Top 5 Best Paint for Air Dry Clay with Painting Guide

Written By James Donald
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Over 12 years of experience in the painting industry. Feel free to contact us with painting-related queries or comments.
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Are you seeking the best paint for air dry clay?

Air-dry clay is a great way to create unique and beautiful crafts. This clay is incredibly simple to work with and doesn’t even need a kiln or oven to give it a durable finish. In addition, air-dry clay is often made of mineral-based elements and is non-toxic, making it ideal for children.

But what type of paint should you use on air dry clay?

The best paint for air dry clay is acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is water-based, making it easy to apply and clean up. It also dries quickly and is very durable. Acrylic paint comes in various colors so that you can find the perfect color for your project.

You can also use Tempera Paint for painting air dry clay. However, this type of paint is not as good as acrylic paint. In this article, I’ll list and discuss some of the best paints on the market that is perfect for painting air dry clay. So, continue reading this article, get the best paint, and give your air dry clay projects a fantastic appearance.

What Type of Paint is Best for Air Dry Clay?

As I mentioned before, acrylic paint and tempera paint are the best options for painting air dry clay. They are relatively affordable and most convenient on the clay’s surface.

Let’s take a look at these paints in detail:

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is the best paint option for air-drying clay. It features a thicker texture, a large selection of simple-to-mix colors, and good coverage, making it one of the best paints for clay crafts. Additionally, acrylic paints are flexible, which lessens the likelihood of flaking or breaking.  Compared to other paints on the market, this type of paint tends to stay up flawlessly.

This paint option is affordable for most crafters and has the added benefit of being a lasting color. When used on clay, acrylic paint develops a beautiful coating. Acrylic paint is perfect for items like outdoor ceramics because it can expand as well as contract following variations in temperature without chipping.

Tempera Paint

Tempera Paint is another ideal option for painting air dry clay. This kind of paint is a water-based formula; therefore, it is environmentally friendly and has a beautiful creamy consistency. Additionally, you may purchase paint powder or dry tempera colors. This could be the ideal clay paint to use while painting with children.

The paint can be readily cleaned from surfaces and hands because it is water soluble. You may be creative with your designs because there are many different hues of this kind of paint available. Tempera is equally as simple to use as acrylic, is just as flexible, and is available in a broad range of vibrant colors.

List of Top 5 Best Paint for Air Dry Clay

Product NameBest ForPrice
Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint SetOverall Best PaintCheck Price
ARTEZA Multicolor Craft Acrylic PaintBest For ProfessionalCheck Price
Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint SetBest Budget PaintCheck Price
Shuttle Art Versatile Acrylic Paint SetBest Value For MoneyCheck Price
MyArtscape Artist Quality Acrylic Paint SetBest For BeginnersCheck Price

Top 5 Best Paint for Air Dry Clay Reviews with Pros and Cons

Finding the best paint for air dry clay can be stressful and time-consuming as well for you. However, Here I listed some of the best paint on the market that you can use for painting your air dry clay crafts.

Let’s take a look at these paints in detail and choose the best one.

1. Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set

Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set
Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set

Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set is the first product on this list of the best paint for air dry clay. It is a top-notch quality paint available in 36 different unique and aesthetic colors. It is a versatile paint set suitable for various paintwork projects and can be applied on Clay, Canvas, Wood, Cardboard, and other surfaces.

Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set is one of the best options for those looking for great-quality art and crafts supplies. This paint set is suitable for both newbies and experienced artists, and it provides professional-quality outcomes. Although the paint set is available in 36 different colors, you can also purchase 25, 18, or 12 color variants if you have a limited budget.

The creamy consistency and strong pigment content provide great covering strength for both broad areas and minute details. Exceptional color blending is made possible by clarity and brilliance, giving rise to a wider range of colors and tones. The clarity, as well as brilliance of every pigment are brought out by the distinctive formulation of every color.

Since this paint set comes with a wide range of color options, you can paint your air dry clay craft in any color you like. Every color of this paint can provide your clay craft with an aesthetic and fantastic appearance. You can also blend the paint easily with each other to get a more unique color. It will make it simpler to work with them and finish projects quickly.

What We Like and Don’t Like

What We Like

It is a premium-quality acrylic paint set.

It comes with vibrant and opaque colors.

This paint dries quickly to a matte finish.

What We Don’t Like

Some colors may be slightly streaky.

Why Buy This Paint?

Overall, the Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set is an excellent value for the price. The paints are high-quality and versatile, and the case makes them easy to transport and store. If you are looking for a great set of acrylic paints for painting air-dry clay crafts, the Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set is a great option.

2. ARTEZA Multicolor Craft Acrylic Paint

ARTEZA Craft Paint Set
ARTEZA Craft Paint Set

If you have plenty of air-dry clay crafts just waiting for an artistic touch, ARTEZA Multicolor Craft Acrylic Paint is the best paint for painting. Both experts and enthusiasts may create countless masterpieces with this acrylic paint kit. This paint set comes with 20 vibrant colors that make it a versatile paint set for any paintwork project.

