Best Paint for Wood Crafts – Our Recommended Craft Paints for Wood

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Crafts: There aren’t many things in life that don’t require an awful lot of effort or an exorbitant amount of money to make. Some of the most popular crafts in recent years are wooden crafts, as they are pretty easy to make, can be made out of material that is readily available and can be personalized with a simple coat of paint. Not every paint type works on wooden crafts though, so let’s have a look at which paints work on wooden crafts, why the paints are best suited for your wooden craft workpieces, and what exactly wooden crafts are. Remember that even though certain paints don’t work particularly well on wooden crafts, it doesn’t mean that they won’t adhere at all.



What Are Wooden Crafts?

Wooden crafts have been around since we first discovered that wood is a malleable material and has since evolved into an intricate and highly profitable trade as well as a recreational activity. All of this being said, there are loads of things that you could make from wood that would be considered crafts, and there are many specialized disciplines in wood crafting for you to explore if you ever find yourself becoming a bit curious.

Traditional Australian Painted Wood Craft

Some of the most popular wood crafts are simple, yet functional creations that can serve you in your everyday life. Often, these creations are made of existing furnishings that may have become old or damaged and then have been repurposed in the aforementioned creations. You could turn something like an old couch or crib into a refined desk or supply cabinet, and these are small examples of what is possible if you put your mind to it.

Traditional Painted Wooden Crafts

In fact, with the right tools, you can turn pretty much anything you come across into works of art to decorate your home or turn into gifts for your loved ones. Woodcrafts don’t have to be made out of repurposed wood either, you can make crafts from fresh wood too which will give you more options in terms of the look, feel, mailability, density, and overall aesthetic of your final workpiece.

wooden crafted items

You can also make wood crafts by combining and resurfacing existing wooden crafts for a new application, and although this isn’t one of the most common techniques it almost always yields some of the most interesting results. If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, check out sites like Pinterest to see what others have and use it as a guide for your crafting experiments.

Wood crafting does require some patience and a level of skill once you reach a certain level of intricacy though, but don’t let this intimidate you. Wood crafting is one of those things that you will become more proficient at with practice, and as your level of comfort and skill develops, so will the quality of the workpieces you produce.

Complex Wooden Crafts

This being said, don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts don’t amount to exactly what you expected. It can be a huge learning curve in the beginning especially when you’re getting used to all of the different woodworking tools. As long as you’re persistent, and more importantly, enjoy the journey, you are sure to become a wood crafting master in your own right.

Painted Fruit-Shaped Wood Containers

If you’re looking for some wood crafts to get started with here are a few that you can try out without needing too many specialized tools, and that only need a fresh coat of paint to make them stand out from the crowd:

  • Cutting boards
  • Kitchen signs 
  • Coaster holders
  • Candleholders
  • Paper dispensers
  • Display or message boards for your home
  • Wall mounted coat/hat rack
  • Keyholders
  • Simple towel racks

Painted Wooden Crafts



Which Paints Work for Wood Crafts?

Wonder what the best paint for wood crafts are? Well, there are a number of points that work on wood, but not all are entirely conducive for use on crafts. Remember that crafts are often picked up a lot, tend to be in direct sunlight, and are even placed outdoors. The best paint for wood crafts will be one that is able to stand up to the aforementioned conditions without fading, chipping, or being raised, all while adhering to your wood workpiece well.

Type Of Paint Can It Be Used for Wood Crafts?
Enamel Paint
Oil-Based Paint
Acrylic Paint
Metalized Dye Paint
Latex-Based Paint
Chalk Paint
Milk Paint
Emulsion Paint
Wood Stain
Cellulose Paint

Painting Wooden Carving


Using Latex Paint

Latex paints are one of the best options for craft paint for wood. Many know latex paints as the environmentally friendly paint option that can be used on a variety of surfaces, thanks to their low odor and the fact that they contain little to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are a popular choice among woodcraft enthusiasts. Latex paints are also readily available and get you some pretty good value for money.

