Marbling is a craft that has been practiced
for many years. Much that we see is meant to represent marble rather than
duplicate it exactly. This is probably due to the fact that there are so
many varieties of marble and wide ranges of colours and patterns. Most
of us have our own ideas of what marble should look like and that is what
is important for this painting project. There are two methods explained
here and one or the other can be used on almost any surface.
Method 1 (Painting): You will need: acrylic
paints (two colours for the marble, and one more for the veining), a natural
sponge, a pointed feather, and glaze (acrylic). The base colour of the
piece you are painting should be lighter than or as light as the lightest
colour in your finished marble colour scheme. These directions assume that
you are making a greyish marble, but you can substitute the colours to
make any combination you want. You just need reasonable contrast between
the three shades you have chosen for your “marble”. When making a greyish
marble, the base colour should be white.
Remember, this is an illusion of marble, so
have fun and when it looks right to you, it is right. Try to keep the scale
of the sponging and veining in proportion to the size of the piece you
are marbling, for example, doing floor tiles. Marble usually comes in smaller
pieces, so if you are doing a large area, such as a floor, it will look
better to divide it into smaller squares, and paint each individually.
Cutting a clear plastic stencil to the size of the square desired will
help keep the paint off the other squares. Veining is usually done in black,
white or tan. This technique is useful for doing floor tiles, table and
bar tops, fireplaces and surrounds, garden urns, planters, etc.
Make a wash using a medium grey colour. Pick
up on a dry sponge and blot over the white surface in a random pattern.
Make a wash of black and lightly blot over
grey in a random pattern. Let dry.
Mix a bit of black acrylic with a bit of water
and acrylic medium or paint extender/retarder. Dip the tip of the feather
in mix and use to trail a wobbly vein of paint over the surface. Let dry.
Glaze dried surface.
Method 2 (Dipping): You will need a prepared
surface (non-porous or sealed to be that way), acrylic paint, Testors oil-based
enamel paint, a container large enough to submerge the piece to be painted,
tweezers and wax paper.
This technique is most useful for graniteware
dishes, enamel ware, or other small decorative items.
Paint the piece to be marblized white or a
color darker or lighter than the colour used for the marble. Let dry.
Fill container with water. Drop dots of enamel
paint into the water using a toothpick. The oil paints will float on the
surface, allowing you to swirl the colours to get a pleasing pattern.
Using tweezers, quickly dip the piece to be
marblized into the water, and right back up again. The floating paint will
instantly stick to the surface in a marble pattern. An easy technique,
but you must work fast once the paint is in the water, as it will form
a skin on top if it sits too long. It is best to practice with card stock
scraps to get the hang of dipping before doing a good piece. You will find
Place item on waxed paper to dry.
An amazing variety of bamboo furniture
was popular during the 1860’s and 1870s when anything Japanese was in vogue,
Simple in construction, this furniture was quite strong and many pieces
have survived the years. Bamboo was used alone or in companion with wood
or fine basket work for shelves, tables, screens, stands, bookcases, chairs,
desks, easels, and picture frames. The decorative mottling on these pieces
was generally achieved by scorching and varnishing.
You will need:
Pieces of furniture to decorate which have
sections, or are totally composed, of rounded wood, such as dowels or bamboo
Acrylic paint: burnt umber, black and brown
Toothpicks or monojet glue gun
Clear nail polish
If the wood you are using is not a golden
honey colour, paint it so….
Put a thin ring of Tacky Glue around bamboo
every 3/8” to 1 ¾” down the stick. This ring should not be more
than 1/16” wide. It can be applied by hand with a toothpick, or with a
monojet glue gun. When glue is set, but not yet dry, flatten it slightly
with your finger tip.
After glue has dried, mix a burnt umber medium-tone
wash. Dip a small, flat, stiff bristled brush into wash. Blot off excess
wash on paper towelling. Stipple wash onto bambooed surface in a random
pattern. Let dry. Dip dampened brush into burnt umber (not wash), blot
off excess and stipple lightly over wash. Natural honey base colour should
always show here and there beneath the wash and paint. Let all paint dry.
