Wise Owl One Hour Enamel Guide and Tips

One Hour Enamel: Expanded Guide and Tips


One Hour Enamel, also called OHE, will adhere to anything that is clean, dry, and dull.  Wise Owl Primer is recommended to give extra bonding so your finish will last the longest.  Our primer also has the added benefit of tannin and stain blocking properties.

The below directions will outline what the best practices are.  We recommend 2 coats of primer and a minimum of 2 coats of OHE.

If there is a current paint or finish that is chipping or peeling, you will need to remove that first before beginning.  Painting over it will not fix the underlying issue.

For best results, paint in a climate-controlled environment above 65 degrees F.

We suggest wearing gloves to prevent skin oils on your hands from transferring to your surface.

 Step 1: Prep The Surface

One Hour Enamel HATES surface oils and wax; oils and wax will repel paint. It’s extremely important to make sure you have removed all oils from the surface.  Clean well with an oil free degreaser/deglosser.  Do not use products such as Murphy’s Oil Soap.  Often dish soap is not enough to remove grease and grime worked into wood from years of use. Fusion's TSP is a wonderful cleaning product and there's no rinsing required. 

Make sure to rinse the cleaner off completely with water and allow to thoroughly dry.  If you prime over a wet surface, you may experience a crackled finish due to the different dry times of water and primer/OHE.

AFTER you have thoroughly cleaned the surface, lightly sand before beginning your project to increase the quality of adhesion.  

After sanding, wipe your project down with a lint free rag to remove any residue.   A final wipe down with a 50/50 denatured alcohol/water mix will remove any lingering dust or oils, and it evaporates and dries quickly. Do NOT use tack cloths; these are embedded with Beeswax and can create adhesion problems.

Step 2: Prime!

Choose the best Wise Owl Primer color according to your desired final paint color as follows:

Primer Color

Final Paint Color/Finish


Whites or very light colors

Light Gray

Light to medium colors, yellows

Dark Gray

Medium to dark colors, reds


Distressed finishes, all colors


Do NOT use shellac-based primers; these are known to cause the OHE to dry too fast and cause crackling. Wise Owl Primer has been tested extensively with the OHE and will give you the best results.

Stir primer very well and brush, roll, or spray to apply. When brushing, use a large, flat synthetic brush such as one of the flat or angled Cling On Brushes.  Staalmeester is my brush of choice!  Staalmeester One Series Spalters, or the Flat Hybrid Series are excellent.  If you're going for a more economic bush, try the Wise Owl Premium Micro Angle 1.5 inch brush.  If you are rolling, we recommended using a Staalmeester Microfelt Roller.

The primer will self-level.  If you need a smoother substrate, you may fine sand lightly after last coat is dry before applying OHE. This is optional, but it may help ensure you have a buttery smooth finish to begin painting.

Wait 4-6 hours after each coat of primer to apply the next coat. 2 full coats are recommended.

Step 3:  Painting One Hour Enamel

Make sure your primer has thoroughly dried. It is recommended to wait 6 hours after the last coat or even overnight to be sure.

Make sure to stir well before and occasionally during use to ensure an even, smooth finish. Never shake the OHE; shaking incorporates bubbles.

One Hour Enamel dries quickly and is 90% cured about 4 hours after it is dry, so you may return your items to service the next day! Try to limit exposure to water as a precautionary measure for the first month.  OHE is fully cured in about 10 days, but it will continue to strengthen over the period of a few weeks.

You may roll, brush or spray OHE.  Wait 2-4 hours before applying second coat to ensure finish is totally dry.

To brush OHE:

Never use a wet brush. Recommended brush is a large, flat synthetic brush.  Apply paint in the direction of the grain and do not overwork.  The paint will self-level and dries fast, so if you overwork it will not level as well.  Let the paint do its magic!  Watch for drips or runs.  When possible, paint on a horizontal surface to let gravity help the finish self-level.  Apply in thin even coats and don’t overload your brush.  This will help you achieve the smoothest finish. If you are painting a vertical surface, off-load your brush and then smooth the paint by brushing in an upward motion, against gravity. This will help avoid sags and drips.

To roll OHE:

Watch for drips or runs.  We recommend you use a technique called flagging or tipping off immediately after each roll is complete.  To do this; simply brush paint smooth in the same direction with a quality synthetic brush.  This must be done immediately after each roll to ensure you don’t overwork the paint. This will eliminate drips or runs and pop any bubbles incorporated by the roller.  Maintain a wet edge and make sure your roller is evenly loaded with paint by rolling well in the tray gradient before application.

To spray OHE:

Enamel paints are thinner than traditional latex and no thinning is required.

Spray on a horizontal surface when possible to allow gravity to help the paint self- level. When painting vertically make sure not to overload the paint and apply in thin even coats.

Additional Tips for Painting Cabinets:

During the prep stage, make sure to focus on cleaning areas that get the most exposure to skin and cooking oil, such as around the handles/pulls and near the stove.

Make sure to remove all hardware doors and drawers.  Label and number your doors and hardware as you remove them, so you replace them with the same ones for best fit.

Elevate your drawers and doors to ensure you don’t miss painting edges.

Scuff sanding before priming ensures your paint has something to grip on to.  This really helps extend the life of the finish.