Creating an illusion of texture is another way we can use our silk screens with exciting results.   My thought process has always been – how many different ways can I use this product; silk screens were no exception.  The process of silk screening acrylic paint onto raw polymer clay is a brilliant one, but how can you change that to create different looks over and over again?

The application of paint itself creates a raised texture on the surface of polymer clay so why not take advantage of that and add a little pan pastel goodness as well.

Choosing the right silkscreen for this process is an important one.  During the  exploration phase, I compared silk screens with a fine mesh to silk screens with a coarse mesh. I much preferred the texture achieved with the course mesh but by all means play around with what you have on hand; you might surprise yourself.  I found the new MOIKO Silk Screens “coarse mesh” gave a great result because they allow more paint to be “pushed” through onto the clay.

Applying Paint to Create Texture

  • Condition clay and place on a piece of scrap paper.  Burnish (very gently) your silk screen onto your clay – make sure you can read MOIKO correctly.  If it reads backwards, your screen is on the wrong side. A note here:  if you’re using very soft clay, don’t burnish too hard as you’ll end up forcing clay through your screen which could potentially “block” the mesh.
  • Place a small amount of acrylic paint on some scrap paper or a paint pallette.  Make sure to have a bowl of warm water on hand to pop your silk screen in once you’ve finished painting.
  • Pick up a small amount of paint on a firm bristled brush which is still slightly damp (not dry).
  • Brush over the surface fairly quickly and “pounce” every now and then.
  • Continue until you have the entire surface covered.
  • Lift one end of the screen very carefully until you’ve removed it to the half way mark.
  • “Roll” it back down carefully and then brush over the surface again covering the half of screen you lifted.  I find by doing this I get a heavier concentration of paint pass through the screen. Repeat this for the other side of the screen. Finally “pounce” the surface once more and remove the screen.  Wash and pat dry your screen.

Highlighting The Texture

  • You’ll notice the paint has a “bubbly” surface to it.  This is caused when you have a small amount of moisture still in your brush and you pounce the paint up and down or if your paint is a little on the thin side.
  • When your paint is completely dry, pick up some pan pastel colour on a sponge and gently brush over the surface – small areas at a time.  The surface of your clay has a raised texture which means you can use this to your advantage. You can leave some areas clear or you can go heavier on other areas (this is completely your choice).
  • Choose a darker colour pan pastel and brush your finger over the surface to pick up a small amount.  Remember just a touch – it’s better to build the colour up rather than go too heavy handed in the beginning.
  • Continue doing this with your finger very lightly over the surface of your clay.  You’ll note you get a nice dark center to certain areas with a “shadow” around the outside.  Leave some of the areas lighter than others and some of the paint untouched.  There are many options when creating these veneers.
  • Place some baking paper on the surface of your clay and burnish well. This will help “set” some of those powders.

Let’s Look At Another Example

The same colour paint was used for this second piece.  Pan Pastel colours were also the same, although a small amount of dark green was added.  Blue clay was used instead of white.  This didn’t make a huge difference to my finished piece but it’s important to remember changing your clay colour may create a completely different look.  This is a relatively fine screen but I kept lifting the screen, replacing and brushing over.  Remember to be cautious about the amount of time you’re taking as your paint will start to dry in your screen quite quickly.

The screen used in the example above was designed by Noelia Contreras Martin for MOIKO Silk screens.

Important Things to Remember

  • Try using a damp brush to achieve little bubbles in your paint which can look amazing when they dry.  This gives added texture to your design.
  • Burnishing your silkscreen into raw clay too firmly can cause your clay to get “stuck” in the mesh (especially if you’re using a very soft clay).  This will prove very tricky to remove so just lightly burnish.
  • Wash your paint-filled screens in warm soapy water as soon as you have finished using it.  Remember to clean the “right” side only of MOIKO Silk Screens
  • If you brush or rub on the “underside” of the screen you risk damaging your image.
  • Make sure you handle any silkscreen design created with powder very carefully.  I would highly recommend not using these clay sheets for anything which requires heavy manipulation.
  • I would also recommend sealing any surface with a powdered silkscreen design in some way if it’s going to endure heavy wear and tear.
  • Work quickly when using any type of paint on your screens.  It will begin to dry quite quickly.
  • Play around with different paint brands and colours.

There are other variations to consider here also…can you think of any?



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3 years ago

Hi, my acrylic paint won’t dry, I’ve left it for 24 hours? Is it only certain brands that you can use on raw polymer to do this kind of thing? I’m using Windsor Newton as that’s what I had a small set of.

Gillian Copsey
Gillian Copsey
4 years ago

Hi Debbie, great Raised Texture tutorial. I can’t wait to have a go at this, but before I do, can I please ask which kind of gold paint you used here? Tia x

Tracey Lowe
Tracey Lowe
3 years ago
Reply to  Gillian Copsey

Yeah I found the same problem with an Aldi brand of acrylics. I don’t know why. So I now use Matisse or Jo Sonja.

4 years ago

I always love getting our updates and tutorials and glad you are relating the titles to what it’s about. I keep updating my pinterest boards and titles to make it easier for me to find what I am looking for. Once spring vegetable planting season crush is over I am looking forward to trying some of your tips and methods.

Deborah Goodrow
Deborah Goodrow
4 years ago

Hummm…. what an interesting way to use silkscreens! I’ll have to give this a try, because the result is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

4 years ago

Hi Debbie !! thanks for teaching us such a lovely class !!! Can bread paste be replaced with grated pastel chalk? muak !!