Both basic and complementary colors are included in this premium-quality paint package. The colors are intense and vibrant, particularly for air-dry clay painting, making them perfect for any handicraft painting endeavor. Both novice and expert acrylic paint users will find the colors to be extremely pigmented and simple to use.

Painting air-dry clay craft objects is a breeze with the Arteza craft paint kit, and it is suitable for both beginners and professionals. This extensive collection of paints comes in 20 various color hues and may be applied to multiple surfaces. You won’t have to wait a long time for it to cure because of the paint’s quick-drying characteristics.

You can combine these colors with a pouring medium. You may quickly combine them to produce the most distinctive colors for your creations. These paints are AP-certified as well as non-toxic. The paints may be used without posing any health risks as this paint is non-toxic. Ultimately, ARTEZA Multicolor Craft Acrylic Paint is what you should consider.

What We Like and Don’t Like

What We Like

Professional quality versatile acrylic paint.

It is available in several aesthetic colors.

Super easy to use, suitable for beginners.

What We Don’t Like

Some colors will be a bit hard to blend.

Why Buy This Paint?

The acrylic paint set from Arteza has all the ideal hues for your artistic creations. There are 20 distinct color hues in this extensive collection of paints. Your sculptures have a delicate texture, and the paint dries rapidly. Ultimately, you can go wrong with this ARTEZA Multicolor Craft Acrylic Paint Set.

3. Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint Set

Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint Set
Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint Set

The Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint Set is an excellent option for painting air-dried clay projects. This set includes 24 different colors of acrylic paint, as well as a range of useful painting tools like brushes and palette knives. In fact, this paint set is a complete package that comes with everything you will need to paint air-dried clay.

This premium–quality acrylic paint takes less time to dry completely and creates a robust and durable finish. This makes it a good choice for painting air-dried clay, which can also be quite hard and durable once it has fully cured. Its range of colors and useful painting tools offers everything you need to create beautiful and long-lasting painted surfaces.

When creating and decorating, these soft-formed acrylics combine well to provide you with the best surface coverage. You may immediately add more coats or other features to your work because of the quick-drying solution. It is a versatile paint, and you can use this acrylic paint on paper, wood, canvas, glass, rocks, and ceramics.

These paints are highly pigmented and offer good coverage with just one or two coats. They are also water-soluble, which means you can mix them together to create custom colors or dilute them with water for a more translucent effect. However, when using this paint set, it is essential to start by preparing your air-dried clay surface.

What We Like and Don’t Like

What We Like

Manufactured using the best pigments possible.

This paint works flawlessly on multiple surfaces.

It is a non-toxic formula that is suitable for kids.

What We Don’t Like

The brushes added to this set are not of great quality.

Why Buy This Paint?

If you are looking for affordable but premium-quality paint for air-dry clay, Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint Set is the best option for you. This paint set includes 24 different rich and aesthetic pigment colors, giving you more versatility to paint air-dry clay crafts. This paint set also comes with added acrylic paint brushes, a mixing knife, and a sponge that will make the paintwork breeze.

4. Shuttle Art Versatile Acrylic Paint Set

Shuttle Art Versatile Acrylic Paint Set
Shuttle Art Versatile Acrylic Paint Set

Shuttle Art Acrylic Paint is an affordable option for you. It is an excellent choice for those who are looking for high-quality paint for air-dried clay. This set of 30 colors will offer you different color options that are perfect for artists. So, your drawing skill level doesn’t matter in choosing this color.

The paint is straightforward to utilize, making it an excellent option for kids. It dries quickly, and this feature makes it great for those looking to complete their artwork quickly. One of the significant advantages of Shuttle Art Acrylic Paint is that it comes in tubes, so it is effortless to transport and organize.

The paint set also includes several additional accessories, such as three brushes which are free, a palette knife, and a sponge. The paints come in solid and leak-proof tubes that offer a precise amount of paint for every use. It is acid-free and nontoxic paint which is safe for kids.

Shuttle art acrylic paint is waterproof paint, so once it dries well, you should be tension free about damaging the paint. This paint is vibrant and thick, so it mixes very well. With this paint, all beginners or professional painters can mix and paint their clay crafts and can give the crafts an aesthetic appearance.

What We Like and Don’t Like

What We Like

This paint is easy to use and great for newbies.

It comes with a lot of vibrant color collections.

This paint is affordable but excellent in quality.

What We Don’t Like

Some users claim thickness paint.

Why Buy This Paint?

Shuttle Art Acrylic Paint is a high-quality, affordable option that offers a wide range of colors. It is useful for canvas, ceramic, clay, nails, wood, crafts, fabric, walls, and more. The paint is fadeproof and waterproof, and long-lasting. So, you can purchase this paint for painting your air dry clay crafts without hesitation.

5. MyArtscape Artist Quality Acrylic Paint Set

MyArtscape Artist Quality Acrylic Paint Set
MyArtscape Artist Quality Acrylic Paint Set

It is a high-quality, densely colored acrylic paint for artists with a thick body consistency. The colors are intense and vibrant, particularly for air-dry clay painting, making them perfect for any craft painting endeavor. You’ll have a smooth finish that frees you up to concentrate on creating accurate and colorful acrylic paintings.