Latex Wall Paint for Wood Crafts

Although they are a popular craft paint for wood, latex paints don’t have a very potent color and those that do don’t have additives, which make them less environmentally friendly than their 100% pure counterparts. Latex paints are also popular because they seep into the wood’s grain, yet they can be cleaned up with just a damp cloth.

If you’re considering making a wooden workpiece that will be situated outdoors, you don’t have to worry about your paint coming off as soon as the rain clouds roll in. Latex paint is also available in exterior variations which can be used comfortably outdoors, and in certain instances, even provide a protective layer for your workpiece.



Using Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is another popular finish type for all manner of wooden workpieces, and is considered by many to be the best craft paint for wood. They provide a soft, understated finish that still manages to stand out. This paint type is typically used to finish areas like baby nurseries, large interior rooms, and other areas of homes and businesses that require a soft, light tone to their aesthetic. Why are these paints so popular though?

Chalk paints, like latex paints, are water-based, and therefore contain little to no volatile organic chemicals in their composition, meaning that you can use them indoors without having to worry about any hazardous fumes. Plus, you don’t have to concern yourself as much about maintenance thanks to its matt finish which attracts less dust and grime compared to more flush finishes.

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Like latex paints, these paints are easily cleaned up with a damp cloth, and what’s more, is that they are highly customizable both before and after they have been applied to a wooden surface. This paint type is often sanded and/or buffed in an effort to create a more distressed aesthetic, which is popular in beach homes and other spaces which do well with rustic aesthetics.



Using Acrylic Paint

If you’re looking for a well-rounded craft paint, you won’t do much better than with the acrylic variety. This paint type is used on pretty much everything, from wood to metal, to plastic, to enamel, and even masonry. Acrylic paints are made of pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer which not only makes acrylic paint colors pop but provides your workpiece with a layer of protection only rivaled by oil-based paints and wood stain.

Acrylic Paint for Wood Crafts

Acrylic makes an awesome craft paint for wood as much like latex paint, it seems deep into the woods pours to provide a long-lasting bond with the wood fibers. This means that workpieces painted with acrylic paint can be placed indoors or outdoors without the fear of your paint washing away at the first sign of rain. Acrylic paints also protect your wooden workpieces from forces like impact, abrasion, heat, moisture, humidity, and even insect infestation to a degree.

Acrylic paints are reasonably priced and are by far the most commonly used, they are even referred to often as craft paint, which should speak for itself in terms of these paints’ effectiveness according to avid crafting enthusiasts. This craft paint for wood can also be watered down, mixed, blended, and even sprayed to achieve the ideal finish on your woodcraft projects.



Using Enamel Paints

Enamel paints are relatively unique among the paints that are typically used for crafting. This is because unlike some of the paints we have covered thus far, enamel is available in both water-based and oil-based variations, depending on the application and what is needed from the paint. Water-based enamel paint will function a lot like some of the paints we mentioned previously, being easy to clean up and having a thinner viscosity.

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Oil-based paints have thicker viscosity, strong color intensity, and can be challenging to clean up. As a trade-off, oil-based paints contain loads of VOCs which means that isn’t ideal for indoor use, and they take a really long time to cure completely (usually a total of 24 hours depending on the humidity of your immediate environment). A noticeable positive about enamel paints, whether you choose water or oil-based variation, is the strength and adhesion quality of the finish.

As a craft paint, enamel provides a smooth, seamless finish that isn’t completely sheen but does provide a near-sheen look. These paints are usually used surfaces that need to be hard-wearing, so if you’re making practical crafts, this is the type of paint you want to use. It creates a thick layer of paint that bonds with wood fibers and is easily touched up if damaged or scratched. Enamel paint isn’t considered to be the best craft paint for wood, but it isn’t the worst by far.



Using Milk Paint

There are certain paints that are pretty obscure and not often used in any setting. These paints are often formulated for niche applications and therefore don’t really serve any purpose in day-to-day crafting applications. One such paint is milk-based paints, which as the name suggests, is made from milk, as well as a combination of lime and different coloring agents like pigment powder.

Milk is Used to Make Milk Paint

Considering how crude this paint type is in comparison to some of the other paints we’ve looked at so far, you could probably guess that this was a crowd favorite in a time before the advent of synthetic paints. You would be right too, in fact, milk paints have been used for thousands of years by cultures all around the world, and making a good milk paint is something of a craft in itself.

