What Paint Products Work the Best? {Friday Favorites}…

What paints work best- Favorite craft/DIY paints


Happy Friday friends and welcome to another Friday Favorites!

After decades of crafting and hundreds of DIY projects, I have learned the hard way that just because a paint product “says” it will do something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. If you’re an avid DIY’er, I’m sure you too have a craft closet full of products collecting dust that just didn’t do the job, or didn’t do a great job.  Knowing which product is best for the project is pretty much done by trial and error.  Nothing is more frustrating than a failed project thanks to a product that doesn’t do what it says it will do, or just isn’t that great.

I thought I would share some of my favorite paint products that in my opinion and from my experience, are the best products on the market for a specific craft/DIY project.  If you’re uncertain of what paint products to try for a particular project, I hope this list will help you in sifting through all of the paint product options.  I am also sharing some paint technique tips and links to tutorials to help with specific paint projects.

So let’s jump into the list;

1) Fabric

How to paint on fabric- screen print paint


I have tried tons of fabric paint products over the years and have found that my favorite product to use for painting fabric is screen print paint.  Don’t let the name fool you, you do not need any special tools or a special screen to use screen print paint. It works just the same as fabric paint.  I prefer screen print paint rather than standard fabric paint because screen print paint is what the professional screen printers use.  The professional finish is more like an ink instead of a paint. Fabric paint tends to be on the surface of the fabric and screen print paint colors all of the fibers.

Unlike most fabric paints, screen print paint has an ingredient in it that prevents bleeding, so wherever you paint it on is where it will stay! Music to our ears, right? The colors in my opinion, are by far more vibrant and less translucent than fabric paints.

Here is an example of the amazing finish using screen print paint:


How to paint on fabric- best paint for fabric


I could never get that type of vibrant coverage and clean lines using any of the fabric paint products that I have tried over the years. My favorite screen print paint to use is made by Simply Screen and you can buy it in any craft store in the fabric paint/embellishment section:


Simply Screen Paint- Best Paint for Fabric- How to Paint on Fabrice


For information/tutorials for how to use screen print paint on fabric, you can go here to see  my geometric pillow project that I did using screen print paint.

2) Hand Painting Glass (spray painting glass is #3)


How to Paint on Glass- Gold Leaf- How to Gold Leaf Glass


I love to hand paint on glass.  Again, I have pretty much tried every glass paint product that there is and I keep going back to one product that really isn’t marketed for painting on glass.  I have never found anything that even comes close to the finish and durability as Testor’s Model Enamels.  Testor’s paints are designed and marketed for model cars/airplanes but I have used the paints for years for painting on glass and decorative painting on plastic.  They are found in every craft store in the model car/airplane aisle:


Best paint to use on glass or plastic- How to paint on glass

Source: Testors


If you want to paint a design on a wine glass or any kind of smaller design or monogram on glass, this is in my opinion, your best product. The best part of all is that Testor’s comes in little $1.99 bottles and for smaller projects, that’s all you need.

The Testor’s color selection is fantastic too and I love all of the metallic finishes that they have. There are some important things that you need to do to prepare the glass before you apply paint and for more information about using Testor’s paint, you can go to this tutorial here that I recently did for painting gold leaf stripes on vases.

3) Spray Painting Glass

If you want to spray paint a glass vase, lamp vase or anything else glass, I recommend using Krylon Glass Frosting spray as your base primer:


How to spray paint glass


I have found that cleaning the glass piece first with alcohol and allowing at least 2-3 hours of drying time in between each layer of spray paint is the key to successfully spray painting glass. From my experience, the product to use for a top coat spray paint does not seem to matter when using the Krylon Glass Frosting as a base.  Keep in mind that it will take at least 24-48 hours to fully dry.

4) Plastic


How to spray paint plastic- Best paint for spray painting plastic


Contrary to what you may have heard, spray painting plastic does work!  I think most people don’t think it works because enamel really does take a full 7 days {or more} to really dry. It will still feel tacky after 48 hours but a few days later, it will be solid. If you can just tell yourself to wait a full 7 days, the tacky-ness will be gone and the finish will be just like plastic and will not scratch.  There is a little prep work to prepare the plastic surface, but it doesn’t take much time.

When it comes to priming plastic, I have tried a lot of primer products and the one that I like to use is Valspar Plastic Primer:


How to spray paint plastic- the best paint to use for spray painting plastic


For top coats, again, the only thing that will hold up is a spray enamel paint.  For detailed instructions for how to spray paint plastic, you can check out this post here, where I spray painted old plastic drink and bread crates.

