As the nights become longer and the days darker in the Northern hemisphere, we somehow try to brighten the inside of our houses. I decided to inspire you this month with bright gold objects. Gold is such a strong colour that will reflect light to any dull corner. I tried to combine different styles, trusting that you will get inspiration to make your own, or use it as a springboard for your own ideas.
Most of the objects were decorated by one of the following techniques:
Crackling (technique A)
You will need
- paint brushes
- antique crackle base coat
- antique crackle top coat
- artist’s oil paint
- small, soft cloth
- water-based varnish or Kraftex Pratliglo
- Ensure that the surface of the object to be crackled is dry and clean.
- Use a paintbrush to apply an even, thin layer of base coat to the object’s surface. It should be dry after about 30 minutes.
- Paint the top coat over the base coat. This layer must be thick and smooth. Make sure you cover the entire surface.
- Leave to dry overnight. Cracks will appear on the surface.
- Rub a small amount of artist’s oil paint into the cracks, using a soft cloth. (Use a darker colour oil paint than the object background. This will give it a natural aged effect.)
- Once the cracks have been coloured, gently rub the excess paint from the surface with a damp turpentine cloth.
- Leave to dry for at least 24 hours before you apply any varnish.
- Apply four layers of water-based varnish or one layer of Kraftex Pratliglo.
Decoupage (technique B)
You will need:
- objects to decoupage
- matt emulsion paint (if necessary)
- pictures to cut out
- water-based sealant (PVA glue or Modge Podge)
- a small pair of sharp scissors or a craft knife
- cutting mat
- paintbrushes or sponge brushes
- damp sponge (optional)
- water based varnish or Kraftex Pratliglo
- Ensure that the surface of the object to be decoupaged is clean, smooth and dry. Seal any porous surfaces with matt emulsion paint.
- Before you cut out an image, first coat it with sealant, then leave to dry.
- Cut around the edge of the image with scissors. For intricate patterns you may prefer to use a craft knife and cutting mat.
- Decide how you want to arrange the images on the object. Pictures can be in any design and can overlap each other.
- When you are satisfied with your layout, paint some sealant on the reverse side of your first image. Place it in position, press down gently and rub over it with your fingers or a damp sponge to smooth away any air bubbles and excess glue. Repeat this process with each image. When you have glued all your images onto the surface of the object, paint two coats of sealant over the surface for protection. Allow the first one to dry before you apply the second coat.
- The beauty of decoupage is that if you do not like your design or layout you can always re-do it before applying the final layer of varnish. To do this, just soak off the water-based sealant and image by submerging the object in water. Make sure the object’s surface is properly dry before you start again.
- When you are satisfied with your object, apply the final layer of varnish. This serves to protect the object, as well as your decorative work, from heat and water damage.
Gilding (technique C)
You will need:
- object to gild
- sponge brushes
- universal undercoat (if necessary)
- top coat paint (if necessary)
- vinegar (if necessary)
- sheets of gold, silver or bronze leaf
- water-based size (glue for gilding)
- cotton gloves
- a pair of scissors
- good quality artist paintbrushes
- small piece of velvet fabric
- water-based varnish
- Prepare the item you want to gild. If you do the gilding on raw wood, it is advisable to fill in the grain and sand the surface to make sure it is perfectly smooth. Any defects will show up. Use a sponge brush to paint the wood with a universal undercoat and top coat paint. Choose a dark paint colour (brown, black or red) for gold or bronze leaf, and a light-coloured paint (white or yellow) for silver leaf. If you gild directly onto glass, clean the surface with a little vinegar added to lukewarm water; it needs to be grease and dust free.
- Make sure the item is completely dry. Using a sponge brush, apply the size evenly and thinly with strokes across the entire surface you want to gild.
- Allow the size to dry completely (refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on the container). It is important not to touch the size as it will mark. The best way to check the state of the size is to use the hair on the back of your hand: if you feel a slight pull, the size is ready.
- Before working with metal leaf, ensure that your work area is draft free. It is important to wear cotton gloves when handling the leaf. Pick up a sheet of leaf along the tissue border (the tissue a separate/different part of the leaf). Laying the foil against the size surface and pass your fingers very gently and slowly over the back of the tissue. Metal leaf is extremely fragile. Repeat the process until the size area is completely covered. Cut smaller pieces of leaf for smaller areas and to fill any gaps.
- Small creases will appear. Don’t worry; brush the creases away with a paintbrush.
- To achieve a bright surface, dab your foil-covered object lightly with a small piece of velvet fabric.
- Seal the gilt with varnish to prevent it from tarnishing.