With any skill, mastering technique is everything...
Just ask Thornton
Without technique The Triple Lindy is just a dive!
We tend to get hung up on two aspects of decorative painting: Color and Product. But what can really make or break a finish and the desired result is the technique. Matching the right technique with the right product will make your decorative painting project easier to control. Sometimes this will take practice because you may be used to a particular approach but it is worth it to master a new way of doing things when you find the perfect mix of density, motility, and dry time. As with all my posts I am using products from Faux Effects International. Most are Silver Label so anyone may use them. The only Gold Label product used in this post is Faux Crème Clear and it is reserved for artists that have trained at a licensed Faux Effects studio.
When the surface is more textured and I need to apply 1-2 glaze colors, I like the same mixes as above (either Faux Crème Clear or Aquaglaze) and I brush the glaze 100% over the surface.
Then I pounce the surface with a Neon Leon scrub brush to push the glaze medium into the surface. Keep a dry terry towel handy to wipe your Neon Leon bristles as you work. This technique is effective on plasters such as Sandstone, Plastertex, Softex, and Aquastone. If your surface is absorbent, such as Aquastone, spritz the plaster first with water before apply the glaze medium. You may also spritz with water as you work to remove more color-that is the beauty of a water-based system.
The above finish is a cracked Sandstone. This technique also works with any plaster troweled with pits or distinct highs and lows. First, I mix a Aquaglaze or Faux Crème Clear colored glaze with two colors. I brush these on sheer and pad with a damp cloth. Next, most clients want to highlight the "crunchy" areas-in this case it is the crackle. Your challenge is to darken the crackle which will bring attention to it without making the whole surface dark.
This is where I make my switch to Aquacreme and my darkest color (I like Dark Brown or Van Dyke Brown Faux Crème Colors). I brush this into my crackle.
The Aquacreme thickness keeps it in the cracked areas. Next spritz with water.
Then pad it with a DRY cloth. This keeps the glaze in the recessed area while allowing you to remove/move it from the surrounding plaster.
For glazing a finish with Lusterstone you want to tint the plaster but not overpower the actual color or sheen. Since Lusterstone is very absorbent, I mist the finish first with water, and brush with a colored glaze made with Faux Crème Clear or Aquacreme over the surface. Pat with a damp cloth. Aquaglaze and paint will kill the luster of the product and won't move well over the finish.
For slick surfaces such as Venetian Gem or Palette Deco, I really like using Stain & Seal and FX Thinner-you may add extender if you need to but this will effect the set time. Remember your glaze can feel dry but not set which means when you apply a another glaze you may re-wet the first layer.
Stain & Seal and FX Thinner will give you more grip and denser color on a polish plaster surface then the other glaze medium combinations.
The key to this technique is to pad the glaze with a damp cloth and not rub. If you rub the plaster you will polish the plaster and create a hole in your glaze. It is better to apply one color, pad it on, and let it dry several hours to overnight. Then repeat with your next color which may be rolled into the texture/surface with a cloth since the first glaze sealed the plaster. FX Thinner dries hard and seals the surface well. This plaster has a roller pattern. In this case I use a Japan Blade to pull the color into the pattern and pat with the damp cloth to reduce chatter.
I also like Stain & Seal and FX Thinner mixes over foil finish. Again I don't want a glaze mixture that slips off the slick surface. The advantage of Stain & Seal mixtures is the depth of the colors straight out of the container.
I want to leave this antiquing glaze heavier on finishes such as the one above so I use a Neon Leon rather then a cloth which would remove more color.
For cabinetry I prefer Stain & Seal and FX Thinner combinations for over-staining. You are staining not painting so you should apply your mix sheer enough to see the base coat. Applying something 100% means how much area you cover not how dense you make your application. Pouncing with cheesecloth leaves more stain on and creates pores. Wiping the stain mix with cheesecloth takes more off and creates a tea-stained effect.
For wood graining I prefer a thicker mix of Aquacreme and Stain & Seal or Aquacreme and Faux Crème Color. You can make any surface look like wood if you start with a wood-toned Setcoat. We have Chamois (blond-light woods), Woody Yellow (mid-range woods like Oak and Walnut), Camel (mid-range to darker woods), and Fire Red (Dark Cherry to Mahogany).
The Aquacreme is a thick enough product to hold the pattern of a graining tool or specialty brush.
When the grain is applied it may be softened with a badger brush. I learned my wood graining techniques from Mike MacNeil. Mike-if you see this I still have the badger brush you gave me-George Clooney (that is another story for another day).
And for our newest product the Old World Furniture Paint which is an absorbent sandable tint base there are a few choices. The best news is you do not need to buy a special glaze medium or colorant-you may use the one's that you already have. The most user friendly is Faux Crème Clear and Faux Crème Color.
I brush this on and pounce with cheesecloth. This is the easiest glazed mix to move without re-wetting the OWFP underneath.
Aquacreme and color will work but the Aquacreme tends to re-wet the OWFP if applied heavy. Stain & Seal and FX Thinner will work but it wants to bite into the OWFP faster. Stain & Seal and FX Thinner is my choice if I seal the OWFP with Aquaguard first.
And that's it! Of course there are other combinations but I can't throw it all at you in one post.
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