Basic surface preparation 
Glaze and Glazing

Material descriptions 
Patching drywall 
Paint & varnish removers
Sanding techniques
Sealers & sealants
Solvents & thinners



Historic color palette

historic paint colors

Early Victorian
Greek Revival
Gothic Revival
Italianate Style

Late Victorian
Late Victorian
Queen Anne


Oil and water based interior and exterior paint, such as Paintmanufacture products, can be applied over oil-based primers.


Silver leafing made easy
Gilding objects, ceilings or furniture in Silver leaf can be just the right touch to create the Modern look you are after.

More gilding tutorials



A primer acts as a barrier coat between existing (original) surface and finish coats of paint. Primers bond with and act as a ‘ground’ for subsequent paint application, gilding and varnished treatments.

Primers differ in make-up, and various types are commercially available for use in a variety of functions.

Oil / Alkyd primers

Oil / Alkyd primers act as excellent primers for exterior surfaces, wood and metal. Best suited for a base to oil based paints, the use of acrylic paint over oil-based primers is also acceptable.

Oil and water based interior and exterior paint, such as products by Paintmanufacture , can be applied over oil-based primers.
The reverse is not true; it is generally a rule of thumb never to apply oil based paint products and varnished over water-based primers.

Acrylic / Latex primers

Acrylic primers, such as Ben Moore primer , are commonly used for interior and exterior surfaces, furniture and objects. Its quick drying time allows for quicker final results. Not recommended for metal, glass or other non-porous substrates. For high traffic zones or heavily used areas oil based primers are recommended.


Gesso is a primer suited for canvases, furniture and objects. There are 2 basic types of gesso:

  1. Genuine
    Traditionally used for the ground for paintings and furniture, and in traditional gilding methods. Traditionally made from a combination of animal hide glue (rabbit), titanium dioxide, marble dust and water. The consistency of genuine gesso can be adjusted and when made into a paste can be used to create raised relief, and ornate elements for frames and decorative furniture, and for religious icons. Its quick set time allows for rapid build up and can be easily carved and shaped to any desired form.
  2. Acrylic
    An acrylic polymer with titanium dioxide that replicates the effects of genuine ground gesso. Primarily used for priming canvas for fine art paintings, both oil and water based.


Denatured alcohol based. Shellac is found in a clear form or slightly amber in color. Also, white-pigmented shellac, such as BIN, becomes an excellent primer. Pigmented shellac has strong adhesion properties and is suitable for use with wood, metal, plaster and plastic. It is a very fast drying product and should be used in a well-ventilated room. The fast drying and strong adhesion qualities makes for a great primer for both oil and acrylic based paints.

Safety: Shellac is toxic. Ventilate area well. Always use disposable gloves

Clean up with Denatured Alcohol. Dispose properly of used product and materials at your local facility. find...

Shellac is a rapidly evaporating product that provides quick drying time and a rapid bond with the surface. Allow time to harden before applying additional coats.

Pigmented shellac, such as BIN, found in aerosol spray cans are ideal for priming cover plates for light switches and electrical outlet covers.

Quick Chart - Using the correct primer
Surface type of primer clean-up
Metal oil based
mineral spirits
pigmented shellac denatured alcohol
Wood oil based
mineral spirits
water based
water with soap
pigmented shellac denatured alcohol
Plaster oil based
mineral spirits
water based
water with soap
pigmented shellac denatured alcohol
Stone & brick oil based
mineral spirits
pigmented shellac denatured alcohol
Marble oil based
mineral spirits
Linoleum oil based
mineral spirits

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Decorative paint and glazing techniques



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