paint on varnish, or varnish on paint?

I'm getting real close to finishing my petrel (first boat project ever!).  I have fiberglassed and sanded, so I have two steps left: a small design I want to paint on with Interlux Brightside, and then varnish the whole kayak with Interlux Schooner Gold.  Do I varnish and then paint on my design, or do it in the opposite order?  (I'm sure somebody must have asked this question on here before, but I haven't been able to find an answer.)  Thanks for the help! 

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RE: paint on varnish, or varnish on paint?

I have always varnished once, then painted then varnished again. It's worked out well because if you make a mistake, you can erase it with a rag dampened with thinner.

RE: paint on varnish, or varnish on paint?

Always varnish first.  The first coat of varnish will fill in the grain's slight un-eveness.  After ALL the varnish coats COMPLETELY dry, you will have a smooth surface to paint on and, if you are applyting a tape created design, the paint will be stopped at the tape line & not "migrate" under the tape's edge.  ALSO, a coat of varnish atop paint will discolor the paint's finish.


Finally, as Jack said, it you ever want to remove or change the design, the paint will come off (By sanding), without harming the wood.....~BRUCE~

RE: paint on varnish, or varnish on paint?

You certainly *can* paint first and then varnish over it, however. I just completed a project where I did this, and the Epifanes people recommended it (I used their wood finish). Because the boat was already thoroughly epoxied, then sanded, epoxied, sanded....repeat....repeat...the surface was very smooth. It's true that the varnish darkened the brighter colors slightly, but the overall effect is pretty awesome. And since I'm certain that I want the art on the boat to last, having the varnish protect the paint job was very important to me.

RE: paint on varnish, or varnish on paint?

Thanks Klang. This is a timely question. I'm building a CH18 and because I messed up one of the side panel puzzle joints a little by over sanding, thinking of painting over with a slant design. Sounds like one coat of  varnish, then the paint, then more varnish. I will be using a dark paint, so any yellowing or whatever doesn't matter to me. 

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