Tag Archives: faux painting

Easy Ways to Gild and Use Metallics on Moldings and Furniture

I may be impetuous most of the time but there’s one thing that I do that involves some level of organizing and planning – I make samples before going all out on a color or technique for a wall, molding or furniture. This is especially helpful if you are new to using a product.  Investing a small amount of time in testing a color, product or technique on a sample board or a piece of molding – will save you not only money but a lot of time as well. This small sample can also be useful when you go shopping.  When you’re hunting for fabrics etc, it’s easy to tote around a 3 inch molding with the color you just painted your coffee table with.

Decorative molding sample with pearl metallic and gold

Pearl base with gold metallic paint on design, then pearl stippled over it

Using Gold and Pearl Metallics: Above is a sample I did a few years ago for a client in NYC. I had to do a different finish on his crown moldings because he neglected to tell me that the moldings had about 100 layers of paint on them! You need a smooth surface for metallic paints to look great.  I wound up using a Sandstone texture on them and I made them look like limestone moldings.

Nina Campbell wallpaper with pearl and gold molding

This Nina Campbell wallpaper and my molding might make a beautiful powder room or small entryway design

Flash Gilding:  This is a gold leafing technique where you put the adhesive size on here and there (not on the entire piece) and it’s typically done with Schiabin – which are the leftover skewings from creating gold leaf.  You can use gold leaf also but you will have a lot of waste.

Flash gilding on a decorative molding

After the leaf is on and dry, you burnish it with a soft cloth first and then with a brush to get it into crevices and to wipe away the leaf that did not stick. I toned this particular sample with Dark Brown Faux Color from Faux Effects. This effect looks beautiful on carved moldings and furniture.

Nina Campbell wallpaper with flash gilded moldings

For the more dramatic, this color Nina Campbell wallpaper and a flash gilded crown molding

I had tried using metallic foils on moldings once before – at a trade show 5 or 6 years ago – so I felt it was time to do some samples with it.  I had a warm red molding collecting dust in my studio – so I figured I would try some gold on that first.

Before and after.  Leather red molding and then with the added metallic foil

For less decorative moldings, I usually just tip or highlight the edges and I make just one edge a little thicker with whatever metallic I’m using. I didn’t want it too heavy, so I sanded back a bit to distress the metallic foil.  For the thin lines, I either use a very small brush to apply the size (I used Wundasize) – and sometimes I even use the tip of my finger to apply the size. When the size comes to tack, you apply the metallic foil – with the shiny side up.  Then you apply pressure with a fairly stiff brush (I used a stencil brush) and transfer the foil to the molding. You can then antique it, like I did.

leather red molding with metallic foil, antiqued

I toned the molding with some eggplant and dark brown glaze

You can choose to have more of the gold showing but I prefer a more aged look.  I first toned it with Eggplant Faux Color from Faux Effects – but I wound up adding some Dark Brown Faux Color to mellow it a bit more.

Mood board with Robert Allen, Scalamandre and Kravet fabrics.

I pulled together some fabrics that could be used in a relaxed room with my molding sample – perhaps as a coffee table, entertainment unit or bookcase

And finally, I wanted to try the foil on a more ornate piece that was lighter in color – to see if I could get close to the flash gilding sample. Well, I learned something by doing this.  The sample I did with the metallic foil came out hardly looking like there was any gold on it at all after I toned it!  So, with lighter colors – when you are antiquing – you should put more foil on than you think.

Metallic foil on this sconce that I use as a bookend

After antiquing, you could hardly see the foil

With metallic foil, it’s very easy to go back and add more foil to a piece.  And, if you add too much, you can sand it back and antique it to push it back a bit – so I find it’s very forgiving.

Antiqued metallic foil on an ornate molding

This foil technique came close to the flash gilding technique

If the foil is too flashy, you can wax it with dark wax, which will tone it down. I’ll probably do this.