5) Metal

How to spray paint metal- Best product for spray painting Metal


Spray painting metal is really easy thanks to Rustoleum Professional Primer:


How to spray paint metal- best product to spray paint metal- rustoleum professional primer


One good coat of Rustoleum Primer on metal and you’re good to go!  It’s fantastic and I have found that as long as I use this primer, I can use any kind of spray paint as a top coat.  For more information about spray painting metal, you can check out this post here, where I spray painted an old cast iron tall candlestick.

If you want to just add a touch of gold or silver to dark metal {like a metal rub}:



I also use the Testor’s Model Enamels in gold or silver {I also like to mix the two colors together for a bronze look}  and put the paint on a little on a rag and just swipe here and there.  I know there are products out there to antique or rub and buff, but I still prefer the Testor’s metallics for this because the finish is so beautiful and I have found that the metallics are not as vibrant in other products. One popular product says it’s gold but after you rub it on it looks like copper! Ugh! $5.00 wasted on that one…

If you want to hand paint metal, I also recommend Testor’s enamel.  I hand painted black metal clock hands for my kitchen wall clock, so I used Testor’s silver and just a little Testor’s gold, mixed together and rubbed it with a rag over the black metal clock hands:



I guess this finish is more like a zinc look.  If you want to learn more about this technique, you can check out this post here for more info on the technique I used for these clock hands.

6) Wood

I saved wood for last because painting on wood either finished or unfinished is probably the most popular paint project.  I know that probably most of you have your favorite paints that you like to use.  For decorative hand painting small designs, I like to use Folk Art paints:


Source: Folk Art


I do love the acrylic Folk Art paints because they are $3.50 and have a good finish.

For chalk paint finishes for furniture, I like to use a homemade recipe that works really well for me which is 1/3rd cheap primer, 1/3rd flat paint and 1/3rd lightweight spackle mix:


Recipe for chalk paint
You do not have to sand before using this recipe but you may want to lightly sand in between layers. I finish it with a liquid glaze and I love Valspars glazes. For more information about this chalk paint recipe, you can go to this post here, where I shared some of my favorite painting tips.
For painting on wood and transforming trash into treasure, I have been loving this new technique which is a faux plaster finish:


Faux Plaster Technique


For the faux plaster, I mix 50/50 flat paint with lightweight spackle. I have not had to prime anything that I have done. If you think something needs primer, you can add a little primer. If you’re interested in learning more information about faux plaster, you can go to this tutorial here.

Well friends, I did it again! I wrote another novel! I keep promising myself that I would stop writing such long posts. I have so many more product info I would love to share.  I may have to do a “Part 2”.  Well hopefully you can use a suggestion or two here and again, if you have any recommendations or favorite products that you love right now, please share them in the comment section!

I hope you guys have a fantastic week and thanks for hanging out with me today!


This entry was posted in Crafts, Do It Yourself Projects, Paint Techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to What Paint Products Work the Best? {Friday Favorites}…

  1. Mary Ruth says:

    Thank you so much for putting this information all in one place for easy reference! I am going to share this link with my blog buddies and Pinterest and FB!

  2. Cyndy says:

    Thank you Mary Ruth! I’m glad that you like the information and I hope this helps with sifting through all of the products. Thank you so much for sharing the post! Have a great Saturday!!

  3. Dee says:

    Thank you for sharing your ‘tried and true’ products and methods. Can you describe the pens (paint?) in the photo? I can’t find pens to write on plates. Seems the usual craft stores aren’t carrying the products recommended by a lot of bloggers. Any ideas or hints?

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Dee! Yes, there are so many more products I wanted to talk about in the picture that I didn’t get to and the Testor’s Enamel Pens are really amazing and another favorite product. They too are sold by Testor’s and they are in the model car section of the craft store and they are an enamel paint pen. I haven’t tried them on plates but I have used them for years on glass and they work better than any glass paint pens I have tried. If you use them to write on plates, you would not be able to use the plate for food but decorative, yes. I don’t see why they wouldn’t work on a plate or mug. They will take at least a full 7 days to completely dry and you would not have to fire them in the oven. If you don’t mind waiting that long, I think you would love the final result! Thank you so much Dee for stopping by.

  4. Amy says:

    I am saving this to my favorites! What a great tip list! Thanks!!

