How to paint wood crafts

Updated February 21, 2017

Hand painted woodcrafts are beautiful, fun to create, and make great gifts. In addition, hand painted crafts are also inexpensive to make. All necessary items can be purchased at most craft supply stores or ordered online. The best part about painting woodcrafts is that anyone can easily create wonderful woodcrafts by following a few basic steps.

Prepare the wood for priming. If you are working with wood that has not already been sanded, you should sand it (by hand) before doing anything else. Use fine-grained sand paper to get the wood smooth so that the paint can be applied uniformly. Wipe the wood with a clean cloth to remove any remaining debris. If you want a rough-finish, you may skip this first step.

Apply primer to the wood, making sure to cover the entire surface, and allow the primer to dry. After the first coat is dry, add another coat of primer if necessary. Primers add extra protection to the wood and also allow paint to be applied more smoothly. Primers can be clear or coloured. What kind of primer you should choose depends on what you are creating.

Paint the largest areas of the wood first (and all other areas that will be the same colour) and allow paint to dry. If you are painting a wooden toy car, for instance, paint the body of the car first. After the paint has dried, you can determine if you’d like to apply another coat of paint. For small, indoor woodcrafts, one coat is usually sufficient.

Paint the smaller details using the smaller brushes and then set the painted wood in a safe area to allow paint to dry. If you are working with several colours in a small area, it is best to let a colour dry before applying another colour next to it. When the other painted area has been allowed to fully dry, it is easier to prevent time-consuming mistakes. If you accidentally get some paint (of another colour) on the dry area, you can quickly dab the stray paint away with a dry cloth. If you are using a stencil for letters or designs, do these last after all other areas have fully dried.

Apply wood sealant (or varnish) and allow to dry. Sealants can be sprayed on or applied with a brush. Sealants protect paint from moisture and fading and come in glossy or matt finishes. If your finished piece will be exposed to sunlight, choose a UV resistant sealant.


Choose good quality brushes that don’t shed bristles

Clean paint brushes soon after painting—don’t allow paint to dry on the brushes

Always allow paint brushes to dry with the bristles pointing straight

Sand wood in the direction of the wood grain or else you will not have a smooth finish

If your woodcraft has removable parts, paint these separately and attach later


Apply any primer or sealant in a well-ventilated area and away from flame

Avoid prolonged skin contact with primer or sealant

Things You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Wood Primer
  • Wood-craft paint (acrylic paint is commonly used for small, ornamental woodcrafts)
  • Wood sealant or varnish
  • Paint brushes in many sizes
  • Clean cloths and water for cleanup (if you are using water-based paints)
  • Fine-grained sand paper
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