Painting a poplar case - experienced painters


I’m a little confused as for which type of paint I should be using to paint my poplar case. I keep reading “Lacquer, Enamel, Acrylic-Based Enamel, Enamel Clear finish, Enamel-based paint, Oil-based paint, ???-??? paint” it’s all very confusing. I probably couldn’t go wrong with any of these selections, but anyone who is experienced in painting wood who can comment on the selection below would be very appreciated.

Regardless of the selection I’ll be buying the clear finish from the same respective brand/category just to keep things consistent, but these are what I’ve narrowed it down to: - Valspar Hi-Gloss Lacquer Black - Rustoleum Acrylic Enamel (Automotive) Gloss Black - Rustoleum “Paint” Gloss Black




You can use any paint you want really, since it’s a wood case. Just prime it and paint it.

When you see laquer or enamel paints, that means there is a plastic basically in liquid form with pigments. So the paint is colored, liquid plastic. Enamel is commonly used on cars because it’s resistant to outside elements, however it’s softer and less brittle and prone to scratching easier. When you see acrylic enamel it’s an acrylic based paint in an enamel solvent mix. Lacquer is commonly used on furniture and used to be used on guitars. Oil based is commonly used in art such as classic Italian renaissance art.

Clear enamel is basically a clear coat. It’s like a can of polyurethane or spar urethane or lacquer. Clear coats go on top of the paint to protect. A can of clear enamel is basically a “paint” without pigment, it’s just the most basic enamel solvent mix. However, an enamel paint will be the same thing but with pigments.

Personally I’d steer clear of lacquer. Lots of fumes. Looks kinda nice, dries quick, but goes to hell if you accidentally spill any kind of solvent on it and it’s not very chemically resistant. Enamel is ok, it’s soft though and prone to getting scratched easier. Polyurethane takes more time to dry but is much stronger and durable and much more chemical resistant if you accidentally spilled acetone on it for example, no big deal. Polyacrylic is a water based clear coat that is very easy to work with but like polyurethane, requires time to dry. Then there is oil based polyurethane and water based. I forgot what the differences were, I think oil based will get you a deeper gloss possibly though it’s not as fun to be around from the fumes and the clean up is a pain compared to water based.

Basically, choose a paint color you like. Once it dries, then you can coat it with a polyurethane or polyacrylic.


Thank you, cleared up all my confusion :slight_smile: