PaintPRO, Vol. 8, No. 1
January/February 2006
PaintPRO, Vol 8 No 1

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Other articles in this issue:
Applying Low-VOC Paints
Clear Wood Finishes
Contractor: Fine Painting & Decorating
Technology: Concrete Toppings
Technique: Glazed Finishes
Business Strategies: Marketing
Estimating, Etc.
Toolbox: Measuring Devices
Finishing Touch
Paint Industry News
Product News
Product Profiles

PaintPRO Archives

Wood Finishing, Glazing Technique

Autumn Leaves — A Creative Cabinet Decorative Finish GlazingTechnique

As decorative finishing trends continue to progress, one of the largest up-and-coming sectors in this market is creative cabinet and furniture finishes. There are literally thousands of things you can do to change the look of a set of existing or new cabinets, or pieces of furniture.

The Kelly S. King Institute of Decorative Finishes and its divisions, the Faux Finish Institute, The Painted Mansion and Vandelae Studios, are always on the forefront of creating new and unique finishes for decorative furniture and cabinetry. In fact, owner Kelly S. King has recently added a palette of over 132 new cabinet finish ideas while creating a curriculum dedicated to specialty niche decorative cabinet finishes. The curriculum will be narrowed down to the select group of finishes that will create the next cutting-edge sector for custom homes, builders, designers and architects.

The Kelly S. King Institute of Decorative Finishes is known worldwide for its Decorative Furniture and Accessories Class, which is very intense. “We really wanted to help painting contractors break into the decorative cabinet finish industry by setting new trends that would elevate them to the next level in their business,” King says. “Our new cabinet class, ‘The Art of Specialized Cabinet Finishes,’ is set to premier in late 2006; however, we have a waiting list for anyone who would like to reserve a space for this intense class. The class will leave no stone unturned as we debut the newest creative methods the market has ever seen.”

Here is one example of a step-by-step idea to create a more organic and simple effect for cabinets. The finish is called Autumn Leaves.

Autumn Leaves
Step 1 Basecoat cabinets with desired background color, using either paint or stain. Be sure if the cabinets are stained that they have been properly sealed. For our sample in the photos, we used a straw-colored stained background.

Note: For more production in field application we prefer to apply the stain with an HVLP or Adjustable Pressure Airless Sprayer and fine-finish tip. With stained backgrounds over raw wood cabinets, we will commonly apply two coats of sealer, sanding between coats to get the surface smooth before proceeding to Step 2. If doing a painted background, we prefer two coats of a raw wood primer, sanding between coats to get the surface smooth, followed by two coats of the desired basecoat, sanding between coats to smooth. For previously painted or stained cabinets, we prefer to thoroughly clean the cabinets with a liquid cleaner, then sand, and prime with a top-quality bonding primer (sanding between coats) and then apply two coats of the selected base coat color before going to Step 2.

Step 2 Apply a wet coat of clear sealer. While wet, apply paper cut leaves over the wet sealer, then immediately recoat the leaves with another coat of sealer. The sealer will lock the paper leaves to the cabinet surface.

Note: It is recommended to lay out the leaves on another door next to you to use as a guide for applying to the door you are working on.

Step 3 Apply a single color over-glaze in an Earth Brown color over the cabinet face. Blot and even it with a plastic bag and cloth while wet, then stipple with a large stipple brush to even. Let dry.

Step 4 After the first over-glaze has dried completely, apply a second toning over-glaze to deepen the color of the finish. In our sample, our second toning over-glaze was a Vandyke brown glaze. Use the same glazing methods as described in Step 3. Let dry.

Note: Be sure to always work excess glaze out of edges or crevices in door panels with a dry chip brush.

Step 5 Apply small amounts of fly specking using a chip brush, and apply the speckles lightly.

Step 6 Clear top coat with two coats of a tough cabinet-quality clear coat.

Summary This is a great finish for a quick makeover for remodels as well as new construction. We are finding our customers are seeking more creative looks for their homes to define themselves and their interior design. This finish is also very appealing with many different color basecoats, and also looks great without the leaves.

Kelly King is the owner of The Kelly S. King Institute of Decorative Finishes and its subdivisions: The Faux Finish Institute, Vandelae Studios, The Painted Mansion, and The Fauxcademy of Decorative Finishing. If you would like more information on classes, please visit or call (402) 896-8653. If you would like to also receive information about the Fauxcademy of Decorative Finish Awards, please visit

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