too quickly and could ruin your piece.


Grab your materials and let’s get started.  First, you are going to pick your paint colors.  If your piece is dark, go for a lighter color, if your piece is light, go for a darker color.  When you pick your colors, put little dabs of them out on a piece of paper or in a paint tray.  Then it’s time to begin!


How to Give a Finished Polymer Clay Piece an Antique Finish on Kater's Acres Blog https://katersacres.comJust coat your brush in a light coat of paint and jam the paint down into the nooks and crannies.  Push kind of hard to make sure it gets in the crevices.  Work in one small area at a time.  When you are done with an area, simply take your baby wipe and wipe off the excess paint.  (See the photo at right where my dragon’s eye is completely covered in paint).  Many people also suggest doing this with a damp/dry sponge.  I prefer to remove the paint with the baby wipe as it’s easier to maneuver and easier to clean up after.  You’re going to do this until your entire piece has been coated and wiped clean.


Water Dragon by Kater's AcresThat’s it! Your piece is now completed!  All you have to do now is varnish your item.  I recommend using Varathane Varnish to seal your pieces.  You can see the finished pieces, with antique finish at left.


Thanks for joining me today,

Happy Claying,

26 Comments for this entry
May 2, 2016

It took me a long time to start working with polymer clay because it didn’t seem very environmentally friendly (plastic). I finally gave into the temptation because it is so much fun, but I still think it’s important to think about the environment. Whenever possible, I try to use reusable or recyclable materials, so I use as few baby wipes as possible, to give just one example. If you can use a sponge, wash, and reuse, why not? 😉


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March 15, 2015

Nice idea with the baby wipes – I’ll have to try it – thanks!

March 15, 2015

You’re welcome Megan.

August 26, 2014

what can i use if i dont have a varnish. thank you

August 26, 2014

You don’t HAVE to use anything. But as a general rule of thumb, whenever you add a surface treatment to clay to should seal it in some way.

August 27, 2014

future floor finish works well….

August 27, 2014

Yes, you can use future floor finish. I have never used it, but I know a lot of people who do use it.


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April 12, 2013

nice little tuts you give during the refresher coures of christi’s books. Always nice to hear some stuff put in new ways and new hints too


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January 31, 2013

I use Oilpaint, it doesn’t dry so quickly and leaves a nice shine on your work.

January 15, 2013

Thanks for the tutorial…I just finished my Wendyll–although he told me his name is Garger (go figure) so this will come in handy!


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