Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Glazed & Confused Part Two:The Comparisons

She blinded me with science

Let's take our glaze discussion to the lab, shall we? In my last post I outlined the different products in the line of glaze mediums from Faux Effects International. This time I set up my own experiment:

First I selected one color, Van Dyke Brown, that is found across all the color mediums in the line.  It is available in Faux Creme Color, Faux Color, Stain & Seal, and the Concentrate.  Then I selected a brown paint color in a flat sheen with a clay base (along the lines of Aura or other low VOC paints)

Each of these colorants, except the concentrate which I will address later, was then mixed in with a different glaze medium in the same ratio and applied in the same method: by a brush and pounced with cheesecloth.

Then I sat at the DMV all day to get my damn driver's license updated to allow my swatches to dry. When I was finally released from hell granted the privilege of driving another few years, I came back and sanded the surface to check dry times/bonding.

First up: Aquaglaze.  Yes, the Aquaglaze looks funny like a fermented cheese. But lots of things look funny but still have a purpose:


Even if that purpose may be hard to define!

This is Aquaglaze and Flat Paint.  It is slightly lumpy and I added a small amount of water that helped the two parts mix together better. The light curdling went away when I brushed the mix out on my Neutral White Setcoat surface

Then I mixed Aquaglaze with Van Dyke Brown Faux Creme Color. 

You can tell by the picture that this mixture didn't blend as smoothly-the same thing happened when I mixed the Aquaglaze with the Van Dyke Stain & Seal. But both mixes did brush out on the board.
The above picture is Aquaglaze and Van Dyke Faux Color mixed together. Yes that is Van Dyke.
While it is a pretty caramel color it doesn't look like the traditional blackish brown we associate with Van Dyke Brown.  So please note, you can not substitute Van Dyke Brown Faux Color for Van Dyke Brown Faux Creme Color-they don't look the same.  This also goes for Dark Brown.  This mix probably clumped the most.

The above picture is pretty much how all the Aquaglaze mixtures brushed out.  It was not difficult to get it to lay out and to pounce. 

Next I mixed Faux Creme Clear with the flat paint:

The mixture tightened up pretty fast. But I was able to brush it on the Setcoat and pounce it out.
Then I mixed Faux Creme Clear with Van Dyke Brown Faux Creme Color.

As expected, this made for a blended mix of light density that was fairly sheer when applied to the Setcoat.

The Faux Cream Clear and Faux Color mix above created a very creamy mixture with a thicker consistency that I actually like when glazing.  This mix had more body when brushed on the Setcoat.

The Faux Creme Clear and Van Dyke Stain & Seal mix is very similar to the mix made with Faux Color in both consistency and density.

Next up is Aquacreme (which I admit, I really like).  When I mixed the Aquacreme with the flat paint it actually made a very creamy spreadable glaze. This may be due to the nature of the clay based paint.

Again, the Aquacreme and the Van Dyke Faux Creme Color produces a very creamy glaze with dark  but translucent color.

The above picture is Van Dyke Faux Color and Aquacreme. What is interesting to note is not the consistency but the color. Compare this color to the same mix made with Faux Creme Clear.  The more opaque nature of the Faux Creme Clear dilutes the color slightly but enough to notice a difference between the two glazing mediums.

And, then I mixed Aquacreme with Van Dyke Stain & Seal. This is a favorite mix for wood graining because the thicker texture holds the graining tool shapes well:

The last glaze I tested was FX Thinner which is usually for thinning Stain & Seal.  This is the only glaze medium I feel comfortable mixing with the Concentrate Colors based on my own field experience, so I didn't try mixing the Concentrate Colors with other glazes.

FX Thinner and the flat paint made a very thin glazing medium that brushed well but dried quickly.

The FX Thinner and the Faux Creme Color did not want to blend well but I was able to brush it over the surface.

The FX Thinner and the Faux Color blended better due to the more liquid nature of the Faux Color. And Finally I mixed the FX Thinner with the Van Dyke Stain & Seal:

This made for a light liquid mix although sometimes the Van Dyke Stain & Seal color looks like pepper.  Adding some blending solvent will fix that.

Now some conclusions:

These four squares are done with flat paint and all the glazes.  The mix made with Faux Creme Clear and Paint (upper right corner) was the most sheer while the mix with FX Thinner (lower left) dried the fastest.  The best choice is Aquaglaze because it was designed for paint but the Aquacreme did really well in terms of mixing and coverage (this is the lower right square). All of the mixes did bond over night and did not sand off the next day.

