The Best Paint for Air Dry Clay [Reviews & Updated]

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Air-dry clay is a popular crafting material among DIY enthusiasts and kids due to its ease of use, versatility, and affordability. Once dry, you can paint the air-dry crafts with vibrant colors and transform them into masterpieces.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, every craft is precious. We understand. That’s why, to add a new dimension to your crafts, we are here with the best paint for air dry clay that we consider ideal choices for your artsy taste.

best paint for air dry clay
Image by Алексей Громов from Pixabay

Stay with us as we explore those paint sets to give you a clear idea about them so that you can easily pick any product that will be the right fit for your next air dry clay project.

7 Best Paint for Air Dry Clay Reviews

Painting air dry clay is a tricky task. You should have ideal paints for this project. We have picked some of the suitable paints for air-dry clays.

1. Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint Set for Kids & Adults

Whether you are a seasoned air-dry clay craft expert, or you are just starting out, this Benicci Complete Acrylic Paint Set is the ideal choice for you. This set is packed with almost everything you need to DIYer.

It comes with 12 brushes, a set of 24 12ml paint tubes, a mixing art knife, and a sponge, just the things you need to get your hands dirty on your next air-dry clay painting project!

Since this set features 12x non-shed nylon art brushes, it can be an ideal choice for projects that require complex and detailed brush strokes. This set is an amazing choice for any artist, DIYer, craft enthusiast kid, or adult.


  • Comes with almost all the necessary paints and tools for air-dry clay crafting.
  • Features non-shed nylon art brushes that are compatible with oil and watercolor.
  • The paint is easy to use and clean, making it a beginner-friendly option.


  • Use the paint quickly for a better result.

Our Verdict: This set can be an ideal choice for seasoned pros and beginners. For beginners who are just starting out air-dry clay painting, we highly recommend this product for them due to its easy-to-use and wide variety of paint and tool options.

2. MyArtscape Acrylic Paint Set – Artist Quality Painting Supplies

Quality paint has always been the “best friend” of any DIY painter. If you have tons of air-dry clay crafts waiting to get an artsy touch from you, this MyArtscape acrylic paint set is waiting to be your best friend for the rest of your life!

The colors are vivid and vibrant and are ideal for any craft painting project, especially air-dry clay painting. This professional quality paint set features 12 high-quality paint that is an ideal choice for any small-scale craft painting project.

And not only on clays, but this acrylic paint can also be used on wood, ceramic, fabric, canvas, metal, paper, nails, and so on, opening a window for endless creativity!


  • The paints can be used on a wide variety of surfaces.
  • The paint contains non-toxic materials, making it safe to use.
  • The compact size of the tubes makes them ideal for carrying anywhere.


  • This is not a good choice as heavy body paint.

Our Verdict: The paints blend easily and provide a rich finish. So, this acrylic paint set can be ideal for you if you want professional-quality paints for your air-dry clay painting project.

3. Aen Art Acrylic Paint Set, Rich Pigments for Beginners

Air dry clay crafts look more beautiful when you shower them with a myriad of colors. This Aen acrylic painting kit has 16 colors to leave your imagination reeling.

Each paint tubes contain acrylic paints that are smooth and produce a beautiful finish. The high viscosity of the paint allows you to create stunning air-dry clay crafts. The paint is easy to use, which makes it a great choice for kids and adults who are just starting out painting and DIY crafting.

Since the product is non-toxic, the paints can be used without health concerns. The paint is suitable for various surfaces including masonry, wood, paper, glass, clay, fabric, porcelain, and so on.


  • Compact paint tubes are easy to carry and store.
  • The paint works on a wide variety of surfaces including fabric and leather.
  • The painting set is easy to use, so it is a suitable option for beginner DIYers.


  • Smaller tubes, not suitable for larger projects.

Our Verdict: If you want to purchase a paint set that includes a lot of colors and suffices for multiple air-dry clay painting projects, this paint set can be a go-to option for you.

4. Tavolozza Acrylic Paint Set for Artists Beginners and Kids

Air-dry clay crafts are like small pieces from the craftsman’s own life. And to add colors to those pieces, you need a paint set packed with vibrant colors.

Perhaps you should take a look at the Tavolozza acrylic paint set that comes with 20 acrylic paints of vivid colors. The set also comes with a palette and 3 brushes sealed in a plastic box, making it an ideal choice for carrying around easily.

In terms of color and coverage, the rich, thick pigments provide amazing coverage and an excellent finish. The paints can be blended in easily, making them easier to work with and complete projects smoothly. Lastly, you can use this paint on a wide variety of surfaces, from canvas to glass to plastic.


