I think what Tacoma is warning against is using an acrylic paint. Acrylics do not get hard, remaining gummy feeling. They do not sand well, merely gumming up the sandpaper. Oil or lacquer based would be the most commonly used. Shellac can be tinted also.

You will need the assistance of a good paint store for this project. In general, the big box stores do not have these products or the qualified personnel to assist you. ( Spruce never thught he would hear me say that! )