(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...