How to Paint Indoor Wooden Letters with a Brush
How to Paint Wood Crafts
Many arts and craft stores sell blank wooden pieces that you can paint. While you can always paint them right away, there are a few steps that you can take to ensure a neater, longer-lasting finish. Sanding the piece first will get rid of any ridges, while priming it will help the paint stick on better. Adding a coat of sealer will protect all your hard work, and help it last for years to come.
Prepping the Wood
Sand the surface of the object with 140 to 180-grit sandpaper.You can do this with a sanding sponge or with a piece of sandpaper; a sanding sponge will work the best on curved surfaces, however. Also, make sure that you are sanding with the grain of the wood, not across it.
- Some wooden pieces from craft stores come pre-sanded. If the surface area is completely smooth, skip this step.
Wipe the dust away with a tack cloth.A tack cloth is a special, sticky cloth intended for this purpose. You may find it alongside the sandpaper in the craft store or in the hardware store.If you can't find a tack cloth anywhere, try a damp cloth instead.
- It would be a good idea to do this, even if youdidn'tsand your piece; items bought from stores are sometimes dusty, which can prevent the primer and paint from sticking.
Apply a coat of primer.You can use the brush-on kind or the spray-on kind. This will seal the wood surface, and help it take the paint better. It will also help the paint show up better, especially if you are using a light color.
- Prime the front and sides first, let them dry, then prime the back.
Allow the primer to dry before moving on.For an even smoother finish, you can sand the first coat of primer, wipe it clean, then apply more primer over it. Do this a few more times until there no ridges remain.
Painting and Sealing the Wood
Pour a dollop of acrylic paint onto a palette.Choose a color for the background, then pour out a small amount onto a palette. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so don't pour out your other colors just yet. You can use the cheap, craft-grade acrylic paint that comes in bottles, or you can use the more-expensive artist's grade that comes in tubes. If you are using the artist's grade, dilute it with a few drops of water until it has the consistency of cream first.
- You can use small dishes, plastic lids, and paper plates as palettes.
Apply a coat of paint over your piece.Use a foam brush or a wide, flat paintbrush to apply the paint. Let the paint dry, then apply a second coat, if needed. Let this second coat dry as well.Do the front and sides first, let them dry to the touch, then do the back.
- Look for brushes made from taklon, katakana, or sable. Avoid camel hair brushes or stiff, bristle brushes.
- Don't overload the brush with paint. The paint should come no more than halfway up the bristles.
Let the paint dry, then add a second coat, if needed.How long this takes depends on the brand that you are using. Most types of acrylic paint will dry in about 20 minutes, however. If the paint is too thin, add another coat of paint, and let it dry as well.
- Take this time to clean your brush(s) with water. Do not let the paint dry on the brushes.
Add your designs and details.You can use stencils or trace designs onto the wooden piece. You can also free-hand the designs as well. Apply the base color first, let it dry, then add the details. For example, if you wanted to paint a smiley face, you'd paint the yellow circle first, let it dry, then add the smile and eyes.
- Dip the brush in water often to keep the paint wet, even if you are using one color.
- If you are working with multiple colors, keep a cup of water nearby. Rinse the brush with water before switching to a new color.
Let the paint dry completely.Refer to the label on you tube of paint for exact drying times. Just because somethingfeelsdry to the touch does not mean that it is ready to handle or take on sealer. Every brand will be different, but you can expect this to take about 24 hours.
Apply 1 to 2 coats of sealer.Sealers come in many different finishes, including matte, glossy, and satin; choose one that you like the best. Apply a thin coat of spray-on or brush-on sealer, then let it dry. Apply a second coat, if needed, and let that one dry too.
- If you are using the brush-on kind, apply it using a wide, foam brush.
- If you are using a spray-on varnish, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
Trying Other Techniques
Skip the priming if you want to paint a design over bare wood.Instead, consider painting over the entire piece using a wood stain or a sealer. Wait for the stain or sealer to dry, then paint your designs onto the wood. Be sure to seal everything after the paint dries.
Add designs using stencils.Buy or make a stencil, then place it over the wood. Paint over the stencil using decoupage glue; this will seal the wood and prevent the paint from leaking under the stencil. Let the decoupage dry, then paint over the stencil. Peel the stencil away while the paint is still damp. Seal the wood using a spray-on or brush-on sealer.
- You can make stencils using contact paper or self-adhesive vinyl.
