Walking sticks are excellent for hiking, nature tours, or any other activity that involves plenty of foot travel on rough terrain. Unfortunately, visually attractive walking sticks can be quite expensive--sometimes as much as $100 or more. Painting your walking stick yourself is an excellent alternative to paying high prices for commercially produced walking sticks. Depending on how ornate your design, you can easily paint your walking stick in less than an hour.
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Before painting your walking stick, sand it lightly to remove surface irregularities. The surface of your walking stick should be smooth and free of welts or rough patches. This will promote better paint adherence and keep the paint from wearing away with use.
Cover your walking stick with an acrylic primer before applying your design. There are several brands of inexpensive acrylic primer you can use to achieve brighter colors and more intricate designs. If you plan to use a light-colored design, cover your walking stick with white primer; if you prefer a darker design, black primer is a better choice.
The type of design you want will affect the type of paint you should use. If want a simple colored walking stick, you can complete the project quickly with a can of spray paint. If possible, paint your walking stick outside. If this is not practical, make sure your painting area is well ventilated. Wear a protective mask when applying spray paint to avoid breathing in dangerous fumes.
If you prefer a more intricate design, oil paints are a better choice. Oil paint, when applied over acrylic primer, produces vivid colors. Because oil paints dry slowly, you can mix and blend several layers of color to create realistic effects. If you choose this type of paint, allow your walking stick to dry for at least one week before taking it outdoors. Using your walking stick before the paint is completely dry can damage your design.
Protecting Your Design
Once your paint has dried, apply a coat of clear enamel or polyurethane over the finished design. This will protect your paint and help prevent smudging and flaking. Urethane typically comes in a can, much like house paint, and can be applied with a 1-inch paint brush. Enamel is available in spray cans. Whichever you choose, apply the clear coat in a well-ventilated area--the fumes from these clear coats can irritate your eyes and damage your lungs.