3D Clay Painting



Introduction: 3D Clay Painting

About: I am an artist, author, and collector of smiling frogs.

The coconuts in this painting might look real, but don't pick them. By incorporating clay into two-dimensional paintings, you can create 3D art that is both playful and eye-catching. Try it and see for yourself.

Step 1:

Using a picture of a coconut palm tree for reference, make a rough pencil sketch onto the blank canvas.
Paint the background blue and white to resemble the sky. 

Step 2:

Paint the tree trunk and palm fronds as shown, leaving open white space for the coconuts.
A fan brush works well to create the individual leaves of the palm fronds.

Step 3:

To make 3D coconuts:

Crumple aluminum foil as shown and shape it to resemble a cluster of coconuts.
Be sure to keep the bottom of the coconut cluster flat.

Step 4:

Roll green and yellow clay together intil it is about 1/4" in thickness. 

Step 5:

Place an aluminum coconut piece on the clay and completely cover the foil.
Cut off excess clay with slicer blade.
Smooth clay over the bumps in the aluminum foil until they look like coconuts.
(Be sure that the bottom of the coconut cluster is flat so that it can be easily glued later to the canvas.)

Step 6:

Using a clay tool, press flat end into the clay to help shape the coconuts.
Use the side of the clay tool to make score marks on the coconuts.
Make 4 clusters of coconuts.

Step 7:

For trunk:

Roll out a package of brown clay to a 1/4" thickness.
With the slicer blade, cut out 4 long triangles.
Hold the triangles next to the trunk and cut them to size.

Step 8:

For top of tree trunk:

Roll out a long thin snake of brown clay.
Cut off 2" pieces and taper at both ends as shown.
Using the slicer blade, cut a small portion of the clay piece off vertically to form a flat surface.
(The flat surface is needed so that these pieces will adhere easily to the canvas after they are baked.)

Step 9:

To make palm frond leaves:

Roll out a piece of green clay until it is about 1/4" in thickness.
Using a slicer blade, cut clay to resemble a palm frond leaf, tapering it on either end as shown.
With a clay tool, score a line down the middle of the leaf.

Step 10:

Using your index finger and thumb, gently pinch the palm frond leaf together at intervals to add some shape.

Step 11:


Put the clay pieces in a glass baking dish.
Bake according to the instructions on the clay package. 

Step 12:

After baking, arrange the cooled clay pieces on the painting.
Put glue on the bottom of each piece and place it directly onto the canvas.
Allow a few minutes for the clay pieces to dry in place.

Step 13:

Using green and yellow paint on a fan brush, gently sweep each palm frond leaf to blend them into the painting.

Step 14:

With the detail brush and Sculpey gloss, glaze all of the clay pieces.

Step 15:

Now your 3D painting is ready to be displayed!

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