How to Paint Textured Products
Dry brushing is one way to add realism to
products made by mold making and casting. How to dry
The original plaster casting
After a spray-painted black base
After dry brushing with brown and
adding a clear spray sealer
"dry brushing" technique of painting is also known as
"antiquing" and "high toning". By using the technique,
you can obtain very realistic effects on your cast
products. The effect is greatly enhanced if your
casting has a textured surface - for example: fur on
animals, bark on trees, bricks on a house, shingles on
The technique is easy to do. Just follow
Paint your entire product with a background color. The
background color is usually black, but doesn't have to
be - see the examples later. Paint every nook and
cranny, and every surface. Use a flat paint, or a
primer type of paint, not a gloss paint. The second
coat of paint may not stick well or cover properly if
the first coat of paint is glossy. Let the paint dry
completely. Spray paint is good for this step because
it gets into all the crevices. You can also dip your
product into stain or thinned paint to get the base
coat. Or, you can add color to the cement, plaster or
plastic you use when you make the casting, so the
casting comes out of the mold ready for the next step.
Choose your top color. Dip a stiff-bristled brush into
the paint so that just the tips of the bristles get
wet. Remove as much paint as you can by scraping the
brush on the edge of the paint can. Then wipe the
brush back and forth on some old newspaper so that
almost all of the paint comes off the brush.
Using a quick back and forth motion, and just the tips
of the bristles, paint over the entire surface of your
product. The brush will leave color only on the high
spots, and will not leave any color in the low spots.
If color fills in the low spots, there is too much
paint on your brush. Wipe it off more completely on
some newspaper - you want the brush to be almost dry.
If you want another color for a "high light", let
the first top color dry completely, and then
repeat steps 2 and 3 with a lighter color and an even
Some examples of what you can do:
the effect of "bronze": paint your product black, let
dry, and then use a brown dry brush. Your eye will
combine the two colors and the product will look like
dark weathered bronze.
Bark: Paint your product black, let dry, dry brush
with a light brown, let dry, and dry brush very
lightly with white.
Tree: Paint your product brown, let dry, dry brush
with green, let dry, and dry brush with white. The
final effect is brown wood, green leaves, and white
on a house: Paint the product gray, let dry, dry brush
with red, let dry, and dry brush very lightly with
white. The final effect is weathered red bricks with
copper, or "verdigris": Paint the product white and
then dry brush with blue-green.
General rules for dry brushing:
Think about the different layers of color you want in
your product, and which color should be in the grooves
or the low spots. This will be the background color -
the color you paint the entire product as a base coat.
In the "bricks" example above, the mortar color is in
the valleys or grooves of the finished piece, so you
use gray as the base color. The next color is red,
because the bricks sit higher than the mortar joints.
Always let each coat dry completely before applying
the next. In the example of the Christmas tree, if you
don't let the second coat dry completely before you
put on the third, you will combine the white and green
paints into light green, instead of the white on green
effect that you want.
You usually want more coverage from your first top
coat, and less coverage from the second top coat. This
is so the second top coat doesn't completely obscure
the first top coat. You accomplish this by using a
"wetter" brush for the first top coat, and a "dryer"
brush for the second top coat.
can also achieve the same sort of realistic effect
with a slightly different technique. For example, if
you wanted a casting of tree bark to look realistic,
you could spray paint the entire casting brown and let
it dry completely. Then, spray paint or brush paint
the casting with black, but before the paint dries,
take a rag and wipe the black paint off just the top
surface of the casting, exposing the brown color. The
black paint will stay in all the nooks and crannies of
the casting and create an effect nearly identical to
the "brush" method.
"wipe off" technique also works well with plaster
castings and stain. Dip the casting into an ordinary
woodworker's type stain, then immediately take it out
and wipe the stain off the surface of the casting. The
stain will stay in the grooves or texture of the
casting and be darker. The top surface of the casting
where you wiped off the stain will be lighter. This
is a great way to make castings with fur, hair, bark,
or clothing look more realistic.
a PDF source list
Includes 26 suppliers of all mold making and
casting materials mentioned in ALL the demonstrations
on this web site, including silicone rubber,
polyurethane rubber, latex rubber, polyurethane
plastic, epoxy resin, polyester resin, molding clay,
foam board, release agents, pottery plaster, Hydrocal,
metal powders, other plastic resin fillers, and
gelatin molding compound. With company names,
addresses, phone numbers, and web sites. Downloads to
your computer as a PDF file.