Use a fine-tipped brush and a black-brown paint mix to make a narrow stripe
around the centre of the glue rings on the bamboo. The whole faux painting
should be done fairly fast, and not exact, for a natural look. No two pieces
of the real thing are exactly alike.
Finish piece with clear nail polish.
Stencilling is accomplished by cutting
a pattern out of a piece of thin material such as paper, acetate or brass
and using this stencil along with paints to apply this pattern to another
surface. The patterns themselves may be simple or very complicated ones
applied using a number of stencils with different colours applied one after
the other to the same area, in a composite method. Freehand designs may
be added to stencil patterns to embellish them, such as adding stems to
leaves. Stencilling has a long history. With a bit of research you should
be able to do a stencilled piece to fit into just about any miniature setting.
Stencilling can be worked on a very small piece, such as a dish or plate,
or on large surfaces such as a wall or floor. Colours can be as subtle
or as gaudy as desired or needed. Designs can range from a single flower
to imitation wallpaper. Check out Michael’s for brass cut stencils. Some
of them are small enough in scale to be useable in miniature settings.
You will need:
A stencil. You can make your own or purchase
ready made ones. Depending on what you are doing, some full size stencils
may work. Miniature stencils are usually of metal and can be found in miniature
shops, craft shops, rubber stamp suppliers and in some country decorating
Paints (there are paints sold especially for
stencilling that work well). For stencilling in miniature, Plaid Paint
Crayons work well.
Smallest of stencil brushes (stiff bristled
round, flat-topped brush). You should use a different brush for each colour.
If you want to try cutting your own stencils,
thin acetate works fine. A pattern may be drawn or traced on card stock
and taped under the acetate so it shows through. Use a thin knife bade
or a tiny X-Acto pen knife for cutting (see Tool of the Month). Paper punches
also work well for cutting stencils – there are some corner punches on
the market that have interesting patterns that would make a variety of
stencils for walls or floors.
The item to be stencilled needs to be reasonably
flat. It can be of almost any material, porous or non-porous, soft or hard.
But whatever it is made of, it should be clean or freshly painted and dry.
If possible lay it on a flat work surface.
If you desire a precisely placed pattern,
it will probably be necessary to mark out grids or guidelines lightly with
Use a piece of wax paper for a palette. Rub
crayon on palette, Pick up paint with brush. Do not load paint on brush
– it should be rather “dry”. Apply paint into cut-out areas of the stencil.
It is best to use a circular stroke to stencil, but the tiny openings in
many of the stencils may require you to use an up and down dabbing motion.
Change brushes when you change colours. Colours may be blended with each
other. Use several coats of paint rather than one heavy one for darker
colours. To remove stencil, pull it straight up – do not slide it off,
or paint may smear.
Let paint cure for several days. It may be
heat set up after 24 hour (check paint packaging for directions).
You can find stencilling supplies on-line
Verdigris is described as a green or greenish
blue deposit formed on brass, copper, or bronze surfaces when they are
exposed to the elements. What verdigris usually brings to mind are green
artefacts. The look has long been popular, especially for garden oriented
objects. Most any item – wood, plastic, metal – can be given this faux
finish but pieces with some detail seem to work best. The process is quite
simple but takes a bit of time. The time is worth it as the results will
change an ordinary object into a work of art.
YOU WILL NEED:
Liquid acrylic paints in colours of khaki
(think of very dull copper), turquoise, lime-green, white
Liquid acrylic paint extender (such as Americana’s
Brush and Blend (to thin white wash and slow drying time)
Metallic bronze burnishing powder or wipe-on
Paint brushes, including a small, round, stiff
bristled one such as used for stencilling
Soft cloth or paper towelling
Make sure the item you will be painting is
clean and grease free. If necessary, use a craft knife to trim away any
Base coat the entire piece khaki. Keep in
mind that when painting miniature pieces, two light coats are better for
coverage than one thick coat. This way, the finish will not tend to peel
and the designs will not be obliterated. Let dry.
Pour some turquoise paint onto a palette or
piece of wax paper. Thin just slightly with water, spreading paint out.
