How to Paint Raptor Claws like Real Fossils


Painted Triassica Deinonychus Claw by Victoria Barron Art

See what you can achieve with Craft Gifts from TRIASSICA

In this post: Learn how to paint replica dinosaur claws from the comforts of home. Prepare to be blown away by the realistic results that you can achieve using this simple step-by-step guide!

In the nick of time for Christmas we launched our first ever gift range. Within the range are real fossils as well as replica pieces, but also there are some craft boxes, these are replica claws/teeth fresh out of our moulds, just waiting for an adventurous fossil fan to paint them at their leisure using the paints and brush supplied.  You can see them here.

Last month we met Vicky through our Facebook page, a freelance artist with a passion for dinosaurs (check out her FB page > @VictoriaBarronArt ).  Vicky is a self declared crafty-craft person who purchased a craft box of her own.

A few days later Vicky sent us some pics of her finished pieces, the results blew us away!  We just had to know how she did it, so, we sent her some more replica claws and asked if she would put together a guide to share with other crafty-craft people...

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@VictoriaBarronArt accepting our challenge with class!


Everything written here onwards is entirely the work of @VictoriaBarronArt and we are forever grateful to her.

All images are Copyrighted material of Vicky's used with her expressed permission.

Things you need to know before you start!

  • Your work surface (and your hands!) are going to get messy. Make sure you paint these wearing old clothes and put newspaper down on your table surface.

  • It helps to have a few small to medium size synthetic paintbrushes on hand as these are hard wearing and handle acrylic paints perfectly.

  • Experiment with your paint colours on a scrap of paper before painting your replicas. Try mixing up different shades to see which ones you like the best. Black and white for grey, a little black with brown for dark brown, grey and brown for a dusty colour etc. You will find acrylic dries fairly quickly so if you're mixing up many trial colours you might want to write a note next to them so you remember the colours/quantities used in order to replicate it.

  • Don't worry If you're unhappy with how the paintwork has turned out. Acrylic is water based so you can always carefully scrub the paint away, let the cast dry and start again

  • Do an image search for 'tooth fossils' or 'claw fossils' for colour ideas. There is a huge array of tones and styles to paint up your replica casts. No one way is the 'right' way so you can either pick the style in advance or simply have fun, get painting and see how the cast turns out!

  • Use a clear, matt varnish to coat the casts when you are finished painting them. This helps to stop paint chipping or rubbing away.


Jump to:
Utahraptor Claw | Chirostenotes Claw | Deinonychus Claw

Utahraptor Claw

Chirostenotes Replica Claw from Triassica by Victoria Barron Art

 

Oh boy, this is a super claw! At about 18cm tall it's nice to have a large working area for some interesting tones to come through. This Utahraptor claw has been painted up to resemble dusty museum fossils. With the paints supplied (only brown and black used) you will need:

  • Some white chalk
  • A small hammer or rolling pin
  • A sponge or some kitchen roll
  • Paintbrush (medium or large)
  1. Check your fresh cast for rough production edges. I used some fine sandpaper here to lightly remove some excess edging near the base of the claw.
    Paints and a small brush are included in Triassica craft boxes.
  2. Paint a full coat of non-watered black paint. While this dries you can take a few minutes to crush up a stick of chalk. I used an small hammer but a rolling pin will work just as well.
    Make sure the chalk is ground mostly into a powder.
  3. Once your black paint layer has dried take a piece of sponge dipped in water and rub the coating until a fair amount has been removed. The areas you remove will show through lighter on the final piece so it's best to work carefully and slowly without too much water to have more control over the removal. Remember to clean your sponge every so often by dipping it in water and squeezing out the excess.
    The areas you remove will show through lighter on the final piece.
  4. Now, mix some black with some of the medium brown paint. You are looking for a dark brown shade with water added to make it thin and translucent. You can now paint a few watered down layers of this dark brown over the claw cast. Two or three layers should be enough, letting each dry before the next.

  5. When you've reached a colour you're happy with it's time to use that crushed chalk! With your fingers rub the chalk dust over the whole claw. Then dip your fingers in the brown paint water you've been using (this will give the chalk a slight brown tint) and work a watery mix of chalk over the whole claw as this helps get the dust into all the lines and pitted markings.
    Rub the chalk dust over the whole claw then work the brown watery mix all over.
  6. Your claw will initially look quite dark when wet and after a short while it should turn a pale dusty colour all over as it dries.
    It should turn a pale dusty colour all over as it dries.
  7. Use a dry tissue to rub away the excess dust leaving only a small amount behind. Remember, if this item is going to be handled regularly more dust will gradually come away, however you can repeat step 5 and 6 again if need be.
    Remember, if this item is going to be handled regularly more dust will gradually come away.

