Glazing Techniques For Painting
Aside from home improvement, travel is one of our favorite pastimes. We have both had the opportunity to visit many interesting and unusual places. Among the most memorable cities that we have visited is Rome, Italy. The art and architecture of this ancient city is spectacular to say the least.
Amid the most stunning elements of this architecture are the massive Italian marble columns that can be found in every corner of the city. Each column consists of its own unique veining and pattern that are inherent to this product of Mother Nature.
While few of us live in homes that can accommodate such stately columns, many dream of having smaller, less imposing versions flanking an entry or adorning a dining room. Unfortunately, even these can be major budget busters.
What to do? We say, have your cake and eat it too! You can enjoy the best of all worlds by transforming a wood, plaster, steel or composite column into a masterpiece that even Michael Angelo would envy. In fact, you needn’t limit your creativity to columns. Consider turning your walls, paneling, cabinetry, furniture and flooring into a “objets d’art” using a decorative painting technique called faux finishing.
Decorative painting, glazing and faux finishing are techniques that can be used to mimic the look of natural finishes such as marble, granite, stone or natural wood. The striking illusions created by wood graining, marbling, wall glazing and trompe l’oeil (French for “fools the eye”) — are age-old techniques have been handed down by European craftsmen for centuries.
Other popular wall finishes include sponging with sea sponges; rag rolling with rags; and color washing, to achieve the illusion of plaster and stone block walls.
Decorative wall finishes were extremely popular in this country up through the 1950’s when, coincidentally, subdivision-style construction became the rage. The growth and popularity of wallpaper further caused decorative artwork to become even more obscure—until recently.
Architects, designers and yes, even design-conscious consumers are propelling decorative artwork back into the mainstream as a viable alternative to create unusual and elaborate architectural features and finishes that would otherwise simply be cost prohibitive. Walls and ceilings, columns, fireplace mantles, doors and moldings are just a few of the construction elements that are per¬fect candidates for these kinds of finishes.
Whereas wallpaper remains an extremely popular wall finish in homes throughout the country, it simply doesn’t afford the homeowner the level of personal creativity and free expression of design to create custom interior environ¬ments that the decorative wall finishes do. Moreover, those papers that at¬tempt to emulate marble and wood grain can’t hold a candle to the realism of hand-painted surface finishes.
The process is especially useful in renovations or restoration projects where an unusual marble or exotic wood exists wherein the pattern, grain or color would be impossible to match.
While the price for this work can be steep, prices range from $3.00 to $25.00 per square foot of surface area, compared to the natural finish its quite economical. For example a real marble or granite column in your home might cost tens of thousands of dollars by the time you consider the mining and finish of the natural stone and the structural support required for its in¬stallation.
The same marble column constructed of a wood or fabricated core and finished with the Marbling technique would be several hundred to a couple thousand dollars. That’s if you had the work done by an experienced technician.
The good news is that, due to demand, classes for the do-it-yourselfer along with a plethora of instructional material are springing up here and there to make the process one that is attainable for everyone.
Some techniques can be done with one coat of good old fashioned standard water base wall paint and others require special types of paint such as texture paint or glazing paint and/or multiple coats of paint. In any case, texture painting is about as easy as it gets. There are two kinds of texture painting – light and heavy. For light textures such as stipple painting or shallow swirls premixed texture paint is okay. For heavy work it makes more sense to purchase your paint in powdered form (25 pound sacks are common) and mix the powder to the consistency that gives the effect you want.
The consistency you will want will depend on the pattern you decide to create. Regardless of which application technique you decide to use the result will be different, as the consistency of the texture paint is altered. More water less consistency – less water more consistency.
With texture painting “practice makes perfect”. Use old cardboard boxes as a base to get your technique down pat. And remember, texture painting should be viewed just as you would any other painting process. In other words, where you wouldn’t paint wood trim with wall paint you would also not paint wood trim with texture paint. This, of course, is where masking tape can prove to be a priceless commodity.
Texturing tools are easy to find and include various length-nap paint rollers, paint brushes, whisk brooms, house brooms, concrete trowels, grout trowels, sponges, fingers, putty knives and rakes.
Once the textured surface has dried consider the possibility of light sponge painting. The results can be incredible. Dip your sponge in a complimenting color wipe the excess off on the edge of the paint container and begin dabbing gently – try this on your original test board first. Adding a glaze to the color you selected will lighten your color a bit and make it somewhat translucent.
If texture painting seems like too much work, look into pattern painting. There’s smooshing, sponging and more. With pattern painting you may decide that you will want to use several different colors to create your desired result. Pick the colors and use a sponge to apply the paint. Using water base paint (it dries quickly) allows you to start a second, third or forth color as soon as you have completed the previous color.
Most folks know about sponging, but not too many are familiar with smooshing. Smooshing is where a layer of plastic is laid over a freshly painted surface. The rumpled layer of plastic is pulled away from the wall and a marbling pattern results.
Smooshing requires the use of a paint additive called “glaze”. The glaze adds transparency to the paint and the special effects are interesting to say the least. Makers of fine paints offer videos and printed materials on “how-to”.