November 19, 2013

Painted Textured Vanity

Well, this is the before picture.......
I know, awful. Although it would be easy to spend a bunch of money on this project, I would rather not. So I am counting on a lot of discount tile and paint to work their magic. I'm not after great; I'm after better.

Initially, I didn't think that I would have a problem with the architectural molding feature below the drawers, but now I am obsessing about it. At this point, I'm wondering why I chose to save this cabinet.

Finally, I am doing something about it. I picked up some molding from the lumber store, filled in the routed details on the doors, and glued the molding on. Now, the cabinetry has been upgraded to bland. So, I'm counting heavily on paint as my last option.


I would like to give the cabinet doors a little texture, so I am playing around with some samples.
 
My thinking is: if I can direct the eye with contrast and texture, the architectural element that I am obsessing about would not be so noticeable.
To create the texture, I mixed some of my top coat paint with a little whiting and applied this mixture with a sea sponge randomly on my sample piece (you can use a wood filler by itself or plaster too): let this dry; sand and seal; and paint your top coat on. Also, you can tint this textured paste as well; and when your top coat is dry, you can gently, sand back to add more dimension, which is how I finished off one of the samples. 
This is my finished set of samples. The white sample is.....too white. The sample with the most texture and contrast would be great on a piece of furniture with a cheetah throw. However, I do like the sample that I'm holding that has a hint of texture, but I do want to change the color from a taupe to gray.
 So here you have it: finished cabinet doors. They have been painted a warm gray, randomly textured, and a metallic-silver glaze was applied over the molding.

Finally, done (my family is saying that too, but with more feeling).  


I am beginning to like my bedroom a little more. Daisy is too.
 

October 11, 2013

Working with Metallic Plaster

What is pretty about this picture?
Well, Daisy is cute, but it is the wall that has a metallic plaster finish. 

It seems that everyone I know has this finish in their home but me. However, in the last few weeks, that has changed. I am late to the party no more.  

In the past, Sis and I have plastered dining rooms, bedrooms, and baths; and I can honestly say that it is one of our favorite finishes. The best thing about this wall treatment is that it keeps changing with every step that you take and with every passing hour. Metallic plaster doesn't dazzle. It is more subdued than that. It glimmers as you pass by, more like candle light. Just beautiful.


This is Faux Effects' metallic plaster, Champagne Mist, which I have loved from the start.
Most decorative paint companies carry a line of metallic plaster; for instance, Faux Effects has Lusterstone; Perfetto has Portofino; Modern Masters has Metallic Plaster. All are very similar. Also, metallic plaster comes in a multitude of colors, which can be tinted with universal colors for the exact color that you are looking for. Although the product was developed as a wall treatment, I have seen it used on furniture and even canvas fine art pieces. 

If you are interested in trying to create this effect yourself, let me run you though some basic steps. (I will assume that you are covering a wall) 


First Layer:  Base coat your wall close to the color of metallic plaster that you have chosen in a satin finish. 

   
Second Layer: Dilute your metallic plaster with water approximately 15 to 20 percent. It should be thin enough so that it is easy to roll on with a paint roller: work quickly, rolling in all directions randomly. Try for 100 percent coverage. Think of this layer as a scratch coat. Let dry. 


Third Layer: Pay close attention to this layer. With your trowel, take your time and trowel on the metallic plaster in a random pattern. Try not to create too many seashell patterns with your trowel because they will stand out like a sore thumb later. What you are creating with this layer is slight peaks and valleys. The peaks will be burnished by the following layer. Coverage 80 to 85 percent. Let dry. 


Fourth and final layer: Dilute your metallic plaster 10 percent. While applying a small amount of pressure with your trowel, trowel on a thin, random layer while burnishing. Try for full coverage. Your metallic plaster is made up of metallic mica flakes suspended in an acrylic base. When you compress the mica flakes with your trowel on the last layer, you are forcing more of the flakes on the third layer to lie flat, which then becomes more reflective. And there you have it: a beautiful wall.
 

Notes:
1) Very few of us live in homes with smooth walls. So before you begin, you will have to decide if you want to skim coat your walls. Some people do, while others do not. I like a less textured wall while working with metallic plaster because of the problem of texture telegraphing through while burnishing, so I always opt for skim coating, which means skim coating the walls with joint compound, sanding and priming. But this is entirely up to you. I realize that it is messy, and that sanding it later is the pits; but it makes a big difference.  
2) You have to do a sample board to really get the feel for what is happening. Then everything will fall into place for you. 
3) For your first try, a small, flat niche area would be perfect or a small accent wall.
4) On all the trowels that you use, round off all of the corners with a file and sand paper all burs down until smooth. 
5) Nothing is written in stone. I have seen very pretty metallic finishes done over different colored base paints. Copper metallic plaster over a deep forest green comes to mind. Also, Stencils can be used as well. Experiment and have fun......Sandy


April 26, 2013

Old Buffet Given New Life

The owner of this buffet wanted to give it new life with a light painted finish.  The original finish was a dark brown stain.  We planned on painting the top, but after sanding we discovered a beautiful grain pattern and decided to restain the top in a lighter color (Minwax Stain & Seal "Chestnut Brown") that would show off the natural wood grain.
 