The above board is Faux Creme Color mixed with the different glaze mediums.  The Aquaglaze (upper left square) is the most sheer because I had to brush out the clumping.  The Faux Creme Clear mix had the most open time while the Aquacreme mix had the most even coverage.  The color did not want to blend as well in the FX Thinner mix (lower right color)

This board is Faux Color mixed with the glaze mediums. The Aquaglaze medium took over night to dry (upper left).  The Faux Creme Clear mix and the Aquacreme mix gave very even coverage that stayed open longer then the FX Thinner (lower left).  The FX Thinner mix stayed on heavier.

This board is Stain & Seal mixed with the glazes and is the most consistent in final color. This is most likely due to the concentrated color nature of Stain & Seal.  The Aquaglaze square (upper left) was the only one where the stain bit into the surface.  Both the Faux Creme Clear and the Aquacreme mixes needed to be very dry before applying any more layers because the surface would re-wet. The FX Thinner dried faster then the Faux Creme Clear and the Aquacreme but didn't re-wet when more color was applied an hour later.

All the glazes did mix with the different mediums and did bond to the Setcoat surface.  The biggest differences were:

 Spread Time (how fast did the glaze grip the surface). Faux Creme Clear and Aquacreme mixed with Faux Creme Color was easy to brush and remove.  FX Thinner was in the middle with most colorants except paint where it dried fast.  Aquaglaze and Faux Color moved well but took overnight to dry.

Mixability.  Aquaglaze didn't blend smoothly with any of the colorants and took a little more brushing out but it did work.  Faux Creme Clear and paint created a mix the consistency of sour cream but again it did brush out and bond.  Aquacreme actually mixed the best with all the colorants tested.

Dried Color:  This was the biggest suprise. The actual density of the glaze material had an impact on the final color with the more opaque glazes having a bigger change then Aquacreme which is very translucent. Even between the Faux Creme Clear and the FX Thinner there is a color difference probably due to the looser nature of the FX Thinner.  Next time someone calls with a question about why a color is different then a sample I will be sure to ask what glaze medium they used. This may be the reason and not the colorant.

The final blog on this is about glaze application. We all get hung up on product and color forgetting about how important the application choice is to the final outcome.  I call application the third wheel of Faux Finishing.  So I will leave you today with another third wheel:

At least you get to take your shirt off-a lot!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Part One: What are the Glazes?

(Gramercy Pictures 1993)

"Why does Faux Effects have so many glaze mediums?"

"Do the glazes really do different things?"

"Can I mix & match my glaze mediums?"

"Will fringed leather vests ever make a comeback?"

You would be surprised how many times I am asked those questions!
OK-maybe I am the only one wondering about the last one because my Dad picked
up a sweet vest on a trip to Mexico in the 70's.

It can be a little confusing, especially since many of the glazing mediums have similar sounding names-faux this and faux that.  But let's just chill.  Here is my quick breakdown of our glaze mediums.  I've separated this post into 3 parts: 

Part 1) What are the mediums with advantages and challenges
Part 2)  How do they react when mixed with different mediums? We will test Van Dyke Faux Creme Color, Van Dyke Faux Color, Van Dyke Stain & Seal, Van Dyke Concentrate, and dark brown latex paint.
Part 3) Why would I select a certain glaze based on the project?

I'm only talking about Faux Effects glaze mediums because that is the product line that I teach and sell.  This is a comparison within a single product line and is based on my own usage on real projects.  I'm sure there are other groovy glaze mediums with their own bloggers.

Glaze Medium Number One: AquaGlaze.  This medium is used to thin and extend the open time of latex paint.  I like using flat paint and mixing 3 parts Aquaglaze to 1 part paint.

Advantages: Silver label so anyone may purchase without training on it.  Mixes with latex paint so no need for colorants although you may use Faux Creme Colors to fine tint if desired  You may thin/extend with water and water is used to clean brushes.  Low odor.  Dries to a low sheen. In a pinch, I've mixed with Faux Creme Colors when I did not have one of the other glaze mediums. Is it the best option for mixing with colorants? No. But I have done it and the colored glaze medium bonded fine to the base paint. Dries fast enough to apply a second glaze layer within 2 hours (if you don't add extender). Mixed product goes a long way- a gallon should cover 400 square feet.

Challenges:  Aquaglaze does not stay open as long as some of the other glaze mediums.  Sometimes it is clumpy in the bottle. While this doesn't effect color mixing or bonding, it can be weird coming out of the bottle and you may need to brush/pounce it out more.  Not the best choice for mixing color from scratch. Colored glaze is not as translucent if using latex paint. 

