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Art is a fun way you can relieve stress as well as pass the time. Wood is traditionally used for many crafting ideas; this is due to its strength and versatility as it can be used in many ways from making a jewelry box to a small toy. Painting on wood seems to be a popular DIY crafting project, and for this purpose, you need to make sure you use the best paint for wood crafts. In this article, we will be helping you choose the best paint for wood crafts, making sure your wooden craft project is perfect the first time.
What Paint to Use on Wood Crafts
There are many types of paint for wood, and each paint possesses different characteristics that are suitable for wood surfaces. Let us help you find which one of these craft paints is best for your woodcraft project.
Acrylic paints are the most popular type of paint for different types of woodcraft projects. The paints are water-based, have little to no odor, and are also easy to clean. Acrylic paint has also been referred to as craft paint, because of its versatility as it can easily be applied to many different types of surfaces. Acrylic paints can be used straight from the tube or bottle, or they can be diluted in water, which will give you the washed-out effect. You can mix the paints to achieve any unique color you desire. They are fairly cheap, dry quickly, and come in gloss and matte finishes. Acrylic paints can be mixed to create some very interesting shades and effects, as there are different mediums you can add. For example, pouring medium, which makes the paint less viscous, especially for acrylic pouring techniques.
Acrylic paints are also fairly cheap if bought in small quantities and are ideal for your smaller woodcraft projects.
Latex paints are another excellent option for use on woodcraft projects that have a larger surface area to cover. This type of paint is known for its spreadability and is best applied using a paint roller rather than a paintbrush. Latex paints also have a slight odor and are easy to clean up after you have finished painting. Since latex paints are more suited for larger areas, they come in larger containers of one gallon, which makes them cheaper than acrylic paints that are sold in smaller containers of one or two-ounce bottles.
Latex paints are also more suited for outdoor projects, as they provide more durability and weather resistance. Latex paints are used for furniture like cabinets and cabinet shelves, which are found in bathrooms where there is a lot of moisture. You also need to select a high or semi-gloss sheen for these areas. Latex paint is also ideal for ornate trims like crown moldings that have many groves, as it is water-based and fairly thin, and can reach into those crevasses where oil-based paints will have difficulty.
Enamel paints are specifically designed for crafting purposes and can be applied using a paintbrush or sprayed on. Enamel paints can be bought in water or oil-based variations, but enamel paints designed especially for crafts are normally water-based. They can dry within 24 hours after application, and once dried, the surface is much harder than acrylic paints, making it more scratch and chip-resistant. Enamel paints are ideal for furniture where you need protection from wear and tear, temperature variations, moisture exposure, and dirt.
Most of the enamel paints come in a gloss finish, but not all enamel paints are suited for use on wood surfaces as they are intended for use on non-porous surfaces.
Therefore, you must read the label carefully when choosing your enamel paint for your woodcraft project. Enamel paints are also ideal for kitchen and bathroom furnishing, where there is a considerable amount of moisture and cooking fumes. The paint helps to prevent mildew and mold and stops your furnishings from yellowing over time. It is also ideal for standard trims like door casings; ceiling and window trim that get a fair amount of scuff marks and knocks. Enamel coatings are also great for smaller wooden objects like photo frames, and jewelry boxes that are handled frequently.
Chalk can be applied to a variety of surfaces and can give a distressed and worn look to your woodcraft projects. Chalk paint can be sanded, which then gives a unique and distressed detail to any type of material it is applied on. Chalk paints are non-toxic and come in an ultra-matte finish. These paints are also easy to clean, using some water. Chalk paints are used on distressed furnishings and give you a soft subdued aged effect on your piece of furniture and are ideal for use on wooden items such as tables or wooden coat racks.
Stains are great to use for finishing your woodcraft projects. Stains are semi-opaque and tend to make the natural color of the wood deeper, allowing the wood grain to show through. Although stains may have a similar color to that of wood, there are many different colors available that will be able to give your woodcraft project that unique look. Unlike varnish, which remains on the surface, stains will penetrate deeply into the wood.
This poses a question: what types of paints are suitable for wood crafts?
Remember that many paints work well on a wood surface, but they may not be the best choice for wood crafts. This is important, as many wood crafts are handled a lot, and can be left in direct sunlight. So, the best craft paint for wood will be one that can stand up against fading, and chipping, but is also able to adhere properly to your wood piece. Below are some best paint for wood options and others you should avoid.
