Faux Finishing 102

Basecoating

Whether you are going to do a faux finish or if you are just planning on painting your walls, you will need a good basecoat on the surface.

For faux finishing the best type of paint that I have found for a base is latex in an eggshell finish. When I say eggshell I am not talking about the color eggshell, I am talking about the sheen of the paint. An eggshell finish is in between a flat and a satin. Satin can be good to use, but not necessary, and you can save your pennies to be used elsewhere. There are the matte finish paints out now, but they are too close to a flat finish. The reason that you need a bit of a sheen is so that the paint can move easily. However it doesn’t mean that the more sheen the better. If you try using a semigloss or more you will find your faux to be a little “slippery”.

Some painting tips that I have used over the years is, number one….have a good paintbrush. A fellow contractor had told me about the kind to use and I seldom use anything else. It is a 2 1/2″ angled brush. I believe it is also called a sash brush. Most brush companies make this size. I go with a nylon/polyester one for use with all paints. I am picky, though, about whoich 2 1/2′ brush I choose. I want one with a more slender handle. Maybe it’s just because I am a woman, but I find it to be more comfortable to use, especially if I have alot of painting to do.
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Tape is another important item. Tape sure isn’t what it once was. You go to buy a roll of tape and you may find a whole aisle of just different types of tape. Yes, the blue tape is best to use when taping off for a paint job. For me, I have found the regular blue tape to work the best. The ones that I have tried that are especially for painting just don’t stick well for me and the paint then goes under the tape and onto the moulding or cabinet or whatever. Defeats the purpose.

As far as rollers and roller covers go, I tend to go for the lighter weight. The rollers themselves have lasted me a long time. I know that when it comes to the roller covers some people use specific ones. I tend to go for the less expensive and then just throw them out after I have finished a room. They are usually only good for one coat. The more expensive ones can be washed out and reused.

Along with the rollers come the paint trays. I use the liners with the trays and discard them after each use. They will keep your trays in good shape and longer lasting. I have found that repeated washing of the trays causes them to rust.

Dropcloths are another important material item as well. Here again there is such a variety. I find the cloth ones to be way too heavy and then you have to go to a laundromat to wash them in their larger washing machines. The plastic ones are a pain if you ask me. To me they are only good for covering furniture. The dropcloths I have found to work the best for me are the paper ones that have a nonabsorbent backing. They can last a long time when treated right. They are relatively lightweight too.

If you were to ask 5 different painters/decorative painters you would probably get several different answers and solutions. To be honest I would like to suggest that if you are hiring a professional let them do their job. They most likely have found what works best for them. And this is what they do, they are going to me more knowledgeable on the subject.

So does this officially fit under the Faux Finishing category? Yes, indeed. If you aren’t doing the basecoating yourself you have to make sure that whoever does do it used the right kind of paint. And learning about the materials involved may lead you to have a new respect for the people in the trade.

Good luck to you if you have a project in the works or are thinking of one in the future!

Gold Leafing

Hello there!

I thought I would give a lesson in gold leafing. This is something that can have spectacular results, and, surprisingly, is not that difficult to do. It can be a little messy but in a good way. I’ll explain that later.

The materials that you will need are an older paint brush (you will end up throwing this one away) or purchase a small spongebrush. You will also need sizing adhesive and the gold leaf itself. This is a synthetic gold leaf, which is more common and alot less costly. I would suggest you find a piece to work on on the smaller rather than larger side. When you are comfortable with that you can move onward to something larger. Maybe you would like to practice on a foamcore board as I am showing here. Or have you been wanting to jazz up a frame? That is a good project with easy results.

You also will need paint in a color that you would like to have show through in areas. Black and red are the most common, but any color will work. Don’t go to any great expense with this for starters. A small bottle of acrylic craft paint will do just fine. I am using black.
Basecoat the piece or sample with 2 coats of the craft paint. When thoroughly dry, using your old brush, apply the sizing adhesive. it will be white in color but dries clear. I will tell you that when it dries it is quite sticky, so beware.

