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How to Paint Your Own Walking Stick

Updated February 21, 2017

For the avid hiker or adventurous walker, a walking stick is an important tool. It can be used for stability on uneven terrain, for self-defence against a wild animal or simply for a more authentic hiking experience. While some people prefer to keep their wooden sticks natural and rugged, a nice coat of colourful paint or an intricate design will add a unique touch. Applying paint to a wooden walking stick is like coating any other piece of wood in that surface preparation is integral.

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  1. Inspect the walking stick for any remaining bark or sharp knots that protrude from the surface. Scrape away raised areas or sharp pieces of wood with a paint scraper.

  2. Smooth all rough patches with coarse-grit sandpaper. Follow with a thorough treatment using fine-grit sandpaper. Though most sticks can be sanded smooth by hand, an orbital sander may be used.

  3. Wipe the stick clean of all dust with a damp cloth. For proper application of primer, the wood should be completely clean.

  4. Drape old newspapers over your working surface for protection. Apply a thin coat of wood primer to the entire walking stick using a large paintbrush. Allow the primer to dry for the time suggested on the container, then apply two to three more light coats. Let the primer set overnight.

  5. Paint your walking stick the colours of your choice. For a simple look, apply a single solid colour to the stick. You can also add stripes, diagonal patterns or small characters for a one-of-a-kind stick.

  6. Allow the paint to dry for the time suggested on its container. Acrylic paint tends to dry fast, so 24 hours should be sufficient.

  7. Tip

    A wood sealant can be applied over the dried paint to protect the walking stick from humidity and rain while on the trail.


    Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid primer and paint fumes. Do not allow children or pets near your work area.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paint scraper
  • Coarse-grit sandpaper
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Old newspapers
  • Wood primer
  • Large paintbrush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Small and medium paintbrushes
  • Water sealant (optional)

About the Author

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.

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