Milk paints are very similar to chalk paint, giving the surface a worn and rustic look. The paint dries quite quickly to an ultra-matte finish. Milk paints are water-based, they are non-toxic and very durable, and can easily be cleaned up using soap and water.
Paint Type Can Be Used for Wood Crafts Acrylic Paint ✔ Chalk Paint ✔ Enamel Paint ✔ Milk Paint ✔ Cellulose Paint ✘ Oil-based Paint ✘ Emulsion Paint ✘ Wood Stain ✔ Latex Paint ✔ Metalized Dye Paint ✘
Best Paint for Wood Crafts
Woodcraft painting makes use of a variety of different types of paint such as acrylic paint, latex paint, and chalk paint amongst others, and you need to decide what type of paint is right for your project. Acrylic paints are usually the most popular choice as it is such versatile paint. However, in the long run, your choice is based on the type of wood surface as well as the effect you wish to create. So, to help, we have offered a few recommendations.
Recommended Acrylic Paint for Wood Crafts: LIQUITEX Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
The Liquitex Heavy Duty Acrylic Paint is great for painting and crafting wood projects, as the manufacturers specialize in craft paints. This craft paint has the highest quality finish of any other craft paint due to the heavy body acrylic formulation used. The basket bead-mill technology makes the colors rich and also gives you excellent adhesion to your wood surface. This paint is also very low in odor, making it ideal for use indoors as well as safe for the kids to use.
LIQUITEX Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Highly pigmented acrylic paints with a rich, permanent color
The paint has a low-odor and acrylic resin base to resist water
Once dried, the paint is non-yellowing and UV-resistant View on Amazon
The formulation makes this paint extremely durable, fairly resistant to UV rays, non-yellowing, and also water-resistant when dry. The viscosity of the paint is thick, but not too thick that it requires watering down before use. The paint also has excellent blending characteristics, good surface drag, and an increased working time. The Liquitex heavy-duty acrylic paint is very flexible, giving you a crack-free finish, even when used in impasto and 3D applications. The durability will allow you a minimum of 50 years in gallery conditions, without any color shifting or fading leaving colors vibrant and true.
PROS Very versatile
Easy to use
Comes in many colors
Will not crack
Fewer toxic fumes
Needs no dilution before application CONS Fairly expensive
Does not include brushes
The color selection is limited
Does not include a mixing palette
Can prove difficult to clean up
Recommended Chalk Paint for Wood Crafts: FOLKART Home Décor Craft Paint
The Folk Art Home Décor Chalk Craft Paint is the best water-based paint for any type of woodcraft project. The paint is of high quality and has an ultra-matte chalk finish, leaving you with an expensive but elegant look. There is no need for a primer or sanding before you apply this paint, and it is also very versatile as it can be applied to metal, ceramics, glass, plaster, and canvas. However, it gives the best results when applied to wood. One disadvantage of chalk paint is that it is only recommended for indoor use, like chairs, cupboards, tables, showcases, and all other types of indoor furniture.
FOLKART Home Decor Chalk Furniture and Craft Paint The chalk paint has a rich and highly pigmented formula
Dries with an ultra-matte finish that is easy to distress
Suitable for a variety of surfaces, including wood and glass View on Amazon
This brand of chalk paint offers excellent shading and blending characteristics, and is fairly flexible, making it possible for numerous layers of paint to be applied to the wood surface due to its quick drying time. You can always sand it once it dries, and you can experiment to give your furniture pieces that unique aged look. This paint has excellent mixing capabilities, allowing you to mix it with other paints and create unique shades. It is also easy to clean up afterward and can also endure exposure to sun rays and light for many years. The chalk paint comes in eight fluid-ounce, durable, and flexible plastic bottles, allowing you to squeeze out as much paint as you need. The container will also retain its shape over and over again. Most users have reported great satisfaction when using this chalk paint on wooden furniture, doors, window frames, sofas, and much more.
PROS Needs no primer
Sanding is not required before applying the paint
Provides a durable ultra-matte finish
Has excellent blending and shading characteristics
Safe to use by the whole family
Dries quickly CONS Not recommended for outdoor use
Recommended Enamel Paint for Wood Crafts: FOLKART Gloss Finish Enamel Paint
The Folk Art Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set consists of enamel paint for woodcraft painting. Enamel paints are an excellent choice as craft paint, as it has all the advantages of oil and acrylic paints and is not limited in consistency and protection. This paint set provides you with 16 different colors that include wicker white, yellow, purple, lipstick red, lime green, blue, burnt umber, and orange-pink, with many more to choose from. You can also mix these colors to form your own unique hues. All these colors are vibrant, leaving you with a beautiful sheen finish.
FOLKART Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set This paint set includes 16 bottles of enamel craft paint
Brilliant colors, durable, and scratch-resistant gloss finish
Can be baked after drying to make it dishwasher safe View on Amazon
This enamel paint forms a thick layer on the wood surface, binding the paint to the wood fibers underneath giving your wood piece protection from abrasion, impact, moisture, excessive heat, insects as well as strong winds that could cause damage to the wood surface. The paint has many advantages such as it can be used in or outdoors, it has a very low odor, and it can be baked in the oven if needed. The paint is also completely food-safe, scratch-resistant, and dishwasher-safe once it has cured completely. This paint is very versatile and can be used on surfaces like masonry, glass, wood, ceramics as well as metal, and is very easy to clean up afterward by using some soap and water.
PROS Easy to use and clean
Can be used on various surfaces
Comes with 16 vibrant colors
Leaves a sheen finish
Can be baked in the oven CONS Contains strong odors
Not recommended for beginners
No mixing pallet included
No brushes included
What Types of Wood Are Best for Wood Craft Painting?
There are so many different types of wood available, and at times some might be rather difficult to work with, which is why there are certain wood varieties that are not suitable for wood-crafting projects. Most of the wood types you should avoid are porous woods, as they will soak in the paint a lot faster.
Maple is a very easy wood to work with and is one of the best woods to use for painting your woodcraft projects. Maple is a hardwood that has a smooth surface and is less absorbent to paints than softwoods. The wood is very durable and can endure everyday wear and tear.
Maple wood is also known for its shrinkage and warpage capabilities and is often the wood used for making furniture pieces.
Pine is a very soft wood, is easy to work with, and can take paint very well. This wood is pale-yellow and can brighten any interior space, and it is also very easy to carve or drill. Many wood craft workers prefer just to seal the wood with a transparent finish and preserve the natural wood color. However, because it is a softwood, it is prone to warping and shrinking over time.
Try to avoid making use of oak wood for your wood-craft projects, as it is a very porous wood and will act like a sponge, soaking in any primer or paint you may apply to it.
Even if you apply many layers of paint or primer to the oak wood, you are still very likely to end up with a result that is not very good.
Cedarwood is a softwood and another one of those woods that are easy to work with. This wood has become a very popular choice for use with woodcraft projects due to its amazing red hue, warm feel, and appealing smell. This wood is quite durable, making it perfect for use as outdoor furniture.
Redwood is fairly soft, so it is easy to work with, has a slightly reddish color, and is extremely resistant to dampness, making it ideal for outdoor furniture. This wood can be painted, but due to its amazing color, it is preferred to stain it to keep the color and grain of the wood.
Issues to Bear in Mind When Purchasing Paint for Wood Craft
You need to understand the characteristics of the paint to get the best results. So, you need to buy the best quality paint for woodcraft projects, or you will end up making mistakes that will ruin your project and also cause you a considerable financial loss. Below are various issues you need to consider when purchasing paint for wood.
You need to look for paint that is going to last, otherwise, you will be wasting your time and your money. The best way to consider this is to determine its end use, for example, if you are going to paint a birdhouse that needs to be put outside once you have finished with it, you need to look for a paint that will be able to hold up against the elements.
You may have a project that is going to stay indoors, but it will be placed on a window ledge, so you need to look for paint that will not yellow over time and is fairly resistant to heat and UV rays.
You need to understand what area the paint can cover when applied to the wood surface, this information is usually on the label. This means you must know how many layers of paint are needed. Often the color of paint has a lot to do with this, as this will show you how many coats of paint you need to apply. Now that you have this information, you can buy enough paint so that you do not run out halfway through your project.
The thickness of the paint is a very critical aspect to consider when buying paint for your woodcraft project. Paint that has a thick consistency will not be able to spread very easily on the wood surface, and paint that is too thin can easily seep into the wood pores, forcing you to apply more coats.
Therefore, look for paint that has a moderate consistency and will be perfect for your woodcraft project.
