Polymer Clay Tutorial | Distressed Paint Finish [Video]

Distressed Paint Finish on Polymer ClayVid #175: I purposely
leave little cracks and
scratches in the beads, then
use acrylic paint to antique
them once they’re baked &
sanded.” ~Silverleaf

The versatility of this medium… Polymer Clay… never ceases to amaze me! As I’ve said before, you can mold it, sculpt it, sand, it drill it, layer it, stamp it, make canes with it and even paint it. So far there is little I have found that you can’t do with it.

One cool technique is distressed paint finishes, which look especially great on textured polymer clay surfaces. And since you just learned out how to make your own texture plates in the previous Vol-029-1 tutorial, this is the perfect time to show you how to add a distressed finish to your polymer clay beads and pendants.

Cindy… I love your distressed-paint techniques… I’d love for you to show us! Thanks so much! ~Phaedrakat

This is absolutely awesome Cindy! Can we have a tut on this too?? Like, how to paint on the clay and add distressed finishes? ~Tanya-L

I would love a tutorial about how to paint on polymer clay. ~Cheryl-H

I am a newbie! I was wondering about painting polymer clay. Is that possible? ~Melissa-L

Can you use oil paint on PC? I have tons of oil paint from my painting days that I would hate to waste. ~Melinda-H

I’m a One Stroke decorative painter and one of the reasons I picked up polymer clay was to make pendants to paint on. I couldn’t find what I wanted at the stores, and what I did find was way too expensive. ~Joyce-R

What type of paint do you recommend to color/paint on cured clay? ~Paula-D

Well… on Friday, October 15th, 2010 at the Polymer Clay Library (Vol-029-2), I will answer all of your questions and more, about using paints with polymer clay to create distressed finishes.

Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-029-2 Distressed Paint Finish:

  • Baked polymer clay pendant or bead. I used a double sided textured pendant I made using the handmade Texture Plates we made in the Vol-029-1 tutorial.
  • Acrylic Craft Paint. Use a decent quality craft paint such as Folk Art, DecoArt or Americana. Super cheap brands will flake and chip easily, and an expensive artist acrylic will have a rubbery feel. DO NOT use an oil based paint for this technique.
  • Paint brush.
  • Paper towel.
  • High grade Micro-Mesh Pad such as 1800 or High Grit wet/dry sandpaper such as 600 – 800 grit.
  • Dremel with buffing wheel (optional).
  • Blow dryer (optional).

The full version of the Vid-029-2 Distressed Paint Finish video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday October 15th, 2010. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


Click Video Play Button

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
>> Polymer Clay Tutorials <<

The full version of the “Distressed Paint Finish” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-029 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Cindy, I so enjoy your videos and look forward to every Friday to see what new thing is happening. I’m impressed with how you take complicated ideas and present them in ways that are easy to understand therefore making them easy for me to attempt to duplicate. I am a teacher also and I know what it takes to pull a lesson together… alot goes into each lesson just to get it to a proper presentation. ~Jayne-S

I always prefer a Cindy-video, since your tutorials are the best! Every video you produce is so well done. You cover every aspect of the technique, and throw in tips, tricks, and money-saving ideas. ~Phaedrakat

Cindy – Honestly, I would be willing to pay a lot more for my membership! You have so many innovative, creative, and time saving tips that are such a great help! Most of my best selling jewelry has been, in one way or another, inspired by at least one of your videos! ~Carrie-W

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Distressed Paint Finish video tutorial:

  • See examples of several different pendants using the distressed paint finish.
  • Discussion of the colors of clay and paints needed to make this technique really effective, as well as the types of paints that work best for this technique.
  • Learn cool tips to getting the perfect aged look on your pieces, quickly and easily.
  • And finally, find out how to get that nice contrast between the chalky paint and the shiny clay underneath, with very little effort.

The full version of the “Distressed Paint Finish” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-029 Back Issue Package.


  1. Elizabeth S., 12 October, 2010

    Welcome Back!! We missed you guys but I promise we behaved ourselves. Hope you had a successful week.

    Guess I had better try to catch up and make some texture plates so I will be ready for this one-the sample pieces in the vid are so cool. Can’t wait.

  2. pollyanna, 12 October, 2010

    Ditto ! Can’t wait as usual. Looks like a great way to make things take on a different dimension.

  3. Linda K., 12 October, 2010

    Yay! Cindy’s back! Can’t wait to see this tutorial.