Milk paint is actually a pretty good paint for wood, and much like chalk-based paint provides you with a flat matt finish that creates a distressed, rustic aesthetic fit for any modern home. Best of all is that these paints are completely non-toxic which means they can be applied safely indoors, and because they’re actually water-based, they can be easily cleaned up with some soap and water!



Using Wood Stain

We did mention that this would be about paints, but in the interest of letting you know about all of the options available to you, we thought mentioning wood stain would be in your best interest. Wood stain is not paint. While paints are surface coatings, wood stain is a wood treatment, which is a fancy term for oils and chemicals which are applied to wooden workpieces to change/enhance their color while protecting it both internally and externally.

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Stains are arguably better than paints because they are easier to apply, easier to maintain, and every workpiece treated with stain will arrive at a completely unique finish. This is because the mineral content and grain density of each piece of wood is different, which means that the oils, chemicals, and pigments in wood stain will react differently with them.

Wood stains are also nice because they do not conceal the natural grain of the wood that they are used to treat, this means that all of the contours and natural lines of the wood will remain visible after the finish has been applied, to which the same cannot be said when using paint for wood. On the other hand, wood stains contain VOCs which means applying them indoors can be risky, and they can take a while to cure completely.




Which Is the Best Paint for Wood Crafts?

Deciding what paint to use on wood crafts can be really tough considering all of the options available to you. There are loads of brands that claim to have the best paint for wood crafts, but are they really? Not all paints are created equal, so let’s have a look at some of the best paints for wood crafts and what makes them the top contenders for your dollar. Remember that even an objectively good paint can be bad if used for the wrong application, so always take your workpiece and the conditions it will be exposed to into account when choosing a paint to use on wood crafts.

Types of Paint for Wood Crafts


Best Acrylic Paint: LIQUITEX Heavy Body Acrylic Paint

If you are looking for a good paint to use on wood crafts, this is one of the best choices you can make. Liquitex has been around since 1933 so it’s pretty safe to say that they know what they’re doing when it comes to paints. Liquitex actually specializes in craft paints and have therefore honed in their formulas over the years in order to provide you with the ultimate crafting experience.

What makes this craft paint so special though? Well, for starters it has one of the highest quality finishes around thanks to its heavy body acrylic formula which makes its colors so rich it’s nearly tangible. In addition to this, the use of bead-mill technology allows them to squeeze the most out of every pigment used in the acrylic polymer, which allows for richer colors and top-of-the-line adhesion to your wooden surfaces.

Still not convinced that this is one of the best acrylic paints on the market? Consider the fact that not only is this paint extremely low in odor (which makes it ideal for use indoors and with little ones), but it also produces one of the highest quality finishes of any craft paint on the market. Liquitex claims that their formula is highly durable and is fairly UV resistant too.

This makes it the ideal paint for crafts that will be situated outdoors, and even those that will be in contact with direct sunlight, like pieces that might be placed on your windowsills. The quality of this paint really comes across in its viscosity too, which tends to be just thick enough without being so thick that it needs to be watered down to be applied to your workpiece.

This means that you won’t find this paint bunching up at the corners of your brush or producing so much excess that it needs to be removed from your workpiece after every brushstroke. Looking to do some 3D art? The Liquitex team has your back, this paint will not crack or dry inconsistently regardless of how thick it has been applied, which is why it is not only one of the top choices for crafters but for professional painters too!

LIQUITEX Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
  • Thick and flexible for mixed media, collage, and printing
  • Basket bead-mill formula enhances color dispersion and brightness
  • Good surface drag improves blending and open-working time
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  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Powerful pigments
  • Does not crack when applied in large volumes
  • Contains fewer VOCs than other acrylic paints
  • Uses high-quality acrylic polymers
  • Does not need to be diluted before application
  • Expensive
  • No brushes included
  • Limited color selection
  • No mixing pallet included
  • Can be difficult to clean up


Best Latex Paint: MYARTSCAPE Watercolor Paint Set

Not everyone needs a professional finish for every single craft piece that they make, in fact, you might just want a decent paint set for the odd occasion that you have some time to enjoy your hobby. Thankfully, the MyArtscape team understands this, and has designed a paint that is affordable, easy to use, and will provide you with quite the finish for paint in its class. The nice thing about latex paints is that they are pretty easy to clean up, which makes this paint ideal for kids and adults alike.

