Monday, March 16, 2009

Decorative Finishes


A site for inspiration, collaborative instruction, and sharing.
Bring your questions, muses, and successes to our group, as I share practical tips and advice from my 2 decades of professional faux experience.
There are a plethora of books marketed for instruction, but with a blog the reader is able to have questions answered and interact with the instructor for free!

Each week, I will post a picture or a series of pictures for instruction and inspiration.

Today's lesson will be on French country strie and striping a semi-formal dining room. The room was a blank canvas of stereo-typical knock down Navajo white. With a few days of painting, I transformed this simple room into a cheery striped embossed and stried wall. The ceiling is a simple color wash resembling clouds (not original, but fitting).


Chalk plumb bob


Clear thin gauged plastic

Purdy brushes size 3" and 2"
Horse hair strie brush

3 Paint trays

3 (7" roller frame and 1/2" naps)

1 gallon glazing liquid (any brand)

Drop cloths or thick gauged plastic for floor

Blue tape 1/2" thick

Caulk (painters caulk)

Caulk gun


Green tape (low adhesive)

Faux sponge

Plastic disposable gloves

For Ceiling:

1. Select a color in blue tones for the base color. In this case, we selected a lavender/periwinkle shade. Base out the entire ceiling with a solid coat. It is advisable to paint two coats for complete coverage.

2. Allow ceiling to dry.

3. Cloud effect:

Mix 1 qt cream paint to 1 qt glazing liquid. Mix in a bucket then poor into a tray if you wish or simply work from the bucket. Take your faux sponge and soak with water then wring out excess water. Now, dip faux sponge into cream paint and glaze mixture then dip into lavender/periwinkle paint and smoosh onto ceiling. To create more cloudy appearances...utilize a 3" brush and swipe paint in areas around the original smoosh. Paint a cross hatching of solid base color then dip same brush into cream glaze mixture and paint on top or near the base color. Once you have a few brush strokes laid up then take your sponge and figure eight smoosh blending all of the strokes and manipulating the effect. You should begin to see "clouds". If you wish to accentuate some areas of the clouds, simply add more cream glaze and work it in.

In this particular room, I chose to paint all the walls the cream base color with two coats of paint. I had to allow the walls to cure for a couple of days prior to executing the faux finish.

Determine the room's size and calculate stripes accordingly. The objective is to have even stripes. In this room, I chose to do each stripe the same size. You are certainly welcome to have one color a certain width while the alternating color may be of a different size. The outcome is to have the room dimensionally even no matter which direction you enjoy executing.

Once your dimensions are determined and measured using a pencil to mark widths, use a plumb bob to ensure straight lines.
Use green tape to outline the lines. For example: I focused on painting the gold embossed stripes first. The green tape goes on the outside of the plumbed chalk line. Once the room is completely taped, take a damp rag and wipe clean all of the plumbed chalk lines.
Next step: Using your caulk, clip the tip of the caulk tube allowing only a small stream of caulk to escape. In this step, you will be caulking the inside lines of the green tape. This is essential to prevent paint "bleeding". In order to caulk the tape, you will simply bead a line down the interior side of the green tape. Taking your finger, wipe onto the seam of the tape all the way down sealing the edge. Taking a damp cloth, wipe off the excess. This will enable a clean peel away once your finish has been executed. *You may wish to practice this prior to working on the room. The caulking technique is easy but practice is necessary.
Now that you have taped, caulked, and sealed all of your seams, you are ready to paint the faux finish.
I selected gold for this application. I used a metallic gold mixed evenly with glazing liquid. I rolled on the gold glaze then took sheets of clear plastic and embossed the gold glaze. All you are doing is taking plastic and pressing it into the wet glaze that you just rolled onto the wall. When you pull away the plastic you are establishing a "relief" in the paint. Play with it and work it so you achieve the look that you desire. You can re-roll the glaze or spritz the wall with water to keep it "wet". Continue this effect throughout your room until you have completed the last stripe of gold.
Peel away the green tape. Please take care when peeling away any tape. I pull from the top and take the top left corner crossing over the tape and pulling down s-l-o-w-l-y. If you find that you are pulling off your stripe...STOP! Simply take out a razor blade and cut the line.
For the alternating stripes, I used a method called strie. All this implies is to pull paint down using a horse hair brush. (You can find these long haired brushes in any specialty paint store and most Home Depots or Lowe's) Make your gold glaze a little more diluted than the gold glaze used on the embossed stripes. Simply add more glazing liquid to achieve the desired consistency. Establish a cream glaze by doing the same type of mixing, i.e., cream paint with glazing liquid. Now roll the cream glaze and feather the edges with a paint brush, then dip your horse hair faux brush into the gold glaze and from the top of the stripe, pull down to the bottom. You can play with this method and alter it to better suit your needs and effect.
Voila! You now have a room that will withstand years of change and reap great enjoyment. For the ceiling, we manipulate the color wash with a rope light that is connected to a dimmer switch. The chandelier is connected to a dimmer switch. Some evenings, the effect is dusk or stormy. Lighting plays a tremendous amount with your faux finishes. Remember wall sconces and dimmer switches!!!
Until next time.