Whether you’re a beginner in the world of crafting or you’re a novice, one of the most fun crafts that any of us can do is wood crafts.
You can upcycle a crate box you may have lying around and create so many different projects out of it, or you can just buy some pellets from the store and hang them around your room with pictures and memories.
Crafting with wood is really one of the easiest yet the hardest things you can do. While you naturally will want your crafts to last, wood tends to discolor over time and take damage from its surroundings. To avoid this damaging, many of us choose to cover the wood with some paint, protecting it as well as adding some color.
There are a plethora of paints available in the market and you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to painting your wood crafts where you can pretty much have all the creative fun you want.
So what are the best paints for wood crafts? The best and most popular paints for wood crafts are acrylic paints. Acrylics can be used on a variety of surfaces, range in opacity, and tend to have the shortest drying times, all features which are useful for wood crafts. However, enamel as well as craft paints work well on wood, too.
In this guide we’ll talk about the 9 best paints that you can buy for your beloved wood crafts and discuss what you should be looking for when shopping for these paints.
We’ll also discuss whether sealants and primers are necessary and which paints are the best for you whether you’re a beginner or not – plus there may or may not be some bonus items at the end of the list.
Shopping For Wood Craft Paints: What to Look For
The type of wood you’re using, the surface you’ll be applying the paint on to, and the experience and tools you have for painting wood crafts are just some of the things that dictate what kind of paint is the best for you.
Not all paints are made the same, and depending on what you’re looking for, we’ll tell you in this list what you should be looking for when in the market for paints.
Paint Quality and Consistency
The quality of the paint is pretty much the difference between your paint job being a success and looking like it’s been done by a two year old.
Paint quality determines how well the paint will spread on your wood surface which brings the consistency of your paint in the equation as well.
If you want a wash of color on your wood craft, you’re better off going for a paint with a thinner consistency as that allows you more shading control. Some oil-based paints run on the thinner side, but water-based paints are easy to thin with water if they are not thin already.
However, if you’re looking for a stronger, opaque coat, you should be opting for a paint that has a thicker consistency.
Here is where the brand of paint becomes important. Artist’s oil paints will likely be thinner and difficult to wield (without experience or training), but oil-based house paint is thicker, offers better coverage, and is considered easiest to use in terms of covering up mistakes.
Nearly all of our recommendations are from arts and crafts brands, but just be aware of this distinction whenever you read about or purchase paint.
The quality of a paint tube is typically not evident until you use it. So it’s a good idea to read reviews to check the quality of the paint before buying it.
Ease of Use
Depending on how experiences you are in painting wood crafts, you should be looking for paints that are easy to use and will not require a lot of preparation on your part.
Paints that have a thicker consistency and are water-based, are generally easier to use allowing you some room to make mistakes and clean them up easily. With water-based paints you can try out different shading techniques which can not only improve your experience in crafting but are easier to use as well.
Thinner consistencies or oil-based paints are more unforgiving and should only be bought if you feel like you have a good degree of command over painting.
Buying paints that are easier to use helps you finish your projects without any hassles and no matter your experience that is never a bad idea.
When you’re shopping for paints for any project, one of the things you should be on the lookout for is the drying time that each of the paints has. Drying time is very important as it dictates how quickly you can display or use your wooden crafts, after painting.
Each paint is made different and with the unique ways that their pigments and solvents will tie in with your crafts, you need to be aware of the drying time that suits you the most.
For water-based paints such as acrylic paints, the drying time is typically short; they dry pretty quickly when exposed to air. With a thicker consistency, oil-based paint you will be looking at a longer drying time as they need time to cure and form a bond with the surface you have painted them on.
It really depends on how quickly you want to be able to use your wooden craft but in choosing a faster drying paint, you may give up on some of the longevity so your best bet would be to get something that gives you a good bond and doesn’t take a long time to dry.
Sealing and Priming
Those who have painted before with a multitude of different paint types already understand the need for priming and sealing.
When it comes to wooden crafts that you want to paint, you need to understand that wood is a porous surface. When left as is before painting, the paint can settle into the natural grooves and holes within the wood, giving you texture on an otherwise smooth surface.
If you have a treated piece of wood, you are good without using a primer underneath your paint or a sealant. Treated wood is wood that already has finish on it that you may or may not remove when working on it whereas bare wood is just as the name suggests, completely free of any finish.
But if your wood is untreated or bare, you will want to either look for paints that have sealants and primers in them or consider buying some to use with your paints.
Sealants are also used to seal in the paint job that you have on your wooden crafts and that again, is dependent on what kind of finish you’re looking for. A sealant can add shine on top of matte acrylic paints, but can increase the drying time of oil based paints.
Type of Wooden Surface You Have
As we’ve talked about throughout this section, the type of paint that is best for you ultimately depends on the type of wooden surface you have on your craft.
