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Making Up Your Own Oil Colored Glazes

7/11/2014 4:00:00 PM
Article by Mac Simmons

Top Jar—Burnt Umber Pigmented Paste Colorant
Middle Jar—A Drying Oil
Bottom Jar—Solvent-Mineral Spirits
Large Jar—Pigmented Oil Glaze

Pigmented Paste Colors

You can purchase "ready for use" glazes, or you can make up your own "oil colored glazes." Here, is a simple formula to make your own colored oil glazes.

You will need these materials.

1 level tablespoon of one of the following “pigmented paste colorants.”
1) Universal Colors.
2) Oil Colors.
3) Japan Colors.
2 – 4 ounces - Use either one of these solvents—minerals spirits or turpentine.
1 – 2 ounces - Use either one of these drying oils—boiled linseed oil or pure tung oil.

You can purchase an assortment of these pigmented paste colors in many finishing supply and paint stores, or in arts and craft shops. I suggest you start out by buying these paste colorants in the smaller size tubes, just to get started.

Oil glazes are very user-friendly; if your glaze is drying too fast add a little more of the drying oil, if the glaze is drying too slow then reduce the oil and increase the mineral spirits or turpentine. In most cases you will need to make adjustments to your colored oil glazes, as all pigmented paste colorants and the chemicals will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Adjustments of your colored glazes will also depend on the size and type of project you will be glazing. You must always allow the oil glazes to dry completely, then you can begin clear coating over the glazes with almost any of the conventional coatings used in the finishing process.

Oil-colored glazes can also be used as a wood stain on a sealer or on raw woods, they can be sprayed, wiped, or brushed on top of the sealer, because the glazes contains a drying oil this acts as a binder and will seal in the glaze, In some cases some adjustments maybe needed.

Using the Oil Colored Glaze as a Stain

Testing Your Finishing Materials

You should always do a compatibility test on all your work. These are known as “start to finish test samples.” They are made up to make sure that all your finishing materials will work together without any problems at the end of your finishing process. My reason for always mentioning how important it is to make these complete start to finish samples is One) because it teaches you how all kinds of finishes are done; Two) it allows you to see if all your finishing materials are compatible with each other; and Three) it also allows you to make adjustments along the way if fine-tuning is needed.

Glazing: The Versatile Finishing Technique

Another finishing technique that also uses assorted colored glazes is the well-known “faux finish.” Many finishers call these finishing and painting techniques “scrumbling.” Actually, it is the various colored glazes and color washes. The “washes” are basically thinned out color glazes that are used to add weaker or washed out colors that actually help create part of the illusions that make up the different kinds of faux finishes, includin assorted marbles, bricks, stones, leathers, burling, woods, various metallic finishes, and many other organic and non-organic materials.

Let’s start off by learning how to make up a” faux black marble,” keep in mind that by changing the base color (sometimes called the background colors), and also by changing the colors of the glazes you can create all kinds of different colored marble, and many other types of faux art.

A Black Marble Faux Finish

  1. Apply a black base coat to the panel and then allow the panel to dry.
  2. Using a soft cloth dipped into a white oil glaze begin dabbing randomly across the panel.
  3. You will then begin to mottle in between the dabbed glaze to fill in some more of the glaze
  4. When you begin mottling, allow some of the black background to show through the white glaze.
  5. Dip a small pencil brush into the white glaze and add a couple of fine vein lines—allow to dry completely.
  6. Apply several clear coats to protect the faux black marble finish.

Faux Patinated Finish

  1. Start with a well-sanded panel.
  2. Apply an acrylic silver base coat – allow to dry and then apply two coats of clear acrylic lacquer to protect the silver color.
  3. Dab on a few different color glazes—allow some of the silver to show through the glazes. Allow to dry.
  4. Apply a few acrylic clear coats to protect the faux patinated finish.

Faux Leather Table Top

  1. I used a red base coat for the background color.
  2. I then mottled out the red base coat with a black glaze to add a faux antique look of leather to the panel.
  3. I then added a black border to the faux leather.
  4. I then applied several clear coats to protect the faux leather tabletop.

I will end this article by showing the same basic glazing steps that make up the illusions of all of the faux finishes that are done daily by fine finishes around the world in fine finishing shops.    

Metallic Glazed Finishes

  1. The two faces are well-sanded and are ready for finishing.
  2. One face was coated with silver acrylic lacquer, the other face was coated with gold acrylic lacquer, and then allowed to dry.
  3. I glazed the silver face with a black glaze, and allowed it to dry. I then glazed the gold face with a brown glaze and allowed the faces to dry. I then coated the two faces with gloss acrylic lacquer to protect the faux faces.

Once, you try these fine faux finishes you will find they are not very difficult to do. Think of doing these finishes in small steps—you must always allow each step to dry. You will be able to adjust the colored glazes by adjusting the formula. You should always keep in mind that the temperature in and outside the shop plays a very important part of the drying and curing times. Take your time with each step until you feel comfortable doing it. Do not be afraid to experiment with working outside of the box. If you like what you have done to each finish, you’re probably right, and both you and your customers will also like what you did. If not, you can always change the color samples to make your customers happy.

Think Twice & Finish Once


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