You get quite a bit of value for your money with this paint set too, featuring 12 watercolor paint colors it will allow you to decorate your workpiece either with the colors provided, or feel free to make custom colors by using their easy to mix formula to make your next workpiece stand out from the crowd. These watercolor paints are also highly pigmented, which means, unlike other latex-based paints you won’t find yourself using tons of paint just to get a decent consistency.

The MyArtscape team really has found the perfect balance when it comes to their color consistency, their watercolor paints feel like acrylic when applied but still allow for enough bleed through for you to create all the sweeping passes and fine brushwork that watercolor workpieces are known for. Working with this paint on wood can be a bit tricky though, as even though the pigmentation of this paint is potent, it’s still watercolor, which means that unless you lay down a primer beforehand, you will lose some of your paint to the absorption of the wood fibers.

The power of this paint doesn’t lie in the consistency or even in the pigmentation though, the real party piece of these watercolor paint’s lay in their tint. That’s right, you get a nearly transparent tint with these watercolors that can be used to create the illusions. It can be used to paint over other paint types to create the impression of depth, which we think is pretty cool. Concerned that using watercolor paints puts your workpiece at risk of fading?

Don’t be! The MyArtscape team has used high-quality watercolor pigments that are long-lasting and will ensure that your color lasts for the lifetime of your workpiece. If all of this still isn’t enough to convince you that the MyArtscape team is committed to providing you with a great painting experience, consider that they offer a one-year replacement guarantee with every purchase, which is essentially unheard of with crafting paint brands.

MYARTSCAPE Watercolor Paint Set
  • Pigment dispersion ensures transparent, consistent, and vibrant colors
  • Non-toxic, conforms to ASTM D4236 and EN71-3
  • Manufacturer offers 1-year replacement guarantee
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  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean and remove
  • High-quality pigments used
  • One-year replacement guarantee
  • Non-toxic formula is ideal for kids and beginners
  • Can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • Provides a tinted finish


Best Enamel Paint: FOLKART Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set

Enamel paint is one of the best choices you can make when it comes to paint for crafts. Why? It has all of the advantages of oil and acrylic paint but doesn’t limit you in terms of protection and consistency. If you’re looking for a good enamel paint, we recommend that you give the enamel acrylic gloss finish paint from the FolkArt team a try. They make great quality paints at a fraction of the price that other professional craft paint manufacturers

This kit from the FolkArt team provides you with 16 different colors that are perfect for any occasion, including yellow, wicker white, orange-pink, lipstick red, purple, blue, lime green, burnt umber, and many more for you to choose from. Use these colors individually or mix them together to form your own unique hues for all of your wooden craft workpieces. These colors are intense and provide a beautiful sheen finish that will ensure that your workpieces glisten.

The enamel portion of this paint does wonders for protecting your workpiece from damage too. That’s actually one of the main draws of enamel paint, it forms a thick layer that not only binds to the surface of the wood and the fibers underneath, but can protect your workpiece from impact, abrasion, excessive heat, moisture, insects, and even strong winds that would otherwise tear your finish off.

One of the best parts about this particular enamel paint is that it can be used both indoors and outdoors thanks to its low odor formula, and it can even be oven-baked if that’s the type of finish you’re going for. You should also know that you can use this paint on surfaces that might be in regular contact with foodstuffs as this paint is completely food safe once it has had a chance to cure completely.

This paint is also one of the best suited for use on mixed media craft pieces. Enamel paint sticks to pretty much anything that you can think of this includes glass, masonry, ceramic, and even metal if it’s prepared correctly. So, even if you don’t end up using all of these paints on a single workpiece, you have the peace of mind knowing that you can use it on other items around your home and that it won’t just be collecting dust in a drawer somewhere.