After your adhesive has become clear, you are ready to start the fun. The gold leafing comes in 4″x4″ sheets. Remove one and apply it to the adhesive. Here I have kept them in a straight order but you may choose to angle them or tear them into pieces. Now, this is where the little messy part starts. the sheets of gold leaaf are quite thin and fragile. When clients have asked about it I tell them to think of butterfly wings and you almost have the delicacy of gold leaf. It will tend to float around in pieces if allowed to. The sheets will invariably tear somewhat, don’t worry about that. If you notice in the one photo you can see straight lines of black showing through. In the next photo not so much. That is because I went back in with the broken pieces and filled in some of the area. I like to leave small background areas to show through. it breaks up the straight lines and also can give it more character, I think. A good thing to use to help put it down is a small brush. Here I have used a mop brush, but an inexpensive chipwood brush will work just fine. After you have applied as much gold leafing as you want you will need to burnish it. All that is is taking a rag (old tshirt is good, or soft paper towel, or even kleenex), bunch it up a little , and rub the surface, ideally in circular motions. You will be able to see the difference even though it is subtle.
Here are photos to get an idea of what the process would look like, and then I added an elaborate vestibule ceiling that I completed.
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KCB vestibule,scrolls 001
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Behold! Your own gold leafing!

In a few weeks I will be using gold leaf in another project that is for Easter. I think that you will like it!

Banana Split Cake

Did the name catch your eye?

With good reason!

This is a delicious and fun recipe to serve. My mind must be on sweets because of Valentine’s Day coming up. At any rate, I haven’t made this recipe in a long time. I was first given it by a friend when my children were young and I was a member of the West Chicago Mother’s Club. We would all exchange recipes and childrearing ideas. We also had put on a yearly Halloween parade and run a well-child clinic once a month. It was a good group and I have alot of fond memories from that time.

Enjoy the recipe! I have also found it to be a good conversation starter.

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Banana Split Cake

2C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2C. butter, melted
1/2C. chocolate syrup
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2C. powdered sugar
1/2C. butter, softened
2 eggs
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3 bananas, sliced
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1-9oz container Cool Whip
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Combine first 2 ingredients, pat into a 9x13pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Drizzle chocolate over it when cooled.
Combine next 3 ingredients and beat until fluffy. Spread this evenly over the chocolate syrup.
Arrange bananas over the butter mixture. Top with pineapple. Cover with Cool Whip.
Sprinkle with nuts, drizzle chocolate syrup over it and add maraschino cherries,
Cool and serve.

I am not very tech savvy, although, to my credit, I have come a long way since starting this blog. It is being a fun and challenging journey. If I am ever late in getting a blog out it is either because I am having technical difficulties (which is really the biggest reason) or I am sick in bed.

Have a great day and by all means, Stay Warm!

Faux Finishing 101

Glaze

Good morning! Today I thought I would chat about water base glazes that are used for faux finishing. Maybe you have been wanting to try your hand at it, maybe you would like to understand what your professional faux painter is talking about, or maybe you are just interested in the process. Whatever your reasons are, I hope that you will find this interesting and helpful.

I specified water base glazes because there are some decorative artists still out there that prefer to work in oils. Water based paints and mediums have come a long way, therefore I prefer working with them over oil based paint. There are several different brands of glazes, the two that I prefer are:

Dutch Boy Dimensions Technique Glaze (available at Menards)
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and

Faux Effects Aqua Creme (available at most fine paint stores)
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So what is the difference? Cost and dry time. The Dutch Boy Technique Glaze is about $30.00 a gallon and the dry time is a little longer than for paint, thus giving you a little time to move and work the paint. I use it mostly for Old World Washes. BTW, the Technique Glaze is really the only Dutch Boy product that I use. The Faux Effects Aqua Creme gives about an extra hour to move paint which is quite a benefit when creating specific finishes. I use it mostly for Colorwashes and when glazing furniture. However, you pay for the extended dry time. Aqua Creme runs about $28.00 a quart. A little does go a long way though.

There is another difference. The Dutch Boy product has a bit of a sheen to it when it dries. The Faux Effects does not, it dries fairly flat. That doesn’t matter really when you are working on something that will end up varnished.

Below are a few sample boards that I have created for a client and will be delivering tomorrow. The first one is an Old World Wash…
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it has what we call “movement” to it.

