Monday, June 10, 2013

Modern Coastal Finishes Part 3: DIY Driftwood

Sunshine on my soil, makes it crackle...
Sunshine on my grandma, makes me cry...
(1998 20th Century Fox)

Sunshine on Brad Pitt looks so lovely...
Sunshine, on faux wood, is your DIY
We get asked about weathered wood looks, and specifically driftwood, a lot.  Now the  look of driftwood is a combination of the salty water and sunshine.  Beside the driftwood pictured above, the only other one I would like to see covered in salty water ( my tears of joy) is Brad.  OK, wait, what was I talking about..

I create many of my faux wood textures using Faux Effects Venetian Gem Basecoat.  This is a medium bodied creamy off-white plaster.  I recommend it when my finishers are looking for a tinted matte plaster.  It is more opaque then O'Villa plaster and dries slower.  Plus it takes tint really well. For a gallon of Venetian Gem Base Coat, adding 1/4 cup of colorant including flat latex paint is plenty.  It will dry down darker so blow dry your wet swatches while mixing.

I like to tint my base products with other products I will be using in the project as much as possible-this helps with product costs.  In this case I mixed 1 gallon of Venetian Gem Tint Base with 4 TBSP American Walnut Stain & Seal and 2 TBSP Antique Pine Stain & Seal.

Mark off your planks in varying sizes and tape off every other plank.
Trowel the tinted Venetian Base in a medium thick coat.

There are several tools for creating a wood grain. For some planks I pull a heart grainer through the middle of the wet plaster. 
And on either side, I use a trapezoid comb to create the side grain.

On alternate planks, I like to use our bark roller.
This is what the plaster will look like wet.
And this shows you the color difference between a dry plank and wet planks. When my planks are all dry I pull the tape before glazing.  For my glaze I mix 1 pint FX Thinner + 2 TBSP American Walnut Stain & Seal + 1 TBSP Antique Pine Stain & Seal. These are the colors used to tint the plaster.
I brush the wet stain over the surface and mist with water. Then use a trowel to pull over the grain.
This will push the stain mix into the pattern and burnishes the top of the Venetian Base wood grain.
Let the wood stain dry (about an hour).  Next thin some Pickling White Stain & Seal and some Metallic Silver Stain & Seal with the FX Thinner.  Add just enough FX Thinner to move the stain colors.  On some planks brush more Pickling White and less Silver at the same time and pull your blade across the surface.  On other planks, use more Silver stain.  You may also add more of the American Walnut/Antique Pine mix.  The key is to work the colors into each other, wet into wet, and not to use just one color.  I like my color layers to dry over night before top coating.
For wall applications, any satin finish topcoat will work. For floors, the sub surface should be primed (I like Stone Décor as a base but I have used Primetch as well), Setcoat, and then apply plaster.  For a topcoat I like C-500 Satin thinned 25% with water.  You need to wait 12 hours before applying another coat.  I prefer doing finishes like this on surfaces that don't need to wick moisture such as a concrete patios or basement floors. 
This look will also work in a Rustic Modern interior and is a great base for adding alternate colors using the Old World Furniture Paint and sanding through. Hmmm.... this might be the finish I should do as my summer project in our third guest room which as a peaked roof line and twin beds.
And speaking of a summer project with things I love....
Why it is Brad again

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Modern Coastal: DIY Project 2

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Not Me! 
 The ocean makes me feel claustrophobic and don't get me started on that movie Open Water-my worst nightmare ever! I am content to putter around on top of the water enjoying the sea life at a distance that allows me to swim away fast. And then take a nice deep swim in a clean chlorinated   pool. 
While there are many beautiful exotic things to see under water, there are equally lovely items to enjoy on land in Hawaii. One of these are native Hawaiian quilts.
The patterns are very graphic and rendered in high contrast bold colors.  Many incorporate palm and pineapple inspired shapes.  These are the starting point for my next DIY finish.
I am going to use foil. The biggest complaint I read/hear/dream about foil is the foil is not off-loading.  Foil can be "bad" but it is really just bad for our use which is not for heat-setting (it's intended purpose).  And usually it is not the foil size that is a problem unless it is a timed size.
Most of the time the issue is the surface. Think about your sample surface. It is probably polystyrene and very smooth and very sealed. Most walls are not smooth and marginally sealed.  A rolled paint surface leaves a little stubble that will telegraph through on a foil finish.  Two coats of size and/or two coats of foil work not because of stickiness but because you are filling in the sub-straight texture with each layer.
I like to trowel a quick coat of Venetian Plaster for a base. It is opaque, dries fast, gives me a color layer, is well-sealed, and adds visual interest. What's not to love?  Yes you have to buy the product and trowel a layer but compare that to the cost of rolling size, applying foil, rolling size, applying foil, rolling...
At least this guy is having fun chasing his tail.
I started this project by troweling a coat of Black Onyx Venetian Gem in a single high/low coat.  Venetian comes in many pre-tinted options giving you and your client lots of color options.

The easiest thing to make troweling Venetian Plaster enjoyable (besides using a nice creamy one like Venetian Gem) is to keep your blade clean as you work:
You get busy with the application and let the product begin to dry on your blade. This will create lines in your plaster. Use a Japan Blade to scrape off product. If you do this frequently as you work you may reapply the wet scrapped material to the surface. If the material on your blade is leather dry you need to dump it in the trash.  This layer should be dry within an hour.
Next, I rolled Wundasize 100% over the dried Venetian Plaster.  It will look blue while wet.  I use a black foam roller-less bubbling-and really roll it out. It is not like crackle size that will lift if you overwork it.  For this finish the set time is only 30 minutes because I am applying a pattern before the foil.