The 12 premium paints in this professional-grade paint set make it the perfect option for any small-scale creative painting project. Each paint tube contains smooth acrylic paints that result in a lovely finish. Because of the paint’s excellent viscosity, you can make beautiful air-dry clay creations.

The paint is simple to use, making it a fantastic option for children and people who are just beginning to paint and do their own crafts. The paints are simple to use; you can either paint straight from the tube or combine several colors to produce the ideal professional-grade acrylic paint hue.

Additionally, blending these colors together is simple due to their consistency. Additionally, in addition to clay, this acrylic paint may be used on wood, porcelain, cloth, canvas, metal, paper, nails, etc., providing limitless creative opportunities. Each color is long-lasting, non-toxic, and rich in pigment. In conclusion, this kit is a fantastic option for any artist, DIY lover, or craft enthusiast—child or adult.

What We Like and Don’t Like

What We Like

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

It comes with fade-resistance features.

This paint is super easy to use and clean.

What We Don’t Like

The quality of this paint is not professional.

Why Buy This Paint?

MyArtscape Artist Quality Acrylic Paint Set is the ideal option for beginners looking for the best paint for air dry clay. It is a great set of paint that is super easy to use, making it the best option for beginners. The rich and vibrant colors of this paint set will give your clay crafts the eye-catchy appearance that you deserve.

How to Paint Air Dry Clay: Step-by-Step Guide

You can paint your clay crafts in two simple ways: painting the clay product has entirely dried, and you can manufacturing colored clay by mixing paints into the clay when it’s still wet. However, the first method is the ideal way to paint your clay crafts. Now I’ll cover this method step-by-step.

Step-01: Ensure the Clay Crafts are Dry

The best method of painting the air-dry clay after it has been sculpted is to wait until the clay is entirely dry before beginning to apply the paint. It’s time to paint your clay crafts once you’ve shaped it and given it time to cure completely. Before you start, keep in mind that it must be entirely dry; otherwise, issues will arise.

Step-02: Make the Surface Smooth and Dust-Free

Your clay could still have some lumps and fractures along the surface after drying. You should use low-grit sandpaper to remove these flaws before you start painting. Your paint will stick to the clay more readily due to this.

Additionally, it will stop air bubbles and cracks from appearing before, during, and after painting. Make use of a gentle, dry brush once you’ve finished smoothing your clay crafts. Any loose particles should not be painted over since doing so might make the paint lumpy.

Step-03: Apply Paint to the Clay Crafts

Once your clay crafts are ready to paint, apply a thin layer of paint to the crafts at first, letting each one dry completely before adding more. Use a broad brush if you’re painting a vast area with only one color. You should use high-quality brushes, and you may alternate between using precise brushes for more intricate details and broader strokes for more extensive regions.

You should switch to a small brush if you want to add smaller or more precise details. Just keep in mind to wait until the previous coat has completely dried before applying the subsequent one. To avoid color mixing, if you just have a few brushes, you must clean them and let them dry completely before adding another color.

Painted Air Dry Clay Craft
Painted Air Dry Clay Craft

Step-04: Apply Sealer to the Painted Clay Crafts

The clay has to be sealed after painting in order to make it waterproof and protect it. If the paint is not sealed, it can ultimately start to peel off, or if it comes in contact with water, it can be rinsed away. Mod Podge is a popular alternative, but it will offer less waterproofing; instead, a varnish or acrylic-based sealer is a preferable choice.

On clay sculptures with more edges as well as surfaces to cover, the acrylic-based spray sealer performs best. Simply mist everything with water, let it dry, and then mist again, being careful to cover every surface. Always read the guidelines for aesthetic paints before purchasing a sealer, and make sure that the sealer is compatible with clay.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you paint the clay while it is still wet?

Wet air-dry clay shouldn’t be painted. Due to the clay’s tendency to shrink as it dries, the sculpture may split and chip in color. Additionally, acrylic paint could serve as a sealer, trapping moisture in the clay and causing it to eventually crumble or develop cracks or mold. I advise just using light pastels to add color to wet clay.

Can you paint directly on air dry clay?

Acrylic paint or even acrylic markers work best for painting air-dry clay. The cured air-dry clay may be painted right over. Before the paint completely covers, it may occasionally require several coats. Moreover, you should prepare the air dry clay properly before applying paint.

Should I Prime Air-Dry Clay Before Painting?

It is generally a good idea to prime air-dry clay before painting it, as this can help to seal the surface and create a more even base for your paint to adhere to. However, not all types of air-dry clay require priming, so it is essential to check the instructions or recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

What makes air-dry clay shiny?

With epoxy glue, transparent spray paint, Mod Podge, as well as a high-gloss clay varnish, air dry clay may be made lustrous or shiny. Each of these coatings creates a glossy, lustrous shine and provides an additional layer of durability.


You should use the proper paint supplies if you are willing to add unique colors to your air-dry clay crafts. The market offers a wide range of choices. However, acrylic paints work best, and this type of paint is the best option for air dry clay. Here I’ve discussed some of the best paint for air dry clay that can help you get the perfect paint and add a stunning touch of color to your air dry clay projects.

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