Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DIY: Making your own bark paper

"I think that I shall never see a faux as lovely as a tree"

"But you can come pretty close."

I have always loved applying finishing products to paper. The papers innate property of wrinkling adds a lot to a finish plus you may complete the paper in your home and hang it on site. It is also a very inexpensive way to get a layered look using very little of your leftover products.  Gary Lord of Prismatic Painting in Ohio has made his own paper finishes for years and shares several recipes in his books and videos.

For my project I wanted to re purpose the wine room in our home into a space for my craft and holiday/party decor. It is a luxury to have a room already outfitted with built-in wooden shelving that is also cool, dry, well-lit, and has a work shelf.  We usually serve and drink wine as soon as we get it and as I told my friend, Jack, you don't need climate control for Wine-In-A-Box!

Try doing this with a wine refrigerator.

I wanted to do a bark finish and discovered Yellow Birch Bark while on my Google search and really liked the gold and silver mash-up which I have through-out the rest of the house. I started with regular 3M Masking Paper used for painting. I like this paper because it is thinner then Butcher Block paper and comes in various widths. Just tear it into different length sections.

I needed the background to be a buttery metallic gold and selected FE Metallic Iridescent Gold Fresco for this layer. I use this for way more then the traditional fresco application (brush, pounce, and pull-out with a foam brush).  Metallic Fresco rolls out nicely without thinning (compared to rolled Palette Deco) and covers well in one coat (compared to Metal Glow). I also like to trowel this product straight out of the bucket-use it where you would normally apply tinted metallic wax, Venetian Hi-Lite Plaster, or Palette Deco Plaster.  Metallic Fresco comes in Gold, Iridescent Gold, Bronze, Copper, Hi-Lite Violet, Hi-Lite Green, HI-Lite Red, Hi-Lite Orange and Hi-Lite Blue. Metallic Fresco is a gold label product. If you use the Silver Label Line, apply Palette Deco Gold instead which is thicker but will give a similar look.

The Fresco will look cloudy when applied but dries to a rich solid metallic.  A pint covered 52 3'-long pieces of paper. It also has a fast dry time and you can apply the next layer within 30 minutes.

Birch Bark has a distinct horizontal grain.  For my next layer, I rolled our Bark Roller in Silver Sharkskin and off-rolled the pattern on the paper. For Silver Label users Silver Faux Metal will work but takes longer to dry.  I varied the thickness and width of my rolled lines.

In areas where I rolled the silver nice and thick, I used my trowel to compress the silver and catch the wrinkled edges of the paper. The Sharkskin dried within one hour.

This layer is "Plaster Gumbo" where I batch a bunch of left-over stuff.  For Bark, Sandstone or Plastertex is a great choice because of the small brown aggregate in the plaster. I mixed these two with Fauxstone Pull-Off to give me a plaster that would peel and pop with my trowel. Cover anywhere from 70%-90% in horizontal areas and let dry.

At this point, you may hang the paper. Position the paper where you want to apply a piece and use a blade to trim a straight edge for the ceiling. Then roll a section of wall and the back of the paper with Setcoat Clear and apply the paper to the wall. Roll more Setcoat clear to stick down the edges and move air bubbles. A small squeegee is also useful for pressing the paper down.  Repeat across the surface using varied widths of paper lapping top and bottom edges.

You will get some wrinkles in the paper but that adds to the look.  The Setcoat Clear actually flattened down some of the paper when it was dry. I let this layer dry overnight to bond to the wall.

To get as close to my inspiration bark as possible, I rolled a coat of Caterpillar Metal Glow that I thinned 50% with water to keep it very sheer over the whole surface

The final layer is a mix of Stain & Seal and FX Thinner. It looks like American Walnut, Rich Brown, and a little Antique Mahogany.  Just brush and pad with a damp cloth to tone and pick up the texture.

This project of 125 square feet took me a weekend to complete from making the paper to install to final glazing on site.  Next time I will show you how I made my own chalk paint for the wooden shelf and the found objects I used for storage ideas.

"Faux is made by fools like me, but only God can make a Tree." 

1 comment:

  1. Found you via Pinterest! Love this finish.
    But, I laughed hard at you (?) and the Box 'o Wine. A Chick after my own heart, as I pour from my own Bota Box. :)
    Enjoyed your site!