Painting Unfinished Wood Miniatures

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Here are some basic guidelines, by no means exhaustive, to start you off.

Unfinished wood miniatures offer a great opportunity to personalise your house or diorama and so to create a unique project.

Remember the golden rules:-

  • There are no mistakes, ideas just change and evolve
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment

Basic guidelines

  1. Always sand the pieces first and don’t forget to wipe them over to remove all dust before painting
  2. Always apply the paint thinly – several thin coats will give a much better finish than one heavy layer
  3. Lightly sand each layer
  4. If you are building something try to paint the individual pieces prior to construction. This will give clean lines, and if you are working on a small scale, will prove much easier to do.
  5. Never use gloss paint
  6. If you wish to create a shiny finish a thin top layer of transparent varnish is ideal.
  7. Wood varnishes from a DIY store work well but need careful application in order to create a wood grain effect.
  8. Emulsion paint and modeler’s paints are the best paints to use.
  9. Do not be afraid to mix colours. Eg adding some white emulsion to a darker coloured one, adding a stain to emulsion
  10. Do not mix water based and spirit based paints.
  11. Children’s paintbrushes are ideal for application.
  12. To create a distressed effect use a small amount of black or brown on your finger and gently rub over the area.
  13. When you have finished ‘snag’ and runs or blotches.
  14. Invest in some masking tape.

ABOVE ALL, read the labels and be careful. Do not allow children or animals in close proximity when you are painting or mixing.

When I am painting I use a white emulsion as an undercoat. This soaks into the wood and adds depth to the colour. I use taster pots of emulsion from DIY stores, leftovers from family and friends decorating projects and occasionally model, water based paints.

Most importantly have fun and enjoy your creations.

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