Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snakes on the Plains

A phobia of snakes is just one of the three things I share with Indiana Jones. 
The other two being jaunty hats and vintage whips bomber jackets.

When my family goes to Chinese restaurants, My Dad likes to read the paper zodiac placemats-the ones with the Chinese New Year Animals and the listed characteristics. He scoffs at each one until he gets to mine: "Snakes don't have arms, so they use their mouths...A LOT."  It never gets old-to him.

Well, in case you didn't know it 2013 is the Year of the Snake.

Snakeskin is a classic that can be found on clothing, furniture, and wall coverings. It can also be found in unlikely places:

 Sweet Georgia Brown, let's hope you have some time
 for a few DIY Snakeskin projects.


Snakes on Paper.
My friend Gary Lord first showed me how to faux brown paper using a variety of  wall and cabinet products.  I love using the brown 3m masking paper for several reasons. It comes is varying widths.  It is inexpensive. The crinkling of the paper adds an unusual element to the finish. You can work in your home on a flat surface in front of you and then install in some one's home.  Applying the paper is faster in awkward spaces like ceilings.

Cut your paper into various lengths and lay on a flat surface.  Select one-two colors of FE Faux Metal.  This is real metal shaving in an alcohol base.  I selected Copper and Rich Gold.

Use a Japan Blade to smear the Faux Metal on a larger trowel.  With the trowel flat to the paper, blade it on.  The paper will naturally crinkle.


Next, select 1-3 Lusterstone colors. Any earthy shades will do.  I used some leftover Weathered Bronze and Charred Gold.  The Lusterstone is also randomly popped and bladed over the paper. 

When the Lusterstone is dry, I use the Snakeskin stencil from FE.  Place the stencil in the middle of your paper strips and pull either Tiger's Eye Venetian Gem, Black Onyx Venetian Gem, Brown Sapphire Venetian Gem, or Moonstone Grey Venetian Gem over the pattern.  Repeat to cover the strip.  I don't worry about exactly matching the pattern although I do keep the heavier middle part of the pattern lined up in the repeat.
To install the paper I use FE Aquaseal (Clear Setcoat). Roll the surface area first.  Then roll the back of your paper strip.  Place your strip on the wall and use your foam roller to smooth and stick it down.  I also use a plastic tool for smoothing wallpaper to get air bubbles out.  I cut the paper edges with a ruler and exacto-blade.  Then I made sure to line up each paper strip so the stencil pattern flowed from each piece.

I applied the paper above a fireplace in the lower level of our home. Once it was up I decided to blend it a little more so I troweled some Silver Taupe Lustersuede over the finish.  I used a damp cloth to soften any chatter from scrapping over the pattern.  I like soft blended finishes and this step is optional depending on how strong you want the snake pattern.
When my Lustersuede dried, I glazed over the surface using a mix of 3 parts FX Thinner + 2 parts Van Dyke Stain & Seal + 1 part Rich Brown Stain & Seal. Just brush on and soften with a dry cloth.
Here is the finished wall:
In case you are searching for another snake finish, here is another Snakeskin DIY.
Snakes on Metallics.
Paint the surface with the new Metallic Toffee Setcoat.  We rolled our sample board using a fluffy fabric Slim Jim roller head.  Metallics have a nap-in this finish it will not show.
Next place the FE Snakeskin stencil in the middle of your wall and trowel Lusterstone over the pattern. I used Weathered Bronze.
Don't worry about some bleed through on the pattern.  I also just eyeball the pattern match.
I tinted some Aquawax with Elephant Hide Metal Glow and troweled it over the dried snake pattern.  You could also leave the Aquawax un-tinted to show more of the snake pattern.
While the wax is wet, use our Cheesecloth roller to roll thru the wax. This will create a scales.
I glazed the dried wax with 3 parts FX Thinner + 2 parts American Walnut Stain & Seal + 2 Parts Ebony Stain & Seal.  I like using FX Thinner and stain over waxed finishes because it "bites" in stronger over the slick surface.  You can see in the picture how it beads on the surface. Just pat with a dry cloth or Neon Leon brush.
This finish would work well on furniture.
Let's ask another expert on snakes what he thinks.  Samuel L. Jackson what do you have to say about our snakeskin faux finishing?

It could have been:


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