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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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