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Making your new painting old

Items that you have decorated by painting may actually become family heirlooms and why not, after the love and care you put into painting it, right? It may actually get a chance to look really old like an heirloom should be or, you can actually make it look old, like an heirloom, right now!

One of the most popular techniques decorative painters use to give an item an aged look is crackling.

Crackled pallette with roses

I crackled this wooden palette then painted a roses design over it. You can also use a crackling effect on parts of an item only e.g. the sides of a box or the edges of a plate. You can even crackle the whole project without painting any design if that’s what you want.

The basic steps for crackling are :

  1. Basecoat the surface as you would normally do for a painting project. Let it dry.
  2. Apply an even coat of crackle medium with a large flat brush and let it dry until “tacky” – see what your medium instructions say. It could be 20 to 60 minutes.
  3. Apply the contrasting topcoat of paint – as this paint dries, your cracks will develop and show the basecoat colour.
  4. Leave to dry for 1 – 2 weeks before sanding and varnishing or painting over it.

Depending on how much top coat paint you use and which way or how you apply the paint, you can achieve different looks:

  • Apply a thin layer of paint over the crackle medium – and the result is fine cracks.
  • Apply a thick layer of paint – you get large, bold cracks.
  • If you brush the top coat in one single direction, you will get cracks going horizontally or vertically in that direction.
  • If you brush the top coat using a “slip slap” or criss-cross direction, you will get cracks going in various directions.

If you have never crackled before, you might find it a bit daunting at first because you’ll probably have read that with crackling, sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. No matter what you do. Its true that there are so many different variables that affect the outcome of crackling from the paint you use, to the crackling medium, even the humidity around you!

The best thing to do is “play” – practise crackling on different surfaces, using difference mediums, in different environments and develop your experience.

You will find useful tips for crackling here in the Artezan website.

Antiquing…first you paint it, then you age it!

Sometimes newly painted projects look, well, too new. One of the ways in which we make them look like heirlooms is to age them and there many different ways of doing this – "antiquing" being an example.  Antiqued Fruits Placemat

Antiquing also adds depth and warmth to a design.

There are many ways to antique a project and most of you have learnt one of them – oil-based antiquing, where we used oil paint and lean medium.

You can also antique a project using a water-based technique. Here is how you can do it quite easily.

BEFORE YOU START – dry your painted project completely and apply a coat of Jo Sonja’s Clear Glaze Medium to protect your painting. Leave your project to sure for at least three days before doing any water-based antiquing.

° Use any acrylic colour – raw umber if you want a sepia look, a darkish green if you want to add a green glow to your project, burgundy if your project is painted in pinks and purples – “play” and discover what appeals to you. If you liked what you did in oil-based antiquing, stick to burnt umber.

° Using a ¾” or 1” flat brush, mix a little of the paint with Jo Sonja’s Retarder and Antiquing Medium. Apply a thin, even coat to your painted project. You must be able to see the design through the colour. If you can’t see your design, you’ve probably put too much paint. Add retarder to the surface and smooth it out.

° Wet a sponge, squeeze all the water out and start removing some of the colour starting at the centre of the design, moving outwards. Leave the edges dark. Use a dabbing movement – the sponge will pick up the paint. Dab the sponge on a piece of paper towel to remove the paint you pick up. Continue until you’re satisfied with the distribution of colour.

° Using a mop brush, smooth the surface using a light touch.

° The retarder will keep the paint wet for some time, so if you don’t like the results, use a clean sponge, wipe it all off and start again. If you like it, use a hairdryer to fast dry the surface and leave it for at least a week before varnishing.

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