How to paint skulls?

Have you ever tried to paint a skull? Should you start by drawing or by painting? Are there any steps to follow to paint a skull successfully? We answer you today.

On any decorative event or adding details to some base or miniature, skulls and bones can be of great use. Painting these skulls can be intimidating, but the task can be achieved in a few quick steps. 

Several miniatures like bone totems and skull trophies have different extra details, which give them a bit of extra life and character. Painting them would seem a bit difficult as each has its bit of detail in its manner. One can make it look bizarre and add value to it with great information in very few steps

Before starting the steps, you will surely love to paint this decorative skull and put it in your room.

mexican skull decoration

Steps to paint skulls you need to know about:

You can have a look at the following few steps to be followed for painting the skulls.

  1. Base coating
  2. Wash
  3. Highlighting
  4. Highlighting Brighter
  5. Wash Again

Base Coating:

The first color to be used to base the skull is White Base Menoth by P3. To apply the base coat, you should do it with broad and solid strokes but taking the paint thinly. If in case, the paint is not covering the undercoat immediately, you should not be discouraged. It would need multiple coatings to get a good result of the color on the skull base. 

On the other hand, multiple numbers coats will retain the details of the miniature and would also avoid the paint getting too thick. You can use the Games Workshop's Zandari Dust at this point to paint the rope or twine.  



Agrax Earthshade is a Gloss most commonly used and applied across the twine, skull, and tassels. Once the wash is applied across the skull, a smaller brush is used to remove the glip glops. To remove the discoloration and adverse effects that usually occur, you can pull some of the washouts of the pools.


The first highlighting would start from the first base color used, and all the delicate detail areas would be hit that already covered the wash. This highlighting would include the sockets, cheekbones, nose, and the other regions where the light will catch on the not recessed bone.

Highlighting Brighter

When mixed and applied on the areas highlighted before, two products, Menoth White Highlight and Menoth White Base, will give a smooth texture to brighter highlights that one will use later. It would help pop out the color of the details. This mixture requires a 50/50 proportion. Areas like teeth and ridges, which need to stand out and be brighter, need the Menoth White Highlight.


Wash Again

This last step requires a second coating of wash over the bones and skulls, along with the highlighted areas to slightly knock them down. This step brings out a smooth transition and definition from the highlighting stark. In the end, a matte coating is applied to seal everything in. Any details or look that you want can be adjusted at this point.

Final Thoughts

The previous steps are essential to ease up the skull or bone detail game, You can simply follow these steps or can use a combination of these techniques to paint such miniatures. Below is a video tutorial that will complete and apply the steps we just mentioned; follow the steps easily.

Are you ready to paint your skull?

We could see together the different simplified steps to succeed in your first skull painting; if the result is not up to your expectations, smile and congratulate yourself on the try, and the next time will be even better. You will not stop progressing if you follow the same steps every time.

By practicing, you will develop your reflexes, giving you more confidence in yourself and your masterpiece.

Tell us what you thought of this article in the comments, and feel free to order your decorative skull to paint, choose one with a unique color that you can have fun with, and express your creativity.

decorative skull heads

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.