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Coloring Plaster for a Layout

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Tony Galiani

I am back to working on my new tram project after a slow week (due to work and being a bit under the weather).  I am currently using texture paint to color the Sculptamold plaster I put down.  Since this is white (which shows up if the plaster gets chipped - like when your cat decides to examine it) I had been thinking of how to color the plaster.  I had though of adding acrylic paint to the mix when I was preparing it but worried about getting it all over my hands.  I usually apply the plaster with some tools but end up shaping quite a bit of it my hand and plastic gloves don't seem to help.

Wondering if anyone else has run into this and has any suggestions for this method.  Having a means to pre-color the plaster would be helpful.


Tony Galiani

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Powdered Rit dye works very well mixed in plaster.  I've used it in wood putty and other mediums too.   

You may want to mix a blend of colours.  A bit of red in brown has worked well for earth tones.  A bit of black to darken, white to lighten, or grey just to mute are nice additions.

I presume other brands of powdered fabric dye of whatever is available in various countries would work well too.

Edited by Cat
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Powered tempra paints also work well and you can also sift them onto the hardened plaster and then mist with some wetted water to set the sprinkled pigment. Tempra washes off your hands pretty well, they use it for kids paints a lot.


I can bring you some of the basic colors I have this week for you to play with, usually you have to buy a larger tub of the powered tempra and it will last me a very long time!


another trick folks do with white plaster is a couple of thick coats of brown (or your substrate color) cheap house paint. You can get smaller sample jars pretty cheap at big box stores if you want to vary/blend colors. It usually soaks into the plaster well to make a more chip proof outer layer to then detail pigment and apply any ground covers to.


ive used plain old acrylic craft paint in sulptimold as well. Plaster is pretty tough, but the scultimold is more susceptible to small dings chipping off bits, but it’s also nice as it gives a little. I’ve kind of given up on plaster over the years, it’s messy, hard to carve, can be heavy, and just  a lot of alternatives now.



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