 
We also dressed up the top with a stenciled design painted in gold with gold leaf flakes applied in a random manner.
 
Gold Leaf Accent

 
After sanding, the piece was primed with Zinser BIN 123 and painted with two coats of an off white Olympic latex enamel. The owner will be selecting new hardward for the drawers and doors and mounting the mirror. 

 

This beautiful piece of furniture will definitely draw a lot of attention.




April 7, 2013

Pretty Table Update



Sis has been busy lately. She painted and lightly distressed this really cute table. I can't help it; this table makes me smile. Maybe it was her choice of hardware. I also like the natural ebony stained top with the off-white paint scheme. Maybe, I can convince her to do my dinette set. 





March 26, 2013

Creating Faux Tortoise Shell




Have you seen the English antique tea caddies? The ones sporting antique tortoise shell veneers at antique auction sites. I would love to own one. Of course, I am not getting one any time soon, so I have resolved to paint something similar in the future and give my painted version some age. Although, I haven't found the right box yet, something pretty with curves.

However, my current project is to give a wood framed mirror a tortoise shell painted finish (or I think that is what I would like to do), so I am using the old compass box in the picture on the right hand side as a sample for pending work ahead. 

While doing samples, I thought that you might want to try your hand at creating a faux tortoise shell finish as well. I am sure that there are hundreds of ways to create tortoise shell; however, this is one of the simplest.

You can use either oil or acrylic paint. I painted the compass box with acrylic, but if you are more comfortable with oil, please use it because the steps are the same. You will need to look at samples of tortoise shell. The internet is a good place for that. Notice in the samples of tortoise shell that it has a one-directional or radial design to it and that the predominate colors are yellow ocher, burnt sienna, and burnt umber. You will, also, need a Badger Brush or fan brush for blending.  

First, you will want to paint your project with a base coat color that is fairly close to butter yellow or legal-pad-yellow in a satin or gloss finish. Let the base coat dry.
 

First Layer, using yellow ocher.
On your work surface, with a large brush, place a thin layer of clear glaze (oil glaze for oil or acrylic glaze for acrylics). Place yellow ocher paint randomly on surface. Using a blending brush, brush in a radial or one-directional fashion. Let dry.
You may want to seal this layer with a clear coat such as Polycrylic by Minwax especially if you are using acrylics. I find that brushing the acrylic glaze over the top layer of acrylics can lift or re-wet the bottom layer if not cured, and then it just becomes a mess. So if you are happy with your work, seal it before you go on.


Second Layer, using burnt sienna.
On your work surface, place a thin layer of clear glaze. Place burnt sienna paint randomly across surface in a one-directional or radial design. Quickly, sweep and blend paint with a blending brush. If you are unhappy with your design, wipe out and try again. Then let dry and seal. 








Third Layer, using burnt umber.
Place a thin layer of clear glaze on your work surface. Place small, irregular shapes of burnt umber on the surface, and before the paint dries, sweep across the section with a blending brush.
Let this layer dry, seal it, and you are done. That's it. Sit back and enjoy your new finish.


Notes:
I gave the compass box an over-all antiquing glaze. I guess you might say that it would be a fourth layer. But if you are happy with your finish on the third layer, you do not need to.

As you can see, I sectioned off the box with blue painters tape to give the illusion of small pieces of tortoise shell veneer.

I have seen this finish done with multiple layers of clear top coats between layers, which gives the illusion of being three dimensional with the layers of color floating on top of each other, and I might add, it is beautiful. I tried it on this box but gave up. But I can tell you that you need more than seven coats of clear between layers to create this effect.

If you really want a dramatic finish, try using gold metallic paint as a base coat instead of yellow. 

If you have the time, check out Cait Whitson's tortoise shell finish she did here. I can't imagine the room without it.   ~Sandy~







October 18, 2012

Creating Faux Marble



     This is a cute table, perfect for a faux marble top. Sis and I, also, gave it a simple glazed finish.
     If you are a decorative artist, creating convincing marble finishes is part of the job. Some are more challenging then others, but I find creating Carrara marble simple to do. And with a few special tools and supplies, you can create your own.
 
