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Subject: Tips for painting wooden bits? rss

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Chris Hawks
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I've got 2 sets of Settlers of Catan bits that I plan on painting. One is an unfinished set of Settlers, Seafarers, and C&K pieces I ordered from Mayfair, the other is just a Settlers set that faded and needs repainting.

I've heard acrylic paints are the way to go. But what method is recommended? There are a lot of bits to be painted, so would spray paint be a good idea? Or would it be better to hand paint all 72 pieces?

---

Also, I'm trying to settle on new colors for these sets.

I currently have...

Mayfair 3rd edition:
- white
- yellow-orange
- blue
- red
Mayfair 5/6:
- brown
- green
Mayfair 2nd edition:
- black
- purple
- orange
(the yellow is being repainted)

I'm considering the following colors:
- grey
- pink
- turquoise
- yellow

Any opinions?
 
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Brian Jacobs
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If you want them solid color, I'd spray paint. Stick them to a piece of cardboard with poster tack, point the paint away from the figures and start spraying. You want to paint while moving, and you want to start the paint before you are aiming at the figures and stop after you have moved past the last figure.

It's not really all that hard.
 
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Valerie Putman
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I too suggest spray paint, but I would encourage you to start with a primer (usually white, but black is a better primer for some dark and metallic colors) and end with a clear coat.
 
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Richard Irving
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I recommend spray painting as well--I had a selection of 1st & 2nd edition Mayfair Settlers pieces that I wanted to match with 3rd Edition Seafarers pieces. I painted the orangy-yellow ships yellow and the brown ships purple. I think I also painted the appropriate settlemennts/cities and roads at the same time so the colors matched. I eventually painted the black & orange pieces--to light blue and light green.

I don't think I used any primer on prepainted pieces, the paint adhered OK. But if you are painting wood pieces for the first time, a spray primer works very well.

Typically, I taped the pieces onto a card (roads on end), gave several light coats paint (drying between each coat) and then flipped them over for the bottom (or the other end of the road). I just used inexpensive spray paint--the store brand that my hardware store carried.
 
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Kenneth Spontelli
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I think that if you look closely at your wooden bits, you will find that you can see the grain of the wood showing through the color.

That is because the pieces are not painted. They are, in fact, dyed with aniline dyes. There is a clear acrylic coating on the surface but all of the color you see if from the dye.
 
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gamesnight wrote:
I think that if you look closely at your wooden bits, you will find that you can see the grain of the wood showing through the color.

That is because the pieces are not painted. They are, in fact, dyed with aniline dyes. There is a clear acrylic coating on the surface but all of the color you see if from the dye.


So is there a way to dye the wood pieces again?

I have a copy of Medieval Merchant with two sets of the green pieces and no white pieces. So far, I tried soaking the pieces in bleach, which did nothing.
 
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Kenneth Spontelli
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I know that the wood is bleached before it is dyed for the first time but, I don't think you can ever get the dye color bleached out once it's in there. You might get the piece light enough to over-dye it. It would be important to remove the acrylic 'shell' before bleaching the wood. The acrylic in completely impervious to bleach.Sanding is the quickest way to remove the acrylic shell. Green would be one of the troublesome colors to work with. You could have a light green, after bleaching, and a dark green set; or you can over dye the light green with yellow or blue to end up with a yellow/green or blue/green set.
 
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Kenneth Spontelli
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As a note on dying wood pieces with aniline dyes, don’t let the word aniline worry you. These dyes are not difficult to find strong chemicals. Standard food coloring that you can buy at the grocery store will dye raw wood quite well. I like to use white poplar wood for dyed game pieces because it takes dye evenly and easily, pine can often take dyes unevenly. After the dye dries completely, spray the pieces with an acrylic spray coating; I use Krylon No. 1303 -Crystal Clear-.
 
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Steven Heinrich
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great tips, something I was curious about myself.

Now, on getting the dye on the wood, do you just make a pot of the liquid and drop the little suckers in there? or would you use a strainer and immerse them only for a short amount of time?
 
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Kenneth Spontelli
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I used alcohol soluble dyes that are bought as a powder. I would mix a batch in a larger baby food jar and shake it up. The jar has enough room for a color set from Settlers of Catan; i.e. 4 cities, 5 settlements, 15 roads. I put the pieces in the jar all at once and swirl them around in the dye. To retrieve the wood bits I pour all of the contents of the jar through a tea strainer using a one cup Pyrex measuring cup to catch the dye. Shake off the extra dye while the wood bits are in the strainer. I dump the wood parts on to a paper towel and cover them with a second paper towel. I rub the bits between the two towels till they are no longer wet. I let them sit one a fresh paper towel for an hour or so and then I spray them with the acrylic spray, two coats is normally enough

This is the dye I used but I see that they are doing away with the alcohol based dyes.
http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/TransFastdyes.htm

The water based dyes, like the food coloring from a food store, raise the grain of the wood but that can be dealt with a little prep work.
 
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Steven Heinrich
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very cool...many thanks!laugh
 
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John Stimson
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I have both painted and dyed wooden bits. I thought the dye worked beter. Most woodworking stores have the dye in gel form. Spray painted worked fine also, but was a lot messier.

If you spray paint I recommend not paping the pieces down etc, but rather getting a screen (any harware store for $2.00) and painting over a bucket with water in the bottom. This eliminated the overspray mess and the tendancy for the part to move when spraying.
 
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