Monday, August 8, 2011

Limestoning and Learning

Sample wall in Back Hall

This is my first attempt at a decorative paint finish.  It is a snap shot I took of the work in progress.  First let me tell you about the process itself then about the snapshot.  Being a designer and junk store junkie, I marvel at the fact that I have never attempted this.  I love how it looks.  I love how it enhances all the old plaster on the walls.  It is soft and romantic, too.  The process is quite simple in its steps.  First I painted the base coat in a Vellum Color, flat, 2 coats.  The next color was the glaze.  4 Parts Eggshell Paint to 1 Part Glaze.  It is a custom grey color I had mixed up.  My color palette that has formed over the years is Creams, Silvers, China Whites, with punches of warm reds, vintage greens, chocolates and ebony.  You use a very dry, dry brush and create a mottled effect.  It is really fun to do this!  Then after 24 hours you dry brush your top coat on just like the glaze coating.  The only difference is you don't use the glaze so you have more coverage.  I chose my china white as the top coat.  After 4 hours of drying time you then wash the walls with a kitchen scouring pad.  This will wash down to the glaze, pull out plaster imperfections, and in some spots pull down to the base layer.  The colors I chose are soft and very natural.  You can use polyurethane in matte if it will get alot of wear, sanding between coats, as needed. 

Now the biggest "trick" of all!  The reason for the snap shot. I took this snapshot to send to a friend who is a master in decorative painting.  As I was studying (well admiring it if I am being totally honest) it on my computer I noticed that I don't have the grey edges feathered in well, it looks fake.  Since then I have taken an artist brush dipped in the top coat to lightly feather the edges in making it look more natural.  (Can't photograph the final look yet because camera and computer situation I blogged about earlier).  Sometimes your eye just doesn't catch those details until you take a photograph.  You will see professionals constantly doing this while they are staging a shoot.  Snapshots will show you details you might easily miss. I strongly suggest this when you are decorating an area or painting a decorative finish.  It can be very revealing!  It makes the difference between a professional and amateur job.

I can't' wait to show you the after photograph!  I have had lots of unsolicited comments about how pretty this "old" plaster wall is!  No one knows it is new!  I have started repainting all the walls in my back hall, yes the one I have given sneak peaks of already!  Yes I am repainting it after one week.  Yes my style has changed in one week, well I have refined it! That happens to us decorators, too!  It happens I just go with it!  I don't lament over the time I spent or money I spent (I usually am on the cheap anyway), I paint, grow, and I move on.  Think a life lesson just might be tucked in there, too! 

I should note that the prep makes all the difference.  Don't skimp ever on prep.  Make sure to tape off the areas, too! Very important when dry brushing! You are not "cutting in" like straight painting and it can get messy at the edges. Clean the walls and use TSP to knock any dirt, gloss off existing paint, grease and grime.  It makes all the difference!  I promise!  It is probably the least fun, most often overlooked, step that many people don't want to take the time to do (I understand that the desire for the finished product is intoxicating) but it is critical in achieving the best look possible.  Don't skimp or skip prep!  EVER, EVER, EVER! 

and this is the finished wall several days later, the edges are feathered in and there are decorations added to the wall. The Key Cabinet to hide all those nasty FOB's that we have. On Top a book on wire with ribbon.  The cuff keys are my father-in-laws when he was a police officer many years ago.  The aluminum stack cup was my mother-in-laws.  She carried it in her purse for many years.  The picture, on my cell phone.  Still no resolution to the computer issue!  Need to hide the screws, too.  Another thing that is easily overlooked until it shows up in a photograph!  Will post it again to show you the finished look and how all these snap shots made a difference!

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