Home Custom Artists Custom Vinylmation Tips and Tutorials with @ArtistAaralyn : Painting

Custom Vinylmation Tips and Tutorials with @ArtistAaralyn : Painting


Now that you’ve prepped your vinylmation and allowed it to dry, the next step is priming the vinylmation. When I created Mike the Tiger Mickey, I decided not to prime. Trying to draw my design directly onto the CYO with a pencil was a challenge for me. The lines were faint and rubbed off easily. I prime all my customs white now for this reason. It also generally takes fewer coats of paint to cover a primed custom.

Removing Paint from a Vinylmation

For a first time custom artist, I highly recommend using a CYO for your custom instead of a Disney designed vinylmation. However, if you have a vinylmation with a design already on it, like the Easter Bunny in the first tutorial, it can add additional steps to the process.

When painting over the 3” Sea Creatures Octopus mold, I noticed after almost finishing my custom, that I could still see the tentacles when the light hit the custom. No matter how many coats of paint I added, since the tentacles were slightly raised on the design, their outline still showed. I had to sand the paint of the tentacles off, which was no fun. Other custom artists use acetone (nail polish remover).

Priming the Vinylmation

I prime by brush with Vallejo Game Color White primer. Many custom artists use spray primer like Krylon. White acrylic paint can also be used. As a word of warning, white paint is generally one of the hardest paints to work with. It has a tendency to become thick and clumpy. You may have to dilute it with a few drops of water.

A good, smooth prime job can lay the foundation for better paint application. Test whatever primer you use and become familiar with its application before putting it on your custom.

Drawing the Design onto the Vinylmation

After the primer dries well (products vary), I sketch the design previously done on paper onto the vinylmation mold. Keep in mind that the design may have to be slightly modified on the 3D mold.

Painting the Vinylmation

As I wrote in the materials article, I recommend acrylic paint for doing custom work.

Here are some general painting tips:

– Shake your paints well before using them.

When mixing paint, it takes less paint to make a lighter color darker than to make a darker color lighter. For example, when mixing light blue, it takes less paint to add drops blue to white than to take a dark blue color and add lots of white. When mixing paint, I buy small paint pots to keep the colors useable to paint more coats. Cover your paint as soon as you are done using it.

– Multiple thin, smooth coats generally work better than one thick coat, unless you are going for a certain style. Some colors will need more layers, like the infamous yellow.

– Mistakes can be corrected with more paint layers. And every artist makes mistakes. 🙂

– If the paint starts drying on the brush while painting, dip the brush in water and gently wipe the brush on a paper towel.

– Some paints might be thick. If the application is clumpy, drops of water can be added (amount depends on how much paint has been poured out). Experiment if needed to find a perfect balance between clumpy and watery.

– Brushes that are well taken care of will last longer. When bristles start to fray away from the center, they can be trimmed with a scissors.

In my final article next week, I’ll discuss finishing the Vinylmation, which will include information about sealing your custom. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments below!

As always, feel free to follow Aaralyn or you can check out her awesome custom Vinylmations at any of the links below:
Facebook Page at: www.facebook.com/customsbyaaralyn
Her website at: www.customsbyaaralyn.com

Twitter: @ArtistAaralyn www.twitter.com/artistaaralyn

Finally, if you have any questions for Aaralyn, feel free to ask them in the comments sections below.


  1. As always, I get a lot of good infor from your articles. I like the step-by steps you do. Thank you for writing these.

    You don’t need to tell me twice about painting white. I found out very early in my career (painting historical miniatures) that if you wanted to stay sane sometimes the easiest way to paint white (if it is over a darker color/surface) is to basecoat in a khaki or a very light grey and work your way to the shade desired. This is an extra step in the process, but for beginners, may help (IMHO).

    One thing to keep in mind is that when you start with a basecoat of khaki you end up with a warmer shade of “white” when you finish, while you get a cooler shade when you base in grey.

  2. That’s a great tip Alex, thanks for sharing! I don’t know what it is about white, but it sure can be a pain!

    And you’re welcome! Thanks so much for reading my series! I’m glad you are finding the articles helpful. 🙂

  3. A few questions: how to do you get colors to blend on such a tight area using acrylic paints? I have issues getting colors to blend/look natural on the vinyl.

    Also, how do you get fine detail lines without endless clean up? I’m using 3/0, 2/0 and 10/0 brush sizes and I keep running into tedious, uneven detail lines.

  4. I mix colors, but I haven’t done lots of color blending. Most of my pieces are solid colors separated by lines. If you want a gradual transition from one color to another on the vinylmation, I would try practicing some blending on paper and using trial and error to achieve the look you want.

    I do my lines with a 3/0 and a 4/0 brush. I do have to clean up my lines from time to time, but my advice would be to control your breathing and try to keep a very steady hand. For fine detail, I generally paint while exhaling slowly. Also, detail work is hard for me to do when frustrated, so if you have setbacks that frustrate you, I would stop painting for awhile and take a break.

    Hope this helps!

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