Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Winter Inspired DIY: Frosty Sandstone

(Rankin/Bass Productions 1974)

"I'm Ms. Type A"
"I'm Ms. Oh, No! "
"I'm Ms. Does That Work?"
"I'm Ms. The More You Know."

Greetings from the snowy Mid-West. We received 20 inches based solely on
the measurement from my foot to my knee when I stepped in our yard. 
I actually think it is pretty and all the sparkly snow inspired my DIY project today. 

My Minion (seen above) is not as enthusiastic. 
"Can't you be inspired by Cancun or Hawaii," he says. 
 "Hush," I say. "Minions don't talk-they just dance and sing."

Before Mother Nature dumped on us we were discussing Sandstone.
So let's pick up on that conversation shall we?

I started by troweling a flat coat of Sandstone over a grey base coat. 
This is not a necessary step over a quality painted base but I like the grip I get
from the Sandstone and wanted it to peek through on my next layer. 
For speed, you could thin the Sandstone with waterand roll a coat as
well using a fluffy roller head. Rolling is faster but does
not give you an opaque layer.

I selected two colors of extra fine glitter for this project:
Hologram Glitter from Infinity and Chestnut Recollections Glitter from Michael's. 
Any fine glitter will work. 

Thin Sandstone with water to form a paste the consistency of Oatmeal
and add the glitters.  You should be able to see the glitter in the mix. 
You really can't add too much.  I buttered my trowel with the glitter paste
using a Japan Blade and popped it over the surface.

After popping on the Sandstone in connecting areas, I lightly flatten the areas. 
Using this technique will minimize the drag marks created by the glitter in
the Sandstone.  Apply this in 2ft sections in a long strip on the wall.

Then I rolled our Bark Specialty Roller through the wet Sandstone. 
The Sandstone will take awhile to dry so you have plenty of time
to work this pattern. 

Flip the roller as you work and roll through multiple times-

lots of lines are better!
Repeat across the wall.

Just a reminder-this is the roller handle to get for the Specialty Rollers.
A 4 inch stub cage that is at most home improvement stores for under $3. 
I cut a section of my rollers to fit this exact size to squeeze
into tight spaces.  For really small areas or tight ceiling lines I just
fake the pattern with a cut wallpaper brush. 

This Bark Pattern layer should dry well.  At this point you could sand the
finish to pop the glitter out and then lightly glaze with Dark Brown Faux Creme Color
mixed with either Faux Creme Clear or Aquacreme.  Or you could add a pretty pattern
(or maybe do this for a feature wall while leaving the bark rolled finish on the other walls?)

I mixed a darker glitter, Espresso Recollections Glitter, into Palette Deco Pearl. 

Here is a hint: When doing a feature wall try to select as many products as possible
with fast dry times like Palette Deco, Lusterstone, or Aquawax. 
There is nothing worse then waiting on one wall to dry. 
If you are doing a feature wall project only-you really want to maximize your profit
and lessen you travel by completing it in one day. 
Also, when working with light plasters or clear plasters
for a pattern you should add just a dash of color or finding the pattern match
will be really difficult-believe me, I have done it.

I wanted a lacy pattern like a snowflake but not literally a snowflake,
although that would be a great pattern.
But would every stencil have to be different and special?
Lol. Wait..where were we?

OK, we are rolling our pattern with the glitter mixed Palette Deco tinted with a little
Dark Brown Faux Creme Color.
This is the Kerry Damask Stencil from Cutting Edge.

When the pattern is dry, glaze over the whole surface.  I mixed
Dark Brown Faux Creme Color with some Aquacreme (1 part : 3 parts)
and brushed it over the surface using water and damp
cloth to move the color. 
The surface should look antiqued-don't bury out the glitter by
getting your glaze too dark and heavy.

I love finishes that resemble old fabrics. 