If you’re using treated wood, you can easily look for paints that are either water based or oil based without worrying about sealers and primers.
However, if you’re using unfinished or untreated wood, oil-based paints will fare better on your wooden surface if you do not want to invest in a sealer. It will soak in less than some water-based paints, though you may have a thinner, less opaque coat or “wash” on your work.
As for plywood, there are a few other important considerations, so we’ve dedicated another article to the best paint for plywood.
Otherwise, you will need to look for paints that either have sealant and primer in them or you will need to buy some to go with your paints for your untreated wood surface.
And if you’re looking to paint something small and detailed, like peg dolls, we have another article waiting for you.
9 Best Paints for Wooden Crafts
There is a paint for every wooden craft no matter the coverage you want, the type of wood you have or the longevity you want from your paint.
Here are our 9 best paints for wooden crafts each with some unique qualities that will work on all the different wooden projects you can start. You’ll notice we also snuck a priming gesso and sealant recommendation, in case they come in handy:
|1.||Mont Marte Acrylic Colour Paint Set||24 colors, semi-matte|
|2.||Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint Set||18 colors, matte|
|3.||Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint Set||36 colors, medium viscosity|
|4.||GenCrafts Acrylic Paint Set||50 colors, multi-surface|
|5.||ARTIQO Paint Pens||15 oil paint pens, medium tip|
|6.||Jacquard Lumiere Acrylic Paint||8 colors, metallic finish|
|7.||FolkArt Outdoor Paint||Assorted color choice, satin finish|
|8.||Rust-Oleum Enamel Spray Paint||Assorted color choice, semi-gloss|
|9.||Caliart Acrylic Paint Set||24 colors, matte finish|
|Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso||Priming medium for surface|
|FolkArt Clearcote Acrylic Sealer||Matte sealant for finished work|
Down below we’ll go into each choice more fully, so you can pick the best paint. Even if you’re only picking some up for a project or two, it’s a good idea to invest in high-quality paint that you can use in other projects.
1. Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Colour Paint Set
This paint set comes with 24 colors which basically means you have every shade under the sun at your disposal. These paints are a great consistency and will allow you to mix them easily to achieve any shade you want.
The durability of these paints is very high and they can last through even the harshest of conditions hence ensuring that your crafts will be looking fresh for a long time. The quantity provided in each of the tubes is also a lot so you won’t have to rush to the store again and again if your wooden craft is a big one.
One of the best on the market, we can assure you that these are worth the money and will help you bring your creative vision to life.
2. Apple Barrel Acrylic Craft Paint Set
This is another acrylic paint set that allows you the freedom of shading and color washing your wooden crafts, if that is what you intend to do.
These paints can also be made opaque and bright if you do enough coats and from reviews from people all over the internet, it brings in a lot of color and brightness to your wooden crafts.
The drying time on these paints is quite short, allowing you to use your wooden crafts in a very short time after painting. The paints are also very easy to clean with water, letting you quickly fix any messes you make while painting if you can catch them quickly.
These paints are versatile enough to be used in a wide variety of crafts you may do in the future. It is unlikely you will waste any leftovers.
3. Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint Set
This affordable paint set is one of the best that wood crafters can have in their arsenal. These versatile paints can be used to create different types of shading as well as opaque coloring for your wood crafts.
The paints in this set come in all the colors that you could want and on top of that, come with a few unique colors as well. You can easily mix and create an even broader range of colors from this set. The best part about these paints is the fact that they can work on both bare wooden surfaces and treated ones, making them one of the easiest paints that you could work with.
The manufacturers of this paint set have ensured that their paints are made to be long-lasting and can withstand a variety of environmental conditions that your wooden craft could be used in. We can assure you, whether you’re just beginning or are a novice, this paint set will not disappoint you.
4. GenCrafts Acrylic Paint Set
GenCrafts acrylic paints are high quality, richly pigmented paint tubes that allow you to be as bold as you want with a shockingly wide range of colors (yes, it really does say 50 on the box!).
The texture of these paints is smooth and creamy which allows you to add texture or show brushstrokes on your masterpiece very easily. The vast color range is easy to mix giving you still more colors.
These paints are non-toxic and so can be used in fun wood craft projects with children as well making them ever so versatile for people of any age. These paints are of a thinner opacity and allow you to add shades and layers to your wood craft, if that is what you want to do.
If you’re looking for paints that have a little more leeway in terms of opacity, this is a very good choice.
5. ARTIQO Paint Pens Set
This paint set for those of us that like to line draw or write on our wooden crafts. This pen paint set is made of oil-based paint markers which means they may take a little longer to dry. However, they are one of the best things you can invest in when looking for longevity of the writing or drawing on your masterpiece.
