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As Seen In Better Homes & Gardens
Finishing School
Feature from Better Homes & Gardens, Do It Yourself Special Interest Publication, Fall '95

Better Home and Gardens takes a look at some of the easiest and most popular styles of faux finishing and provides a step by step guide

Back to School!

School bells are ringing and the kids are packing their backpacks. Aren't you just itching to learn something new as well? Nothing could be easier or more fun than these six painting techniques taught by faux-finish painting pros Greg Frohnapfel and John Catalanotto of Akron. Best yet, you use only water base materials to create fantastic finishes including malachite, drift marble, crackle finish, elephant hide, and copper patina.

Faux to the Finish.

These six painted finishes divide into two basic techniques; positive and negative glazing. In positive glazing, you use a tool such as a sponge to apply the glazing mixture. For negative glazing, you use a tool such as a comb to remove the glazing mixture. Keep in mind it's best to try faux-painting techniques on a sample board. To make a sample board, apply a 1-inch strip of quick release painters tape to the edges of poster board. Prime and paint.

The Pros Know

Greg Frohnapfel and John Catalanotto love to tech others how to paint to teach others how to paint, but they're also painting professionals. Who better to suggest painting tips? Here's what they suggest to get professional looking results!

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

  • Prepare the surface. Fill all cracks, holes and depressions. Prime the entire area. Unprimed fiber will show through the paint.
  • Experiment on sample boards before tackling any project.
  • Plan. Stop in a corner or at another natural break, such as a doorway. Complete difficult corners and edges first. Use small brush for tight areas. Work on one wall, then paint the opposite wall next to it.
  • Mask areas such as the wall-ceiling seam to keep from double-painting.
Tools of the trade
  • Use protective gloves for easy cleanup.
  • Always use lint-free rags such as sheets.
  • Choose tones in the same color family. Choose light shades for a base coat and a color two to three shades deeper for glaze.
  • If your mixing paint with glazing liquid, pick a deep color than desired because the glazing liquid lightens the paint.
  • Select colors under the same light conditions as your project. Colors appear more intense when applied to a large area then they appear on your color strip.
  • The color you apply last will be most dominant, so save the best color for last.
  • When you're painting a finish that calls for vertical strokes, use plumb line as a guide
The Fun Begins
  • Work quickly, glazes become tacky in 10-15 minutes. When using a negative technique, leave a thick wet edge of unworked glaze at the end of each section to blend new sections
  • Apply a base coat of any interior satin or semigloss paint. Don't use flat paint as a first because glazes do not slide easily over it.
  • For more translucent finish, add more glazing liquid; for a more opaque look, use more paint. In general, use four parts glazing liquid to one part paint for sponging, ragging, and color streaking. Use one part glazing liquid to one part paint and one part paint conditioner for wood graining and marbling.
  • Mix enough glaze to finish the job. One gallon of glaze covers 350-400 square feet for negative applications and 600-800 square feet for positive applications.
  • When applying a sponge finish, rotate the position of the sponge to avoid repetitious marks and to vary the pattern.
  • For a soft finish, use cotton rags; polyester rags leave a crisper finish.
  • Protect your finish on furniture and floors with polyurethane
Just Remember
  • Start simple with small project, simple techniques, and easy patterns.
  • Don't overload your rag or sponge with too much glaze. Avoid overworking the glaze with the brush.
  • Stand back and judge your work.
  • Have a buddy help you apply a negative finish.
  • The more you practice, the better you get. Have fun!

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