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I would imagine you would paint a wooden dowel the same way you would paint any other piece of wood.

 

That said, primer is not absolutely necessary. I like to paint with acrylics and I use several thin coats of paint, built up over a few days, to get the depth of color I want. Let the first coat dry and then lightly sand it to knock down the grain of the wood. Then apply the next coat, let it dry, and then another coat. A light sanding (very light) after each coat is a good idea. After that first sanding to knock down the grain, you really do not have to sand the finish, but if it is lightly done and with fine grade paper, it can be done.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Russ

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Water based paint will raise the grain of the wood (one reason why Russ is sanding after each of the first couple of coats).  The wood can be sealed with a light coat of a mixture of 1 part clear lacquer to 1 part lacquer thinner.  That's the primer used by bird carvers before painting birds carved from tupelo or basswood with acrylic washes.  No sanding should be needed after painting if the wood is primed with this mixture.  It's important that after this priming the wood should not be handled, since the oil from your hand will keep the acrylic from adhering properly.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Frank

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