In the close-up you can see the bark pattern with glitter
and the contrast glitter in the damask pattern.
A wintry finish that doesn't feel cold. 
When the weather warms up we will shift to some spicy finishes.
Until then...

Dreaming of Warmer Weather is Heat Miser

(Rankin/Bass Productions 1974)

"He's Mister Thigh Master"
He's Mister Fun"
"He's Mister Weight Lifter"
He's Mister Cinnamon Bun"

Monday, February 25, 2013

And the award for Best Product goes to...Sandstone

"I would like to thank Sandstone for this award. And,
I hope this thing is made of chocolate because I could use some calories right now."

In honor of the Oscars, I would like to bestow my own award for Best Product in the Faux Effects line to Sandstone. 

This is not based on anything scientific. No poll was conducted.  Sandstone did not launch a campaign of billboards or send me a swag bag.  This is entirely based on my own criteria:

1) Product Cconsistency
2) Product Ddurability
3) Ease of Application
4) Versatility
5) Overall Appearance
6) Product Cost

In many ways Sandstone is the Daniel Day-Lewis or Meryl Streep of products. (BTW, how cute was his acceptance speech?).  It has long been my go-to product when a client wants a low build plaster.

Sandstone is an off-white plaster that has a small brown aggregate (fleck) in it and the plaster dries to a pretty parchment color after sanding. It sands easily and creates very little dust.  Thinning with water, up to 50%, and whipping will give you a nice plaster paste suitable for rolling.

And of course it may be troweled whether thinned or straight out of the bucket.  Sandstone covers about 200-250 square feet unthinned.  Thinning with water will give you approximately 100-150 more square feet.  Coverage is always dependent on how thick and/or connected you apply the material.

The classic way we apply Sandstone is to roll a paste coat and then trowel a high/low coat when the first coat is dry.  Then we glaze on top.  You can tint Sandstone but it looks best when left light so the aggregate shows.

Sandstone is thick enough to go over orange peel (the walls in the picture above) and knock down (the ceiling in the same picture).

Sandstone is also thick enough to use a stenciling material for raised patterns. This is a dining room we did years ago where we used Stain & Seal on the base layer of troweled Sandstone. Then we pulled more Sandstone over a Royal Design Allover Stencil. When the Sandstone pattern was dry, we stained it one more time.

I use Sandstone a lot for both interior and exterior wood finishing.  The above door is the sample I did for a client's paneling where I crackled Sandstone over a custom black grey Setcoat. The door below is also Sandstone this time applied with a sea sponge and then sanded flat.

Here Sandstone is used in a back splash tile with the Cutting Edge Birch Tree pattern. Because the plaster may be thinned it is a good choice when using the specialty rollers, wallpaper brushes, or combs. The bathroom finish below is Sandstone shaped with a whisk broom. I call it Samara because it looks like the creepy kid's hair from "The Ring" movie.

Sandstone is flexible enough to be applied to a paper finish and will not crack off. I used it for the Yellow Birch paper I made for the craft room in our home.

Sandstone also comes in two Reactive Series products: RS Sandstone and RS Sandstone with flake.  Above picture is the finish I am applying to 2,500 square feet in our home.

This is a product that plays nicely with other materials.  The finish above is RS Sandstone over hologram foil. Here is the same finish in the picture below over a copper foil in our client's bathroom:

This whole story board for walls, wood, and ceiling are done with Sandstone in combination with other FE products.  So the next time you are stumped about what to do for a client give some Sandstone a try. It is much more then a simple rolled plaster.  You will be surprised at all the finishes you may do with it!

And speaking of surprises....

Look what was under that gold foil wrapper!  Oscar who?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Romantic Finish for Valentine's Day

I speak of the pompetous of love

Of course that doesn't even make sense but when has love ever made sense?  While we ponder something complicated let's enjoy a simple romantic finish shall we? And why limit ourselves to red-let's go with a more popular color palette!

