Tips for Painting on Wood


How to get started

Surface preparation

Prepare the surface. Make sure that your surface is smooth. For rougher wood surfaces, sand it down with a coarse sandpaper. Wipe it with a kitchen towel. Repeat the procedure with a medium grade sandpaper and wipe off the dust.


Seal the wood with a multi-purpose sealer. Use your varnish brush (do not mix varnish brush with basecoat brush).



If you are using decoart paints, you can actually mix 1:1 amount of sealer and paint together with a palette knife for the sealing and basecoat. Several thin coats are preferable to a thick, uneven one. Always allow your paint to dry before applying the next coat. I always use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. Try to use colour straight from the bottle. If you prefer to mix a background colour, make sure you keep extra in a container for touch up.

Finally, if your design is complicated, you may need to trace it from the pattern. Use a black graphite for light background and white graphite for dark background. Use a stylus to transfer pattern onto your prepared surface.


After your painting is dry, you need to protect your lovely handiwork with a few coats of varnish. Before that, you need to check that all graphite lines have been cleaned off with a kneadable eraser.

Allow your work to cure for a couple of days, if you can stand the wait. Make sure that the piece is completely dry, then varnish.

I prefer to use satin water base varnish. Make sure that you varnish the back of your plaque too.
Unprotected surfaces get mouldy easily in our humid country, Singapore.

Alternatively, for a fast finish, you can use a spray. Make sure that you are in a well ventilated place and use a protective mask. If unsure, check the instructions on the can.