- You can use this method over bare, unsealed wood.
Use graphite paper to trace designs, then fill them in.Place a sheet of graphite paper over your piece of wood, graphite-side-down. Draw your design, then lift the paper away. Go over the outline using a thin, painted brush, then fill the design in using a flat brush.This method works best over painted wood. You can do it over bare wood, but the paint may not stick as well.
- If you don't know how to draw, print the design out on tracing paper first, then place the tracing paper on top of the graphite paper.
- If you are working over a dark-colored surface, make some chalk graphite paper instead: cover the back of a piece of paper with chalk, place it chalk-side-down onto the wood, then trace your design.
Create a tinted stain to show off the wood grain.Apply a thin layer of acrylic paint using a dry paintbrush. Dip a wet cloth in a small amount of paint, then rub it over the wood. This will help blend strokes together without covering up the wood grain.
- The cloth should be wet, but not dripping.
- Alternatively, you can paint over the entire piece using watered down acrylics or watercolor paints.
Make a DIY chalkboard.Paint the surface of the wood with 2 to 3 coats of chalkboard paint. Let the paint dry, then paint designs using normal paint onto it, if desired. Allow the chalkboard paint dry and cure completely. Cover the board with chalk, then wipe the chalk off.
- Keep the designs on the edges of the wooden piece so that you can use the surface as a chalkboard.
- You do not need to prime a DIY chalkboard, but sanding it would not be a bad idea.
QuestionCan I use oil paint on wood to create a design?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but it will take longer for the oil paint to dry and cure. You will also need to seal the oil paint using a sealer meant for oil paints.Thanks!
QuestionIs acrylic paint waterproof?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNot really. If you need your piece to stand up to getting wet, paint it using an outdoor-quality paint. Seal it afterwards with a clear, waterproof sealer for added protection.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I put wallpaper on a wood surface?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry using a thin layer of adhesive to make the wallpaper stick to the wood. I would suggest rubber cement because of the strong hold and smooth consistency. Adhesive photo squares (mounting squares) also work well, depending on the type of wood you're using, because they are easy to use and thin enough not to notice after they are applied.Thanks!
QuestionMy project has dark lines between colors. What is used to make the dark lines?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou may use black acrylic paint to use for darker lines, or black permanent marker if you want it to be very fine.Thanks!
QuestionWhat paint works best on wood stain?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should use the same type of paint as the stain. If the stain was water-based, you can use acrylic paints. If the stain was oil-based, you should use oil-based paints.Thanks!
QuestionWhat kind of paint can I use on a wooden door hanger?Liam OstranderCommunity AnswerUse acrylic paint with a coat of polyurethane for protectionThanks!
QuestionI made an acrylic painting on a wood sheet. What can I do to make it last longer?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAdd polyurethane wood finish to protect it.Thanks!
QuestionDo l have to stain wood before coloring it?Liam OstranderCommunity AnswerNo. Usually it is one or the other. If the wood has a nice grain pattern, you should use stain. If the piece is plywood or MDF, consider painting it.Thanks!
QuestionI want to replace a puzzle piece that was lost - what paint should I use?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is much better to use acrylic paint, as it is more opaque and less liquid. Use a finer brush for a puzzle piece. If the piece is wooden, it will be easier. If it is in carton, do not expect it to turn out perfectly, as it may shrink it.Thanks!
Made a mistake with color - can I change even though painted on the wood?
- You can spray paint the wood first, then paint more intricate designs using acrylic paint.
- Remember to prime, paint, and seal the bottom of your piece as well!
- It is better to apply several thin coats of paint, primer, and sealer rather than one or two thick coats.
- You get what you pay for when it comes to brushes. For the smoothest finish, consider investing in a high-quality brush.
- Let the paint and sealer cure for 3 weeks before handling the piece. If you must handle the piece sooner, do so gently and with great care.
- Choose your paint colors carefully. Acrylic paint typically dries 1 to 2 shades darker.
- Use small, round, pointy brushes for precision and details, and wide, flat brushes for curves and backgrounds.
- You don't absolutely have to prime the wood, but it is highly recommended. You can skip this step for a simple, kid's craft project, however.
- Always using spray paint or spray-able primers/sealers outside or in a well-ventilated area.
- Wear a dust mask over your face while sanding the wood for added protection.
Things You'll Need
Wooden object (ie: frame, box, letter, toy car, etc).
140 to 180-grit sandpaper
Sources and Citations
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