Hope you enjoyed my metallics post.  You might also enjoy my posts about using metallic foils in artwork and gilding and antiquing a Swedish clock. I love using metallics on moldings and furniture so much that I have to hold myself back sometimes so as not to do it “too much.”  Let me know how you are using metallics and foils.

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Using Metallic Foils: For Artwork and Embellishing Other Surfaces

humming bird artworkI was in Marshall’s the other day shopping for a client in NYC.  I was staging his huge apartment that needed a lot of work.  I was buying some soaps and other toiletry items for his barren bathrooms (he has 4!!).  I spied a very pretty plastic hand soap dispenser with a lovely hummingbird on the label.  I said to myself, “This is mine – not his.  Sorry!”

Humming bird art

The inspiration!

I immediately thought that I could use the image idea for artwork.  What attracted me was the metallics used for the wings and the head.  I immediately thought – metallic foils.  I had purchased some for a client awhile back and I had some left over…so I figured, why not?

metallic foils

Metallic foils come in several sizes and many colors

If you’re not familiar with metallic foils, they are similar to gold and silver leaf but they come in larger sized sheets and rolls – and they come in a variety of colors.  You can buy a sample pack, which I would recommend, so you can get a feel for using them while you see how many colors are available. They also come in holographic foils which are great too.  I’ve used them to effect glass tiles. I think Michael’s carries them now – but you can order them from Royal Design Studio or Prismatic Painting Studio.

canvases for artwork

From plain to pearl metallic painted canvas

I decided that I could do a humming bird series of small paintings (as I’ve been collecting images for this purpose). I had 3 small pre-primed canvases, so I took one and painted it in a metallic pearl.

painting leaves on canvas first

You can practice the placement of leaves first – or if you’re brave or really talented…paint them on freehand!

Then I floated in some leaves and stems in a raw umber color with a little water added.  If you want to try this, you could practice this on a piece of paper first to get a feel for placement.  I painted it lightly at first – knowing I could always amp up the leaves up later on.

Tracing an image onto a canvas

I traced using graphite paper but use any method you’d like

Then I enlarged, cropped and printed the photo and traced it onto the canvas using graphite paper. If you decide to do this – use any transfer method you are comfortable with.

using Wundasize and adding metallic foil

Richen up the shadows, add size and foil

I took the same raw umber color and began to fill out and outline the body, wings etc.  You can build this color up slowly.  If you go too dark, just blot a bit with some cheesecloth to lighten.Then I “painted” on some adhesive size using Wundasize in the areas I wanted the metallics. (You can see it somewhat in the above left photo). I first did the green areas.  I decided not to put all the size on at once because I didn’t want any green foil going into gold areas and vice versa.  When the size comes to “tack” you can start putting the foil on.  On these small areas I was able to start foiling after about 15 minutes or so.  I used the “knuckle test,” which means I placed my knuckle gently into the area and if it made a slight pop sound, it was ready.

I cut smaller pieces of the foil and placed it Shiny Side Up (very important). I used a medium sized stencil brush to transfer the foil to the canvas.  I used a fairly hard, swirling motion because I wanted to transfer it fully.

blue metallic foil that didn't transfer properly

You can learn from my mistake. The blue metallic foil didn’t transfer, so I painted it blue first. Didn’t like that either! Too dark.

I didn’t have pink or purple foil, as in the image, so I decided on blue and gold.  The gold went on beautifully – but something was wrong with the blue.  It didn’t transfer much at all.  In fact, when I rubbed hard it transferred a brown, muddy color.  Yuck.  I tried repainting it with blue and then sizing and transferring again – but no luck.  So, I had to abandon the blue idea.

I have to say that I felt that this mess up ruined my day – and it made my painting not as good as I thought it would be.  But – I carried on and decided that I learned something important.  Test your foil if it’s old!!  Perhaps that was the problem.

