Doc's Painting and Display Tips


Here are some tips that will save you time and make a great looking project. 

Always use a good quality exterior grade plywood. I prefer ¼” birch plywood “flooring underlayment grade” for smaller projects that comes in 4' x 5' or 4’ x 8’ sheets and ½” or ¾” exterior grade plywood “smooth on one side” that comes in 4' x 8' sheets for larger projects.

Each pattern has its own material list so you will know what you need to complete any project. 

Use our Pattern Transfer Paper to transfer the pattern to the plywood, then cut out. Most of the time a jig saw with a smooth cut blade works best. Depending on the skill level of the pattern, some cuts are very tight and will require the use of a "scroll saw style blade " that fits a jig saw and makes it easier to cut out difficult areas. 

You can paint the plywood on both sides with a good exterior grade paint & primer SATIN finish, before or after you cut out the pattern. If you paint 1 coat first, then it is easier to see the cut lines when you transfer the pattern to the wood. If your project is all white, then paint 2 more coats SATIN finish, and you are done and ready to display. 

If you are making a project that is colorful, then reposition the transfer paper and pattern on to your cut-out, then transfer all the detail & paint lines. From here it is like a paint by number kit.

The new primer and paint all in one paint, are great to use. Our local Home Depot will mix a Sample Color of any color you want for only $3, so my advice is for you to take the picture of the pattern you are making and get small samples of all the colors you need. You can also mix small amounts of your basic colors to make a special color. Local Craft Stores also sell pre-mixed colors in small bottles, but it is not very good quality for outdoor use.

Satin Finish is the Best, so if you light up your project with flood lights, it won’t reflect and glare.

You will need a set of assorted size paint brushes as well. 

After you paint all the areas and edges as needed, outline between the colors with a black paint marker. These are available in fine & medium point and work like a magic marker only with paint. It helps separate the colors and hide any mistakes that went outside the lines. They come in several colors and work great for small detail painting. 

To highlight or frost areas, use a technique called "dry brushing", by dipping the brush in paint, then wipe it off on a paper towel so there is hardly any left on it, then lightly brush it on in strokes as you like. 

To display outdoors, you can screw pieces of 1" x 2" wood to the back, top and bottom area, or where ever the project allows. Then use 1/2" electrical conduit cut to about 2 - 3 feet long that you can pound into the ground (even frozen ground) and attach the project using conduit clamps and screws to the mounting boards on the back. On some projects like deer, mount an eye bolt at the bottom of the legs, then use a “heavy duty” tent stake thru the eye bolt to hold the legs down.

For TALL Projects and HIGH WIND, mount eye bolts at the top corners and use wire or rope from the eye bolt to a ground stake on each side as though you were supporting a tent pole. 

To light up your display, you can use colored or clear flood lights that set inside a shadow box so you cannot see where the light comes from and concentrates the light on your project and it helps protect the flood lights from the weather. (use your scrap wood to make a shadow box) If your project needs “back-lighting” for our “glowing” patterns, you can use clear mini-lights mounted on the back side, then enclose them with plywood painted white, so the light shines forward to make the project “glow”, or you can use a flood light behind the project. 

Doc hopes you enjoy making and displaying your “Art” and come back soon for your next project.

Happy Wood Crafting!  

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