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Thread: using latex paint

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    using latex paint

    I've read that you can take latex paint, water it down and apply it to a project to get an exact coloring or streaking or whatever effect you want. I have 2 questions.

    1. Has anyone ever done this?

    2. If I did this, could I put a water-based poly over it?

    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Keep in mind that paint is different... Latex ceiling paint has high reflection and good coverage, but does not have wear resistance. Latex wall paint has better wear rating (but often takes 2 coats for coverage) and better dirt resistance (little tooth). Latex primer has good coverage but also good "tooth" to hold the final paint. Latex trim paint has excellent wear resistance and easy cleaning. Latex house paint is flexible to expand and contract with the weather, but has minimal abrasion resistance. Latex deck (floor) paint... well, you can follow...

    A common mistake is to say, I can use that left over latex whatever paint as a primer for my painted furniture. Okay, but will that leftover paint have good coverage and tooth and provide a hard base for the finish? And so forth. So just grabbing some latex paint and saying "sure it has the right color" doesn't say it is a good primer or surface for what you are building.

    I recently saw where someone wanted a "brushed finish" look on some fine cabinets (why???), and the solution was to brush on some latex, to give it brush strokes, then apply the final hard finish (lacquer, varnish, or whatever).

    So can you do it? Yes. But the finish you get isn't the same as the finish you would get by coloring the regular finishing material.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    My uncle who made all the cabinets in the old house we lived in used a watered down latex paint to wipe on the cabinets like stain then put poly on top. Wasn't quite my style but they looked and wore very well.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I have used latex paint then coated with the minwax water based poly, it worked well. I mostly did it as it was on some child rockers and being that they would be passed down, I didn't want to worry about any latex allergies. Both rockers are still holding the finishes well.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Thanks folks. I really just wanted to know if it could be done.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

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