Dip stiff bristle brush in paint and blot off on paper, in a stippling
motion until the paint on the brush is very “dry” and does not give off
any blotchy dabs. Use a stippling motion to apply the turquoise paint over
the khaki colour until just a blush of the khaki colour shows. Make sure
all grooves and indentations are filled with turquoise colour (use a small
soft brush if necessary) as this is usually where the corrosion starts.
Pour some lime-green acrylic paint on your
palette or paper, and prepare your stiff brush as was described for the
turquoise paint. Add lime-green lightly over some of the turquoise. Done
with the right touch, the lime-green will not stand out, but will accent
the turquoise. Let dry several hours or overnight.
Make a medium light wash of white acrylic
paint and water and extender. Brush a coat of the mixture over the prepared
objects. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to blot off paint, leaving a slight
ashy/grey look. Blot up any excess white that has deposited in grooves.
Apply some metallic bronze to palette or wax
paper. With finger tip, soft cloth or brush add just a hint of the colour
over the piece, making sure it blends into the other colours.
TIP: Verdigris finish should be dull/flat,
so do not use gloss or polish. If the piece is to be out in the weather,
use a matte finish.
SUGGESTED USEAGE FOR THIS FINISH:
If pieces are unadorned, glue on assorted
jewellery findings for accents. Cordings may be glued around urns or bird
baths or pedestals.
Assemble odd pieces to form urns or bird baths
or pedestals and finish with verdigris.
Look to wood turnings in craft shops, buttons,
and jewellery findings.
Look to children’s toys for plastic animals
or figures that would make good garden statuary.
Wilton cake decorating supplies have many
inexpensive forms that work well alone or in combination for fountains,
bird baths, etc.
Wrought iron miniatures such as baker’s racks.
Any type of planter.
Spattering is a quick way to add colour,
interest, and texture to a surface. It can cover flaws on a wall or floor.
It has been used extensively over the years to rejuvenate tired and worn
linoleum. This was once called spatterdash painting.
You will need:
Several colors of acrylic paint
Base coat surface of object to be spattered.
Slightly water down other colours. Dip toothbrush
in paint. Blot off excess. Using fingernail or craft stick, pull back on
bristles causing spatters of paint to fall on surface of object. You can
control the size of the spatters to a certain degree by the amount of paint
that is on the brush and the pressure of your finger as it passes over
the brush. Obviously, this is quite a messy job so make sure you protect
your work surface and anything that surrounds it . It is not necessary
to dry paint between coats, but let dry before adding a finishing glaze.
Experiment with colours for interesting results.
Paint a vase, crock, pitcher, etc. with
a base coat of white or cream and spatter lightly with clear nail polish
for a glaze.
Rubber stamping is a fast and easy method
of multiple image transfer. The variety of rubber stamp designs available
means that there are many that are perfect for decorating in miniature.
Look for a dealer in rubber stamps, and spend a few hours browsing their
wares. You are sure to find stamps to meet your needs. As with stencils,
rubber stamps can be used to produce a single design element or several
stamps can be used to produce an elaborate design or one or several stamps
can be used to fill an entire wall with colour. Create your own wallpaper,
decorate lampshades, use one stamp to coordinate a whole room – bedspread,
lampshades, window shades, rug, pillows, quilts, tiles, furniture backs,
You will need:
Rubber stamps can be purchased or cut from
Stamp pads (there are many sizes, shapes and
colours, plain and multicoloured, permanent ink and pigment types, to be
Item suitable for stamping (paper, fabric,
metal, wood, painted surfaces, leather, clay, plaster, Fimo, Sculpey).
Other tips include:
Make sure the item to be stamped is clean
and free from grease. If possible, pre-test material to be stamped to make
sure the ink pad does not bleed.
Keep ink pad well inked. Press stamp into
pad a few times to get an even coat of ink. Each stamp is a bit different,
some need more inking than others. Get to know your stamp(s) before starting
Use even, and not excessive, pressure when
stamping. Do not rock stamp. (TIP: When changing stamps, clean stamp by
blotting on damp paper towel).
