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How to Paint Japanese Pagodas

Verity Jones

Traditional Japanese pagodas consist of tiers with ornamental features, such as the corners of the roof or carved wooden features. However, you might have a minimalist, one floor tea house style pagoda in your garden. You will need a steady hand to detail the design of the pagoda to give it an authentic Japanese feel and bring a touch of oriental flavor to your garden.

Japanese pagodas are often red.

Step 1

Assess the design of the pagoda. Note the detailing around the windows, door or roofing and intricacies carved in the wood. Check if the pagoda has paneling or wooden cladding.

Step 2

Identify what areas of the pagoda to paint and in which colors. Japanese pagodas are often painted red, with the details in white, gold and black. You could blend the design into shrubs by choosing a selection of greens. Japanese styles are detailed so include elaborate and decorative colors such as gold or silver.

Step 3

Prepare the pagoda to be painted. Sand down the exterior using a coarse grit sandpaper. Use a brush to remove excess wood dust. Applying paint to an even, smooth surface improves the quality of the paint job.

Step 4

Coat the pagoda with an enamel primer. This enables the enamel paint to bind better to the wooden pagoda giving the paintwork longevity and a finer finish. Leave the primer to dry for at least 24 hours, or until it is dry to touch. Painting in good weather will quicken the process.

Step 5

Paint the base color of the pagoda first. If the main color is red, paint the whole pagoda red but avoid painting paneled areas or carvings as these will be in a different color. Use a broad brush to apply the outdoor enamel paint as it is quicker than a more delicate brush. Leave this coat to dry.

Step 6

Mask off the paneled areas or carved patterns that form part of the pagoda's design. Add strips of masking tape to give the paint a crisp line between the red and gold/ white. Stick them onto the red paint, as close to the edge of the paneling as possible.

Step 7

Use a narrower, flatter paintbrush to apply the next coat of paint. Select gold or white to complement the red. Get into all the crevices using the smaller brush. Completely cover the pattern with the paint. Leave this layer to dry.

Step 8

Pick out details of the pagoda's roof design with a different colored paint. You could use black or yellow to paint knobs around the roofing, or dark green underneath the rim of the roof, for example. Use a thin brush to make sure you are accurate. Leave the paint to dry.

Step 9

Pull back the masking tape once all the paint is dry. Apply a final coat of enamel varnish over the entire pagoda to give it a shine. Japanese pagodas have clean lines and the varnish will give the pagoda a professional finish.