Getting familiar with the things you need

Decorative painting supplies… where do you buy them and what do you really need? I tend to get a little crazy when it comes to art materials. If there’s something new on the market I just gotta have it.

But seriously, when I look around my studio do I actually use all this stuff? The answer is yes (she says with a big grin!). But basically all you need is an assortment of paint colors, brushes, mediums and a surface to paint on. If you’re just starting out, here is where you can get even more information about how to use the supplies.

Painting and art making requires stuff. It makes us happy to have this stuff. If you only dabble in paint a little from time to time you may not need as many decorative painting supplies as someone who paints every day.

You’ll definitely need to have a water bucket, a disposable paper palette, and paper towel. You’ll need tracing paper and graphite paper too. The project instructions you’ve chosen to work from will list the other items you may need. You can find delightful tole painting patterns here.

The most popular supplies for tole painting and decorative painting are discussed on this page. I'll soon be adding some links to suppliers to make your shopping a breeze. These are art supply companies I trust and buy from myself.


The majority of decorative painting projects call for acrylic paints and acrylic gouaches.

Popular brands include Americana by DecoArt, FolkArt by Plaid Enterprises, Ceramcoat by Delta Creative, Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylics by Chroma, Liquitex, Golden and Pebeo to name just a few.

My medium of choice is definitely acrylics and acrylic gouache.

I love them for their range of beautiful colors, ease of use, fast drying time and easy clean up. Because I paint and I teach and I test products for this website, you can imagine just how many paint bottles and tubes I own!

On that note then, it’s a good idea to keep an inventory of your paints. It’s not always easy to remember what you’ve got and you could end up buying duplicates. A simple Excel spreadsheet should serve you well or a written list will do in a pinch.

If you’re looking for ACCENT Country Colors, they are no longer in business.

No longer available are the 1837 Legacy paints by Folk Art Enterprises either.

If you’re looking for ALEEN’S paints… sorry… they are not available either. However, Aleen’s adhesive products are still manufactured and widely available from most craft stores.

Are you a technical kind of person needing to know how things are made? You can read about the general make up of acrylic and other paints here. (I’m a bit nerdy that way myself!)


As a decorative painter you will accumulate many different brushes. For every technique imaginable there is a brush for it. Do you really need that many? No, not really… but one more brush won’t hurt now, will it!

Here’s lots of information about the styles of paint brushes you may require for any given project. Also, depending on the medium you're using or the effect you're trying to create you can learn more about hairs / bristles
right here.

And here’s how to care for your brushes. They’re expensive so take good care of your brushes! It takes a good well cared for brush to give good results.


Your list of decorative painting supplies will likely include a variety of mediums. Mediums are products you use to add visual interest to a painting or to make the paint behave differently.

For instance you could add a fabric medium to your paint so you could paint a nice denim jacket and matching jeans! Why not paint cool T-shirts for the next family reunion?

Let’s say you want to paint on glass with your regular acrylics. You’d need to add a medium so that your paint would stick to the slick surface.

Or maybe you want to create a crackled, aged effect. There’s an APP for that…just kidding! There are various crackle mediums each creating a different look! With all of these decorative painting supplies, the creative possibilities are endless.


Decorative painters are quick to exclaim that if something sits still long enough… they paint it!!! The beauty of this form of art is that it can be used to embellish just about anything imaginable.

You can purchase new wood surfaces or beautify an existing piece of furniture. You can paint on glass, tile, mirrors, wine glasses, metal, clay pots, gourds, fabric, stretched canvas, floor cloths, hardwood floors, counter tops… you get the idea!

So that’s pretty much it for basic decorative painting supplies.

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