Tag Archives | acrylic paint

Review | Americana Clear Chalkboard Coating & Americana Multi-Surface Satin Paint

Reported by Amanda Marks

I admit I have a slight chalkboard paint obsession, I personally think chalkboard paint is one of the coolest ideas ever (the other being glow in the dark paint). I had heard wonderful things about clear chalkboard paint but I was skeptical that there was any way it could work as well as regular chalkboard paint. But I was willing to give it a try, so I was extremely excited when the Americana Clear Chalkboard Coating arrived in the mail.


Reading the front of the bottle, it states “Transform everyday surfaces into a chalkboard” which gave me a great idea. My son just started Preschool and he wanted a red lunch box with Spider-Man on it. I looked everywhere for a red lunch box with Spider-Man and had no luck – I found every color but red. Finally I gave up, and decided to transform an old red cooler lunch box I had and make it into a Chalkboard Spider-Man Lunchbox. I also had several other projects in mind with the chalkboard paint.

I was also given the opportunity to test some Americana Multi-Surface Satin Paint along with the chalkboard paint. I wanted to see how the paint compares to the standard craft paint I usually use. I have used craft paint on every surface imaginable and I thought I would test this paint on several surfaces as well.


(Pictured above: Americana Multi-Surface Satin Paint in Dark Scarlet, True Blue, and School Bus)

Here are my projects I did with the paint and chalkboard paint. First up is the lunch box, with chalk. I used both the acrylic paints and the chalkboard paints to complete this project.

Lunch Box - with chalk

I also did one of the kitchen cabinets doors in my kitchen with the chalkboard paint. It is great for posting little messages in the kitchen, and I like the idea of not having a traditional black or green chalkboard cabinet.

Chalkboard Cabinet Door

For something different, I used the acrylic paint on canvas shoes. I love them and I have gotten so many compliments on them! You can see in the photo how pigmented the colors are.

Canvas Shoes Painted with Acrylic Paint

For my final project, I added a coloring book page to the back of my Day Planner with Mod Podge. I then painted over it with chalk board paint. This shows the image half wiped with a damp cloth after being colored.

Chalkboard Coloring Book Page

The clear chalkboard paint is a must if you are looking for something extra it is extremely versatile.  The Americana Multi-Surface Satin Paint is a must especially if you are looking for something similar to house paint and do not want to seal anything. The colors are amazingly bright and highly pigmented.

Americana Multi-Surface Satin Paint


  • The paint was highly pigmented and true to the color stickers provided on the bottles
  • Two coats was all that was needed to get a solid color this is including the yellow. From my experience, yellow craft paint tends to be more transparent than the other colors of craft paint, but this is not the case with Americana Multi-Surface Satin
  • The paint was thicker than most craft paint. It was the same consistency of latex house paint.
  • The paint also has a nice finish, similar to satin latex house paint
  • Colors mix easily together


  • None

Americana Clear Chalkboard Coating


  • Works on a variety of surfaces: fabric, paper and wood
  • It can be easily applied with a paint brush
  • Chalk and Pastels work fantastic on it


  • None (my husband may disagree with this because I am using it on everything)

Americana Clear Chalkboard Coating is available in 2oz and 8oz bottles from major crafts retailers and American Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint is available in 2oz and 8oz bottles at major crafts retailers. For more information or to purchase please visit the DecoArt website.

Review | Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paint

Reported by Patti Sokol

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I am a big fan of Ranger’s products and use a lot of different items from their extensive product line in my art journals. I also follow a number of crafting blogs and have seen many of my favorite artists demonstrating the effects and looks that they can get with this new line of paints. So, I am excited to post my review of the Tim Holtz Distress Paint that was new earlier this year, and how I think it can best be used.

The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paints are available in 30 of the Distress palette colors, plus 3 metallics. For this review, I worked with a sample in Forest Moss.

Distress Paint

First: I love the packaging! Anything that makes it simple and fast to get right in and get messy (or in this case not so messy) is a big plus in my book. According to Ranger’s website: “Distress Paints have a convenient dabber system for easy and mess-free application.” After you remove the outside protective plastic covering and then the big plastic cap on the top you have to slightly depress the sponge dabber on the top until you hear it click. This allows the valve to open up and the paint to flow from the bottom and into the sponge top. You need to shake the bottle up and you will hear a metal ball inside the container that helps to keep the paint mixed and helps it from drying out. The paint is a fluid matte finish acrylic and is water based so that means it washes up with soap and water and should not stain your hands or clothing.

Second: The sponge dabber top means that it is perfect for painting with stencils, on stamps, and directly onto your project, all without the need for a paint brush. This is another big advantage of these Distress Paints – fewer items to clean up after you craft!

A very important fact to know when using Distress paint is that the blending ability you are used to with Distress products lasts only until the paint dries. Once the paint is dry the results you’ve created are permanent. It seals everything underneath, but you can add layers over it. I feel that this is an advantage as it will not interfere with additional layers compared, for example, to Distress stains which will continue to react and mix with further layers of color that you add to them. So I consider this a third advantage. But you must work a bit quicker (it dries in 3-5 minutes) with this to get the effect you want and have a bit of a plan or you might feel otherwise.

The paint also acts as a resist when using it with Ranger’s Distress Inks or Stains. For example: I use the paint and dab it onto a stamp and then apply the stamp to my project. I allow the paint to dry completely. I get a very detailed clean look as if I used ink. I even have the option of using it with embossing powder when wet. I dry it with a heat gun or allow it to dry itself which should take 3-5 minutes. Once it is dry I can go back over with my distress stain or ink and the two mediums will not interact at all. In fact, the paint will resist the ink or stain to create a beautiful and layered effect.

Stamped Image with Distress Paint

If I want a watery or mixed color background, I shake the bottle up, turn it over, dab as much as I want out to cover the area and then use either a spray bottle with water or a paintbrush filled with water to flick as much or as little water as I want. I can allow the paint to flow, mix with another color, or use a paper towel to dab in certain areas and or a dry stamp to pick up paint with a ghost image or an object to get cool effects.

Any fluid acrylic paint will give you the same effect, but the easy-to-use dispenser and the coordinating Distress product line set Ranger’s Tim Holtz Distress paint apart.


* Convenient packaging

* Easy to use

* Widely available

* Coordinates with other Distress products


* Price

The MSRP of Ranger’s Tim Holtz Distress Paint is $4.99/bottle. It is widely available from local and online craft stores, such as Simon Says Stamp,, and

Vendor Review & GIVEAWAY: Plaid – Paint by Number Kits

Reported by Angie Backen

When you were a kid, do you remember watching “The Joy of Painting” with Bob “happy little trees” Ross on PBS? I do. I realize that because I do, I’ve just totally dated myself, so if you don’t remember (or even know who Bob Ross is), there’s no need to respond to that question. We’ll just leave it at that. Anyway, watching that show always left me wanting to create some sort of painted masterpiece. I stumbled across the paint-by-number section in the craft store several years later and that feeling came rushing back. Still, I could never bring myself to buy one… until I had children. The paint-by-number kits are a traditional Christmas gift in this household. I’ll admit that I always secretly hoped one of the kids would want me to do it for them help them with it, but no such luck. They love doing it themselves and I can hardly blame them.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to buy one for myself but when the opportunity to review a Plaid Paint by Number kit came up, I jumped at the chance. When that package arrived, I was like a kid on Christmas morning! I received two kits: “Night Owl” and “Visit from Santa”. Each kit includes water-based acrylic paints, a pre-printed and numbered 20″ x 16″ textured art board (canvas), one paint brush, trilingual easy-to-follow instructions, and a paint chart.

Additional supplies used: water for rinsing brushes/thinning paint, paper towels, toothpicks for stirring paint pots, and a slightly larger paintbrush for larger areas.

I decided that I would start with what seemed to be the least difficult of the two – “Visit from Santa.” Plus, I could use that as an excuse to listen to some holiday tunes… in springtime. Hey, whatever it takes to set the mood.

I gathered my supplies and was ready to start painting. I glanced over the instructions, which really were quite easy to follow. They were more like guidelines and tips rather than actual directions because the project itself is pretty foolproof. The numbers on each of the color paint pots correspond to the numbers on the canvas board.

The paint pots are all connected and the instructions did say to snip the closed pots with household scissors, but I decided to keep mine together if only to avoid making a mess and having several little pots strewn about.

