Regardless of the type of paint you choose for your wood crafts, finish failure in the form of peeling and flaking will result unless you properly prepare the wood beforehand. Paint won't stick to any type of bare wood. Learn how to encourage lasting results by adding an adhesive bonding base. Choose a specific type of paint based on your expectations for the crafts.
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When eager craft enthusiasts try to add colour to their wooden crafts, they often end up with finish failure because they don't properly prepare the wood. Before you even think about dipping your craft brush into paint, condition the crafts for better adhesion by applying a primer base. Choose a particular type of primer depending on your expectations for the wood. If the crafts are purely decorative and won't be subject to consistent handling and duress, apply a latex bonding primer. If the crafts will be subject to any sort of friction-based duress, apply an acrylic-based primer.
Latex paint is a fine choice for decorative wooden crafts, such as letters and wall decorations; however, it won't last very long on crafts subject to duress. Latex paint tends to fade when exposed to ultraviolet light. Don't use this type of finish on crafts exposed to direct sunlight.
Acrylic paint is also well-suited for decorative crafts and holds up better than latex paint when exposed to sunlight. Acrylic paint also tends to spread easier and generally provides a more attractive finish than latex finishes. Acrylics are a fine choice for wooden model ships, ornaments and any other items that don't have to endure harsh circumstances. Acrylic paint is not an ideal choice for crafts subject to duress and may chip and/or stain when exposed to consistent handling.
Acrylic enamel is the proper choice for wooden crafts subject to duress. This particular finish provides a high gloss that is highly resistant to abrasion and stains. It is much easier to clean and won't chip or wear when handled. Use acrylic enamel on wood bird houses, boxes and any other items that are not purely decorative.