These are water-resistant and can withstand the harshest of weather conditions allowing you to display your wood crafts outside without any worries. These paint markers come with instructions for beginners to follow and if used with those in mind, the result will be very nice.
The pens have a medium tip which can be a downside for some hoping to do especially fine detailing, but this is excellent for versatility. You can get more coverage and broader lines, while still having enough finesse for smaller detailing and finer lines. These are great for beginners, too.
We also have an article on acrylic paint pen options, in case this oil-based brand just isn’t quite what you need.
6. Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint Pack
Whenever you feel like adding a little bit of glitz and glamour to your wooden crafts, you can opt for a metallic paint such as this one. This metallic paint is opaque and can hold its own even on a dark background (perfect for darker wood types) allowing you to use this paint on whatever base coat you have on your wood craft.
This paint has a very shiny finish, reflecting different lights in different ways adding depth to your project. If you’re trying to use a stencil on your wood craft, this paint will be a great pick as its consistency and drying time is perfect for use with a stencil no matter the surface underneath. The component is on the smaller side but with the opacity you get in each of the coats, a little will go a long way.
7. FolkArt Outdoor Paint
Available in a multitude of colors, this outdoor paint is the perfect thing you can pick up if you want to paint a wood craft that may be displayed outdoors. This is a water-based paint which means it will be easy to correct any mistakes you may make during the painting job.
The opacity of these colors depends on how much water you use, so you can use any shading or washing techniques you want to on your crafts. However, it is recommended by the manufacturer that it be used in its full opacity as that makes it the most durable and resistant to even the harshest of environments.
For the price you pay, you get a lot of product in each of these paint bottles and you can use them again and again for any craft projects in the future as they work on almost all surfaces.
8. Rust-Oleum High Performance Enamel Spray Paint
One of the go-to paints for any craft loving person is spray paint, thanks to the mega-coverage control it offers as well as the range in opacity it can bring to your crafts.
This spray paint is high performance which means it will seal even the most porous of wooden surfaces and help you create a smooth, even paint layer. It’s perfect for when you just want to add a bit of color to a wood craft, but don’t want a detailed painted look.
This enamel spray paint is oil-based and dries in 15 minutes. You can apply a second coat within an hour of your first. The output from the tip is sufficient enough to allow you to cover a large surface area. It will make painting bigger wood crafts that much easier.
The finish of this spray paint is semi-gloss and it is resistant to any environmental factors you may be dealing with. If your craft is destined to be exposed to the elements outdoors, it will fare well with this enamel paint.
9. Caliart Acrylic Paint Set
We’ll round off this list with another set of acrylic paints that has 24 vivid colors – and so many more that you can mix yourself – allowing you to fully express your creativity on any wood craft. The pigments in these paints are of the highest quality and are opaque within one coat.
The consistency is on the thinner side and these are water-based paints, which lets you paint larger areas as well as the finer details very easily. If you make any mistakes, you can easily wipe them away with soapy water which makes this paint set an extremely good choice for beginners.
Crafters all over the internet are in love with this paint set and rightly so, it is a box of paints that are highly pigmented, durable in many environmental conditions, and easy to use.
BONUS – Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso
If you’re working with unfinished wood for your crafting projects, you will need to use a primer to ensure you have a smooth surface ready for your paint to lay on top of.
This prep medium is a great option as it has white, colorless and black options available for you to choose from and provides a bright, opaque background for your paint to sit on top of. This gesso is also useful for any other painting projects, so you can use it to prep other work.
Unfinished wood usually has texture and holes that we might not be able to see, and they can hinder the smoothness of your finished project, so this primer is the best thing to buy along whatever paint you want to use.
Once you’ve used this primer and let it dry, your surface will be smooth enough for you to paint on top of with any type of paint you choose, as this primer is compatible with most paint types.
BONUS – FolkArt Clearcote Acrylic Sealer
The last recommendation we have for you in this list is a sealer spray that will make sure your beautiful paint work is secure and stays fresh for years to come. Many paints in this list will provide you with a resistant finish that can weather the harshest of environments, but one of the best things you can do protect your new wood craft is to cover it with a sealer.
This sealer spray comes out in a fine but strong spray allowing you cover a lot of area in one go. It does not change the appearance of the colors you have used and dries to a semi-gloss finish adding more depth to your design.
Again, crafters tend to gush over this sealer as the perfect finishing touch to their projects due to the fact that it is easy to use, does not yellow over time and is non-toxic, so safe to use with children around.
When you’re trying to find the perfect paint to use on your new wooden labor of love, the many options in the market can get very over-whelming. With the information we have given to you today, you should feel very confident knowing exactly what you want out of your paint and which one is the best option for you.
A lot of wooden surfaces can be used for crafting and so it is always important to prime your surface and seal it once it is painted and the ones we’ve recommended will never do you wrong. Now, go out, get wood crafting and then paint it to your hearts content.
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