Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Speciality Rollers: DIY Classic Alligator

It's time to Rock around the Croc

An important criteria for me when I am evaluating a new product or tool is how versatile is it in creating different looks. Now this is the Alligator roller so it is always going to look like a skin but by using it in different products I am able to create many different looks. Here are just 3 for you to try. Let's start with a classic.

The Leather Alligator:

I started by trowel a medium thick layer of Faux Effects' Brown Sapphire Venetian Gem. This shade is a medium toned reddish brown.  The thickness of the product makes a difference. If it is too thin, the roller will not make in impression. You can tell your product is too thin if you can see the base color through the plaster layer.  If the plaster is too thick, the impression will not be as clean.  Let the roller do the work for you by applying light pressure as you roll.

On a wall, trowel the width of two-three roller sizes. I place the roller at the top of the "wall" in the wet material and roll down.  For my next pass, I flip the roller and lap the center section before rolling down.

Corners, edges, and small spaces are always a concern.  I encourage people to purchase two rollers ($19.95 each) and cut one roller. Cut one the size of the 4" stub roller.  The other piece I slice down the side and peel from the roller. This will make a stamp for getting close to the ceiling line or corners.

When working with distinct patterns it is always important to really evaluate the space and take in consideration not only the height of the surface but how much the room is broken up with molding and door/window openings.

I use the roller twice and then wipe the surface with a damp cloth to keep the pattern clean.  Before proceeding to the next wall, I will wash the roller and use a small scrub brush on the pattern.

When the Venetian Gem is dry-which takes about an hour-you could go directly to a glaze layer. But I decided to add a little bling to my gator so I rolled a coat of Bronze Setcoat 100% over the surface. Besides adding a nice color, the metallic will make it easier to glaze in the next step. Remember we are working over Venetian which is a polish plaster. If you rub your glaze too aggressively directly over the plaster, you will polish the plaster creating splotches in your finish.

After rolling a section of the Bronze Setcoat, I used my trowel to pull off some of the bronze and pop my pattern.

Next, mix 3 parts FX Thinner with 2 parts Van Dyke Stain & Seal and 1 part Antique Mahogany Stain & Seal. Brush this over the surface and soften brush strokes with a cloth.

As the stain dries, I like to pull across the pattern with a foam brush to push the color into the pattern.

When the finish is dry, you may always topcoat for extra pop and protection. I like to use C500 satin because I find it to be the most clear and have the most pleasing sheen.

Classic Leather Look Alligator-Totally Suitcase worthy!

Later this week I will show you two variations on the Alligator finish using different base materials and adding metallic foils.

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