Glaze Medium Number Two:  Faux Creme Clear.  This glaze medium is used to make tinted glazes using colorants.  Again, a 3 part glaze to 1 part colorant is a good place to start. 

Advantages:  Faux Creme Clear has the longest open time of our glaze mediums.  The consistency is smooth and blends easily with a majority of FE colorants. FE makes special additives that may be mixed with Faux Creme Clear to achieve unique glazed color effects.  When different colors of tinted Faux Creme Clear are applied to the wall, the colors maintain clarity-you don't end up with monkey brown.  Thins with water if needed.  Moves well over non-sealed surfaces.  Low ordor. In a pinch may be mixed with Stain & Seal.  May be mixed with Setcoat to extended the open time if needed.  Goes a long way-again a gallon should cover 400 square feet of wall.  Can be rolled on the wall untinted as a "slip" coat for working colored glazes. Great for dry climates. May purchase in 5 gallon drums. Thin consistency is great for transparent glazing.

Challenges: Faux Creme Clear is a Gold Label product so you must take a class to purchase.  (This can be an advantage because in class you learn all the tricky things you can do with it.)  The slow dry time may impact subsequent layers.  If it is not dry, applying another glaze on top of it may re-wet the first coat.  Sets slow in humid climates, air conditioned rooms, and on cold walls.  Thin consistency makes it harder to build color in high/low finishes.

Glaze Medium Number Three:  AquaCreme (AKA Mastercreme). This glaze medium is the consistency of jelly. The most heavy bodied of the mediums it mixes with many FE colorants.  Mixing ratios are the same as noted with other glaze mediums.

Advantages:  Silver label so anyone may purchase.  Mixes with the widest range of colorants.  Dries very hard-good choice for outside. You can make Aquacreme really dark with colorant but keep it sheer on the surface.  A great way to increase the open time of plasters while retaining the plaster thickness. The thickness allows you to place color that stays in the recesses of high/low or crackle finishes. Slow set time.  Thick enough to use with wood graining brushes and tools.  Maintains color clarity when applying different colors at the same time. May be thinned/cleaned with water.  A good choice when you want to roll a colored glaze over a stencil. Coverage is similar to other glaze mediums.

Challenges:  The thickness may lead to lap lines that many confuse with "dry" lines.  Should be feathered out when glazing sections.  When applied thickly the surface may become gooey-touching in a spot with a cloth may remove more glaze.  Aquacreme can get sticky if the room is really humid-better to apply a thinner coat and repeat color when 1st layer is dry.

This is Aquacreme Low Viscosity and seems to be the Under Cover Agent of our glazes since not many people know about it.  Performs like regular Aquacreme but is slightly thinner and stays open longer.  This is a great choice for absorbent plasters on large walls.  Also a good choice when working in summer with no air conditioning.

Glaze Medium Four: FX-Thinner (AKA: Pro-FX Thinner).  This is a glaze medium for thinning Stain & Seal although it may be mixed with other colorants (some it blends with better then others-we will cover that in Part Two). This has the most liquid consistency of the glaze mediums. 

Advantages:  Silver label so anyone may purchase.This stuff dries hard and fast-when you have 50 pieces of cabinetry to glaze that is a plus because you may do multiple color layers in a day. You do not want under layers of color re-wetting.  A very consistent glaze medium.  May be thinned with water and other extenders as needed.  Water clean-up of your glaze brushes/surfaces.  Strong but flexible on wood that expands and contracts.  Dries to a low luster sheen. Holds the dark rich Stain & Seal colors well for wall applications but may be removed with water while glazing-great if you need to get rich color to stick to the lows on a plaster finish. Goes a long way. A mix of one quart of FX-Thinner and 1/4 cup of Stain & Seal should glaze at least 40 pieces of cabinetry.

Disadvantages:  Dries fast-especially in a dry/desert climate. Extenders like So-Slow will give FX Thinner more open time. This problem may also be an application issue which I will cover in Part Three.  FX Thinner is the most aggressive of the glaze mediums meaning it wants to bite into the surface.  If you are a glaze putzer (you know who you are) who likes to brush, fluff, swish, and badger your glazes-this will be dry at the swish.  Darker stains may pixelate in the mix-it looks like pepper. Mix your product the night before and give the stain time to blend.

We have two specialty glazes: RS Glaze and RS Low Viscosity Glaze. Both are Gold Label and require a workshop because there are special additives to manipulate these products in unusual ways for a glazing mediums.  Plus there are considerations regarding application methods and dry times.

In Part Two-I will mix the glazes with colorant so you may see what chemically happens.  Until then...

Peace out!