Help support TMP

"Do you use craft paints for your miniatures?" Topic

72 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Painting Message Board

Action Log

15 Jan 2018 2:07 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

1,539 hits since 7 Jun 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

Personal logo DWilliams Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Jun 2017 8:52 a.m. PST

Do you ever use the inexpensive acrylic water-based craft paints that come in 8-oz. plastic bottles for your miniatures? Examples of brands sold here in the USA are Apple Barrel, Delta Ceramcoat, Americana, and Craft Smart. Or, do you prefer the more expensive paints manufactured specifically for miniature figures like Vallejo?

(a) Yes, I use them for all my painting.
(b) I use them for some projects, but not everything (share details if you like).
(c) No, I never use these paints.

Doug MSC Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 9:06 a.m. PST

(A) all of them and they all work fine for me!

chuck05 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Jun 2017 9:14 a.m. PST

I use a mix of Vallejo and craft paint to good effect.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 9:17 a.m. PST

Yes, now use them for just about everything. Although there are a couple of colors, some reds and yellows, that don't cover well, the rest do. They are inexpensive and readily available in my friendly local craft stores. Plus there are a plethora of colors among the various brands. Since I mainly game with (and thus paint) pre-1900 figures, the colors need only be approximations since dyes for the most part weren't as permanent as dyes are now. I don't worry about getting the exact shade of green for French Napoleonic dragoons or British rifles.


jfleisher07 Jun 2017 9:32 a.m. PST


RKE Steve07 Jun 2017 9:33 a.m. PST

B – mostly the craft paint but I also do use Vallejo

teboj17 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 9:37 a.m. PST

D. Only on terrain and buildings.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 9:39 a.m. PST


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 9:44 a.m. PST


Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Jun 2017 9:44 a.m. PST


Timmo uk07 Jun 2017 9:46 a.m. PST


Roderick Robertson Fezian07 Jun 2017 9:47 a.m. PST


I found a workaround for the reds – undercoat in pink (I use Americana Raspberry, which coats nicely). Red or purple on top of that comes out properly.

Haven't found a similar undercoat for yellow, unfortunately, but I'm still looking.

Hafen von Schlockenberg Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Jun 2017 9:53 a.m. PST

Mostly A,though I also use Liquitex.

21eRegt Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 10:07 a.m. PST

A for almost everything except the washes/inks.

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut07 Jun 2017 10:08 a.m. PST

Mostly craft paints. A smattering of Vallejo, Reaper, Coat d'Arms, and Testors.

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 10:11 a.m. PST

B…….also use Model master, Vallejp, GW paints and washes, Liquitex, and sometimes oils

Spaceadmrodkalker07 Jun 2017 10:11 a.m. PST


Vigilant07 Jun 2017 10:13 a.m. PST

For yellow I use white undercoat if I want a light colour or a shade of sand for a bit more depth. I used craft colours when I 1`st switched to acrylics, then moved to Humbrol, some GW before finally settling with Valejo

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 10:21 a.m. PST

There's no benefit to using miniature formulated black. Artsy Crafty paint is perfectly suitable here.

shirleylyn Inactive Member07 Jun 2017 10:22 a.m. PST

Sure do. I inherited most of my paints from my husband. And he has it all. Name the brand, he has some.

goragrad07 Jun 2017 10:30 a.m. PST


Although I just noted last night that the Classical Indian bow and javelin are going to be nearly all craft paint.

I prefer the enamels but don't have enough colors available.

HidaSeku Inactive Member07 Jun 2017 10:37 a.m. PST


Although the vast, vast majority of paints I use are the craft paints, so I feel like an option between A and B would be good.

Buck21507 Jun 2017 10:39 a.m. PST


Rich Bliss07 Jun 2017 10:40 a.m. PST

For most projects I use Liquitex but Craft paints come in handy when covering large areas of terrain pieces. Craft paints are my go to for bases as well.

panzerCDR07 Jun 2017 10:49 a.m. PST

b. I used them for terrain and some buildings. I think they are relatively "runny" and take many coats to cover the surface. On the other hand they are inexpensive and for terrain purposes they are good enough, especially if mixed with other colors and given a nice coating of flocking material.

Glengarry507 Jun 2017 11:03 a.m. PST


Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 11:11 a.m. PST


ecaminis Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 11:16 a.m. PST


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 11:22 a.m. PST

Most of my paints are craft paints.

Personal logo Dr Mathias Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Jun 2017 11:27 a.m. PST

I use craft paints quite a bit.

The pigments are going to be the same as any other non-toxic acrylic miniature paint, but craft paints usually have more transparent base- so they tend not to cover as well (which can be to a painter's advantage in some cases).

