Monday, February 22, 2010

Faux Burl Wood Graining

I am working on updating an older dining room set. The china hutch, table, and chairs are inexpensively made. In order for me to refurbish them, I must paint them to give them new life.

I have raised panels of which I will faux burl. In these panels, I will utilize oil based paints and oil glazes.

For the remaining furniture, I will utilize a combination of latex paints and oils.

Getting Started:
Chip brushes
Fan Brush
Short bristled artist brush
Blue tape
Cheese cloth, lint-free rag, or paper toweling

Artist Oils:
Burnt Umber
Raw Umber
Burnt Sienna

Base Coat:
Satin latex base paint. I chose a butterscotch which correlates with my home's other neighboring furniture and tones.

Oil Based Glaze
1 part linseed oil
1 part paint thinner and Japan drier (optional to speed drying)

Low luster or Satin finish varnish.

Let’s begin:
First degloss with liquid sander, the entire surface area to be painted. Secondly, paint the entire surface with our latex paint (two coats). Allow to cure for two days.

Once cured, we are ready to work the raised areas and develop our burl finish. Using a tray or empty can, pour in glazing liquid. Using a lint free rag or paper toweling, apply the surface with the glazing liquid. Dip your chip brush onto your palette into the pigments of burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, and a fraction of black. Pour a couple of drops of Japan Drier into the glazing liquid. With your coated chip brush, dip a bit of glazing liquid and apply in a cross hatching motion onto the surface being painted. Add a bit of dark for darker areas.

Taking cheese cloth, paper toweling, or lint free rag, scrunch it up into a ball and dab it all over the cross-hatched area. While you are dabbing, twist and turn creating a swirl pattern all over the surface. You may stipple for softer areas. Using a clean chip brush, lightly and softly blend the rough twirl lines.

Next, dip your fan brush into the black and burnt sienna and then into the glazing liquid. Take off excess pigment by brushing onto a clean paper toweling. Coat both back and front of fan brush. From corner to middle drag with a squiggly motion onto the softened “burl” surface. You may use this same method for defining some of the burl swirls for greater impact.

Again, soften desired areas with chip brush.

Next, take small artist brush and dip into black and burnt sienna. Paint small dots representing knots. Paint in darker areas and blend. For highlighting, tap small areas by pressing with a soft cloth or using your thumb (glove coated) onto the surface. Allow to dry overnight.

In some cases, you may feel that the surface needs to be darker. If this is the case, repeat the steps from the beginning for applying the initial coating of glazing liquid and pigment, criss-cross hatching and then dabbing off excess exposing the burl marks underneath. Go back into your surface with a chip brush creating softening motions and staccato marks while dragging downwards.

Allow to cure overnight or as long as needed. Varnish to seal and protect. Voila!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marbeling Prefabricated Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds

When working with today’s generic fireplace mantels and surrounds, many of us long for the decades past architectural elements. With production costs what they are and well….let’s just say, nothing is made in the same fashion as they fabricated in the past. Solid wood is obsolete. In fact, it is as though we live in “faux” houses with hefty price tags…everything is wood framed and plywood coated. Stuffed with insulation and boarded with gypsum, skim coated with mud, sprayed with knock-down, then mist primed and two coat sprayed….fascinating!

So, that is where we come in. The faux finishers or decorative painters of the world unite! We are able to take something hum drum, fabricated out of inexpensive material and transform it into a fabulous look! Let us focus on the generic fireplace. In order for this finish to work, we must work with an architectural base that offers some pleasing aesthetic lines. Most of today’s fireplace mantels or surrounds are fabricated out of resins or a lite concrete substrate combination. Many of these elements are offered with superb design.

This surround and mantel are from the company Lite Stone Concrete located in El Cajon, California. These elements are pre-cast and then shipped to your destination.

Once these elements are installed, many times, the designer needs to tweak the color or tone of the piece. I am going to discuss the simple basics in transforming a prefabricated mantel and or surround into a marbled look.

First, apply base coat and allow to cure for 24 hours with water base (latex) or 72 for oil base (alkyd). Select a base paint which is correct for your marble objective, i.e., cream for yellow sienna marble, white for carrara marble, and if going with a port’oro marble….then base in black.

From this point on, we will utilize only oil paints to render our marbling. It is only in this medium that we are able to achieve the true marbling effect. Pour approximately 2 to 3 Tbsp of pigment into a tray or cup, add japan drier. Add a bit of white, yellow ochre, and raw sienna onto your palette for most marbles except white marbles. (In creating carrara marble, statuario, arabescato vagli, or any other white based and gray veined marble….the same practices apply only different colors will be utilized. In some of the white and black marbles, some yellow veining does occur. Examine your sample and select pigments accordingly.)

Using a chip brush (an inexpensive brush located at any hardware and paint store) pick up some of each color and lightly mix onto your palette. Now, dip your chip brush into the oil glaze and pick up some of the mixed color. With a criss cross pattern, sporadically apply to the fireplace surround and mantel working in small areas at a time. Vary your depth of application. In some areas, apply darker shades and in others, apply lighter shades.

Next step is to soften your area with either the same brush or another unused chip. Gently sweep and blend the paint on the fireplace surround and mantel area until you have achieved the look you want.

