China Painting with Acrylics for Wood Carving

wood carved fish decoy by Lora IrishAcrylic decorative painting over linseed oil

Acrylic craft paint flows across a linseed oiled surface as if they were oil paints themselves. This allows easy blending, thin semi-transparent coloration, and a china-painting style of decoration.


1 1/4″ x 1 1/4′ x 3″ basswood block
bench knife
large round gouge

linseed oil
disposable mixing pan
soft clean cloth

Acrylic craft paints:
King’s gold – golden yellow
Summer Sunset – pale burnt orange
Cardinal Crimson – red
Alizarin Crimson – maroon
Caterpillar – pale green
Wedgwood green – medium green
Sky blue – pale blue
Nutmeg brown – medium dark brown
titanium white
carbon black
1/2″ flat shader
#2 China Doll liner

wood carved fish decoy by Lora IrishStep 1: Carve your Whittle Fish body using the bench knife. Trace a small floral pattern on each side of the fish, tucking the flower into the gill area, using graphite paper. With your bench knife, v-gouge, and large round gouge create a simple rounded-over edged relief carving.




wood carved fish decoy by Lora IrishStep 2: Pretreat the carving by mixing 1 part linseed oil with 1 part turpentine in a disposable mixing pan. With a large brush, flood one coat of this mix over the entire fish body. Let the oil mix set for about 10 minutes then wipe any excess off using a dry, clean cloth. Repeat one time.

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