Saxondog07 Jun 2017 12:01 p.m. PST

I too use craft paints. I use paint from pretty much every maker in the country but I use a lot of craft paints. Reaper, Vallejo, GW to Apple Barrel…..I hate mixing and use every color I can find (that might suit my needs,not much in the orange/purple categories)

Never had any issues with being to thin or anyother problems.

arsbelli07 Jun 2017 12:05 p.m. PST

B. I use craft paints exclusively for bases, Army Painter paints and ink washes for the figures themselves.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 12:06 p.m. PST


rmaker07 Jun 2017 12:26 p.m. PST


whitphoto Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 12:32 p.m. PST

A: Almost exclusively. I find them to be just as good as 'miniature paints' after I get done with them. The only time I put them on right out of the bottle is on terrain. I mix them 50/50 with a mix of acrylic matte medium and distilled water to thin them down and find that they go through an airbrush just fine if I mix that with another 50/50 distilled water mix.

I have a number of Vallejo colors for WWII and have used a conversion chart I found online to match the craft paints to them and have come as close as possible, especially considering I them use 'magic wash' and highlight over top of them.

Several exceptions: Whites, Reds, Yellows are just as much a pain in the ass as the miniature formulas.

The craft paint flesh tones are bad. Horrible. They never look right and coverage is garbage. I've been using Vallejo flesh tones and LOVE them.

Personal logo DWilliams Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Jun 2017 12:51 p.m. PST

@whitphoto … have you tried Delta Ceramcoat 'Bambi Brown' for Caucasian flesh tones? I have used it very successfully for years with great results. I often add just a bit of red to get some extra color to the mix.

14Bore07 Jun 2017 12:59 p.m. PST

Yes for last 25 years before that enamels. Have tried to strip down oldest figures and its tough to get them perfectly clean.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 1:05 p.m. PST


Hlaven Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 2:26 p.m. PST


Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 3:05 p.m. PST

B I guess, I mostly use Vallejo, supplement with Reaper and craft paints. When Poly S was no more, I went to Ceramcoat Blueberry for my French Line and Union Blue coats, its worked fine for years.

whitphoto Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 3:16 p.m. PST

I have only tried the various 'flesh' paints from several manufacturers. I will pick up Bambi Brown and give it a try though.

tigrifsgt07 Jun 2017 4:07 p.m. PST


JMcCarroll Inactive Member07 Jun 2017 4:10 p.m. PST

A. Why waste your money?

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 4:12 p.m. PST

A. All my figures that I have painted.

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2017 4:24 p.m. PST

B I use whatever works.

Wolverine07 Jun 2017 4:37 p.m. PST

B. I use Howard Hues for the important colors.

Dynaman878907 Jun 2017 4:47 p.m. PST

A – except for select colors like Feldgrau, no craft paint quite matches it enough and it is easier to buy that one from a hobby supply.

CeruLucifus07 Jun 2017 5:41 p.m. PST

B. I've used Delta Ceramcoat for terrain, and still have some floating around, although I've pretty much switched entirely to Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics.

I started my nephews painting figures with some Delta Ceramcoat craft paints, although the paint sets I eventually got them are Dick Blick house brand flat acrylics and they use that mostly now.

JAFD2607 Jun 2017 6:19 p.m. PST

Salutations, gentlefolk!

Simple answer, B. But if I may expand thereon;

Paints are made of pigment and binder. The binder for all acrylic paints – 'craft', 'hobby', 'artists' – is basically the same. Pigments differ.

Browse a big 'artists' supply' store sometime – in the 'artists' acrylic paints' sections, the tubes – or maybe the websites – will give the 'chemical name' of the pigment, a 'lightfast rating', and the toxicity. Will also have the price range of the paints with that pigment.

There's also a big volume _The Artists' Handbook_, with a chapter with an exhaustive list of paint pigments. Probably in reference section of library.

Most pigments needed for military miniatures – browns, tans, grey-blues – will have lowest toxicity, high lightfastness, and be in the low-priced range. These colors should work as well in craft paints as in the expensive varieties.

Colors from pigments that are not lightfast, or expensive, are not colors that you want to get in craft paints (I've had a unit of Alex's Companions whose 'Tyre purple' cloaks faded to mud). I've also had craft paints with bad coverage, 'stringy' consistency, or 'just sat too long on shelf' – left them at Senior Citizens' Center, perhaps, on the plaster figurines they paint up for holiday sales, they can use.

You pay your money, you take your choice, it's a free country, I've been using craft paints for 25 years, am largly satisfied.

Note that acrylic paints in a quality useful to serious modelers only arrived in the mid-70's – before that you used paints thinned with solvent or turpentine. IMHO, acrylic paints are one of the great inventions of my lifetime (& personal computers, the Internet, polio vaccine…)

Yours, John

TNE230007 Jun 2017 6:51 p.m. PST


Pages: 1 2