  4. Jeanne C., 12 October, 2010

    What a strange week it was not having you here with us, so glad you’re both back, you were missed. Looking forward to this weeks tutorial. :)

  5. Koolbraider, 12 October, 2010

    So glad to see you back, Cindy, I hope things went well. This looks like a wonderful lesson. It opens a wide array of possibilities for even more surface treatments. (And that’s my tech speak of the day!) JoAnn Fabrics has coupons and they carry the Folk Art paints. Out of curiousity, why no oil paint? (I haven’t gone through the teaser yet so maybe this is answered.)

  6. Phaedrakat, 13 October, 2010

    @Koolbraider: Love your new Avatar! I mentioned it on another thread, but I’m not sure if you got a chance to see it. So, again…it’s lovely, & works beautifully with your name & the type of jewelry you make! ;D

    In the article above, Cindy said she’s going to answer the oil paint & other questions in Friday’s video (didn’t see in the teaser.) Oil paint can break down baked clay…the same way certain spray finishes do. Not sure if it’s the oils or some other ingredient. I’ve successfully used oil paints mixed into raw translucent clay before to make some cool effects (and with liquid clay, too.) I assumed that worked because it was baked afterwards…& also because I used a pretty small amount. I’ve wondered if oils would work on top of properly varnished/sealed, baked clay…thought about it, but never tested it like I wanted. Hopefully Cindy’s video will answer all our questions for us, and if not — time to experiment! Anyway, just thought I’d take a stab at your question…while we wait for the video of Cindy’s cool technique on Friday. How nice to have our gal back! :D ~Kat

  7. pattw, 12 October, 2010

    Great teaser. Now I’ll need to get some cheaper paints, I use Golden Brand for my paintings- figures huh ? We SURE did miss you. We are Addicted……..

  8. Lupe Meter, 12 October, 2010

    Welcome back! I am looking forward to this particular video! I do have DecoArt and Americana on hand…these are the brands I usually use. Now to get working on some handmade texture plates! Thanks, Cindy!

  9. Ken H, 12 October, 2010

    I want to add my welcome back to to the chorus, I t was a loooooong week but we occupied ourselves. This should be a very interesting tutorial.

  10. Susan B, 12 October, 2010

    I really missed you Cindy and I don’t seem to be the only one! Am really looking forward to this technique since I actually have what is needed for once.

  11. Lisa Whitham, 12 October, 2010

    Yay, so glad you’re back Cindy!!! I missed you a lot… As usual I can’t wait for Friday’s tute. I’m going to have to make a couple of pieces up for the tute this week… Hmmm… *ideas swirling*

    Peace, Love, & Clay,
    ~Lisa :)

  12. Cindy Lietz, 12 October, 2010

    HI everyone!!!! … so happy to be back! It felt very strange for Doug and I to be away from all of you for a whole week. But all went well! And just to respond to those who emailed with well wishes and questions about our well being… we are just fine :-). Thank you for your concerns. Our absence was not health related or anything like that. It was just something to do with another business project that Doug is involved with that needed some focused attention… so no worries. We are back and ready to get back into the full swing of things.

    We’re in catch up mode now so if you have pressing questions that need input from me, please be patient. It’s amazing how much stuff actually piles up and backs up after only a week.

    Thank you so much everyone, for keeping an eye on things around here! You have no idea how important that was for us. And how much we love and appreciate all that you do here in this sweet little community. You really are like a family that watches over each other. It means a lot to Doug and I to know that! :-)

    In regards to the tutorial, I think you are all going to have fun with this one! It’s so darn easy and really looks cool. Can’t wait to see how you all put your own little spins on the technique. It will be fun to see what you post in Facebook. The possibilities are endless with this one, so have fun with it!

  13. Joyce M, 12 October, 2010

    Welcome, welcome, welcome, just like everyone else is saying. It was a different but interesting week. A very short time ago I came across a picture of an old shield in a museum and thought I’d like to try making a similar item. Now with this tute I have the ideal finish. Just have to get to work…

    Does anyone know why my “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail block will not hold my checkmark? I’m trying again, this is the third time. Hope it works as I’m leaving a comment too. Thanks in advance.

  14. Phaedrakat, 13 October, 2010

    @Joyce M: Hi Joyce! Re: your question about followup comment notification…you have to check the box & submit a comment to get it to “hold”. The checkbox & comment box are “connected” & have to be used together…simply ticking the box will not accomplish anything — you have to press the “submit comment” button, too.
    Is that what you meant about trying 3 times? Did it finally work for you after leaving the comment on this page–keep your setting? I hope so…if it’s working for you now, it will say “Manage your subscriptions” — as a link. After you’ve check-marked a few posts, and you seem to be getting more emails, click on the link to see if you need to fine-tune or edit your list…that way you’ll only recieve notification emails for the articles you want… Good luck!

