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Getting Started on Your Decorative Painting Project

The Paint

Bottled acrylic paints are plastic, pigment (color particles) and water. This gives your paint some great qualities. It dries fast and once dry it can be covered with any color without much difficulty. It makes decorative painting very forgiving.

The fact that water is the agent used to keep this paint fluid means you can add water to create a desired consistency and degree of transparency.

The Palette

This is the place you put the paint so that you can load your brush and blend colors. It needs to be of a size that will work for both purposes.

Paper palettes are sold in pads. They are useful for single projects because they are inexpensive and disposable.

A method of saving paint for extended periods is a damp palette. using a cookie sheet or coverable plastic container (long and shallow) dampen a few paper towels or a thin sponge and place it on the bottom. Over that spread flattened coffee filters an duse those for your paint pools. The moisture will come up through the filters and keep your paint usable longer and the softness of the filters will be kid to your brushes.

When you are done for the day you can cover the paint with the container cover or plastic wrap.

The Project Pattern

It is a common practice to transfer a pattern onto your decorative painting project. It's a fine way to keep your work true to what you're using as an example. It is not required but it is a gradient to creating your own patterns. It's not cheating to transfer or draw guidelines.

  • Using tracing paper and a fine point pencil or pen make a clean tracing of the pattern.
  • Turn the tracing over so the back is facing up.
  • Firmly go over the lines of the pattern with chalk or a number 2 pencil.

Do not use dustless chalk -- it contains petroleum and will repel the water in your paint.

Never cover the entire back of your transfer with chalk and/or graphite -- it will get very messy.

  • Gently blow or shake the excess chalk from your project.

Ensure the surface you are transferring to is completely dry or you will leave impressions that will not come out.

Is This Paint Dry?

You can tell if the surface is dry by observing whether or not it is shiny. A shiny paint surface (unless it's enamel) is a wet surface. When the shine is gone it may still be damp underneath. You will be able to tell when you place the palm of your hand on it. If it feels cold it is still wet underneath the surface. If it feels warm you're okay to continue.

You can use a hairdryer on a low setting to speed up drying but do not hold it too close or the paint will bubble.

  • Center your pattern on your project and secure with masking tape.
  • Retrace the main lines of your pattern (no details) with a pencil or stylus. This outlines the major areas that you will be basecoating.
  • Basecoat your major areas as instructed.
  • Repeat the above to transfer the details.

Now paint!







Decorative Painting Tips  

Summer Class & Show Schedule

Getting Started On Your Decorative Painting Project

How To Add Dimension

How to Pick Brushes