How to Paint Fantasy Miniatures

Bring realism to your fantasy miniatures, which will spring to life under your skillful hand.


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You Will Need

  • Poster board
  • Desk or workspace
  • Desk lamp
  • Fantasy miniature
  • Small vise
  • Magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe
  • Craft knife
  • Small files
  • White and gray primer
  • Acrylic paints
  • Small paintbrushes
  • Spray sealant
  • Lighted headband magnifier (optional)
  • Awl (optional)
  • Tweezers (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Set up workspace

    Place a piece of poster board on a desk or workspace to catch spills. Use a desk lamp in addition to any overhead lighting.

  2. A lighted headband magnifier is a helpful tool if you plan on doing several miniatures.

  3. Step 2

    Examine and remove imperfections

    Clamp your miniature in the small vise, and examine it with a magnifying glass. Remove any imperfections with the craft knife and a small file.

  4. Step 3


    Cover the miniature with a thin layer of primer. Keep a light hand to avoid filling in finely detailed areas. Use white primer on light-colored models, and gray on darker ones.

  5. Step 4

    Paint from inside out

    Start painting the deepest, most recessed sections first and work your way outward, covering the highest, raised areas last.

  6. Use an awl or tweezers to move paint out of unwanted crevices.

  7. Step 5

    Create shade

    Create depth and shade by going over some areas with watered-down black paint on a dry brush. It will catch in the recesses and bring out details, like musculature, hair, and clothing folds.

  8. Step 6

    Add highlights

    Add highlights by adding some white paint to the color of the area. For example, if your miniature has a silver helmet, add a bit of white paint to silver paint and dab it on to create the illusion of a metallic shine.

  9. Step 7

    Spray seal

    Spray the finished miniature with a matte spray sealant in a well-ventilated area to keep it looking fresh for years to come.

  10. Did you know? The fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons was published in 1974.