I started with an off-white base-in my case it is Neutral White Setcoat (Every product I used is from Faux Effects International and is part of the Silver Label Line). Then I popped on Silver Moss Lusterstone and Lustestone Tint Base covering about 95% of the base color.

Silver Moss Lusterstone is this great grey based green with a slight hint of blue. The Lusterstone tint base is a great alternative when you want a pearly look and the Crushed Pearl Lusterstone is too blue.  I troweled both vertically and horizontally to gently blend the two colors.  When dry, I used my new favorite pattern Antoinette Damask (even the name evokes tragic romance) from Royal Design Studio.

Then mix Palette Deco Pearl with sea foam glitter from Michael's, about 3 Tbsp per quart of plaster, and roll over the pattern.

The finish looks very pretty at this stage....

But I wanted to age it up so I brushed a glaze of Dark Brown Faux Creme Color over the top and softened with a damp cloth.

A romantic finish-perfect for a bedroom or bath.  Hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day.  By the way, "Pompetous" is a made up used in Steve Miller Band's song The Joker.  It is taken from the word "Puppetutes" which is a mash-up of "puppets" and "prostitutes" and was used in the 1954 song The Letter by The Medallions. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Venetian Gem Base Coat: 4 DIY Projects

These are a few of my favorite things!

(The Sound of Music, 20th Century Fox 1965)
When you carry a product line with over 400 things, there are a few goodies that slip between the cracks.  One of these is Venetian Gem Base Coat. This is a nice creamy but thick off-white plaster that is a great base for many finishes. 

Why is this, at first blush a rather bland looking product, one of my favorites? Well:

1) It tints so easy. I like using Setcoat but you can use any FE colorant including Stain & Seal. I've also used flat latex paint up to 25% per gallon.  In many cases a half a cup of color to a gallon is plenty.  The product is white so tinted material will look lighter while wet but dries about 40% darker.

2)  It is thick enough to roll or trowel to deliver good coverage in one coat.  I demonstrate a finish later in this post where I tint Venetian Gem Base Coat with two colors and trowel in one layer.  Then I glaze it-a quick pitted plaster finish.  Venetian Gem Base Coat dries to a matte finish which many clients like.

3) It dries slower then some of our other acrylic-based plasters making it a good base for shaping with rollers, combs, or brushes.

4) Because of the 3 traits mentioned above, Venetian Gem Base Coat is a cost effective base layer for more expensive products like Lusterstone or as a cost-effective product on it's own.

Finish One:  A Classic Pitted Plaster.

This is for the client that likes the look of troweled drywall. The product price is $64 per gallon but there are some advantages over a standard drywall type finish (at least the ones we were asked to do). In this finish the material is pre-tinted which means I don't have to trowel, sand, and then paint my surface before glazing.  Since the product is thicker, I get a pitted look rather then flat trowel lines in a single layer.  The product is flexible and tinted through-out so if it chips, which is hard to do, it will chip to color rather then white.  And it sands easily and produces very little dust. I've seen really nice dry wall finishes but this is a great alternative.

I added Off-White Setcoat to my Venetian Gem Base Coat and then divided into 2 parts. To one part, I added a little Italian Sienna and Dark Brown Faux Creme Colors.  I like working over a dark colored base and letting it be a another color in my finish but you could just use the Off-White Setcoat as your base. My base here is Royal Taupe Setcoat.

I buttered my steel blade with each of the colors separately and popped them on wet-into-wet.  It is easier to place the darker color first and then the lighter .  I work at least a 3'x3' area and then use the trowel to lightly blend the colors and soften the peaks. Don't over work the plasters because you want to see two colors, Some trowel lines are fine and add to the interest. This layer dries within 2 hours.

Next is glazing. I use a lot of Stain & Seal mixed with FX Thinner because the color is so rich and I usually have some left from cabinetry.  The key is to have a water bottle handy.  I brush on and then spritz with water while softening the glaze with a dry cloth or terry towel.  An added benefit is the water tends to "speckle" the stain which is a cool effect. Only work areas in sizes that you can reach to feather out the edge before working the next section.  And that's it. I rarely topcoat a wall unless the client specifically asks for it as this finish holds up really well in high traffic areas.

