Painting Boris: You won’t believe what this person does to this 3D print

Sorry for the “Upworthy” style heading. I couldn’t help it. :p

Over the weekend, I had time to enjoy the simple pleasures of painting, relaxing and watching this 3D printed character come to life. It was a welcome change to spend the days doing something that did not involve the computer. I sat out on the verandah watching the afternoon sun, pulled out my tubes of paint that I, sadly, had not touched in YEARS, and set about getting back to the basics. Hopefully I can give some tips on painting SWF (Strong White and Flexible) models.

First, one last look at Boris in his raw, freshly printed state:

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First things first. I am using Acrylic paint…it is water soluble and leaves no toxic after-smell unlike enamels. I wanted to paint a primer coat of grey Acrylic paint down. This serves to provide a more sealed surface for painting later, fill in the slightly rough surface of the model and add a nice base to make the colored coats “pop” more. Trust me when I say that the model will take much more paint than you first imagine. I took an old jar and filled it with some grey paint that I mixed myself using black and white acrylic:


This allowed me to have enough left over, not just for this project, but for any future project that I may find myself needing to prime. It helps to have a small brush with short, stiff enough hairs. to allow you to work the paint into the model, yet, soft enough to get into those tight spaces. I am using a #2 Flat and a #2 Shader with synthetic hair.I work in short meticulous strokes, making sure to “push” paint into the model to give it a good seal and smooth it over so it doesn’t “glob” on the surface. you want a nice relatively even coat.

One section at a time is the key, that way you can ensure every nook and cranny gets a good coat. I started on his legs and arms first. That way I had most of the body to hold while I painted.
Not too much paint, not too little; not too watered down either, just enough to make it flow. The SWF material has a sort of “capillary action” that sucks paint into itself. If it’s too watery it will just suck all the paint in and not cover the model properly. As I said before, this will take more paint than you think.

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After the first coat and he looks a little something like this. Don’t worry about getting everything Absolutely covered. You will be putting on a second coat of primer.

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I had printed the accessories separately to allow me to be able to paint around them neatly. They would be glued on after being totally painted.


DAY 2:

Patience is KEY! Don’t rush anything. I set the model to sit overnight to allow it to dry completely. The second coat is pretty much like the first; Short meticulous brush-strokes, one section at a time, not too much paint, not too little. Make sure you distribute paint EVENLY. Patience…meticulousness and attention to detail. Become one with the paint…allow your mind to flow with the paint….Breathe.

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A little mockup with the extra bits that will be glued on later. The lighter areas are places where the paint hadn’t dried as yet:



Now I mixed another Jar of the base green that made up the majority of Boris. Again, I set the model down for a few hours and began again in the evening. Once again, same process. Short, deliberate, brush-strokes…patience. This time, I made sure to use the green in it’s almost original state, meaning, not mixing with too much water, more thick than thin. Don’t load the brush up too much. It’s not a race…small sections. Experience and practice will eventually tell you how much paint, where and when:


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This project may wreak havoc on your brush and toussle the hairs a bit. As stated before; the surface is a tad rough…so don’t use an expensive brush that has sentimental value to you. That will come later.

Looking big, mean and green:



Because of the primer coat, one good solid coat of green was enough. There were a few areas that needed touching up here and there, but nothing too much. Now for the REALLY meticulous stuff. This is where a good brush comes in. I used a natural-hair, fine liner brush for the face details. This bit required a steady hand and good eyesight. if you use glasses, slap em on. If that isn’t enough, get a magnifying glass. For most of the face, I used a #0, fine liner brush. For the painting in of the eyes and pupils, I used a #0 that I had cut most of the hairs off of…making the brush literally just a few hairs thin. Again, patience, quiet and focus are required here.

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By the end of day, Boris was pretty much almost completed. I had painted base colors on all the small accessory bits as well and left them to dry overnight. They required less finesse, as most of the pieces are meant to look like mossy tree-bark. So a little texturing here and there with a dry brush was enough to give a good effect.

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DAY 3:

The third day involved a few touchups here and there, some contouring; adding shadows and highlights and a bit of texture to the skin. All in all a fun project. I will have to add his loin-cloth at a later date. I may even have it 3D printed as well. Would be nice to have everything totally 3D printed. Here are a few more pics of Boris as he is now.


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Side-note: I added some clear nail polish to add shine to the hooves, claws and the eyes. I hope you enjoyed this picture journey of my painting process. Feel free to ask any questions.




6 thoughts on “Painting Boris: You won’t believe what this person does to this 3D print

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