The other is a colorwash done with Aqua Creme…
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It has a more even feel to the overall look.

I am also making a sample to paint their kitchen island. What I have found best is to get a piece of moulding (this one I got from Home Depot, where they sell it by the foot), and paint it as I would the piece to be finished. On this one you may be able to see how I used different strengths of glaze over it, in order to create the right look for their kitchen. I prefer to use the Aqua Creme glaze on furniture myself. I like to be able to work the glaze a little longer in order to have the correct amount staying in the grooves and corners.
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So, I hope this has been informative and maybe even inspiring. If you have any questions or concerns about a current or future project I would be happy to answer them. And, who knows, maybe you will want to try your hand at a new project during these winter months.

I hope that your day is filled with sunshine!

Sweets For The Sweet!

Good morning all!

Now that the Superbowl is over and the Seahawks have won,(big time!), and everyone has celebrated their favorite team, we are on to the next fun event of February. No, sorry, Groundhog Day was yesterday as well. I am talking about Valentines Day. The first thing I think of when I hear Valentine’s Day is not flowers it is Chocolate. Those who know me know that I am not really a lover of sweets. But, on occasion, it can be a good thing. And chocolate can usually take care of that. I came across this recipe that I haven’t made in a long time so I thought I would bake up a batch to take to Charlie, my grandson that lives here. They are not only really chocolatie and delicious, but as you can see, they look great too! The recipe is as follows:
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Rich Dark Kisses Tiger Cookies

1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. Cocoa
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
About 48 Hershey’s Rich Dark Kisses, unwrapped
Powdered sugar

1.Combine granulated sugar and oil in a large bowl; add cocoa, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to cocoa mixture, beating well.

2. Cover; refrigerate until dough is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. grease cookie sheet. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (dough will still be sticky); roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until almost no indention remains when touched lightly and tops are cracked. Immediately press Kiss into the center os each cookie. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely.

As you may be able to tell, this is really a variation of the peanut butter milk chocolate Kiss recipe. But I think it stands on its own quite well, don’t you?

One of the things that I really like about this recipe is that the only thing I had to go out and buy was the Kisses!

I am going to be working on sample boards for a client for the next few days so I thought I would go over some faux finish techniques. Sound good? Anything in particular that you have questions about?

Hope you all have a great week!

Italian Soup

Good Morning World!

I have a soup recipe for you today but I would like to give the story behind it. Now, I have to tell you that I have many really great clients and have done some interesting and fun projects for them. The one that comes to mind every time I make this soup I can’t help but think of the client and the project that went with it. And it always makes me smile.

I was hired by a client to paint a sports themed mural in their son’s room. It included a locker with a shirt hanging in it and some other things like a baseball bat and some sports shoes to name a few. It took me three days to complete. On the second day, midmorning, I was painting away upstairs when I began to smell a wonderfully fragrant recipe being made down in the kitchen. This doesn’t usually happen with me. I had to go out to my jeep to get something and when I came back in I noticed a woman at the stove. She said hello and we chatted for a minute about what I was doing. Then I couldn’t resist, I asked her what she was making. She said that she was the Grandma visiting and she was making their favorite Italian soup. She showed me what it looked like, I complimented her on it and when back to my painting. A short time later she came up and said, “Here is the recipe if you would like it.” I love to cook so I was thrilled. At the end of that day I said good bye and thanked her once again for the recipe. Anxious to make the soup I picked up the ingredients on my way home and made it that night. It was so easy I soon was sitting down to a fresh bowl of soup for my supper.

And so I would like to pass on my good fortune of receiving this delicious soup. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Italian Soup

Mild or medium Italian sausage (if using links at least 4 or about 1 lb)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic from a jar, (I like garlic, therefore, I use more)
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 can beef broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

Brown the sausage (if links, remove from casing) breaking it up into small pieces. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread.

Enjoy!

BTW, my daughter and son-in-law are vegetarians and I often think of ways to change recipes into meatless dishes. I think if you remove the sausage, switch the broth to a vegetable one, maybe increase the vegetables by 50%, and add Italian seasoning this would be delicious that way too.

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