Cold Porcelain Tips & Tricks

by Guest Author Kathryn Gray of Templewood Miniatures

Cold Porcelain paste is a lovely medium to work with.  It does not have to be oven baked as it air dries – depending on the air humidity,  it becomes completely dry between 2 – 3 hours.

Cold Porcelain can be rolled and worked  much finer than pastes which have to be oven baked.  It has a shrinkage rate of about 12%.

Cold Porcelain dries out very quickly and must always be wrapped tightly in cling film and then placed in a plastic bag which is then put into an airtight box when not being used.

It is important that a small quantity of white acrylic paint is added to the CP paste as you mix it - even if you intend to colour the paste -  or it will be translucent when it dries.  The semi-transparent characteristic of homemade Cold Porcelain is lovely if you want to make the aerial roots on orchids but not for anything else.  White should be done before any other


Adding color to Cold Porcelain Paste

Bunny by Mary in Oregon following a tutorial
seen in Porcelana Fria magazine

Your homemade cold porcelain paste can be tinted with a variety of products or the finished, cured figure can be painted.  Acrylic paints can be added to raw paste for tinting.   Craft acrylics will give you softer color, while artists acrylics, which have more pigment, will give you a stronger color.     Oil paints may also be used.

Colorants used for cake decorating work well to tint the raw paste also.  To get a really delicate color, dust with a product called 'Petal Dust' (which is powdered food coloring) using a soft dry brush and then hold in the steam of a kettle. The porcelain will absorb the color.

Pastel chalks can also be used.   Use a razor to scrape powder from a pastel stick and use to tint raw clay or use the pastel chalks to 'paint' cured figure.   Many artists will use the powders or pastels for shading and highlighting, such as that done for the bear shown above.    Powdered make-up, eye shadows, etc, can also be used in a manner similar to pastels and powders.

Colored pencils and fine-line paint markers can also be used to draw thin lines, such as eyebrows and eyelashes.      Use your imagination and do some sample tests.   As you can see, you can paint or tint the paste with almost any kind of coloring medium.   Use some scrap clay to test color tints....some will dry darker, some will dry lighter.

Remember, all air-dry clay and cold porcelain figures need to be sealed with a clear top coat.    A layer or two of varnish will seal the colors and help protect against dirt and moisture.   Any type of sealer found in the craft department (usually for tole painting) would probably work just fine.    I like to use a spray Krylon matte finish.  Whether to use brush-on or spray-on is a personal choice, however, if you have painted details on your finished figure, use a spray sealer to fix the paint or it may smudge.   You can use a brush-on sealer on top of that, if desired.


Recipes to make your own cold porcelain paste

Cold porcelain is an air-drying clay (also called 'paste') ideal for making flowers and figures.  It can be purchased commercially (although hard to find in USA) or can be made at home.   Cold porcelain has a much finer finish than bread dough or even polymer clay.   When making flowers, you can get wafer thin petals.  When making figures, you can use Styrofoam shapes as armatures.

There are many different recipes for cold porcelain but basically it is made with cornstarch, glue, oil and preservatives.   The paste is cooked on the stove or in the microwave for a short time and then kneaded until smooth. 


Hello world!

This blog will be about crafting cute kritters and kids with homemade or purchased cold porcelain paste.  We'll feature cold porcelain recipes and tutorials.   We'll also spotlight artists making some very cute dolls, animals and other cute figures! 

Cold porcelain is extremely popular for sculpting figures and crafting flowers in South America (and a few other countries) but it has only recently made it's way to the USA.   Because of that, most tutorials and other information are in Spanish-language magazines and on Spanish or Portuguese websites.   We're going to do our best to make a great cold porcelain resource for the English-speaking audience.

We'll be focusing on dolls and figures, for the most part.   I know of many websites devoted to clay flowers and I don't want to repeat their efforts....but we'll share some links so you can go take a look!  Let us know what you'd like to see here!