Anyway, I had a little tack left on those areas, so I sprinkled some gold mica powder on it to save it somewhat.  I learned that you need to have a clean surface in order for the foil transfer to work.  When I transferred the blue – the backing of the metallic foil transferred instead – and I think it made the canvas a bit dirty.  So – lesson learned.

Gold mica powder softened the blue problem and glazing over the entire piece melded everything together

After the foils were on I added some more shading and I added some gold to the belly of the humming bird. I also added some more leaves to the canvas and I added some gold to the leaves as well.

For the final touch, I made up a glaze of Raw Umber, Van Dyke Brown and a touch of Gold to go over the whole canvas.  (In the photo, above right, you can see that I softened the glaze at the top and not yet on the bottom – to show you how dark the glaze was when I started). You don’t have to do this but I wanted to “push back” the bird and leaves and I wanted to soften the whole look of the painting.

Hummingbird artwork finishedI may outline the edges of the canvas with some gimp – and I may add some upholstery tacks on the edges as well.

Hope you enjoyed this.  Have you ever used metallic foils?  Let me know.  I’d love to hear how you are using them. Stay tuned this week because I am going to show some ideas for wall finishes and moldings using metallic foils.  Thanks for coming by!!

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Gold Leafing and Antiquing a Fireplace Mantle

When I finally convinced my husband that we needed a kitchen renovation, I figured that if I got him that far…let me see if I can also get another room added on – a great room, off the kitchen.  Amazingly he said “yes!”  This was a few years ago – and I have been working on this great room since then.  It’s been a work in progress.Since my laptop is in the repair shop (my hard drive was damaged…so I won’t have access to a lot of my pictures til next week or so), I’d like to share the pictures I do have to show you the work I did on the room.

First Incarnation…

I was happy to finally have a fireplace and mantle in my home – yippee, something else to decorate! (And that tree was supposed to be on our deck then – sorry about that one). But having the mantle so stark white really wasn’t doing it for me.  I had done a nice sueded plaster on the walls in a cinnamon hue – very Ralph Lauren-ish kind of look and feel (without it being Ralph Lauren material!)…and I loved the warmth of it. 

So – what’s a girl to do to make it all come together?  Add some decorative onlays, gold leaf them and then antique the entire mantle.

The gold leafing (or gilding) of the onlay gave the mantle more distinction and character, I think.  And the antiquing gave the onlay a nice patina – and now the tone of the painted wood blends so much better with the finish on the wall. Before the white just shouted at me – I am so much happier with this look.
Closeup of gilded and antiqued onlay
  • I first painted the onlay with a yellow gold paint – this will help you out later…because not every piece of leaf will stick!
  • I used Gold Leaf sheets from Michael’s – nothing fancy. But after you put on the gold leaf size (the glue that makes the leaf stick to what you are gilding which you can get at Michael’s also) – let it come to a tack. Don’t put the gold leaf on when the size is still wet. Never place your finger on the size to check if it’s ready – use your index finger knuckle to check it.
  • Once it’s ready, place the sheets on your object and tamp them down softly with a soft artist’s brush. Once everything is on your onlay (or whatever you are gilding), take some cheesecloth and start to take and brush away the gold leafing that didn’t stick.  You can use an artist’s brush to get into any crevices etc.
  • Once that’s done, use your cheesecloth to burnish the gold leaf – you’ll begin to see that it starts to get shinier.  Now – the leaf sold at Michael’s and elsewhere is not real gold leaf…so the leaf will look a bit too brassy.  But after you antique it (as I did – with the rest of the mantle), it will lessen the shininess.  In addition, I took an artist’s brush and took some dark brown tint and brushed it on to age and darken it. 
  • Optional: You can also use a dark wax (Annie Sloan’s Dark Wax or Liberon Wax etc) to do this as well. This will protect and seal your work
So – hope you enjoyed this.  If you’d like to see a few more pics of this up close…click the links below to my website. 

Closeup of the Mantle Finish 

Closeup of the Gilded Onlay 

Happy Painting!!

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