Trade Secrets 5

Faux Finishing Tips 

Although faux finishing takes some level of skill, it's doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. I recommend finding some books on faux finishing.

Here are some books to look for : Paint Magic. The art of faux. Country Paint.

Some big box stores like The Home Depot have faux painting books also.

If you are a complete novice, please read up on the subject first. Start with a small area, maybe a bathroom or closet.

The first thing is to paint the area being faux finished with the base colour. This also should be considered very carefully. The colour you use underneath will transmit through the glazes applied over it. White is a safe start but often a buttery yellow will give a soft glow when other colours are applied.

Faux finishing glazes can be obtained from many paint stores. They tend to dry slower than regular clear acrylic coatings. The old way of preparing glaze is to use Linseed oil and paint thinner. If you do use this method be aware that used Linseed oil rags self ignite when left bunched up. This could ruin your day, and burn down someones house. Although it will become increasingly difficult obtain oil based glazes due to new laws intended to help the enviroment, there is nothing to compare with them for the look they give. Most of us willingly give up this amazingly rich quality of oils to adjust to concerns for the enviromental impact that these oil based products appear to have. My own conclusion is that oil based products are a closed loop and do not generally get into the water as readily as water soluble paints, of course using oil based paints comes with it's own hazards.

Another method of making glaze is to purchase a deep base paint from the paint store without any tint (colour) in it. The bases that your colours are made from are quite transparent before the colour is added. Also  you can purchase an extender, this helps slow the setup time of the paint.

So there are two types of proccess to consider, dabbing on and dabbing off.

The dabbing on is easier because it doesn't matter how fast the paint dries. The trick is to spread out your efforts all over the wall and not try to perfect one area. This way you will avoid unattractive  area's that are uneven and hard to fix.

Dabbing off is removing glaze with a rag after it is applied. This requires slow setting glaze and fast moving painters. Always practice somewhere that doesn't show too much before you attempt a big wall. We always have one person applying the glaze and one frenzied painter dabbing off right behind. The looks are wonderful but the proccess is not that easy. The correct mix of glaze is the most important part of success. A sample board is a good start.

 I'll assume you have bought the Benjamin Moore "Aqua Glaze", although other brand are available. It comes rather thick  for most ragging or marbling, and should be thinned with water. Adding colour to the glaze should be done with care. What kind of product do you use to colour the glaze? You can use acrylic paint that artists use, it comes in tubes and is good for choosing colours and blending them. The second way is to have your paint retail store add a little tint using the tinting machine, this requires a good relationship with someone who won't mess up your glaze.

Thirdly, you can purchase little tubes of colourant (not paint) at some paint retail outlets. These are the best because they will give you the most transparent look and are not going to speed the set up time of your glaze. There are also kits for faux finishing that have all the products in one package, these are costly and I have not used them myself.

How to apply glaze

When you are dabbing on a glaze over a base colour you can use a rag, cheescloth, or a sponge. The most popular sponge is a natural sea sponge. This is because by rotating it after each dab you can avoid the cat tracks that are the bane of a faux finisher. Also let me ease your mind about glazes; when dabbing on you can use thinned latex paint with no other additives. I start dabbing by keeping my dabs about a foot apart.

This will avoid clumping the dabs and allow you to fill in gradually. Also as your sponge runs out of paint the lighter dabs will be spread out. It's the same proccess with rags or other methods of application.

Make sure your paint/glaze is thin enough and you will need to mask the trim and corners to prevent the dabbing from getting on surounding surfaces.

Be careful who you listen to, everyones an expert it seems, and have an idea of what you want your walls to look like. Do your research.

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Here are some links to other sites to help you begin. Benjamin Moore, Faux painting, HGTV.