Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Surfaces is having a baby...

Hangover, Warner Bros. 2009

We have had many exciting things happen at Surfaces over the years but this has to be the biggest. Yes, Bruce and I are expecting a bundle of joy...

...And this would be our package.

Thank goodness the universe has more wisdom then that! 
Ashley, the heart of Surfaces, is having a baby.

Many of you know Ashley. She patiently answers your questions, sends you your product, and teaches you the one-day classes.  Ashley has been with us for 5 years and we have shared many
fun times-Meeting of the Masters, Gary's Open House, IDAL and Maui...oh wait, she didn't go to Maui because she stayed and took care of our studio and our dogs allowing us to take our first vacation in 7 years.

Ashley is a part of our family

I've done many baby rooms in my career but none will be more important then this one.  So while Bruce builds a nursery in the studio (complete with 3 guard dogs), Ashley and I will wait 4 more weeks before we can get started with samples for this lucky little boy or girl's room. 

Congratulations to Ashley and Justin.  October will be here so fast!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Augustine Silver Bookcase

You thought I was kidding when I said your mom wanted furniture for Mother's Day. Ha! So did I...until my own Mom saw the post and decided "OK, smarty pants, where is my gift?"

Notice the Kung-Fu grip.  I am not leaving until this project is done!

I must say that I should do something nice for my mother.  Not just because she gave me life and all that but more because she put up with me.  I made her name into a song and taught my younger brother and sister to sing it...constantly. "Velda LaVeda is the name of our mom, spell it right and you'll never go wrong."  Yes that is her name and no, she didn't knock my head off.

In gratitude for the opportunity to grow-up, I did this bookcase project for her.

My parents had one old oak bookcase in my Dad's office and two smaller matching pine ones in the living room.  I suggested finishing all 3 to match and attaching the two smaller pieces on each side of the larger bookcase creating a wall unit for the new piano/sitting room. Mom is thrilled.  Dad is a "why would you paint over natural wood?" kinda guy.  We just ignored him.

Seriously, does this look like a fine quality antique-possibly from the Civil War? I didn't think so either.

The finish on one piece was water-based and the others had an oil topcoat, so all 3 pieces were sanded and then primed with a Zinsser Primer. One coat is sufficient. This was followed by 1 coat of Neutral White Setcoat.  Because I am doing a crackle finish, I need the undercoat well sealed so my crackle size does not suck into the frame.

For the Augustine Silver Finish, I am doing a double layer of a small even crackle.  I've experimented with several ways to get this look and found that the following steps and products work really well.

First, I use a black sponge roller to apply an even coat of Faux Effects Porcelain Size. This is slightly milky in appearance compared to the other FE size.  Let this tack-up (about 20-30 minutes) and then use a black sponge roller to apply a coat of Wunda Size.  The sequence of the two products does make a difference.

As I roll the Wunda Size, I come back with a dry brush and flatten the bubbles that you tend to get with a rolled application. Wunda Size will not dry until something goes on top of it.

I have also found that the Faux Effects Designer Foil size will also produce a lovely small crackle.  Roll a thin coat and let it tack up (30-40 minutes).  Roll a second coat and let it set another 30-40 minutes and then apply your crackle medium. The size needs to be tacky or the crackle medium won't crack!

I use a lot of the FE Fine Line White Crackle for furniture.  Thin 10% with water and roll on with a small fuzzy white or pink roller. The cracking begins quickly and I still get excited when it happens.

OMG-It's cracking!

I use a damp scrubbing pad, and take away some areas of the crackle to create voids. When the crackle medium is dry, I roll a coat of Colorseal Gloss or Satin to isolate this layer.  Using a more aggressive top coat may cause the crackle medium to lift. Colorseal dries slowly.  I crackle in the morning and seal the project in the late afternoon giving the topcoat time to dry over night.

The next morning, I roll a coat of Wunda Size over the entire piece and let it set about 30 minutes.  Then I roll another coat of Fine Line White Crackle thinned 20% with water to make it more sheer.

This creates a tighter crackle over the first layer.  As this layer dries, I also remove the crackle in areas-some areas I reveal the first crackle and in others I use Blending Solvent to go through both layers of crackle.

Put the Blending Solvent on cheesecloth and lightly scrub.  You could use Denatured Alcohol but it is more aggressive and doesn't smell as nice as Blending Solvent-which makes me think of summer!

BS never smelled so good!

Over the dried crackle medium, I applied a glaze of FX Thinner and Wheat Metal Glow.  When this was dry, I applied my antiquing glaze of FX Thinner and American Walnut Stain & Seal letting it settle more in the edges of the piece.

Since this is more a decorative piece, compared to Kitchen Cabinets, I used the Colorseal again as my final topcoat.

For the sides, I tinted StucoLux and troweled it on using a broken motion with the blade. When this was dry, I used the StucoLux Sealer tinted with Wheat Metal Glow and tight troweled over the plaster. Then I used my Walnut FX Thinner base and buffed it into the finish for a polish.

I thought it looked like petrified wood.

