My Favorite DIY/Craft Paints {Paint It Monday}…

Collection of what paints work best for DIY and crafts {The Creativity Exchange}
I hope you guys had a fantastic weekend!

This week for Paint It Monday, I thought I would repost and update my list of favorite DIY and craft paints. Some of you may remember that I shared my list last year and that I promised I would update it each year as I discovered new products and techniques.  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 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) Painting 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


How to Paint on 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 did for painting gold leaf stripes on vases last year.

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) Painting Plastic 


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


Revamp old desk accessories with metallic automotive spray paint {Paint It Monday} The Creativity Exchange

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.

Automotive spray paint also works well on plastic and I have been using Dupli-Color paints found at any auto parts store:

Dupli-Color automotive spray paints have the best metallic finish out there.  You can buy the spray paints at an auto parts store {Paint It Monday} The Creativity Exchange


They also sell a spray plastic primer to use with the Dupli-Color paints.  To learn more about using automotive spray paints, you can go here.

Using automotive spray paints for transforming fixtures & furniture {Paint It Monday} The Creativity Exchange


5) Painting Metal

tutorial for transforming old junk jewelry with enamel spray paint from The Creativity Exchange



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 metal, I do like to use Rustoleum enamels and they come in gloss or satin.  They are really durable and have a beautiful finish.

For more information about spray painting metal, you can check out this post here, where I spray painted an old cast iron tall candlestick. Or, you for smaller metal items, you can check out my tutorial for spray painting old metal junk jewelry here.

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 furniture revamps with a distressed look, I like to use spray paint and right now, for a hand sand finish with spray paint, I prefer Rustoleum.

Tips for creating a hand painted finish with spray paint {The Creativity Exchange}

for my tips on how to get this finish, you can find my tutorial here.

By the way, several months ago, I shared my list of 20 favorite spray paint colors here and I even made a color chart (Yes, I really need to get a life!):

20 Favorite Spray Paint Colors {The Creativity Exchange}


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 chalky 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 love this 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.

As far as wall paints and latex paints for furniture, I use everything.  I like different products for different purposes.  I will be doing a separate post shortly on some of my favorite interior/wall paints and what brands work best for different types of projects.

I hope that my list will help you for your projects.   If you have any recommendations or have discovered a great paint product that you love right, 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, DIY, Paint Techniques, Spray Paint. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to My Favorite DIY/Craft Paints {Paint It Monday}…

  1. Megan says:

    What a wonderful post, Cyndy. I’ve never tried fabric paint or glass paint before. I may have to try them out. 🙂

  2. Susan says:

    Just want to say how much I am enjoying your blog. Very inspiring ideas and great information – thanks so much for sharing all your knowledge and experience.

  3. Thanks sooooo much for all the paint info….especially your thoughts on fabric paint. I would of never used that one! Do you think adding any Floetrol in it would help even more with the flexibility or doesn’t make a difference? Thanks again..have a great day!

    • Cyndy says:

      I was just reading about adding Floetrol to help with fabric painting the other day and it says it really helps. I haven’t tried it but I am working on a project using latex on fabric and will keep you posted. Makes sense that it should help, right?

      Thanks so much for your note and stopping by Kelly!

  4. Susannah says:

    Thanks so much for a thorough, well-researched and well-written post!

  5. What a terrific list! Can’t thank you enough for sharing this info. Will really cut down our experimenting time since you did all the work!

  6. Erin says:

    I love this post. I am pinning this for sure. I love all the tips about paint and what to use where. A perfect go to when I am ready to paint. Thanks!

  7. Kimberly says:

    Thank you, Cyndy, a million times over for this post! It’s always so great when a trusted person gives their “best of” list, it takes away a lot of guess work and trial-and-error (not to mention expense) from fellow DIY-ers, which is wonderful. I’ve put off certain projects or avoided them altogether because I didn’t have the first clue about “what’s the best product to use?” so this information is extremely helpful.

  8. debbie j. says:

    Hi Cyndy,

    I am so excited about this post I am doing the happy dance. When I received your email, I did not have time to read but I saved it for later reading. I can’t wait to start painting all kinds of things. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I used to live in the metroplex of DFW; however, my husband was transferred to Atlanta. He commuted for a year and then I moved to join him. Oh, I love Texas so much and I miss it terribly. I am slowly getting more into the Georgia groove.

  9. Mariella says:

    Hi Cyndy,

    Thank you for sharing this knowledge. I am lately obsseced with chalk paint from anne sloan… Because i have some big furniture to paint indoor and it is odorless and easy to clean up…downsize is the cost of course, but a quart to me takes me a long way….


  10. sherry hart says:

    Holy crap my head is spinning I need to go back and take notes on this post:)

    • Cyndy says:

      It’s sick, isn’t it Sherry! I really need help! LOL! I don’t realize I’m this way until I go back and read my posts.. Seriously, I made a spray paint color chart! LOL!

      • Evelyn Corso says:

        and you’re preaching to the choir! We love this stuff and I bet we will all be making our own charts!

  11. Love, love, love this post- I think it’s amazing and will be going out to buy up all the products you suggest and begin all the projects I’ve been putting on hold!
    You are a genius! Thank you so much!

  12. Jackie says:

    Hi Cyndy,

    This post was great but I didn’t really get what I needed. You see I am a high school student and I was looking to paint my biology teacher’s desk and his desk is steal from what I can tell because aluminum wouldn’t rust. I’d be using acrylic paint, but from my other readings I think im suppose to prime it but im totally clueless, help!

  13. Jeanne bell says:

    Help ….. I. Want to do decorative painting on old glass windows. I. There a base coat I could use then use regular folk art paint or what is the best process. Thanks for any help you can give me !

  14. Dian says:

    You are generous to share all of the results from your work….I can’t thank you enough.
    I have a strange question, have you ever changed the color of shoes with paint? I have a pair of sandals that the gold is too bright and would like to tone it down or make more of a bronze. Any ideas?
    I’d be grateful if you could save me from wrecking them!

  15. lisa says:

    wow, this was so informative . so much time saved by your taking the time to do this! thanks so much. i have a question i hope you can help me with. i want to do fine art style impasto knife paintings on canvas using a diy chalk paint recipe, do you think it would hold up if it’s mixed with a gel and matte medium then sealed well or maybe layer it that way then seal it well? sorry this is so long! thanks so much for any input you might have.

    • Cyndy says:

      That’s a really good question Lisa. I actually paint canvases artistically and do some knife techniques myself. I worry that the spackle in the mix will crack over time just because its like a clay base but I do agree mixing with a gel and matte medium will help bind. I know the look you’re going for and I’m just not sure what it would do over time. The cracking may enhance the canvas if you are going for an old world type finish. I wish I could tell you for sure but I just don’t know but it sounds fun to try! If you do try it, please let me know if it worked well. Thanks so much for your note Lisa!

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