Do you have a hobby of painting and want to express your creativity through different media? Many arts and crafts stores sell wooden planks that can be used as a painting medium. You can paint directly on the wood, but there are steps you can take to make sure your painting is neater and lasts longer. First, you'll need to sand the wood to remove any unevenness, then apply a primer so that the paint adheres better to the wood. Adding a coat of varnish will protect your masterpiece and make it last for years to come.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing the Wood
Step 1. Sand the surface of the wood with sandpaper number 140-180
You can do this with a rough sponge or sandpaper, but a rough sponge is actually better for smoothing curved surfaces. The road forgot to sand following the direction of the wood grain, not crosswise.
Some of the wooden planks sold at craft stores have already been sanded. If you bought a wooden plank with a smooth surface, you don't need to do the steps above
Step 2. Remove wood dust with a special tack cloth
This fabric is specially designed for this purpose and has a sticky surface. You can find it at a craft store or at a home improvement store (usually shipped with sandpaper). If you can't get one, just use a damp cloth.
This step is recommended even if you don't intend to sand the wood. Items purchased from the store are sometimes dusty so that the primer and paint don't stick well
Step 3. Apply a coat of primer
You can choose paint that is applied with a brush or sprayed. The primer will cover the surface of the wood and help it absorb the paint better. Also, the primer will make the paint color stand out more, especially if you're using a light-colored paint.
Start with the front and sides first and let dry. After that, you can apply the base paint on the back
Step 4. Wait for the primer to dry completely before proceeding
To get a smoother painting, you can sand the base paint first. Then, wipe the wood clean and apply another coat of primer. Do this procedure several times until there are no more uneven surfaces.
Method 2 of 3: Painting and Applying Varnish
Step 1. Pour a glob of acrylic paint onto the palette
Choose a color for the background, then pour a small amount of paint of the appropriate color over the palette. Acrylic paint dries quickly. So, don't pour any other paint at this stage. You can use inexpensive craft acrylic paints that are sold in bottles or use artist grade acrylic paints that are more expensive and usually come in tubes. If you are using an artist grade paint, dilute it with a few drops of water until it has a creamy consistency.
As a painting palette, you can use small plates, plastic lids, and paper plates
Step 2. Apply a coat of paint on the wood surface
Use a foam brush or a flat, wide-bristled brush to apply the paint. Let the paint dry, then apply a second coat of paint if necessary. Wait for the second coat of paint to dry. Start by painting the top and sides first. Once dry, you can work on the back surface of the wood.
- Try to use a brush made of taklon (polyester fibre), katakana, or sable. Avoid camel hair brushes or stiff bristle brushes.
- Don't pick up too much paint with the brush. The paint should not exceed half the brush bristles.
Step 3. Wait for the paint to dry, then apply a second coat if necessary
The time it takes the paint to dry completely varies by brand. However, the average time it takes for acrylic paint to dry completely is about 20 minutes. If the coat of paint is not thick enough, add a second coat and wait for it to dry.
While waiting for the paint to dry, take the opportunity to wash the brush with water. Don't let the paint dry on the brush
Step 4. Make the design and details
You can use a stencil or graphite paper to transfer the image onto the wood. If you're good at drawing, just make a design on wood with a pencil. To beautify the design, apply the base color first, wait for it to dry, then add the details. For example, if you want to draw a smiley, first color the circle yellow. Once dry, add a smile and eyes.
- Dip the brush in water frequently to keep the paint wet, even if you're only using one color.
- If your project uses multiple colors, have a glass of water nearby. Rinse the brush with water before you switch to another color.
Step 5. Wait until the paint is completely dry
Refer to the information on the paint package label to find out how long it will take. Even if it feels dry to the touch, that doesn't mean the paint is ready to be varnished. Different brands require different drying times, but on average you should wait about 24 hours.
Step 6. Apply 1-2 coats of varnish
Varnishes provide a variety of finishes, including matte, glossy, and satin finishes. Choose the one that best suits your needs. Apply or spray a thin layer of varnish, then allow to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary and wait again for it to dry completely.
- If you prefer a brush-applied varnish, use a wide foam brush type.
- If you choose a spray varnish, make sure you are working in a room with a good ventilation system.
Method 3 of 3: Experimenting with Multiple Techniques
Step 1. Forget primer if you want to paint your design on raw wood
Instead, consider painting the entire wood surface with wood stain or varnish. Wait for the dye or varnish to dry, then paint the design on the wood. Wait for the paint to dry completely before applying the varnish.
Step 2. Create a design with a stencil
Buy or make your own stencil, then place it on the wood. Apply decoupage glue over the stencil. This will seal the wood and prevent paint from seeping under the stencil. Wait for the decoupage to dry, then apply paint over the stencil. Remove the stencil while the paint is still wet. Finally, apply or spray the varnish on the wood.
- You can also make stencils using contact paper or self-adhesive vinyl.
- You can also use this method for raw, unvarnished wood.
Step 3. Use graphite paper to trace the design, then color it
Place a sheet of graphite paper on a wooden surface, face down. Draw your design. When finished, remove the paper. Use a thin, pointed brush to define the outline, then color in the interior of the design with a flat brush. This method works best on painted wood. You can apply it to raw wood, but the paint may not stick well.
- If you can't draw, print your design on tracing paper first. Then, place the tracing paper on top of the graphite paper.
- If you choose dark wood, use chalk graphite paper: sprinkle the back of the paper with chalk, then lay it on the wood face down. You can start tracing the design.
Step 4. Create pops of color to accentuate the wood grain pattern
Apply a thin layer of acrylic paint using a dry brush. Then, apply a small amount of paint to a damp cloth, then rub the cloth over the wood surface. This method will help to color the wood evenly without covering the grain pattern.
- The cloth should be wet, but the water should not drip.
- Another option is to paint the entire wood surface with diluted acrylic or watercolor paint.
Step 5. Make your own whiteboard
Apply chalkboard paint to the wood surface up to 2-3 coats. Wait for the paint to dry, then paint the design with regular paint on it if you wish. Wait until the chalkboard paint is completely dry. Cover the surface of the board with chalk, then clean it.
- Leave the design on the edge of the wood so that the center can still function as a whiteboard.
- There's no need to apply primer to your homemade chalkboard, but it doesn't hurt to sand it down first.
- You can spray the wood with paint first, then paint more intricate designs with acrylic paint.
- Remember the steps: apply primer, paint can, and finish with varnish all over the wood!
- You'll get better results with multiple coats of primer, paint, and varnish than 1-2 coats.
- Know that the quality of the brush will determine the quality of the painting. For smooth brushing, use a high-quality brush.
- Wait 3 weeks for the paint and varnish to dry completely before handling them. If you absolutely must handle it, do it slowly and carefully.
- Choose the paint color carefully. After drying, acrylic paint usually looks 1-2 shades darker.
- Use a small, round and pointed brush to handle small details that require precision. To paint the curves and the background, use a wide, even brush.
- The use of primer is not mandatory, but highly recommended. For relatively simple kids projects, just skip this step.
- Remember, if you are using spray paint or spray-applied primer/varnish, do so outdoors or in an area with a good ventilation system.
- Use a dust mask when sanding wood for added protection.