  • The painting set comes in a plastic box, so it is suitable for carrying.
  • Can be used on a wide range of surfaces including glass and ceramic.
  • The set is easy to use, so it is a suitable option for beginners.


  • Use it quickly after purchase, it can dry faster.

Our Verdict: Since it is easy to use, makes an amazing finish, and can be applied to a wide range of surfaces, we highly recommend this to beginners who are starting out with air-dry clay painting.

5. Chalkola Acrylic Painting Supplies Kit

If you are looking for a professional painting set for your next DIY painting project, this Chalkola acrylic paint set is the thing you need.

This set is packed with 24 professional paint tubes, 1 palette, 10 brushes, and 5 canvases; almost everything you need as an artist. This paint set is an ideal choice for not only adults but for kids because it is ASTM D 4236 & EN71 certified, making it a safer option to work with.

Another great thing about the paint tubes is that they are individually marked with useful information like color name, light fastness, pigment code, opacity, and so on, helping you to add brushstrokes that produce accurate and expected colors.


  • The set offers 10 different style brushes.
  • Paint tubes are labeled with useful information.
  • Works on plastic, clay, glass, wood, and so on.


  • The product seems a bit expensive.

Our Verdict: If you want a professional finish on your craft, or you want to gift someone a complete acrylic painting set, we highly recommend this product.

6. Delta Creative Ceramcoat Acrylic Paint in Assorted Colors

If you are looking for rich paint that will dry to a matte finish, take a look at the Delta Creative ceramcoat acrylic paint. This amazing paint comes in a rich, creamy formula that provides beautiful coverage and dries to a nice matte finish.

Since the color dries to a matte finish, it can be a great choice for applying as a base coat. You can even do stamping, stenciling, and more with this paint. The paints come in over 200 different colors, allowing you to paint air-dry clay projects with vivid, stunning colors and finishes.

Plus, the paint can be applied to a wide variety of surfaces including terra-cotta, wood, traditional canvas, and more.


  • The colors dry to a nice matte finish, making them ideal for base coating.
  • Can be applied easily and cleaned up easily with soap and water.
  • The paint products are certified as non-toxic.


  • Some bottles may not provide actual shade.

Our Verdict: If your painting project requires a wide range of colors, this Delta Creative acrylic paint can be a great choice for you.

7. ARTISTRO Acrylic Paint for Wood, Fabric, Clay, Ceramic & Crafts

Are you looking for an art kit that contains everything you need to get started with air-dry clay painting? If yes, then take a look at the ARTISTRO 24 colors acrylic paint set. It’s got almost everything you need for an air-dry clay painting project.

It comes with 22 22ml paint tubes, 3 brushes, and a palette. One thing you will love about this set is its 2 larger paint tubes. Since you need to use black and white frequently, this kit features 50ml black and white color tubes, just perfect for using frequently.

Another great thing about the tubes is that they come with color names, color fastness ratings, transparency levels, and pigment codes on individual tubes, making them a convenient choice for beginners and seasoned artists.


  • Features 2 large volume 50ml black and white color tubes for frequent uses.
  • Each tube contains colorfastness ratings, transparency levels, and pigment codes.
  • Features mood-enlightening stickers for customization.


  • The lids can break with a little bit extra pressure.

Our Verdict: This set offers some added benefits that made us fall in love with it. Its extra volume of black and white paint tubes will surely benefit the artist for a longer time. And the color information on the tubes will give you a sense of the color you are using on your project.

How to Choose the Right Paint for Air Dry Clay?

When it comes to choosing paint for air dry clay, you have plenty of options on your hand, from pastel chalk to oil paint. However, this may lead you to confusion. No worries, the tips below can help you choose the best paint for air-dry clay painting.

  • First, you should consider the clay you are using. It can be made of different types of material, and their color absorption rate will be different. So, before you jump into picking a color, take a look at the material first.
  • Secondly, if you want the paint to dry on a specific finish like glossy or matte, etc., you should use paints that will dry to your desired finish. For instance, acrylic paint can dry to a matte finish.
  • Now, coming to colors. If you want a solid, beautiful, single color on your craft, you can dye the clay with pigment before the shape dries. Alternatively, there are pre-colored air-dry clays available, you can pick them for your project.
  • If you desire a solid bright look on your project, go for acrylic, poster, or tempera paints. Alternatively, you can use food coloring, they are most likely to produce the same results.
  • If you want to clean the craft easily, using oil paints will not be a good idea. However, this type of paint can be good for a deep color. High-quality acrylic can also be a good option for vivid, deep coloring.
  • You can give it a try with pastel chalk for lighter results.
  • If you want to paint your craft and don’t want to spend a lot of money, watercolor can be the ideal option for you. However, you will get a subtle finish.