Finish Two: An Easy Grass Cloth

It's baaaack!

Since the first of January, we have had 4 requests to match grass cloth wallpaper. There are many approaches to this paper but this one works well on large walls where pulling a brush straight is almost impossible and back breaking.  And if it is a double entry or an angled ceiling? Do yourself a favor and stick with wallpaper.

For my sample, I just used the tan tinted Venetian Gem Base Coat and troweled a medium thick layer. It is fine to have trowel lines and even some of the base coat showing. On an 8foot wall, I will do this in one long strip. For other walls I trowel a strip that is manageable and then trowel my next section lapping areas.

Cut up a standard wallpaper brush into smaller sections that make it easier to hold and allows you to get into small wall areas.  "Whisk" the brush up and down rather then trying to pull in a single fluid stroke. And do this multiple times to vary the density.  This layer takes 1-2 hours to dry.

Trowel some Queen Anne's Lace Lustersuede on the finish. 

And then use a damp cloth to move the Lustersuede around. This minimizes chatter in this layer and gives you more coverage with the Lustersuede.

You could stop right here and have a pretty glass cloth.  I add the next layer (if a client will pay for it) for greater depth and it really hides any lap lines on large walls.  Butter your trowel with Antique Parchment Lustersuede.

Pop this over the dried surface in connecting areas. Then place your trowel flat and push it up and down and across-the Lustersuede is wetter then regular Lusterstone and will move.

You want to make sure and not have abrupt stop and start marks. And vary the width of areas to keep the finish from being "stripey."

Finish Three: Easy Embossed Leather or Wax Resist Look.

Start by rolling a coat of Venetian Gem Base Coat with a fluffy cloth roller.  I left this un-tinted.

I applied thinned Cherry Stain & Seal mixed with some American Walnut Stain & Seal (3 parts FX Thinner: 2 parts Cherry : 1/2 part American Walnut) over the dried base. I spritzed with water and removed with a dry cloth.

I always take a lot of my glaze color off.  When the glaze is dry (FX Thinner dries faster then other glaze mediums), select a pattern and tape it to the surface.  I chose a new pattern from Wallovers Stencils and troweled a layer of Venetian Gem Base Coat over the pattern.

Repeat the relief pattern over the surface.  When dry, I brushed another stain mix of 3 parts FX Thinner + 1 part American Walnut Stain + 1/4 part Rich Brown Stain and softened with a damp cloth.  This gives the look of an embossed leather or a wax resist effect.

Finish Four:  Using a roller

I like the Venetian Gem Base Coat as a medium for the specialty rollers because it is thicker then Lusterstone, more matte then Venetian Gem if you want a low luster look, and not as sticky as Softex.  I tinted this one with some Bronze Setcoat for a very low luster metallic.

After troweling a long vertical stripe, I roll the spots roller through the wet material. This is an easy roller to use because it is non-directional and can be turned on its side to get ceiling lines.  I roll lots of spots so I can lap sections easier.  Wipe the roller with a damp cloth in between rolls.

When this is dry, I rolled a coat of Leo Gold Metal Glow over the finish.  Metallics are a little tacky to roll.  I roll the Leo Gold and soften with a damp cloth as I go-this looks more like a glaze then a full coverage paint.  You can also thin your Metal Glow with glaze medium or extender if needed.

When the Metal Glow is dry, I brushed the Surface with the same American Walnut/Rich Brown Stain that I used above.

When this is finished, some people think it looks like hammered metal. Other people think it looks like Ostrich.

I guess it is the visual illusion of finishes, like this:

Do you see the finisher at her first class or the one that just finished a 1,000 foot ceiling?

In the end, as long as you see this:

then any of these finishes is a winner!