Here are some general craft painting tips I find very helpful. I am sure you will too!
We will start off with acrylic craft paints. To jump ahead to tips on using oil-based enamel craft paints, click the link.
Painting with Acrylic Craft Paints
When I use acrylic craft paint to paint crafts, such as plaster Christmas ornaments, for example, I squeeze different colors of paint onto a paper plate which I use as a palette. I also have a few paper towels and some water handy to rinse off the paintbrush when I change colors.
It doesn’t show up very well in this photo, but the black item on the right side of the photo is a plastic dish (from a microwave meal) that is divided in two sections. I filled both sections with water.
When I want to change paint colors, I dip the brush into one side of the water container and swirl it around to get off most of the paint. Then I wipe the brush off with a paper towel.
Then I dip the brush into the other side and swirl it around to make sure all the paint is gone, and then wipe it off again with the paper towel.
Use as many brushes as you want to. I usually just use one or two brushes. Sometimes I use one for light colors and one for dark colors. Or sometimes I use a somewhat larger brush for larger areas and a very thin brush for small details.
When you are finished, clean up is quick and easy. Just wash out your brushes with soap and water and let air-dry. Paint spills are also cleaned up easily with a damp cloth or paper towel. However, the sooner you wipe them up, the easier it is.
Painting with Oil-based Enamel Craft Paints
Until just a few years ago, I always used oil-based gloss enamel craft paints when painting dough or plaster ornaments. When I first started crafting (eons ago!), it just seemed to me that the enamel paints gave a much higher quality result than the water-based craft paints of the day.
Maybe that was true or maybe I just felt more grown-up using the oil-based paints. For whatever reason, I really preferred the enamel paints. There is no denying that enamel paints provide a durable coating and beautiful color.
But it seems the quality of water-based craft paints has definitely improved in the last fifty years. So these days I use both acrylic paints and enamel paints, and I really enjoy working with both.
The only real down side of using the oil-based paints is that they do not clean up with water. You must use paint thinner or turpentine.
The enamel paint needs to be stirred before use because the oil and pigment will separate. I usually just use a paintbrush to do the stirring, but a thin wooden stick would work fine too.
I use the turpentine or paint thinner to clean off the brush between colors and then I wipe the brush off with the cloth.
When I am finished painting and have removed the paint from the brushes using turpentine, I wash the brushes again with soap and water to remove the turpentine. Then I let them air dry.
Painting Dots in Different Sizes
One way to add dots is to use the eraser end of a pencil. Dip it into paint and then press it against the surface where you want to place the dot. You also can use the end of a wooden dowel. They come in many sizes.
If you have never done this before, I suggest that you practice a few times on a scrap object or piece of paper to get used to how much paint works best, how hard to press, etc., to do a nice neat job. For smaller dots, use the flat end of a wooden skewer. For teeny tiny dots, use the pointed end of the skewer.
You also can add dots of any size by painting them freehand with a brush or drawing them on using a paint marker. For more information about paint markers, visit my Acrylic and Oil Based Paint Markers page.
I hope you have found these craft painting tips helpful.