Apart from enamel paints, good quality paints will take around six hours to dry properly, especially those paints that are designed for wood crafting. So, if the paint takes longer than this to dry, it might not be the best quality of paint.
Water- or Oil-Based Paints
Water-based paints dry a lot faster, and they also give off fewer odors, making them suitable for use indoors. They also do not yellow over time and are more flexible, which helps the paint withstand cracking. However, water-based paints do need more coats when compared to oil-based paints. Oil-based paints hide any imperfections better and are great for leveling. They are also better for normal wear and tear but can be prone to cracking as they are not flexible.
Oil-based paints take longer to dry and are more difficult to clean up afterward, they also produce strong odors, and may yellow over time.
When some paints are exposed to sunlight and rain they tend to fade, so you must buy paint where the color can last for at least three to five years. If the paint color fades before this time, you may have selected the incorrect paint.
Ease of Use
It is important to buy a paint set that has an organization system in place, where the box has trays with separate compartments where all the paint tubes can fit. Make sure you label your paints correctly so you can easily get the right color. This setup will save you a lot of time that would normally be wasted in looking for the right color.
This also helps in not making mistakes by inadvertently picking up the wrong tube of paint.
We are all aware of what damage VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can do to our health, so when painting wood crafts, try to buy toxin-free or low odor paint. This will not only benefit you as the user, but it will also make it safe for your kids to use without any concern for their wellbeing.
These ratings are very important, as they will determine how resistant the color of the paint will be when exposed to light. This will increase the life of your crafted object and protect it from discoloration.
If the label on the tube has an ASTM-1 or BWS-1 rating, it is saying that the paint should last for more than 50 years.
When buying paints for wood crafting, you must buy paint that has a wide opacity range. Try to buy paint that ranges from opaque, semi-opaque to transparent, this will help you to create unique shades and increase your skills for woodcraft painting. The label on the paint usually shows you the opacity of the paint.
Painting Wood Craft Ideas
There are hundreds of different crafting ideas out there, but painting seems to be the most popular of all the craft ideas, and one that can be enjoyed by the whole family. You may think of painting the walls, doors, windows frames, or a piece of furniture, but what about hand-painting art on something other than canvas or paper? What about painting on wood? Here are some ideas for wooden crafts to paint that you may consider. You can create some amazing decorative pieces that will be admired and appreciated for many years.
Painting an Ocean Scene on Wood
You have an idea of painting an ocean scene, but you want it to have a rustic look that will go perfectly with your home décor scheme. So, instead of painting it on canvas or paper, why not try a wooden board.
By just painting different colors horizontally across the board, you will be amazed how it can resemble a beach or ocean scene.
Painting Wooden Utensils
Would it not be great to bring some new life into those ordinary objects that we use daily, like bringing some color to wooden utensils? All you need to do is to paint some different bright-colored stripes on your wooden forks, spoons, egg lifters, or chopsticks.A pop of color makes them more than just those old wooden spoons in the drawer.
Stenciling a Wooden Table
What about the idea of painting patterns, shapes, or other finer details on one of your coffee tables? You may have enough skill or confidence to go right ahead and do the painting free-hand. However, if not, then a stencil is the answer.
There are hundreds of different stencils that are available on the market and your table will look like it is completely new.
Painting Wooden Floors
This might be a good idea if you live in an older house, and the floors are a little worn and stained and a new coat of paint will make a vast improvement. This type of project does not necessarily require a professional, as you can do it yourself with a little knowledge and effort. Change the color of your floor to match the walls and ceilings, adding a new dimension to a room.
Painting Sections of a Wooden Log
You may have some sections of an old wooden log that have been cut into different thicknesses, which are still in their raw state or may have already been carved into plaques or clock shapes. These wooden log sections are ideal to use as unconventional painting canvases.
You can paint images, designs, or patterns to hang on your walls.
Creating a Chalkboard
Instead of using wood pieces to paint on, why not use them to make something more practical, something the whole family can use. Make that wood piece into a chalkboard and place it near the telephone where the whole family can write a message or leave a note.
Spray Painting a Wooden Table
To change the appearance of your small wooden table, and you do not feel you have the ability or skill to paint it properly, then use some spray paint for the job. Take some masking tape or duct tape and stick it onto the tabletop in any pattern you fancy.
Then, all you need to do is use the spray paint to give you the desired effect.