    @Cindy: Love this cool tutorial! Your distressed pendants are stunning in this video…can’t wait to see how you make them. I’m glad you guys are back & that you had a good “time off”. I sure hope it doesn’t take you TOO long to catch up on the mountains of emails that are no doubt piled up around the office…good luck on that! (The pitfalls of being loved by your students!) Thanks for all you do, Kat

  15. Cherie, 12 October, 2010

    Welcome back to you and Doug. We missed you but I actually got down to some claying and catching up with a couple of techniques. It’s been so busy here with me too, I haven’t been online much.

  16. Lawrence, 12 October, 2010

    Welcome back and things were not the same without you here. I am really looking forward to the Friday video.

  17. Peggy Barnes, 12 October, 2010

    So glad to have the two of you back safe and sound. Then to top that you come back fire blazing ready to give us a flaming hot tute. Wow it is nice to be able to type “Can’t wait till Friday” This will be another field of possibilities. All up to us and the way we want to use our mind . THANK YOU BOTH for the endless line of inspiration.
    Bunches of Uuuuggggs coming your way, Peggy

    Welcome Home

  18. Dawn, 13 October, 2010

    Woot! Welcome back Cindy and Doug!

  19. Koolbraider, 13 October, 2010

    Phaedrakat, thankyou for liking my new avatar! I took quite a while trying to figure out what exactly I wanted; this may not be permanent. I would have used my cats (LOL!!!) but they are so dark in color that they wouldn’t show well. (I step on one at night when the light is low. Just can’t see her at all.) Sounds like oil and polymer clay might react chemically. Horrible to find this out after finishing a beautiful piece and seeing it “change” for the worse.

  20. Jocelyn, 13 October, 2010

    This tut will be a test for me. I get antiquing and highlighting, but, due to the beauty of the clay itself, I cannot imagine painting the whole object as a treatment, lol. OK if it’s scrap clay…but, good clay?????


  21. Joyce M, 13 October, 2010

    Kat, Thank you for that info. Yes it worked. What you said makes sense. Seems like when I first became a member I had this problem but couldn’t recall what I did to correct it. All is fine and the expected emails are here today. Thanks again, you’re a sweetheart and are missed when you are “away” also.

  22. carolyn, 14 October, 2010

    I sure do like your clay braids. I did make one for a bangle and it added the strength to the piece. Just using the braid didn’t seem to work … does it for you?

  23. Phaedrakat, 15 October, 2010

    @Joyce M: Glad it worked! Thanks for what you said…I appreciate it more than you know!

    @Cindy: Love the video! I’m looking forward to distressing some textured clay…I love the looks you can get with it. This is just too cool and beautiful not to try — even if I have to use “good” clay (what Jocelyn said above, LOL.) I understand what she’s saying…this would be a great way to use scrap clay (tinted to the desired color,) textured & baked; or you could use “imperfect” baked pieces…that ended up with cracks or the like. You could then grab some contrasting paint and “ON” with your fabulous technique! Thank you so much for another amazing video…it’s so great having you & your videos back!

  24. Peggy Barnes, 15 October, 2010

    Loved the tute and great idea to use up some of your not so perfect pieces with little cracks Kat. I know I have some of those in my whatever box. That’s the name I give my not so perfect pieces thinking I can use them later for whatever I want. Thanks Cindy and Doug and it is great to have you here at home with me on a Friday morning again. Hope last week was a productive week for you Doug. It is so great the two of you can help each other out so often. Well Cheers for another Touch Down. Have a great weekend.
    Many Uuuugggs, Peggy

  25. Susan B, 15 October, 2010

    This is a great tut and has my mind racing. I love creating textures on the surface of polymer clay and just at the moment I am very keen on making pendants rather than beads — so this is perfect! Thank you.

  26. Brenda M, 15 October, 2010

    Love the tut! I have an old child size wicker bottom chair that has the distressed look to it. I love it! It has several layers of paint showing through, Red, blue, and green, I see some cream too where the was a picture on the backing. Distressed down to the wood. I love Antiques.

    I wanted to share too….. I have my first craft showing tomorrow… I’ve got the jitters *LOL* It is nothing big (is for me though) It will have have about ten venders With Live entertainment. I am the only jewelry vender there *hehe* So, I hope I sell a bunch!!! It is in the middle of the town center where all the little shops are, and it is always hopping with people.

