January 24, 2007

Q: Painting A Kid's Play Table

OK, so I don't talk about the kid's school on the blog, but this is about furniture. I'm supposed to oversee the class project, which'll be auctioned off to raise money for tuition assistance.

We're making a play table and chair set [and when I say "we're making," I mean "I'm buying"] which the kids will cover with paint handprints. Then I'll throw another couple of coats of poly on there and--BAM-- instant heirloom.


The question: what to use to paint it? One teacher, a veteran of such projects, said it was fine to use the tempera paints they have in class, then just seal it when it's dry. Really? Should I buy some acrylics instead? What's the messy-to-use vs lasts-more-than-a-day tradeoff?

But I have this nightmare scenario in my mind where my sealant-soaked brush drags little Sofia's handprint into an unrecognizable schmear across the table, and I'm stuck with an unsellable Richard Hutten knock-off. Or can I spray seal it somehow, then brush on the rest?

Bonus Question: Anyone know where there's an Eric Pfeiffer Chalker Table in stock?


You can buy spray varathane for the first coat. That should seal everything nicely

No decoupage of the kids' drawings?

[it's not archival, unfortunately. -ed.]

I'd vote for acrylic paint since it dries fast and well, fast.

But I suppose you could do some tests with the school's tempera paint first.

I'd recommend something acrylic. Easy to clean of the kids (relatively), bonds well to many surfaces, and can be sealed with acrylic, urethane, or even epoxy. It's also about as permanent as you can get and still not feel bad about little ones sticking their hands into.

My fear is that a lot of the Varathane type things (Varathane being a world like Kleenex or fridge) are water bases. Isn't tempera water based? Won't they blend?

[exactly. I've Googled around and haven't found anything satisfactory wrt tempera and sealant, so I'm just going acrylic. Let the teachers deal with the kids' hands. -ed.]

Luckily, acrylic paint just peels off hand with a little soap and water

from my experience (as an art teacher) acrylic or tempera have about the same quality. mix either with a tablespoon of liquid dishsoap for easy post-project hand washing.

This would be a good question to send to Apartment Therpay

milk paint. casein is easy to mix or buy mixed, it dries fast and washes off easily. plus no nasty fumes. there is a brown color on serious sale at http://www.bioshieldpaint.com/index.php?main_page=products&cPath=1

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