The Fine Art of Glazing
Known as faux finishing, glazing is more popular than ever. Fom adding depth and beauty, glazing has its practical side. Glazed finishes can stand up to a fierce scrubbing and can mask drywall problems and inconsistencies.
by Mollie Conklin
the process of using glaze to create beautiful nuances of color and texture on walls, furniture and other objects is becoming more popular. Despite all the hype faux finishes have received in the last few years, this type of painting has been around for centuries allowing painters to create beautiful finishes that emulate fine woods and marble. Today, decorative artists have found a number of ways to replicate almost any surface ranging from distressed wood and aged copper to textured natural stone and highly polished marble.
Aside from adding depth and beauty, glazing has its practical side. When correctly applied, glazed finishes can stand up to a fierce scrubbing and can mask drywall problems and inconsistencies. Customers also appreciate its versatility and its easy removal. With advantages like these, it’s not surprising that more painting contractors are taking the time to learn this appealing technique.
There are two basic methods of glazing — positive and negative. A popular example of positive glazing is when the material is applied to a wall with a sea sponge. Several painting tools make this technique simpler and easier then ever. One of these applicators, the “DecoEase Natural Sea Sponge Roller” made by Quali-Tech Manufacturing, is a natural sea sponge mounted on a six-inch roller frame. It applies glaze quickly and randomly with much less fatigue than other sponges. Another plus: the roller sponge is reusable, and replacements are inexpensive.
A popular and easy-to-apply form of negative wall glazing is ragging. This soft and subtle technique is great in any room that has flat, slick walls. It especially lends itself to formal areas, like foyers and dining rooms. To achieve this technique, an even layer of glaze is spread out over an eggshell or semi gloss base coat. Then the glaze is removed from the wall with soft, lint free cloths. Negative techniques are usually a bit trickier for the novice because of dry times. Unsightly lines form along the edge of the glazed area if you don’t work fast enough, usually called “lap lines.” The trick to getting perfect results with negative techniques is using oil-based glazes, or one of the new water-based glazes with long open times. The slower a glaze dries on the wall, the longer you have to manipulate it into the desired texture. Faux Like a Pro, manufacturer of a new water-based glaze offers this benefit.
Joe Greco of Adicolor, manufacturer of glazes, stresses the importance of having a good understanding of color when doing this type of work. “Blend colors that are complementary to each other,” advises Greco. “Mix brown and earth tones together. Be very careful with bright reds — they never turn out bright red”. To be sure of your end result, Greco also suggests making sample boards.
The Internet is another good place to look for information. The Faux Like a Pro website (www.fauxlikeapro.com) offers excellent background for the novice faux painter. In addition to monthly “How-to”, “Faux Sampler” and “Tricks of the Trade” sections, the website offers an extensive message board completely dedicated to faux finish and decorative painting. Beginners are encouraged to post to and search the message board for any questions they may have. Another website, Muralsplus.com offers free business listings for professionals, a library and a calendar of events related to decorative painting. The WWW board at MuralsPlus.com is monitored, and visited by many of the top decorative painting professionals in the U.S. In addition, this site has an archive full of business and technique advice for both professionals and do-it-yourselfers.
Free literature on faux painting techniques can also be found at local paint and lumber/warehouse stores. Many of these retail outlets usually offer free clinics that are taught by professionals. A number of textbooks on faux finishing are also available including: “Professional Painted Finishes” A guide to the art and business of decorative painting, by Ina Brosseau Marx; “The Art of Faux” The Complete Sourcebook of Decorative Painted Finishes, by Pierre Finkelstein; “Recipes for Surfaces” by Mindy Drucker; and “The New Paint Magic” by Jocasta Innes. These books not only give technical advice, but very thorough information on pricing and running a decorative painting business.
Like a well-seasoned chef, the professional painter typically follows a number of recipes
for creating faux finishes. Patricia Niehaus of the NGPP, and a consultant for Anaglypta and
Lincrusta Wall Paper lines offers this tip for creating a tooled leather effect.
The Mahogany Dado - Tooled Leather Look 1999
1. Anaglypta New-Classical Dado RD 667 is a perfect design for a grained Mahogany effect below a chair rail. Carefully follow instructions for hanging the Anaglypta dado. After hanging, protect surrounding areas with easy release painters tape. Seal wall covering with one coat of latex primer. (Tint the primer to the base paint color, or close to it.) Allow to dry for 24 hours.
2. With a medium nap hot dog roller, paint the wall covering with a latex satin finish paint. (For a mahogany look, use Sherwin-Williams Chinese Red (SW0057) Allow to dry for 24 hours.
3. To achieve the mahogany look, make up the recipe for glazing liquid and apply with a medium nap hot dog roller, working from left to right, leaving only one wet edge. Paint an area 3 feet by 3 feet and then dab with a wad of bunched up rags, natural sea sponge (well rung out), cheesecloth, or dry hog bristle brush. (To get the look of leather, try blotting with a wad of cotton or box rags.) Always using a clean applicator, eliminate any straight lines left by the roller. Proceed to the next three feet. Allow to dry thoroughly.
4. When dry apply a thin coat of oil wood stain sealer. Red Mahogany looks good and really brings out the leather pattern. Dab it off in the same method as with the latex glaze mixture. Let dry for 24 hours.
Option For High Traffic Areas
1. Seal with a final coat of water-based Polyacrylic Satin Sheen Finish using a brush or lambs wool applicator. (Note-using a roller may cause bubbles.)
Recipe for Glazing Liquid
2 tbsp. of universal tint Raw Umber
2 tbsp. of universal tint Burnt Umber
1 tbsp. of universal tint Bulletin Red
1 quart Latex Glazing Liquid
(Water may be added to make the mixture thinner.)
Easy Release painters tape
Sherwin Williams Chinese Red (SW 0057)
9" medium nap hot dog roller
100% cotton rag, or Rags in a Box
Burnt Umber tint
Raw Umber tint
Water, bucket, cleaning sponge
Bulletin Board Red tint
Latex Glazing Liquid
Oil, Wood Stain Sealer (Red Mahogany)
With the increased popularity of glazing applications among customers, now is a great time to learn the many finishes that are possible. Experts in the field recommend attending a workshop or seminar to get the most reliable information and professional instruction. With ample practice, professional painters can easily add wall glazing to the list of services they offer to their clients.
Mollie Conklin is the owner of Morning Star Artworks, an Outer Banks, NC Decorative Painting firm. Her company offers a broad range of decorative painting services, including faux finishing, murals, Venetian plaster, gilding, color consulting and furniture restoration. She teaches a “Do it FAUX Yourself”™ workshop, and seminars for Sherwin-Williams “Illusions” faux product line. Mollie can be reached by email at mollieconklin @aol.com for additional advice or resources. Mollie Conklin Morning Star Artworks Murals-Faux Finishes-Custom Painting (252) 441-6158 http://members.aol.com/wwwartist.html