of Marbling Success
as a fad in the late 1980s, faux finishing is more popular now
than ever. Best-selling books, popular how-to shows and the
explosion of decorating magazines are all keeping the ancient
craft of faux painting very much alive.
painting contractors offering marbling services are not only
separating themselves from the pack but earning a handsome $50
to $75 per hour for their skills. Hearing or reading this is
usually a strong enough motivator for contractors and individuals
to want to learn how to marble surfaces.
painting can be quite lucrative, we'd never encourage someone
to do decorative painting on that alone. To be successful in
this field, one need patience, practice and perseverance. Marbling
is not difficult but requires one to slow down from the normal
pace of general house painting long enough to figure out how
a certain marble finish is rendered. With repetition comes speed
and confidence in marbling.
there are so many related decorative painting categories (for
example: marbling, graining, glazing, texturing, gilding, trompe
l'oeil, floral, stenciling), it almost seems strange to isolate
just one. More often than not, decorators and homeowners are
mixing several finishes within the same space. This is not so
strange because nearly all decorative treatment almost calls
If you look
at grand rooms from the Renaissance you would likely find paint
treatments on furniture, accessories, moldings, floors, doors,
and of courses walls. This is not so strange because nearly
all decorative finishes rely on the principle of the tinted
idea adopted most enthusiastically by designers has undoubtedly
been the use of the tinted glaze. Manipulated while still wet,
these glazes can produce a dizzy array of effects ranging from
pin tucks to crushed velvet, while still achieving a soft see-through
quality far removed from the thick, brash, opaque feeling of
modern miracle paints. - "The Art of the Painted finish
for Furniture & Decoration" by Isabel O"Neil.
with paint, were faced with the challenge of approximating the
color, texture and translucency of real stone. This may seem
an overwhelming task to the first-timer, but with a little guidance,
quality paints and tools, almost anyone can imitate marble!
The more you play with the faux finishing glazes, the more you'll
begin, take a really good look at the marble you're about o
imitate (not copy). What are the three main colors you see?
Does it have lots of contrast and activity in the veining or
is it subtle? Are the edges between colors hard or are they
soft and blurry? Are the veins all the same width going in the
same direction? do the veins vary considerably, stopping and
starting, going from thick to thin, disappearing and reappearing
again? These are the things you ask yourself before you paint.
Don't waste time worrying if you can do it - of course, you
can. Just remember that some of the best things happen in paint
by controlled accidents - for instance, letting the solvent
drip or puddle naturally and then taking full advantage of those
marks by using all or part of that new information in the background
tools and materials can not be stressed enough. We always tell
out students that if you're using the best tools and products,
you'll automatically eliminate 85 to 90 percent of the failure
rate. In addition, it is a joy to work with good products, and
you can feel confident that your work will last long time for
others to enjoy.
completed two small commercial projects using tinos marbling
in the design. First was Oak associates Ltd., a prestigious
investment firm headquartered in Akron , Ohio. Working closely
with in-house designer Sheila Tarr, we used several surface
treatments including mahogany graining, elephant hide texture,
silver leaf, sky effect, hand painted oak tree and tinos marbling.
modern reception area, we painted elegant and timeless tinos
marble as a transitional band of complimentary colors between
the lighter, softer dry-brushed sky effect and the darker, richer
crimson-toned mahogany. The band was positioned to visually
divide the two ceiling heights. The marble color was taken,
in part, from the dark blue-green carpet and wallcoverings used
through out the offices. We choose a block width that would
be both believable and appear to rest on the points of the faux
mahogany paneling below. Normally one would not see marble resting
on top of wood but the band is relatively thin. Besides that's
the beauty of paint. We are only limited by our imaginations
- not the material.
the tinos effect, we masked off the area to be marbled with
low tacked painters tape. We then base-coated with black low-luster
acrylic enamel using a very fine roller for the smooth finish.
We mixed a blue-green wash with various artist gouache pigments
(found next to the water colors at most good art stores) and
water (you may add skim milk if the liquid wants to bead up
on the black enameled surface). We generally mix the darkest
color first in a small plastic pot with an old filbert brush.
a small puddle of this color into a shallow plastic plate or
retired cookie sheet, we dipped the longest fronds (feet) of
the goose feather into the watery green mixture. With the other
hand, we carefully tease the fronds back towards the base of
the quill so that they stand perpendicular (feather-light actually)
we tapped the fronds or longest tips onto the dried enamel surface.
While these rivulets of liquid are still wet on the surface,
we used the same feather like conductor's baton, whisking over
in different directions to create hundreds of delicate overlapping
marks. This operation is repeated, approximately one-quarter
of a square foot at a time, until the entire block is covered.
lightened the blue-green wash gradually by stirring in a little
permanent white gouache. We repeated the tapping and whisking
with the slightly lighter value. Large veins can be added with
the tip and side of the feather with this value as well. Mix
a still lighter value by adding more white and lighten up some
of the interesting shapes created accidentally by the veining
process. Finally we highlighted some of the larger veins with
a very light green or even white.
add realism to the design because the veins stop abruptly at
the edges. Changing the value slightly where the blocks meet
also will help to show the grout line. a black permanent marker
and a straight edge also can be used over the dry douche to
accentuate the grout lines. We completed the look by rolling
on a coat of satin polyurethane varnish (solvent-based).
Co., a full service marketing and advertising firm also based
in Akron, Ohio, created a bold conference table design for trial
attorney, Michele Morris. "Steve (Caler) incorporated many
of my favorite wood patterns and colors to create this distinctive
table and conversation piece for my new office," Michele
said. The faux finishes we applied over the dated laminate pleasantly
surprised Michele's father too, a retired lawyer who used this
table for decades in his own law practice.
part about painting over laminate is in the surface preparation.
It is imperative that the surface be clean above all. Scuff
sanding for a good mechanical bond also ensures maximum adhesion.
We then like to wipe the surface down with xylene or XIMGON
Prep because neither leaves an oily residue behind. O utilitarian
surfaces such as countertops, always use a quality product that's
designed for non-porous surfaces. Most major paint manufacturers
offer such a product. One excellent primer/sealer/bonder us
XIM's 400W. Over this, we rolled on a thin coat of black alkyd
enamel and let it dry.
day, the tinos marbling was completed. Skim milk added to the
color really helped here as the watery gouache mixture repels
more on top of alkyd than acrylic base coats. Finally the table
received numerous thin coats of semi-gloss polyurethane varnish
(solvent-based) for many years of wear.
of gouache are that it is fast-dry, child-safe, with no odor,
offering artist's quality in wide color selection and hard edge
lines that are sometimes difficult to achieve in oils. While
most gouache (pronounced goo-wash) is only available in small
artist tubes, it goes a long way when properly diluted.
A few secrets
of your marbling success include the use of natural materials
such as feathers, natural hair softener brushes, chamois, cotton
rags, etc., to produce natural looking marks in your imitation
of marble. Use a bright white background for 95 percent of the
marbles you imitate (Tinos is one of those rare exceptions).
This way, the light has something to reflect off, giving your
glaze colors maximum translucency and depth. Use a marble finish
where appropriate. There is something unsettling when marble
is used on a ceiling, for instance.
mother nature for inspiration when imitating marble. She holds
far greater secrets than all of your competition put together.