    Should I place a basket with candies on the table for the kids? It is a fall festival….

  27. pollyanna, 15 October, 2010

    @Brenda M: Best of luck today. it wouldn’t hurt with the candies. They can munch while mom looks and buys.

  28. Marlene, 17 October, 2010

    @Brenda M: Hope you did well at your craft fair. Am sure you did with the talent you have! I did my very first craft fair yesterday too. It was not a super huge one either, BUT I am thrilled. I sold 5 necklaces, 4 pair of earrings and a bracelet! Whahoo!!!! Now its back to the pasta machine.

  29. pollyanna, 17 October, 2010

    @Marlene: WTG that’s super news on your sales. Hope Brenda did okay. You never know with the economy the way it is.

  30. Brenda M, 17 October, 2010

    @Marlene: I am glad you done well… I did do well, concidering the amount of people that showed. I done about the same, 5 necklaces, 3 pairs of earrings, and a bracelet which was one of my own designs ‘Twist cuff’. I had a couple that said they were going for cash and never returned, and alot took my card. Did you have help? My mother inlaw has help do alot of booths before came along. Thank God too, she was a big help. I’ve been evited back for November, and Decembers events. I think this will help me get more confident in selling. I have great comunication skills, I was just nervous about the pricing. So, Next time I will change a few things for sure.

  31. pollyanna, 15 October, 2010

    This is a great tute. What a fantastic idea with the several colors.

  32. Loretta Carstensen, 15 October, 2010

    Good to have you back! Love this distressed technique. I can see making some beautiful buttons with this, and I am getting ready to make some purse handles that would probably look awesome too.

  33. carolyn, 15 October, 2010

    @Loretta Carstensen: Might this technique flake if used as buttons or other items that get a lot of use? I have not tried it … have skads of paints at home but none with me … since I don’t want to buy more, I’m going to wait. Loretta, can you let me know how durable this technique is?

  34. Catherine D, 16 October, 2010

    I have a question about finishing- Where do you get UV resin? Does it goi by a different name, and are there specifics to the kind I need to use with polymer clay? I have looked on line at several sites, and they either do not have any product called “UV resin”, or they have several resins that come up and I don’t know what kind to choose. One site even had a bottle of resin that was over a hundred dollars a bottle. I like teh way the finish looks, and would like to be able to buy the resin. Please help… Thanks

  35. Phaedrakat, 17 October, 2010

    @Catherine D: Hi Kiti_Katt! I felt I had to respond since I go by Kat here at the blog…can’t ignore a fellow “kitty-kat”, lol! I haven’t seen your posts before, so let me first say, “Welcome!” I thought I’d provide a link to the resin video tutorial Carolyn mentioned, so you could quickly get started viewing the preview video for the tute. The Ultradome UV Resin is “economically-priced”, and it’s available by mail order at Ultradome.com.

    You can find more information & cool tips at the other post, as well as at the 4-5 additional “resin” posts here at the blog — this finish IS a popular topic! Be sure to read the comments underneath the articles when you do a search…the Q & A provided is really helpful.

    Ultradome resin is also sold as “UV Jewelry Glaze” (at Ultradome’s sister site, EpoxyJewelry.com.) Another well-known & popular UV resin is Lisa Pavelka’s ‘Magic Glos’. Its properties are similar to Ultradome’s…it’s just a bit thicker. Cindy’s UV resin video will also help with this resin…just be sure to mind the directions/tips at the other article posts regarding how the edges can pull away — & what to do about it. Magic Glos is also sold online (several places,) as well as–I believe–Hobby Lobby (‘tho since we do not have them here on the west coast, I can only go by what I’ve heard…)

    To recap: Carolyn’s right — Cindy’s tutorial is great, & the perfect place to start with UV Resin. Ultradome is quite economical…a lot cheaper than Magic Glos. If you’re in the US, shipping is free on the 2 oz. bottle (on either of the 2 websites.) Do check out the blog articles/comments below them…there’s so much information there! Resin really does take polymer clay & other jewelry items to the next level, so it’s worth checking out. Well, I hope this helps. Please leave another comment if you have any questions…we’re all happy to help!
    Have fun, ~Kat :D

    PS: If you are new to the site, you may want to sign up for Cindy’s Weekly Newsletter…you get 3 free polymer clay videos, as well as free color recipes each week. Hope to see more of you… ;D

  36. carolyn, 16 October, 2010

    @Catherine D: The best thing for you to do is the utilize the search box on the top of the left hand column here. There are several different kinds of UV resins and it seems we each sort of have our own favorites. There has been a fair amount of discussion on this, so read over all the comments and see what you think. Cindy did a tutorial on Ultra Dome UV Resin that you should get and watch. It is great!

