What Is The Best Primer For Your Paint?

The Importance of Using The Correct Primer

There are different primers for different types of paints and surfaces, some primers give a particular shine or colour when dry. The purpose of a primer is to protect the paint from getting chipped, soaking into a canvas or changing colour over time due to no surface protection. 

Types of Primers  

Alkyd Primer 

This is an oil-based primer used as an undercoat on steel, wood and aluminium surfaces, most suitable for oil paintings. 

We sell two types of Alkyd primers:

  1. Robersons Thixotropic Alkyd Primer - this is a multi purpose primer for all types of oil painting. A one coat multi purpose primer that gives an opaque gesso like surface for oil painting. Be aware that canvas should be sized with rabbit skin glue before priming. Allow 4 days to dry thoroughly. 
  2. Cranfield Thixotropic Alkyd Primer - this is also a multi purpose primer but is quick drying. It dries to a slight gloss that allows the paint to adhere consistently but without the dry and absorbent feel of acrylic based primers. 

The Thixotropic Alkyd Primer is similar to Alkyd primers however provides minimal cracking and increased flexibility. This primer will usually take four days to dry completely and leaves a smooth matt finish. Never use Alkyd primer on acrylic paintings.


Acrylic Primer

There are a variety of acrylic primers that have different ingredients to provide different finishes suitable for various surfaces and paintings. The Roberson Acrylic Primer can be used for acrylic and oil paint as it seals the fibres of the oil and acrylic substances for a smooth white finish.  No previous sizing is needed when using this product and the Robersons Acrylic Primer dries rapidly and is ready to paint on within a matter of hours. It is recommended to apply two layers. If you want to lengthen the product you can add water but it is not recommended.


Acrylic Gesso Primer

This is a fast-drying, flexible, non-yellowing primer for mixed media. Gesso primer enables the paint to stick to the surface and provides a matt finish which can be sanded down for a smoother finish. Once applying gesso primer, the canvas will be ready to paint on within a matter of hours.

Oil Primer

This primer is only compatible with oil paintings, the oil primer will stick to most surfaces, sealing the surface, and providing something the oil can stick to with good coverage, flexibility and no cracks appearing. Winsor & Newtons Oil Painting Primer is great for when using oils. It's ready to use and does not require any stirring or thinning.  It can also be applied directly to porous surfaces with virtually no sinking in. You should allow a 24 hour drying period but may require two or three coats  applied on the edges and on the reverse of the surface to prevent warping. Please note that oil primers can only be used with oil paints.

Overview on Primers

You cannot paint directly onto an un-primed surface as the paint will not adhere to the surface at all. It is vital that you use the correct primer for the type of paint that you are using. If you have any other questions, then feel free to drop into our friendly store or give us a call at 0208 368 8580 and one of the team would be happy to talk it through with you.


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