Faux Wood Techniques
For multi-coloured designs, colour different
sections of the design with felt markers.
Blank areas in stamped designs may be filled
in or designed added to with water colours, coloured pencils or pens.
A clear fixative will preserve and protect
Look at stamps from all angles to see different
ways they can be used.
Faux wood makes good finishes for wainscoting,
floors, furniture, or wherever one wants a wood-like look. Each of these
techniques involves removing some of the top layer of paint to expose the
base coat. Different techniques and tools create different effects.
You will need:
Acrylic paints in different wood-tone colours.
Antiquing paint or acrylic retarder/extender
Soft cloths or razor saw or stiff paint brush
or fine toothed comb.
A combination of these techniques can also
be used. NOTE: While all of these techniques are quite simple and easy
to do for anyone, with practice you can produce some very exciting and
realistic “fool-the-eye” results.
Give the piece to be worked on a base coat
of paint that is of a lighter shade than that which will be used for the
top coat. Let dry. Mix retarder with top coat paint and brush over base
coat in the direction that the wood grain will go. Then, use one of the
For antiquing, wipe top coat off in one direction
with a soft cloth until desired effect is achieved. Let dry. Buff, wax,
varnish or glaze as desired.
For graining, gently scrape wet paint surface
with razor saw in one direction, wiping off saw as necessary. Continue
until a wood grain is achieved.
Dragging is accomplished by dragging a rather
wide, stiff bristled brush through the wet top coat, in one direction,
until the base coat is showing through the brush strokes.
A combined finish is accomplished by combing
the wet paint until the desired pattern or under coat is exposed.
Sponging is a fast and easy way to achieve
a subtle painted finish. You may use one or several colours over a light
base coat. The colours may have several shades of one colour, or completely
You will need:
Acrylic colours of your choice
Sponge – if your sponge is not rounded off,
cut it that way, or it will leave unnatural patterns.
Base coat the piece to be sponged. Let dry.
Thin the sponging colours slightly with water
and a bit of acrylic medium or retarder/extender in a saucer.
Dip sponge in prepared paint and blot off
excess on paper towel until desired pattern emerges. Use the sponge in
a blotting motion to apply the first colour over the base coat so that
some of each is showing. If a second sponging colour is to be used, let
the first colour dry and then apply with the second colour.
Two colours of almost the same shade will
produce a suede look.
By rotating the sponge periodically you will
be sure not to set up a pattern.
Two colours of sponging will produce a marble-like
Stippling requires very little artistic
ability and produces professional looking results. Over the years, this
technique has been used to cover all sorts of surfaces, but is most associated
with walls and floors.
You will need:
Two colours of acrylic paint (soft colours
look best for this technique)
Acrylic medium or paint extender
Paper towelling or sponge
Base coat surface a light colour. Let dry
a few hours or overnight.
Mix a darker second colour with some medium
or extender and brush over the base coat.
Immediately use crumpled paper towel or sponge
in a stippling motion over the top of the wet paint. This will remove some
paint, letting the base coat show through. How much you remove is up to
you and how fast you work before the paint dries. Keep the sponge as dry
as possible by blotting on scrap paper as you work. If using paper towelling,
rotate it when it becomes saturated.
Crackle is an interesting finish that gives
the appearance of age on the surface of painted pieces. This finish uses
a commercial product and requires two colours of paint – one for the undertones
and the other for the top.
You will need:
Object to be painted (country pieces work
Acrylic paint in two colours, one for the
top colour and another for the base colour that will show through the cracks.
This can be any combination, but a dark and light contrast works well.
Commercial Crackle Glaze (at Michaels in the
acrylic paint aisle)
Apply the base coat of desired acrylic paint.
Brush one coat of crackle glaze over base
coat. Let dry for 20 minutes to one hour.
Brush on the top colour of acrylic. The moisture
of the top coat of paint will instantly activate the glaze, and the top
coat will crackle. The wetter the top coat, the more crackle. Let dry.
Tip: Make a sampler for yourself of
different colour combinations for future reference. Try adding some water
to the top coat of acrylic to see the difference in crackling.