  37. Joyce M, 17 October, 2010

    Marlene and Brenda, WTG girls! Congratulations on your sales and on taking on the challenge of the opportunity set in front of you. Brenda, maybe those people that went for money will be back in November or December. Doesn’t matter though, you will do just great. You’re a talented lady and time gets closer to the holidays, the very best. Marlene, I have not seen your work if you have posted some but I am sure you are talented as well so good luck to you also. Its so inspiring to hear good things happening in our clay family. Happy claying everyone…

  38. Marlene, 17 October, 2010

    Thanks pollyanna and Joyce, appeciate the encouragement. Brenda, great to hear you did as well. I know what you mean, about people saying they will be back and then nothing. My hubbie helped me set up and take down (EZ-Up tent HAHA). Setting everything up so that it was attractively shown took quite a while. Pricing was my biggest question. Didn’t want to cheat myself, but also didn’t want to over price, since I was not the only jewelry seller at this fair. All of the Halloween earrings I made went fast. Do have another fair scheduled in November, so guess I will start working on Christmas themed items. Continued good luck to you.

  39. Phaedrakat, 18 October, 2010

    Congratulations, ladies…way to go on your sales! I’m thrilled for you, and things will most likely get even better with the next one(s) as the holidays get closer. Those gifties, don’tcha know! So happy for ya… :D

  40. Catherine D, 18 October, 2010

    @ Phaedrakat & Carolyn (and anyone else I may have not have read your comments yet, and missed)-
    Hey you guys, thanks so much for all the great tips- I am a subscriber to Cindy’s videos, and I believe I do have the one on the resin- In fact I think that was the first or second one I received. I have been a little confused on how to use the blog site, but with your tips, I now see how to get around in the blogs looking for answers. Thanks a great deal. I will definitely check out the sites for ordering the ultradome etc… I think the resin finish just looks so great. I have used the future floor polish which really put the shine on my clay, however there are some beads that just need that extra super shine!
    I have not been very vocal on the site- I am a new graduate from nursing school, and was still in school when I joined, then I have been busy with boards and job hunting, but I do have some extra time now to go back and try out all the techniques I missed. These videos are terrific, and at a super value for at home tutoring- I couldn’t believe how easy it was to join and to get the videos with no hassle. Cindy is a great teacher, and everyone here is so helpful as well! Thank you so much for your input and for Welcoming me to the site- To Kat:… Meow… LOL! Thanks again you guys- I will try to be more active on the blogs in the future. TTYL- “Kiti Kat” (Catherine)

  41. Phaedrakat, 21 October, 2010

    Hey Kiti Katt! A “meow” back! So happy to hear you’re a member, & that you want to be more active here at the blog. Congrat’s on finishing nursing school…and best luck finding a job! I’m happy to hear I helped you a bit in finding your way around this magnificent website. You’re right…it’s filled with information! It’s quite big, but once you figure out how to navigate, it’s much easier. You realize the answers are there…you can just “soak up” the info & learn so much. You’re also right about the value — there’s no beating the price of Cindy’s video tutorials…OR the wonderful quality you get! Once again, I’m very happy to meet you, and I hope to see you around a lot more! I’m “purring” with delight! (I’d better not take this TOO far, LOL.) Have a great day! ~Kat

  42. Tracey Jones, 26 November, 2014

    Has anyone tried out Pebeo fantasy paint on polymer clay? I would assume on baked it should be fine but would be nice to know any results good or bad.

  43. Cindy Lietz, 27 November, 2014

    Hi Tracey, I have done a test sample of Pebeo Fantasy Paints on baked clay and it looks like it is compatible. Now that the sample has been sitting for a while I can do a PcT Test Lab video on it soon. It is a very cool paint!

  44. Patty J, 29 November, 2014

    I saw some on jewelry deal and it was amazing looking so using my michaels and hobby lobby coupons I got the moon and prima colors and an outliner tube. and want to cut out some nice polymer blanks and get started. someone used some aqua and gold and wow its so neat. and then she applied resin on top. Wish I could remember her name it waws abs gorgeous Hope to see Cindy’s test video soon. She does some very good testing of stuff.

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