Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Working With 91% Rubbing Alcohol & Acrylic Paints

Here is the raw, unfinished wood. Before doing anything
I would recommend you sand edges, and all surfaces.
In my blog about the design and creation of my CRYSTAL BIRDHOUSE, I talked about a new technique, to me at least, of using 91% alcohol on a glaze after a base coat has been applied to, in this case, a birdhouse. Depending on the colors, you get a mottled, variegated color combination as the thinner glaze highlights the base color. I guess you can repeat this process after each layer dries but here I will only show you one.
     Because it is a glaze, the alcohol thins the part it lands on showing both the base color, the glaze color and a combination of the two. Its an unusual but interesting effect.
     While I am just learning this technique, done right it turns the glaze into a look not unlike some satin fabric. That makes for a rather dramatic effect especially as it is on something that is not fabric!
After sanding, get your paint and brush ready.
Base coat. I used DecoArt's Traditions 
paint because I find it gives a rich opaque 
base to work from.
     The first step is to put on the base coat. You will need to do some planning and usually you use dark with a light glaze or light with a dark glaze. What adds to the effect are the colors used. Even a strong color with an even stronger colored glaze tends to lighten and leave a more muted version of itself. Here I used a strong DecoArt's Traditions Naphtha Red and used Cobalt blue as the glaze. Wherever the alcohol landed, it muted the blue without dimming the red in any way. In fact, the blue seems to make the red more intense. Paint the entire surface either smooth or for additional effect with coarse brushstrokes for even more extremes to the glaze.
Base painted, dry and ready for glaze.
There is no right or wrong way. Just paint the glaze on
making sure you cover the entire area you wish to
use this effect on.
     Once the base coat is on and dry, it is time to make a glaze. I have discovered there are several ways to make your glaze and I am not sure which one I like or which one gives you a more interesting finish. Here I added Traditions Extender and Blending medium. Not sure it would have been much different than on the birdhouse where I just used water. I urge you to experiment and see which effect you like best. And, they may change depending on colors and surface. Some paints are notorious in their transparency and might look good on one color but be too light for others. You be the judge. Just remember, each project can have very different results. The best part is that once it is dry, you can paint over it and try again. No need to throw the surface away. Just repaint and make another attempt!
Covered in glaze.
 I paint the glaze on so that it is runny, gooey even. Make sure you have your alcohol in whatever container you want to put on the glaze. I used a plastic, squeeze type container from Harbor Freight but I wish I had something a bit finer. I would like to try a syringe as it gives you far more control and smaller to larger drops for effect.
First alcohol drops on glaze.
     Now the fun part ... adding the glaze. The one thing you can
count on is that you can't count on anything. If you had 10 of these surfaces, each one would have a different pattern, the effects are that different. Don't be afraid though. If you really don't like it, immediately wipe the glaze off, repaint and put drops of alcohol back on the refurbished surface. Remember, in most cases you will be putting something on top of this surface like I did ... paint, glitter, jewels. Usually even the most disappointing effects just add a different, NOT plain backdrop. Again, let me repeat. IF you hate it, let it dry and repaint. The is no reason to discard your surface.
Another coat of glaze and more drops.
Acrylic paints are quite forgiving.
The dried glazed base ready to be used.
     It is fun to experiment. I think the best part, at least for me, is that you don't have total control and that leads to interesting base effects, often far more exciting that a plain surface with just one color. It is interesting and far removed from regular old antiquing that also has a somewhat less predictable finish; nothing like this.
      Dried and ready to use this base could be used for any manner of things. One thing you will have to admit, there is nothing out there that will give you such an interesting effect! While granted, it is not for every project, it does give you another option when you want to create something that starts off looking quite different than just a simple, solid base coat.

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always have. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ...

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