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I'm an aspiring paper mache artist and I'm having a difficult time painting my pieces. I've tried various methods (with gesso) using different kinds of acrylic paint. I started with the Folk Art/Deco Art craft brand paints with mixed success. My problem is that the pigments aren't strong enough and the paints are too thin, specifically with more vibrant colours like yellow or red. It takes a ridiculous amount of layering to get the opacity just right, and the more I layer the gummier it gets and the more you can see the brush strokes - and yes, there's adequate drying time between layers, I think it's just the natural build up of paint giving this textured appearance.
I recently switched to my expensive fine art acrylic paints that are highly pigmented. I can layer light colours on top of black in one stroke, which is practically unheard of with the Folk Art brand paints, but fine art acrylics are thicker and therefore have a weird gummy texture and sheen to them. Brush strokes are super obvious with the fine art acrylics and I think it makes my sculptures look amateurish.
Overall I'd prefer not to use the fine art acrylics, unless I could find a comparable pigment with less thickness. Another test I did using the craft paint was to create a base coat in a medium gray or brown and layer red on top, yet the red was still too streaky and thin.
I'm open to suggestions! This is driving me bonkers. >.<
I believe that FolkArt is the cheapest brand available in the U.S. It is probably a matter of 'you get what you pay for'. I'm sorry to say that Americans (and I'm American) have been trained to want cheap over quality. But if you have to use five or six coats of the cheap stuff, how much money are you actually saving?
Like my mother said, sometimes you just can't have everything you want. And I am repeatedly reminded of her words... by their apparent truth. Especially at WalMart.
When you're shopping for paints, see if they have larger containers of the higher quality paints, and then figure out how much they cost per ounce; compare that price to both the small bottles of good stuff, and to how much you're having to use of the cheap stuff. Oftentimes, you're actually saving money, despite the higher initial financial outlay.
As for the gummy texture, have you been painting when it's raining outside? I have been warned by others not to paint when the humidity is high, because although the paint does dry, it somehow doesn't dry CORRECTLY. I don't know the reasoning for this, but being as stubborn as I am, I find it to be true.
humidity plays an important role in the drying of paints and the best way to avoid this not to paint at the first place. Humidity doesn't let the paint dry completely. The second thing always applies a coat of white before applying the original paint. Let the white coat dry and depending upon that, you decide whether to apply it or wait for humidity to go off. These tips do help in some way or the other.
I mostly use those cheap Apple Barrel and Folk Art brands too. My older sister bought me a set of nicer quality acrylics (can't recall the brand offhand) for Christmas one year, which I do use on occasion as well, but I mostly stick to my el cheapo stuff. Generally, I don't find that I need to apply more than two or three coats, and often one suffices, but I also work on a smaller scale than most papier mache artists. I typically also seal my paint with a topcoat of white glue which helps with their appearance/durability.
Tip: If you're painting something yellow, put down a base coat of white or light grey first, you'll get much better results and won't need to apply as many coats of yellow.