What Paint Is Best for Air Dry Clay?

Different types of paint are suitable for air-dry clay. However, some are more effective and easier to work with compared to others. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective options to paint air-dry clay.

Acrylic Paint: When it comes to painting air-dry clay crafts, we say, nothing’s more suitable than acrylic paint. This type of paint comes in a wide range of colors. They are easy to use and clean, making them an ideal choice for both professionals and beginners. These paints are even suitable for kids.

Acrylic paint dries relatively quickly and provides a beautiful finish. If you are a beginner who is just starting out painting, we highly suggest you give it a try with acrylic paint first, before getting your hands dirty with other types of paint.

Tempera Paint: Tempera paint is another great option for air-dry clay projects. Tempera paint is very easy to work with, making it a suitable option for kids, beginners, and seasoned pros. This type of paint mixes well and dries relatively quickly.

And not only on air-dry clay, but this paint also works on a wide range of surfaces. So, you can even try other projects with this paint.

Watercolor: Watercolor provides a subtle and beautiful finish. If you want to decorate your crafts with budget-friendly paint, watercolor can be the ideal option for you. Watercolor comes in a myriad of colors, so there is no limit to your imagination. However, this paint may not be an optimal choice for air-dry craft if we compare it with the previous two.

Oil Paint: Using oil paint for clay painting is okay, but you will need to be prepared for “not so easy” cleaning. Plus, after applying the paint, you will need to wait for a longer time compared to others. Nevertheless, good quality oil paint can provide a beautiful finish.

Spray Paint: Spray paint can leave a beautiful finish on your craft. We recommend this only if you are familiar with this painting method. If you are a beginner, or you are gifting paint to a kid, this paint is not recommended.

Can You Paint Straight onto Air Dry Clay?

Yes, you can paint straight onto air dry clay. However, for optimal results, you should do something more. Painting straight onto clay is possible, but the result may not last as long if you take some preparations and then paint the craft. For long-lasting results, you can do the following:

  • First, you should sand the surface very gently.
  • Clean the dust and debris using a paintbrush or tack cloth.
  • Apply primer for better paint adhesion.
  • Apply the desired paint after the primer is properly dry.

How Do You Paint Air Dry Clay?

Here is a step-by-step method for painting air-dry clay crafts. But first, gather these supplies:

  • Acrylic paint
  • A palette
  • Paintbrushes (different sizes)
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth

Step 1: Prepare the surface

Though you can paint directly on the clay, it’s best to prepare the surface for optimal results. Before you get started, make sure your craft is completely dry. You need to sand the surface of the craft very gently. Be careful not to damage the minute details.

If you fear you’ll damage the details, you can skip this step. Once you are done sanding, clean the dust and debris with a tack cloth or a dry paintbrush.

Step 2: Apply primer (optional)

For better paint adhesion and optimal results, you can apply a good-quality primer that is suitable to apply on the clay project. Apply the primer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is completely optional, so you may skip it if you want.

Step 3: Apply the paint

If you chose to apply the primer, proceed to this step only after you make sure the primer is completely dry. First, pour the paint onto the palette and use it from there instead of taking it directly from the tube or paint bottle. This will make your work easier.

Keep different types of brushes around since you will need to cover different areas of the craft. For example, for a narrow area, a small brush will be an optimal choice. If you are applying multiple colors, try applying the lighter color first. If you need multiple coats, make sure each coat is properly dry before applying the next.

Step 4: Apply a sealant

Lastly, to preserve your precious work, apply a good-quality sealant once the paint dries properly. Before applying a sealant, make sure it is suitable to be used on air-dry clay crafts.

What Gloss Should You Use for Air Dry Clay?

To add shine to your freshly painted craft, you can apply a good quality varnish or paint sealer. Make sure to pick a gloss that is compatible with the paint. And don’t compromise the quality for the price, because low-quality varnish or paint sealer can cause the paint to bleed or smear.

Additionally, make sure the sealer is non-toxic and safe for children if the craft is intended to be used around kids.

Final Thoughts

Air dry clay is a versatile medium to express your creativity. It’s a beginner-friendly medium that is loved by professionals, DIY enthusiast adults, and kids. Painting adds color and vibrancy to the crafts. With the right paint and techniques, you can preserve your work for years.

Paint plays one of the most important roles to transform an ordinary craft into a masterpiece. In this blog, we talked about some amazing painting sets for coloring air-dry clay crafts that are ideal for professional use and sending as a gift to a DIYer. Be sure to check them out and pick the one that suits your next masterpiece.

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