     If this is your first attempt at painting marble, you might feel overwhelmed. That is okay. But I promise, you will feel better when the task is broken down into layers. So let's gather up some needed supplies
    On the table top, I used acrylic paint; however, you can use oil paint as well, which stays wet longer, so manipulating the paint is a lot easier. If you are more comfortable using oil paint, do not hesitate in using it because the steps are the same with either oil or acrylic
     1) You will need a glazing medium, either oil or acrylic. I used Perfetto, but any acrylic/oil glaze will do. I also like the Folk Art floating medium. 
     2) Stipple brush, primarily used to soften paint passages and backgrounds. If you don't have a stipple brush, use a regular house brush in a perpendicular fashion. 
     3) An assortment of brushes, large ones for brushing on glaze and smaller liner brushes for creating marble veins.
     4)  Sponge for creating backgrounds. 
     5)  Badger brush......to create any marble, you HAVE to have a softening brush. Depicted above, there is a small Badger brush and Hake brush (If you do not have one of these, you could try to use a soft-haired cosmetic brush that is normally used for applying powdered foundations or a fan blending brush from a craft store.)
     6)  A piece of real marble to use as a reference. (Sis loves Carrara marble, and this chunk of marble was once part of her coffee table. Yes, it is still a painful subject.) This is not mandatory.  You can use a picture from the internet as well.



1                                                                                                                 2


CREATING THE BACKGROUND

      Although we are creating Carrara marble that has a "white" background, painting a pure white background would be a bad start. 
1) White being the predominate color, notice that my pallet is in colors of creams and varying shades of light gray. Use your damp sponge to create a pleasing background while softening the colors with your stipple brush.  
2) When you are happy with the background that you have created, let it dry completely
Notes: If you are particularly fond of one of your marble layers, and you feel that it might be destroyed in subsequent layers; seal that layer with a sealer before proceeding on
I used white, satin interior house paint as a base. 


 THE FIRST LAYER

     Study your reference marble. Notice above the background, there are striations of blue/gray marble veins. That is what we will create next.
     Also in the picture above, notice that I have placed some glaze on the left hand plate. With a large brush, lay down a layer of pure glaze on your work piece. While the layer of glaze is still wet and using a liner brush, begin to strike through the glaze in a diagonal fashion with a light shade of blue-gray paint (white+black+blue= blue/gray). Quickly soften your brush strokes with a Badger brush or softening brush. When you are happy with your marble veins, let this layer dry

Notes:  
1) When using your Badger or softening brush, the vary tip of the brush should be the only part that strikes the work; use a very light touch when softening your colors.
2) If you are using acrylic paint, work in smaller sections because of the rapid drying time. 
3) Notice on the second plate, on the right hand side, that I have placed my acrylic colors on a damp piece of paper towel. This keeps the colors wet longer. It also helps to have a small spray bottle of water handy and spray your palette occasionally during your work period (This is not necessary when working in oil).  
4) While I am mixing my colors, I put a dab of glaze in the mixture.

   THE SECOND LAYER
   
     From the second layer on, you have to study your reference marble; and on the second layer, I see that we need to create some marble veins that are predominately colored a warm gray (blue-gray + brown= warm gray). So you do exactly what you did on the first layer, which was to paint a thin layer of pure glaze; next, using a small brush, create or emphasize marble veins with your warm gray. Then quickly soften your strokes with a softening brush. If there is a certain veining pattern in your reference marble that you find interesting, try to copy it. 
      I am calling the sample done on the second layer. But you could let this layer dry and continue adding more detail, using the same technique as in the first two layers. It's your call; you are the artist.  ~Sandy~







October 5, 2012

Repainting Vintage Mohawk Sign

     Vintage metal signs.....especially six foot, galvanized coated steel ones, how do you repaint them to weather the elements outside? That was the question that Sis and I faced recently. So we sought out some expert advise from Bill Clark, owner of Clark's Collision Center in Pearland, TX. 
     After showing him the sign, he explained that we needed to clean it well, sand down all flaking paint and rust with 3M automotive sanding pads, and apply a single stage, self-etching metal primer, making sure that all previous rusty areas were well covered. We, also, asked him about paint, and he suggested Best Rust Coat Enamel, which he felt was a very good oil base, enamel paint. So with this information, Sis and I got busy.

SUPPLIES: PRIMER, PAINT, SANDING PADS AND "A LOT" OF TAPE




   
     Below is a picture of the project as it progressed: 1950s Mohawk Carpet sign. Interestingly, Walt Disney Studios designed the "Tommy Mohawk" character for a series of animated commercials for Mohawk Carpet.


     If you plan on tackling a similar project, be prepared to use a LOT of tape and buy some extra X-acto Blades as well. However, after many hours, Sis and I are happy with the results..... Sandy