FOLKART Enamel Gloss Paint for Glass and Ceramic
  • Enamel acrylic paint oven-cures to a durable gloss finish
  • Scratch-resistant and dishwasher-safe on glass and ceramic
  • Easy clean-up with soap and water while product is still wet
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  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Easy to clean
  • 16 colors included in the pack
  • Colors are vibrant
  • Provides a sheen finish
  • Can be applied quite thick without curing being affected
  • Completely food-safe once cured
  • Can be oven-baked
  • Expensive
  • One sold on two-ounce variants
  • Contains VOCs
  • Color range is limited
  • Not ideal for beginners
  • No brushes included
  • No mixing pallet included


What Are the Best Wooden Crafts to Paint?

Finding and/or making the best wooden crafts to paint can be tough, especially if you haven’t painted on wood before or are simply new to the crafting scene. We recommend that you stick to relatively small workpieces that will allow you to develop your technique while ensuring that you get the feel for painting on wood.

Painted Wooden Bracelets

Variables such as how the brush reacts to your input and how certain paints spread out are things only really learned through practice and feel so it’s best to start small. This is why we’ve prepared two ideas of small wooden crafts to paint that should make your learning curve that much easier. Even if you’re a seasoned wood crafter, you might find it fun to create and/or paint something simple again.

Making Wooden Crafts to Paint


Coaster Holders

Coasters and their holders are both great choices if you’re looking for a wooden workpiece to paint. You could even take things a step further and make your very own coasters and coaster holder from scratch! The surfaces and shapes of both the holder and coasters are simple which means you won’t have to worry about intricate angles or smudging your paint.

Wooden Coasters and Holder

You can even try out different shaped coasters and see which are easier for you to paint. The nice thing about coasters and coaster holders is that they can be made out of pretty much anything, from metal, to wood, to ceramic, which means you can develop your painting skills on all of these materials. Something that you’ll thank yourself for in the long run.


Candle Holders

To loads of people, candles symbolize intimacy, and if you’ve ever been in a dark room with the power out and nothing but a candle to provide you with light and warmth then you should understand the feeling. It comes as no surprise then that candle holders have always had special attention paid to them, and it’s also why they’re one of the most easily painted furnishings out there.

Turning a Wooden Candlestick

Candleholders, (especially the square box kind) are really easy to paint and the best part is that because they’re so small they will give you a chance to practice your attention to detail. Paint patterns, letters, numbers, or simply your favorite colors to your candle holders, and watch your art illuminate the next time you light them up!

Painted Wooden Candle Holder


Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are pretty simple in their shape and they’re relatively small in size. They are also made of really tightly packed wood in most cases which means you’ll have the opportunity to really see what your paint looks like on the surface of a wooden workpiece without having to worry about absorption.

Resin on Wooden Cutting Boards

There are loads of options when painting cutting boards too. One of the most popular trends at the moment is to mix some suitable paint with epoxy resin and paint the surface of the board. This creates the impressions of waves at the beach, which looks incredible visually and is 100% food-safe when both the resin and paint have cured.



Now that you know what wooden crafts are, what types of paint are most conducive for use on wooden art, what some of the best paints are for use on wooden art, and which crafts are easiest to get started with, it’s time for you to get out there and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember to choose the paint that best fits your application and to always work in a well-ventilated area.



Frequently Asked Questions


What Is It Called When You Paint on Wood?

While you might think that painting is painting, the practice of painting different surfaces and even different objects have specific titles to them. The practice of painting wood in particular is known as panel painting and can range from painting crafts to painting the wood interiors of homes.


Is Craft Paint Good for Wood?

Considering that there are various types of paint available for craft painting, it might be a bit reductive to say that craft paint is good for wood crafts. Acrylic and enamel paints in particular are great for painting wood crafts and provide a hard-wearing, yet aesthetically pleasing finish to wooden surfaces.


What Is the Best Type of Paint to Use on Wood Crafts?

While there are many types of paint available for painting wood crafts, acrylic is objectively the best choice for painting most wooden surfaces. Why? It is the most versatile considering that it adheres relatively well to almost any wood regardless of its grain density, plus it has the greatest number of colors available and one of the best finishes.