Immediately following, take another chip brush and dip into the oil glaze then into the white and work into the lighter areas on the fireplace mantel and surround. Take your more saturated brush and work into the newly applied white area creating billowy cloud like effects. In this effort, you are to define a vein directional pattern.

Next, using an 3/8 inch round white bristle artist brush, dip into the glazing medium and then into the white, yellow ochre, and raw sienna mixture. Loosely paint in veins outlining the darker and lighter based areas. Along the darker areas, define with thicker and deeper or darker veins. The best way to achieve a light hand is to hold your brush down low on the handle caressing the handle with finger tips and a light grasp. While moving down in the same directional vein pattern that you have selected, you will create a wiggly effect and a soft wave effect. *Using oil, you really never make a mistake. If you do not like your veins, then erase them with a soft brush over.

Next, using a 19/64 or smaller round brush, repeat the paint application, but this time, run your veins off the main veins. You may run at opposing angles in various directions. Step back to regard your efforts.

Next, soften your veins with the more saturated chip brush using a sweep and stipple method. In areas of which you would like to establish more depth, use the chip brush and dip into the darker pigment. Take the coated brush and stipple into the surface area desiring the darker pigment. Again, softly brush the area blending into the surrounding pigment.

Again, using a smaller sized round brush, apply darker and more irregular veins. You could add a bit of black mixed with the raw umber and glazing medium. Add as many veins as you wish. After each application of veins, always soften with the chip brush.

For the last vein application, I always like to place some white veins on top. At this stage, I paint in some white areas and then vein over them. *Remember: Vein, soften, paint and stipple, vein, soften, paint and stipple….as many times as you like until you achieve the desired look.

Lastly, take a clean chip brush and dip into the white pigment and glazing medium. With this brush loaded, spatter paint onto your surface. Follow with a soft blending on the fireplace surround and mantel. Next, replicate the same method only this time using the darker pigment for spattering. Again soften and allow to dry completely.

Once completely cured, varnish your entire mantel and surround selecting what sheen best compliments the room’s décor. Personally, I enjoy a satin sheen. This offers a soft glow with low light.

And VOILA! You have now mastered the art of transforming a prefabricated façade into looking like a extremely expensive hand carved marble mantel and surround.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stenciling Traditional method and non-traditional

The history of stenciling is long for obvious reasons. Stenciling was an inexpensive and efficient form of replicating an image and decorating a wall, furniture, floors, or accessories. In the beginning, stencils were made out of organic materials, i.e., leaves, leather, treated linen. Today, most stencils are fabricated out of heavy gauged plastic or mylars (if you will).

To stencil:
Supply checklist stenciling supplies

Before you begin stenciling, be sure your supplies include the following:

* marking pencil
* low-tack masking tape or stencil adhesive
* level
* ruler
* stencil brushes
* stencil paint
* a saucer, plate or palette
* paper towels (preferably lint free)

All of the above supplies can be found in your local hardware or craft store.

Stencil Brushes:
The most common stencil brushes are flat tipped and domed brushes. Flat tipped brushes contain bristles that are all one length. Domed brushes have bristles that are slightly tapered near the ends. If you are just beginning, you may wish to start with the flat tipped brush. If you are more experienced, then you will find that domed brushes can be used to produce a larger variety of shaded effects, adding more depth and appeal to your stenciled designs.

Begin stenciling in an inconspicuous corner of your room. Every stencil has guide marks for you to perfectly repeat the pattern intended. To position your stencil: you can either utilize a green or blue or light adhesive masking tape to secure the corners...or utilize spray adhesive. If you are using spray adhesive, allow the spray to dry until tacky then secure to surface.

To Begin Stenciling:
I usually use a paper plate or paint tray to hold a small amount of pigment. Use a water based paint for fast drying capability. If you like, you can always add Japan dryer to escalate the drying time.

With your brush, dip the bristles into your paint. In a circular motion, dab and roll the excess paint onto a paper towel removing most of the paint. Repeat this process until the brush seems "dry". The objective is to imprint the surface underneath the stencil with a consistent amount of pigment establishing clean edges. Continue to blot the brush onto the stencil building up the color layer by layer.

There are two methods of stenciling:
One is upward and downward dabbing motion. This method produces the most consistent and cohesive method for coverage. The second method is swirling of which utilizing this method, you press the brush down onto the surface and produce small circular motion. Utilizing this method, you are able to effectively achieve soft shading.

Stenciling is NOT just for the stereotypical little sweet lady who wishes to add creative hand touches to "stuff" about the house. It isn't just for the country gal who has a love for gingham checked bows and wood cut-outs...Stenciling is for fun and creativity. Stenciling began as an innovative tool and is used today as just that...a great tool for making innovative design.

More innovative approaches to stenciling, with today's technology can certainly be achieved. We can create digital images of anything we see and capture. Print these images out and use the traditional methods of cutting then voila....some crazy stencils can be made. As you can push the limits with your stencil concepts, you can push the limits in methods of laying down pigment. Utilizing airbrush and spray paint can create some fantastic and dramatic effects.

I will post some wonderful examples of some amazing artists' work...these people push limits and have fun with a simple tool creating unique and fun concepts!