Click to Print

Three-Dimensional Ethnic Painting

Everyday items, such as fingers, forks and spoons can be used to create this 3-D ethnic painting.

Project by Lana Wilkens from Norman, Okla.

Materials and Tools:

1" pinewood
masonite board
electric saw
light green latex paint
acrylic paints: brown, white, peach, black, burnt umber, metallic gold
joint compound or caulk
flat or round paintbrushes
silkscreen with image of your choice
silkscreen medium
paper towels
1 gallon bucket of water
2 large sponges
masking tape
plastic scraper or cardstock scraps
spoon, fork, palette knife or rubber spatula
clear Contact paper
soft cloth


1. Cut 1-inch pinewood into the desired measurements to form the frame.

2. Cut the masonite board into the size of painting desired.

3. Attach the wood to the back of the masonite using a hammer and nails to form the frame.

4. Coat the entire surface, including the sides, three to four times with gesso Dry between coats. Let dry completely.

5. Paint the surface with a light green latex paint. Let dry.

6. Paint lines with brown acrylic paint dividing the surface into squares or rectangles, varying the arrangement. Add white and peach paints to fill in selected areas.

7. Paint a selected ethnic design using black or another dark color so it will show through the layers. Tip: Ethnic designs can be found in books, web searches or during your travels.

8. Trace over the dividing lines with background colors to thin the lines.

9. Brush burnt umber paint over the surface to add an antique finish to the surface. Tip: Wipe excess paint off with paper towels.

10. Tape around the edges of silkscreen print with masking tape. Position the screen over the surface of the painting.

11. Mix a ratio of 1:1 of liquid acrylic paint and silkscreen medium.

12. Working on a surface that can be easily cleaned such as clear Contact paper, pour the mixture of paint and silkscreen medium horizontally across the top of the image near the masking tape.

13. Drag the paint across the screen pressing down lightly with a squeegee.

14. Lift the silkscreen up away from the painting to reveal the image copied onto its surface. Let dry 10 to 15 minutes. Note: This process may be repeated on other paintings if you are working on more than one. Beware that the ink will dry in the screen so work quickly taking no more than a combined time of two minutes before you move to the next step.

15. Remove excess paint from the screen with a scraper. Immediately clean the screen using sponges and water. Rub one sponge on one side of the screen and the other sponge on the other side so that they are pressing against one another to clean the excess paint off of the image. Note: At this point you may screen print the same image again with a different color.

16. Apply premixed joint compound to areas on the painting you would like to build up to add texture. Use a spatula for application. This material does not dry transparent, so put it in areas you would like to build up.

17. Sculpt the areas with your fingers, the end of the paintbrushes, a fork or any household item. Let this dry from 30 minutes to three hours depending on how thick you have applied the compound.

18. When the compound is almost dry you can carve into it with more detail using the same utensils previously used. When the compound is completely dry seal it with gesso. Otherwise it will crack and the paint will not hold onto the surface.

19. Coat the joint compound areas at least seven to eight times completely filling in all the small cracks and corners but leaving the screen print area intact.

20. Apply acrylic paint over this newly prepared area. Use a smaller brush for detail work and paint layers of these relief areas until they mesh with the rest of the painting.

21. Dry brush a small amount of gold paint around relief areas.

Advertisement will not be printed