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Coloring Easter Bunnies with Soft Pastels

Plaster Bunny Chalkware Tinting

by © Stephie McCarthy

— watch the video here —
Coloring Easter Bunny Figures with soft pastels

We found a new way to color with chalk, eyeshadow, and pencils that, for us, was a lot easier than paint. Our techniques started with tinting DIY plaster bunnies. They look very vintage, but cost so little!

DIY Chalkware

This coloring technique also works on many matte surfaces, like:

bisque ceramic example. stoneware example.air dry clay applique

See more about coloring other matte surfaces here.

Basically, chalks and pencils will work on any unglazed objects like those shown above, especially with the help of an artist's spray we used called Grumbacher (groom-bok-er) which we'll link to below.

See the tutorial on how to make basic chalkware with plaster here.

How to make chalkware

Knowing how difficult it is to paint a figure with a subtle watercolor effect lead us to use the soft pastels and a new technique was born!

How to make chalkware with plaster of paris

Chalk is so much easier to manage than paints! It's easy to blend and mix.

Chalk gives a vintage water-color effect, especially when lightly sanded to make the colors a bit time-worn.

DIY Make a Peter Rabbit Toy

You can use any type of chalk or soft pastel for this technique, even those made for children (like neon colors).

We used the type of chalk that did not feel oily, often called soft pastels.

Artist Chalk for coloring Bisque and Plaster

Check the Price of Soft Pastels Here


Check the Price of Neon Chalk Here

Coloring Resin figures with chalk and pencil

Coloring in progress!

How to Color Ceramics with Chalk and eyeshadow

Coloring our Chalkware Plaster Bunnies

First, we marked this bunny with artist chalk along the back.

Making Beatrix Potter toys DIY

Then we blended the chalk into the figure using swabs. Notice we are holding two swabs at once to form a larger applicator. You may need to to several layers to get an intense color.

How to make Peter Rabbit toys

For the eyes, we simply used a black Sharpie pen. Lightly apply the ink so that it does not bleed.

How to color your ceramics with chalk or markers

Round-out the shape of the eye dot with an ordinary pencil.

How to color bisque ceramics with chalk

For a cheerful look, it's good to use a lot of blusher. We tend to favor neon magenta. Use real cosmetic blush, pink eyeshadow, or artist chalk. Test your colors on scrap plaster first.

How to make Peter Rabbit toys

As you rub the chalk into the figure it may leave crumbs below. You can rub those into the surface too, or you can blow it away with compressed air.

DIY UPaint Bisque using Chalk

check the price of compressed air here

check the price of compressed air

We used several shades of brown for the fur and after blending and lightly sanding with an emory board on the high points, we added another light shade of brown on top.

Lots of layers is the trick for getting intense colors.

How to color a bunny realistically

This beautiful figure cost less than $10 and we think she looks like a million!

Eyeshadow comes in multiple shades of green, brown blue, even more so than artists' chalks. We tested eyeshadows on scrap plaster to make sure they would not contain metallics. The mica powders are lovely, though, and will work on projects where sparkle is desired.

Coloring Ceramics with Eyeshadow

Check the price of the eyeshadow set here

Coloring crafts with eyeshadow

Most of the bunny shown below was tinted with eyeshadow. As you can see, you can scratch away the tints to make details in white show through the chalk surface. Here we are adding details to the basket with a sharp sculpting tool.

How to make vintage looking chalkware

An ordinary emory board was used to create wear marks on the body of the bunny. It sanded away some of the coloring. This really gave the pieces a time-worn look.

How to make antique chalkware replicas

Rather than use just one shade of brown, we blended many shades in patches that would merge together.

Coloring a Peter Rabbit Figurine

Peter's signature color comes from his blue jacket.

How to make a Peter Rabbit toy

You can use one shade of bright blue for his jacket, however, we blended quite a few in spots that merged together. Multiple layers is the key to this antique watercolor effect.

How to make Beatrix Potter toys

The rest of Peter's colors were browns and pinks, plus black Sharpie pen for the eye. See the test plaster disk in the background? It's a good idea to test every color first!

Coloring the Benjamin Bunny Figurine

The bunny shown below is inspired by Benjamin Bunny from the Beatrix Potter stories. He'll soon be wearing a green knitted tam o' shanter and a red handkerchief (like in the story). We made these accessories with clay and spackling. The base was shaped in dog food packaging.

How to make Beatrix Potter figures

We primed the clay pieces before gluing and when it was dry, we added more spackling to connect the hat to Benjamin's crown

Beatrix Potter dolls DIY.

The white on Benjamin's kerchief was scratched into the red chalk. The pom-pom on his hat was made with real threads.


The chalk and eyeshadow seem to bond with the plaster over time as the chalkware becomes harder, however, you can top coat these figurines with a product like Grumbachers Fixative found in Michaels or HobbyLobby art supplies.

There is also a workable fixative available on Amazon, check the price of it here —

check the price of Grumbacher fixative here

We found that we could continue to add colors after spraying with the Final Fixative, as well. It can be used to make more intense colors on ceramics that are not quite as matte as fresh plaster chalkware.

Coloring Thrift Shop Bisque or Resin Pieces

We found pieces in thrift shops with the similar texture as our plaster of paris creations, and others that were more like stoneware. These matte surfaces can also be tinted using the same techniques.

More on coloring thrift pieces here!

How to color stoneware with soft pastels

Below, bisque candle holder before.

How to Tint Bisque with Chalk

… and after.

Coloring bisque ceramics with soft pastels

— see a video on this craft here —

coloring bisque and stoneware with soft pastels

See our tutorial on how to color silk flowers with chalk

Coloring faux flowers with chalk by Stephie McCarthy

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