Stamped Jewelry Beads plus Antique Finish, Polymer Clay Instructions

Stamped Polymer Clay Bead

Techniques For Antiquing Your Polymer Clay Beads Using Plastic-Based, Acryclic Coatings:

Q: I love your stamped beads. They look like beautiful ceramic, or hand carved ivory. After you apply the acrylic paint and rub it off, do you need to seal the bead in any way? Do we need to protect the paint so it doesn’t some how come off? ~Debbie McLelland

A: The cool thing about acrylic paint and polymer clay is how well they bond. This is because they are both plastic based. Once the paint has dried on the polymer clay, it is extremely difficult to remove without a solvent.

When paint is used as an antiquing medium like the rubber stamped rose bead in the photo above, it is often rubbed deep into the crevices of the bead, making it appear aged. Since the paint is protected by being in the grooves it is not vulnerable to being rubbed off over time. So it is not necessary to try and protect the paint with any sort of special finish.

Some people like to add water to their paint before using it to antique their jewelry beads. This makes it easy to wipe off with a damp cloth. It is important however, not to water down the paint too much because the water will dilute the binders in the paint and diminish its ability to bond with the clay.

Instead of watering down the paint, try using it full strength and then wipe with a cloth dampened by rubbing alcohol. Or… just let the paint completely dry and sand away the high spots and ridges.

If you would like to learn more about how I made the rubber stamped beads in the photo, then read this article: Rubber Stamping Polymer Clay

I hope that was helpful for you Debbie and everyone else reading this post. If you have any further questions on this topic or would like to share a few painting polymer clay techniques of your own, be sure to leave a comment below!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Lietz, 18 October, 2008

    You can also paint textured beads with several layers of different colors of paint, letting each one dry between coats. Then sand to achieve a very cool distressed look… as though the piece is revealing the past owners color choices over time… like an antique piece of painted furniture does!

  2. Melissa, 18 October, 2008

    Well, this gives me idea with what I am to do with my acrylic paints.. Thanks :D for the info

  3. Cindy Lietz, 20 October, 2008

    You’re welcome Melissa! Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Joan Wallace, 18 July, 2009

    Hi Cindy,

    I just made a red polymer clay pendant and matching earrings which I tried to antique with black acrylic paint. I guess I didn’t get the paint off fast enough as it dried before I got the desired effect. I would would like to remove more of the antiquing. Can this be successfully done with some type of solvent, or is my only choice to sand the paint away? I re-did the basic pendant three times before I was satisfied, so I don’t want to just scrap it. Thanks!

    Joan Wallace

  5. Cindy Lietz, 25 July, 2009

    I am so sorry for not getting back to your sooner Joan, as you probably have noticed, it is getting pretty busy around here!

    Rubbing alcohol will easily remove the excess paint. You won’t have to sand it all off. I know what you mean about reworking a piece, till you get it how you want it and not just giving up on it. Sometime those pieces not only teach us a lot through trail and error, but often they end up being our best pieces.

    Let me know how the project ends up going for you.

  6. Brooke, 04 November, 2009

    Thank you for this, it’s exactly what I was looking for!

  7. Cindy Lietz, 04 November, 2009

    Wonderful! Glad the article was helpful. For a video tutorial on using rubber stamps to add texture to polymer clay, you could take a look at the Volume-013 back issues. The link by my name will provide more info.

  8. Jovee Amarante, 20 November, 2012

    “The cool thing about acrylic paint and polymer clay is how well they bond. This is because they are both plastic based. Once the paint has dried on the polymer clay, it is extremely difficult to remove without a solvent.”

    You mentioned this in your article and I just want to ask… why is it that acrylic paint painted on baked premo clay gets easily rubbed off? :(

    I feel sad whenever this happens.
    I hope you can shed light on my problem.

    Thank you!

  9. Cindy Lietz, 21 November, 2012

    Very sorry to hear that you are having problems with paint not sticking to your clay Jovee. So much that it is making you sad. We should be able to fix that for you. Whenever you are having problems with acrylic paint peeling, flaking or rubbing off, of any project you are working on, it could be because of a few different things.

    1) It could be that you are trying to paint a dirty surface. Clean it first with rubbing alcohol, to remove dirt, oils, fingerprints, etc. Then the paint has something better to stick to.

    2) The paint could be poor quality, or watered down too much. If there are not enough binders in the paint then it has no strength to hold on to the surface.

    3) There is a chance that the clay was not properly cured and there is some sort of chemical reaction happening between the clay and the paint. Most clays can be baked for 1 hour to get a very good cure. Type ‘baking’ into the search box at the top of the page for more in-depth articles on baking.

    4) Paint should be acrylic paint, not just water based. Paints like tempura paint and water colors are meant for porous materials and have no binders in them. They are too weak to hold onto polymer clay.

    Hope that helps you with you challenge Jovee!

  10. Lolla N, 05 November, 2016

    Hi Cindy,
    I hope you are well. I appreciate this is an older article, however this is where my search lead me to….

    I was wondering…. and perhaps its covered in another article I am not privvy to search wise…however….

    Is there a particular brand of acrylic paint that you would recommend that is compatible with polymer clay?

    Once the acrylic has been applied, is there a particular finish on the painted acrylic clay to seal it all in… like a gloss of some sort that they are both compatible with?

    I did do a lot of research about finishes, but I could not find anywhere a mention of specific brands of acrylic paint that were compatible with brands of finishes used on polymer clay and brands of polymer clay used and whether they were baked or not??

    I appreciate any feedback from you or the wider community.

    thanks so much…

  11. Cindy Lietz, 07 November, 2016

    Hi Lolla, I have not yet found an acrylic paint that was not compatible with polymer clay… other than really cheap brands that flake off due to having little to no binders in them. As well, as long as you are using a decent quality paint, there should be no need to seal the paint with any kind of finish. If you really want to get a very strong bond between your acrylic paint and your polymer clay, the pop it into the oven for ten minutes or so to heat set it.

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