My pattern is the Corsini Damask Stencil from Royal Design Studio because it reminds me of the quilts I saw on Maui.  The stencil will stick nicely to the Wundasize.

I used a black foam roller and rolled Queen Anne's Lace Lusterstone over the pattern.  This color is a soft warm grey.  I like using Lusterstone in this application because it dries fast allowing me to repeat my pattern quickly. Lusterstone also comes in many colors so it is easy to find shades a client will love.

Next I placed Moonstone Pewter Foil with the silver side facing up over the pattern and scrubbed with a scrub brush.  The foil will only off-load around the pattern where the size is not covered by the Lusterstone.

The foil will also pick-up the highs and lows of the Venetian Plaster layer making the finish look more worn.
To age the finish, I mixed 2 parts FX Thinner + 1part American Walnut Stain & Seal + 1/2 part Antique Pine Stain & Seal.  I brushed this over the surface and spritzed with a water bottle before padding with a dry cloth.
The Lusterstone will take the stain harder then the foil-which is fine and adds to the finish.  The stain warms up the overall look.
 And that's the finish.
This would be really pretty in a bump out in a dining room or in a powder room.
Next time I will show you a simple way to create a coastal weathered wood.
And, just so you know. The best pineapples are not found under the sea....
They are found floating in a glass!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Modern Coastal: DIY Lustersand Finish

This is when I met Audrey II at the Hawaiian Little Shop of Horrors

Aloha everyone!  Just returned from a wonderful week vacation on the island of Maui where, among other things such as Mai Tai's,  I swam with sea turtles and a pod of spinner dolphins.  Yes, I was one with nature....

(South Park, 2011)

But not as much as Gerald!
To ease myself back into a painting mode, I decided to share some ideas for creating modern coastal looks that are not cliché "beachy."  Although I will admit a fondness for retro-beach style interiors and styles. Think old surf boards, turquoise vinyl, and Bark Cloth.  Bruce is practically a walking postcard for vintage Hawaiian style. If he stopped wearing them (beginning in early March) then it signals the invasion of the Pod People.

Our resort had several home magazines lying around which I perused while relaxing on the Lanai, which sounds more exotic then covered porch.  "If you can't run with the big dogs-stay on the Lanai."  On second thought that doesn't sound as tough.
Anyway....the style of home is much more sleek and modern. More "California Modern" with sleek pale interiors, a few high contrast patterns, and aged grey wood. The vibrant shades one associates with Hawaii ( such as seafoam, coral, orange, fuchsia, and teal) are reserved for art work and a few textiles, usually on a cream of black background.
My first finish uses a product/technique that works well for a variety of interiors-remember I live in Kansas City-but gets a tropical vibe from the stencil pattern.


The background of this finish is a great way to bring in a hint of metallic with the natural look of stone. And since the finish uses Lustersuede, there are several pre-mixed color options available to you and your clients.

I'm using Faux Effects' Sandstone and Charred Gold Lustersuede.  Lustersuede comes in the same low sheen metallic colors as Lusterstone but is a thinner almost creamy consistency.  Mix 1/2 quart of Lustersuede to 1 gallon of Sandstone.  You can mix more or less of the Lustersuede depending on the look you want but don't over add the Lustersuede or you will loose the aggregate look of the Sandstone.  A quart of Lustersuede to a gallon of Sandstone should be the max.
This is your Lustersand or Sandluster-you decide.  This is your base layer and should be applied by buttering your trowel and popping on the surface.
The background color doesn't matter unless you want some of the color to show. The paint should be a good quality low sheen latex paint or Setcoat.  For added interest and while the Sandstone is wet, I like to pop in some un-mixed Lustersuede in connecting areas.
I have done a version of this sample using Frosted Denim Lustersuede which works surprisingly well with the Charred Gold.  Use your blade at a slight angle to smooth down the plaster but not press it flat.  You want gentle highs and lows.
You can tell I have been on vacation because my nails are painted in something besides Stain & Seal

Pull the plaster both vertically and horizontally.  This layer should dry within 2-hours.  I took the leftover plaster and mixed some FE Blue/Green Verdigris Color in it ( 1TBSP-2TBSP of color per quart of Lustersand mix will work).

If you don't have this color, these are good substitutes:
Turquoise Stain & Seal, Turquoise Faux Crème Color, Colonial Green Stain & Seal, and Williamsburg Blue Stain & Seal.
This mix is troweled over the pattern.  I selected the Mikala's Tropic pattern from Wallovers. I mean, hello, it has tropic in the name.
The pattern should dry a few hours before using a sanding block which I am using just to revel more of the Sandstone aggregate rather then for smoothing purposes.

You could stop at this point and have a soft finish with a relief pattern.  But why when you can add a layer that makes the finish sing. BTW, one of my nicknames, among many (at least the one's said to my face), is "sprinkles" because I like to add pretty things. But really-who doesn't?
I used a Japan Blade to pull Charred Gold Lustersuede 100% over the finish and then a damp cloth to spread it out and reduce chatter marks.  Lustersuede covers about 50 more square feet then regular Lusterstone and is about $5 less expensive per quart and gallon.  I have done this finish without applying a pattern and gone right to the step of pulling Lustersuede over the Lustersand for a simple 2 step finish.
But while this is know what time it is....
I laid the stencil over the pattern again and used a soft glazing brush to dry swirl some orange and teal colors over the pattern.

Ahh-now we are talking.  Just like a vintage Bark Cloth with a soft metallic shimmer.
Later this week I will show you my smoky mirror finish inspired by Hawaiian quilts. Until then, Mahalo (which means "Thanks").