Product Featured:
Utahraptor Claw Craft Set


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Chirostenotes Claw

This Chirostenotes claw has some gorgeously rough and pitted surface markings making it a fantastic choice for experimenting with paint layers and effects. This claw has been painted to create an effect of iron oxide earth stain with black organic matter.

With the paints supplied (rust, brown and black all used) you will need:

  • A sponge or some kitchen roll
  • Paintbrushes (fine and small/medium)
  • Clear matt varnish (optional)
  1. Check your fresh cast for rough production edges using fine sandpaper to lightly remove any if necessary.
    Paints and a small brush are included in Triassica craft boxes.
  2. Paint a full coat of non-watered rust coloured paint. This cast has lots of little marks so it's good to take some time to work the paint into all these areas so you no longer see any of the white cast.
    This cast has lots of little marks so it's good to take some time to work the paint into all these areas.
  3. Once your rust coloured paint layer has dried take a piece of sponge dipped in water and rub the coating until a fair amount has been removed. Since this claw is not too big you don't have to be too specific with the paint removal.
    You don't have to be too specific with the paint removal.
  4. Mix some rust and medium brown paint together in a watery, translucent mix. Use a sponge to dab a few thin layers over the claw to make a nice warm-toned base. (This is actually a lovely finish right here and could be sealed with matt clear varnish and left as it is).
    This is actually a lovely finish right here and could be sealed with matt clear varnish and left as it is.
  5. Now mix some medium brown with a tiny amount of black. Water this down as you did with the previous colour and apply one or two layers.
    Mix some medium brown with a tiny amount of black - water this down.
  6. Ok. So, this will seem a strange step but trust me ... it works! Take a sponge dipped in a little water (as you did in step 3) and once again remove a small amount of the paint concentrating in the middle section of the claw.
    Remove a small amount of the paint concentrating in the middle section of the claw.
  7. When the cast is dry add another thin rust coloured layer and use a small paintbrush to fill in any pitted areas with black, brown or a mixture of both. The earthy effect works best when the tip and base of the claw are darker than the middle. When you are finished painting you can choose to seal the claw with clear, matt varnish (great to avoid paint wearing off).
    The earthy effect works best when the tip and base of the claw are darker than the middle.

Oviraptor/Hadrosaurus Claw Craft Set


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BONUS: Deinonychus Claw

 

Note: Vicky went all in on this one and used some different colours but you can get them all (acrylic paints) cheaply at any good craft store.  There aren't any progress pics for this one, sorry!

This amazing Deinonychus claw/toe cast is first choice for claws in my book. In addition to the materials supplied in the craft set you will need:

  • Acrylic paint in white, dark umber brown and stone colours
  • A sponge or some kitchen roll
  • Paintbrushes (fine and small/medium)
  • Clear matt varnish (optional)
  1. Firstly, add a few layers of black acrylic over the whole piece letting each layer fully dry before the next. Now use a sponge dipped in water and gently wipe the paint until eventually only a few darker marks remain at the end point and within the joint areas of the claw.

  2. Add a few watered down layers of a brown paint (warm, reddish brown tones) each time letting the layers partially dry and then wiping them away with a dry sponge, kitchen roll or even your fingers building up a semi translucent colouring.

  3. Now, in the same manner add thin, watered layers of a darker, cooler toned shade of brown ('dark umber' is good). Remember not to remove too much when you get to this stage as you may end up removing all the lovely background tones. The key is to build a depth of colour from many thin layers rather than a few thicker ones.

  4. To add an old dusty museum effect use a stone coloured acrylic (or a small amount of brown and grey). Now add a few very thin watery layers of this in all the cracks and joins patting dry as you go which gives a fine dusty appearance. Let this completely dry and using a thin/fine paintbrush add a more solid colouring of 'dust' into the claw joints, lines and cracks.

  5. You can finish your item with a layer of clear matt varnish but I like to leave it unvarnished for a more dusty feel.

Product Featured:
Deinonychus Claw Craft Set



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2 comments


  • Sally

    Amazing work! The pieces look so real…. very clever!


  • Benjamin

    Fantastic guide, I’m in love with your work already!


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