Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stocking Stuffers for Decorative Painters

Remember how Burgermeister Meisterburger made all the children get rid of their toys, so Jessica told the kids to hang out their stockings and Kris Kringle would put the gifts in the stockings? Well then you are old like me but you know some of the best things come in an old sock...

Or maybe not?

My Mom is always good at getting fun and unusual things for our stockings (yes, I still put up one as does Bruce, and our dogs). In this spirit, here are some recommendations for stocking stuffers for the decorative artist in your life or to share with the loved one that wants to "stuff your stocking."

Artist's Loft Brushes. Michael's. Under $5 for a pack of 3.  I love these brushes and use them in all of my cabinet classes.  The soft bristles are perfect for brushing wiping stains and concentrate colors.  The dense square shape make them a great choice for detailing and tipping raised panels and decorative elements of furniture.  Look for them in brushes located in the Artist Supply section of Michael's and not the Craft section.

Airbrush cleaning brushes.  Under $5.  Harbor Freight.  We carry these in the studio for our finishers and they are a necessity for cleaning HVLP guns.  The tiniest brush is perfect to unclog the small hole in the aircap that often gets forgotten.

Fine Glitter and beads.  Under $10 (shipping costs vary).  There is no better time to give someone the gift of glitter or beads.  For color variation and quick shopping try Michael's where you will find Martha Stewart and Recollections glitter/beads in the scrap booking supplies.  I like the microbeads and the very fine glitter.  Tinsel glitter is fun but looks a little like moldy hair in a finish. This glitter is not coated and will shed some color in your medium (glazes, waxes, plaster, etc...) For great customer service and coated products that will withstand alkyds, give Cero Glass a call at 931-490-8030 or visit the web-site  You can get real glass glitter from Cero and products come in many sizes.  Just make sure you give your glitter in good packaging-this stuff is like parsley-it shows up flicked all over the place.

Spray Texture Touch-up gun. Under $15.  Hardware Stores.  These pump guns used to touch-up textured walls/ceilings are hard to find so buy a few. Usually locally owned hardware stores or Ace Hardware will have them.  These are perfect for blowing the glitter or beads that you  purchased into your finishes-especially over your head.

E-6000 Glue. Under $10. Craft and Hobby stores.  Hands-down the best crafting glue there is!  For the finisher that likes to add assemblage to your canvas art this is a must have glue.  I've glued heavy metal letters, gears, and wood molding with this product.  It is an epoxy glue so it does stink but it dries hard without foaming like some other super stick glues.

Whizz Rollers Black Foam Sponge Contractors Pack. 10 for $28.95. We carry these at Surfaces but you may also find them at some paint stores.  This is the application tool for water-born paints, topcoats, and Wundasize.  White high density rollers often foam with water-born products (especially if you thin the product with water).  These rollers minimize foaming and the concave tip makes it easier to get into edges and tight spaces. Convex (curved out) rollers catch in these areas and will tear leaving foam in your finish.

Handy Paint Pail Covers. Under $4 for 2 pack.  Paint Stores.  Little Shower caps for your paint containers!  Great for when you mix custom glazes on the fly in whatever bucket you have handy. I seem to have the empty container but never the right lid. Fits tighter then cling wrap.

Rubber Horsetail Brushes. Under $4. Tractor Supply.  We've been using these nifty little brushes for years.  Molded out of rubber to fit a hand, their use is to groom the mane and tail of a horse. We use them to shape plasters and glazes.  The tips are super durable and come in different sizes plus the shape is comfortable in your hand. Since there is no handle they are easy to get into awkward spaces as well.

Japan Blades. Set of 4. Under $20. Faux Finishing Retail Studios including ours.  Actually made in Germany, these are a staple for the Decorative Artist.  The flexible blade is great for tight back fills of plasters and the square shape lends itself to shaping products.  The perfect tool for cleaning or buttering a larger trowel.  Plus they are useful for scrapping product off your sample surface area when cleaning.

Motsenbocker's Liftoff Hand Cleaner and Conditioner.  14 fl oz. Under $5.  Home Improvement Box Stores. We also carry it at Surfaces.  Speaking of cleaning! You can either give the gift of latex gloves or this hand cleaner.  Made by the same people that brought you Latex Lift-off Level 5, this product cleans your hands really well (including Stain & Seal) without drying them out thanks to Lanolin, Vitamin E, and Aloe.  It is also a nice cleanser for stencil brushes-it has orange pumice in it.  Added bonus-it does a great job of getting rings all sparkly.

Rubber Application Triangle. Under $30. Faux Finishing Supply Studios including ours.  This is a nice little tool that many finishers do not have.  The perfect size, shape, and material for troweling in sinks, around columns, and over stencils.  The rubber is also a nice choice for very light plasters where you don't want any carbon marks.

Specialty Rubber Rollers. $18-$19. Surfaces Fine Paint and Prismatic Painting.  OK, I admit it. These look like something for the person who has been naughty!  I've featured these rollers in many of my classes and blog posts as a way to add fun techniques to many plasters, foils, and waxes.  Made of a durable rubber, these rollers may be easily cut to fit into tight spaces and several of the shapes are non-directional making them practical for many room situations.  Available in Alligator, Loops, Bark, Patchwork, Spots, and Threads.  The Alligator is the only one that comes with a handle.

4" Stub Roller Cage. Home Improvement Stores. Under $5.  Buy your friend a few of these to go with their Specialty Rollers. Plus these little handles fit small paint rollers that are perfect for small rooms like powder baths.

Paint Church Key.  Under $2-usually free. Paint Stores.  It opens paint cans and beer bottles-what more do I need to say?

A Surfaces Gift Certificate. Any amount.  Most gifts that keep on giving require the involvement of the IRS or the local Heath Department.  Not so the Surfaces' gift certificate.  Maybe someone thinks you've been good (or bad-we don't judge) and knows you deserve a class in 2013.  Just let us know the amount and we will process and mail the certificate that will be good until the time the recipient chooses a class or classes.

As I said in the beginning: some of the best gifts come in a stocking.

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