  5. Michele says:

    This is a great post to save in my DIY file! Wow thanks for sharing all the info.
    You saved us all time & money!

  6. malinda belle says:


  7. Michelle Hayward says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this info. It will save us novices a lot of time and headache trying out various paints. It can be discouraging to get all amped up to do a project only to be let down by the results after setting aside all that time. This will spare some of us that.

  8. Katherine Shauger says:

    Cyndy, this is Katherine in Portland (my daughter is Cindy too). All your paint & finishing products info invaluable to me. Lots of work! I made all the notes in my little black binder. Thank you so much. All your work is just exquisite. Katherine in Oregon. PS My tea party was such a big hit w/your intialed ornaments.

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you sweet Katherine in Portland! I was just thinking about you the other night and was wondering how it all went! So glad the ornaments were a hit. Thank you again for your note and I hope my list will help you when deciding on products!

  9. Rachel says:

    Thank you!!! These are wonderful tips. I’ve got to try the Testor’s enamel on glass. I’ve been using Pebeo Vitrea glass paint and don’t love it. Glad to know there is an alternative.

  10. Hi Cyndy
    Have you tried adding powered lime? This works really well also and costs less. I am a CeCe Caldwell retailer as well and this paint has it’s advantages as well. Have you ever tried it?

  11. Hi, I was wondering if you have a paint recipe for colored chalk paint? Thanks….Margie

  12. Myrtle says:

    Hi, I’ve been painting on glass for years with the FolkArt Enamel, love and and very good success…I always bake though. I’d like to try the Testor paint..had not heard of this option before. I am wondering how it holds up to washing, is is similar to the FA paints, better or worse?

    regards, Myrtle

  13. Shelley Oneal says:

    what kind of paint do you use on plastic horses to look like glass. the kind they use on carousel horses

  14. lynn says:

    Hi there im emailing from the uk. I love glass painting and wondered if u had tips on the opaque variety of glass paints I use marabu but just cant get a professional finish ive used brushes and sponges but even using fine sponges they leave marks. Any tips would be appreciated . Thanks lynn

  15. Gary says:

    you are so creative–perhaps you have a suggestion for the following
    A 30X44″ section of window (on the second floor and above an external staircase) has been backed by a piece of plywood. It isn’t a bad piece of wood, but… It covers a sliding narrow food shelving unit squeezed into the space between the window and the refrigerator.
    The exterior walls are smooth stucco painted Bone White exterior flat with trim a dark forest green. We live in Santa Barbara, CA– lots of oak trees, views to the ocean, so what do you think we should do?
    I am really open to suggestions.

  16. Barb says:

    I have a question. Could you give me a type of paint to use to embellish a plastic coated tote bag? Thank you

  17. Elizabeth Rudolph says:

    Thanks for all the good info. It stirs me to do some painting which I have thought about for a long time. My car is very old and valuless and the paint is disappearing so I would like to do some decorative painting- hippie style. Do you have any tips?

  18. Michele says:

    hi Cyndy, i found your super helpful blog on google. i would like to paint on throw pillows and will certainly purchase the screen paint. However, here are my questions, in case you have the answers:

    1/ when screen painted, can the pillows be washed ? if yes, are there special instructions ? i have no clue, i have never done this before.
    2/ is there a specific fabric that i should choose that would work best with the screen paint ? i am thinking about ordering them from china online, but some say 100% cotton is the best, some say the blend of cottom and rayon is best.. ?
    3/ do the colors fade easily if the pillow is exposed to sunrays ?

    thank you very much in advance !

  19. Jennifer says:

    Do you know if the screen print paint will work on 100% polyester?

    • Cyndy says:

      Hi Jennifer! I’m not sure, I have never tried it but I really don’t see why not. I would just test first to see what your technique should be (how much paint to use, etc). I would love it if you came back and told me what you experience was. Thanks for your question and I’m sorry I don’t have the answer.

  20. Stephanie says:

    What kind of paint pen and paint to use a brush with on an already gold glazed ceramic item. I have a shiny gold skull head and I want to paint it to look more like the sugar skulls.
    Thank you,

  21. Julie Bucciarelli says:

    Cyndy, Thank you for all that wonderful info. One further question…Do you know where to purchase soastic bottles with a spongy “dauber” top, like a shoe polish bottle.
    The ones for kids ti do Dot Art are not enough.
    Im setting up a touch up paint set for a house.
    Thanks so much,

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