Unfortunately, I didn't take the cabinet placement into consideration and you don't see much of the sides once we had the entire piece in the room.

Oh, well.  Mom is happy and so is Dad.  She even wrote a song: "My daughter RJ is a faux painter, she finished my job and I don't have to pay her."  See it runs in my family!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flowers Die-Foils are Forever!

This is what your Mother really wants for Mother's Day

Let's be honest. If you told your Mom you could give her flowers or a fine piece of furniture, which would she select?  
"Gee Thanks...Now Where is My Dresser?"

One of the best inspirations for furniture designs and trends is the Horchow site. My last client circled several pieces in the catalogue with a note "Rebecca, aren't these beautiful..." She was right.  So I started looking for just the furniture pieces to fit the styles-one being a silver leaf traditional cabinet and the other being an Indian Antique. It just so happened I had two pieces from the flea market (each under $50) that I brought back from our lake home. Now which to give my Mom?

This is my old chest of drawers that is most likely a stained maple.  It has seen better days but is structurally sound and has nice details.

Side View of Chest

The top is in terrible condition. The Horchow piece had a faux marble top and I decided that my piece will as well.

Begin any furniture project with removing the hardware and cleaning.  I used Paso (which I've been looking for about 12 years and it was under my nose the whole time) to clean and degloss. This is followed by a light sand with 220 paper and a dust wipe-off with denatured alcohol.  The beauty of foils is that you often don't have to prime or paint first if you are doing a full coverage foil finish.

I wanted my piece like the Horchow one which had contrasting edges but I also wanted some of the wood tone to show through.  I opted for Faux Effects Faux Metal in Bright Gold which was brushed over the fronts of the drawers and highlight pieces of the frame. This should dry overnight.

Next, Ashley rolled a coat of Wunda Size. This will create tiny bubbles if you roll it too thickly.  I use a black foam roller to apply the Wunda and then a dry black foam roller to lay the Wunda down.  We do two thin coats, letting the Wunda tack in-between coats. Let the coat before you foil, set at least 30 minutes to an hour.  Your foil will off-load better.
I wanted this to look like leaf, so I really crinkled the bright silver foil before applying it.

All the drawers and facing with bright silver foil.

Side with the bright silver foil

For the next step, I needed to select a stencil. In this case, I wanted something with a repeat pattern that was widely separated to show a significant amount of the background foil. This stencil is from Wallovers and is called Mikala's Tropic.  It reminds me of vintage Hawaiian Barkcloths which I collect.

This design also has a "topper" which makes it easy to get the pattern right up to the edge. I rolled Ebony Frost Lusterstone over the stencil first and then immediately followed this with Kettle Metal Glow.  The
Lusterstone sets the pattern and keeps the Kettle from bleeding under the edges. The Kettle darkens the pattern faster and creates a slight sheen.

When the pattern dried in about an hour, I applied an antiquing glaze over the whole piece.  This was made with equal parts Black and Dark Brown Faux Color thinned with a glaze medium. If you can not purchase Faux Color, then a mix of 1/2 part Ebony Stain to 1 part Rich Brown Stain to 1 part American Walnut Stain will work. I brushed this and stippled with cheesecloth leaving the stipple heavier on the gold surround.

Glazed side

The Finished Piece!  I just need to seal with a topcoat.

For the top, I did one of my activated granite finishes-there are not just for counter tops!

Piece Number Two: The Kashmiri Blue

This was a sweet piece that I have had for several years. The stencils are from Royal Design Studio where you may find several stencils that fit furniture pieces well.

We prepped this cabinet the same way as the first one.  Ashley also applied the Wunda Size in the same manner.  Over the size, we applied a foil that is in a light pumpkin color 100% to the piece-drawers and frame.

I rolled this custom stain color I call Kashmiri Blue made from Turquoise Concentrate and Pickling White Stain covering the foil 100%. As the blue dries, I use cheesecloth to pull through in areas revealing areas of the pumpkin foil underneath.

Front View

Side view

I wanted a stencil that had an Indian feel but was not a literal translation. This Small Ribbon Damask from Royal Design Studio was perfect.  I rolled Wunda Size, stuck my stencil, and applied Celadon and the Pumpkin foil over the pattern letting the colors fade into each other.  When this was dry, I rolled the whole piece with Wunda size and lightly spotted in these two foil colors randomly. 

Over the tacky Wunda, I sprayed a heavy coat of C500 gloss because I wanted to finish to lightly "craze" or crack in areas. Before the C500 has dried (which should be overnight) I brushed a glaze of 1 part Rich Brown Stain to 1 part American Walnut to 1part FX Thinner over the piece and pounced with cheesecloth.

This is a tricky was to glaze but the stain mottles beautifully.  I flicked the stain to create some heavier water marks.

The finished piece from the front. It is hard to photograph because the foils want to flash. In person, the overall effect is very soft and looks antiqued.

The finished Kashmiri chest from the side. Now I have only one thing left to do....

"OK Mom, best 2 out of 3 and I get to keep both pieces and you get flowers"