Painting Wooden Jewellery
The jewelry field is very large, with many variations and products, and sometimes the materials and designs do not fit into your personal style. Maybe you love a wooden necklace, but the wood seems so drab and dull. Why not add some color to those wooden jewelry pieces and paint the wooden beads to suit your preference and style? There are many other types of wooden crafts to paint and here are just a few more for you to try and enjoy.
Wooden Christmas trees
Painting Wooden Salad Bowls
When you have just completed a kitchen makeover, and you want all the décor to be the same, you need to do something about those old used wooden salad bowls. It is a simple job to take some paint of the color you choose and redecorate the old salad bowls and have them match your present kitchen décor.
Just remember that any paint or finish you use must be food-safe or painted where the food does not come into contact with the paint.
Painting Coasters From Sections of Wooden Logs
We have already discussed some ideas for using sections of wooden logs, but if they seem to be too large for you, you can use smaller and thinner log sections. These are also available for purchase at craft stores. You can create items like coasters for your pots and saucepans. All you need to do is decorate them by painting some images, designs, or patterns.
Painting a Faux Wood Grain
We are all aware of the exorbitant prices of solid wood furniture like bedroom dressers, side tables, and even chairs. This means that many rather go for laminated furniture. However, maybe you love the look of wood grain furniture, but the price puts it beyond your reach? No problem, as the faux or false wood grain look can still be achieved.
The faux technique enables you to mimic the natural wood grain look and also allows you to choose the color, variation, and texture of the wood grain you desire.
Some Tips When Using Your Craft Paint
Before you start with your woodcraft painting, there are a few things you need to consider that will give you the results you are looking for. If you put these principles into practice, you will enjoy your painting experience and also end up with a project that is complete and satisfying.
Sand the Wood
Prepare the surface by sanding the wood first, especially if the wood has been painted beforehand. When sanding, make sure you remove all the splinters, imperfections, and any old paint finish, this will leave your wood ready for the paint to adhere properly. Take 140 or 180 grit sandpaper and sand the wood surface, making sure you sand in the direction of the wood grain.
When you are satisfied, take a damp cloth, and wipe the surface ensuring all dust has been removed.
Apply the Primer
The primer can be painted on using a brush, or you choose to spray it on. The primer is important as it will make the final paint finish more vibrant and also covers any imperfections that may be in the wood. Let the primer dry before you continue. Also, you should give the primed surface a light sanding.
Apply the Paint
There are various ways you can apply the paint, such as using a spray can, paintbrushes, paint rollers for larger areas, a sponge, or a wadded cloth. Paint the first coat on and let it dry before you apply the next coat if your project requires more than one coat of paint.
It is also advisable to give the surface a light sanding between the coats of paint once it is dry.
Apply the Sealant
Applying a sealant is always a good idea as it will give your painted wood surface some protection, and also assists in keeping the finish vibrant and clean. You may need to give your project more than one coat of sealant, and then let it dry completely. Sealants can come in satin, matte, or gloss, so always choose the correct one for your project.
What is the best paint for wood crafts? This is the question we have hopefully answered in this article. In the end, we have found that you can use acrylic, water-based, and oil-based paints. Seeing there are so many variations available for the best craft paint for wood, you should always be guided by the results you are looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Paint for Wood Crafts?
There are numerous types of craft paint, but acrylic paint seems to be the most popular choice for applying to wooden surfaces. This is because acrylic paint can adhere to almost any type of wood regardless of the wood’s grain density. Acrylic paints also have the largest number of colors available.
Does Acrylic Paint Take Long to Dry?
Acrylic paint is usually a quick-drying paint, and it can take about 20 to 30 minutes to dry to the touch on a wood surface. However, it will take around six to twelve hours to cure completely. The drying time can also vary depending on how many layers of paint you apply.
Is It Necessary to Seal the Wood Surface After Painting?
If you want the painted wood to last for a long time, it is advisable to apply a sealing coat or two. Sealing the painted wood surface will also reduce the probability of rotting, warping, and staining, and can also protect the painted surface from everyday wear and tear.
Are Craft Paints and Acrylic Paints the Same?
The pigment in acrylic paint is much denser, which results in more vibrant and vivid colors for your craft project. Craft paint, on the other hand, is a lot easier to use and does not leave any streaks behind. Craft paint is also a lot cheaper than acrylic paint.