It turns out that that was not the best idea. It was difficult to hold the entire row while painting and I promptly grew tired of reaching back and forth, so snip-snip. I would highly recommend it for convenience sake.
Before getting started, it’s important to open and stir each pot. Especially the darker colors, as those are much thicker. Adding a few drops of water will help to thin out the paint and also keep it from gooping up again in the pot.
Continue to stir the paint pot with a toothpick to keep it from developing a “skin” and make sure to keep it covered when it’s not in use.
I have to admit that at first, I didn’t think those tiny pots would be enough to cover the entire canvas, but I was quite surprised at how little paint it actually takes. The kit does include one extra pot for those areas that may require more, but I wound up not even having to use them.
Still being concerned about running out of paint, I dabbed the paintbrush onto the leftover paint on the end of the toothpick after stirring, using as much of that as I could before dipping into the pot. I also constantly scraped the paint off of the side of the pot to prevent any of it from drying out.
There’s really no wrong way of going about painting the image, but I decided to go in numerical order because I am just anal-retentive  organized that way. I started with the smallest area first, knowing I would be building layers on and around it.
The paint dries very quickly on the canvas, so to avoid large clumps, I had to work fast.
I found that if I dipped the brush in water and left a little bit of moisture in the brush before dipping it in the paint, it made it easier to spread and left a much smoother finish. However, it did require additional layers of paint to completely cover the area.
One disadvantage is only having one paint brush to work with.. After a while, the bristles on the brush began to fray, thus making painting in those tight areas a bit challenging, as one color would streak over another.
I simply snipped away the strays with a small pair of scissors. Of course, that eventually just thinned out the paintbrush, but it made it all the way through to the end. The instructions do recommend a #4 line brush for detail and a #6 or #8 flat brush for larger areas, which I just happened to have on hand.
The box states that this project is “Hours of fun…” and I can attest to that. It took me a total of 49.5 hours, in between errands, homework sessions, cooking, cleaning… you know… life. But it was definitely a fun project and I did find it relaxing, even therapeutic at times. Here is the progression of the image (photos taken after every 3-4 colors completed):
According to the instructions, no blending is required. I just did the straight number to number approach and didn’t add any fancy highlights, shadows or accents but it sure looked like I had once it was completed! Depending on how you apply the paint to the canvas, it sort of naturally blends on its own. I found that the thicker the paint and the more I applied, the darker it dried. However, had I wanted to get fancy with it, Plaid provides tips on how to create special effects on your painting so I decided to try a few of those techniques afterward:
“Sponging: Paint an area with the brush and allow to dry. Dip a small piece of damp sponge into a lighter color of paint and tap the color over a darker color.”
“Stippling: Dip the point of the bristles or the end of the brush handle in the paint and apply small dots to random areas of the same color to build texture.”
“Streaking: Paint streaks of a lighter color over a darker area.”
“Wash: After painting an area, take the same color and thin it with water to make it more transparent. Blend this over random areas of the first color.” (I sort of discovered this technique on my own in the process)
If you are perfectly content with the painting as it is, you can use Plaid’s FolkArt or Patricia Nimocks spray sealer to protect it. It’s available in matte, satin and gloss.
This is definitely a time-consuming project and I would say not to expect to finish it in a day or even two days, unless you have a pot of coffee brewing constantly (which can also be a disadvantage as this may require a steady hand at times), you are extremely focused and committed, and you are not a perfectionist don’t fret over painting outside the lines. Ahem. I was so that kid whom, when coloring a picture would outline the image in thick, black crayon and then made sure to stay within the “border” (hey, I won several “best coloring” awards and stickers during my elementary school years with that little technique!), so letting go of that proved to be quite difficult for me until I realized that it’s perfectly fine and that this product was designed to paint outside the lines! In those teeny tiny areas, it’s a must.
You really can’t mess this up and what you wind up with is a beautifully painted canvas along with great satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. It also inadvertently teaches you how to wield and maneuver a paintbrush to achieve a desired effect. Learning new skills is always a good thing!
I’m looking forward to getting started on the second painting and because I now know what to expect, I’m going to be a bit more creative with that one. I have several ideas for enhancing the painting including, but not limited to: glitter paint, small beads and washi tape. Fun stuff! What are your thoughts on a paint-by-number kit? Have you tried one or would you consider trying one now? 
  • The numbers on the paint pots correspond to the numbers on the canvas making this an easy, foolproof project.
  • Easy to follow instructions and tips for enhancing your painting with special techniques are included.
  • Completing the project leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and a beautiful work of art.
  • Only one paintbrush is included and wore out rather quickly.  While having a couple of different sized paintbrushes is not required, it certainly is helpful if you have them on hand.
  • The acrylic paint is fast drying and requires constant stirring to avoid developing a “skin” and gooping up in the pot.
  • This can be a time-consuming and sometimes tedious project and does require a steady hand (and perhaps a magnifying glass) for those extremely tight areas.
The folks over at Plaid are giving away kits to two lucky readers. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.

Have you ever tried a paint by number kit? Is this something you or your kids would like to do? What designs appeal to you?

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!