When It’s Time To Say Au Revoir To Orange Peel Textured Walls.

When It’s Time To Say Au Revoir To Orange Peel Textured Walls.

I’m guessing most people wouldn’t choose to have ‘orange peel’ textured walls.  They offer very few redeeming features;  but they’re generally a necessary evil.  Builders favor the textured walls because of the financial benefit: time is money.  Simply put, it’s faster to spray texture on a drywall than applying multiple layers of skim coat for a smooth finish.  And so we just have to live with them, right?

Or not…as the case may be.

My home has orange peel textured walls AND ‘knockdown’ ceilings.  Just one big cellulite cavern, really – with a front door.   I hate it.  With a passion.  And for several years I truly believed that I would have to live with mock-cellulite walls.  Kinda, just suck it up, Diane ‘First World Problem’ Drama Queen.

Then I tried this product, and my world opened up to endless possibilities.  Hallelujah. 

Pure & Original Fresco Lime Paint.

Unquestionably, this is a beautiful product.  I did a tutorial on using it last year, click here   (since that post, the paint  underwent a slight formula change, making it even easier to use).  Now, technically, I could have applied the lime paint over the orange peel (as a way to combat the offensiveness of the texture), but I really wanted it GONE!!   And so  I sat down with a glass of wine and watched this video.  Several times.

And it looked so flipping easy that I just had to try it.  And so I ran out and bought a trowel, and a hawk, and a sanding post and went to work.  And guess what? It turns out it’s pretty easy to skim coat over orange peel.  Who knew? It doesn’t need to be a Level 5 (the smoothest finish possible) because the lime paint will hide a lot of the imperfections. Once you get the hang of using a hand trowel, it’s becomes a little addictive

 (said the actress to the Bishop).  

I’m not proclaiming to be an expert.  At all.  If I walked onto a job site and showed them my troweling prowess, I have no doubt that I would be thrown out and ridiculed mercilessly.  And that’s OK.  Because you don’t have to be an expert to do this.  I found that two coats of the joint compound (with sanding) gave me a smooth enough base to apply the lime paint.   Choice of color?  Has to be Pure & Original Steel Blue.  Hands down, my favorite color.  

When using the Fresco lime paint, you need to treat the walls with P&O’s Wallprim, for adhesion.  I highly encourage you to have P&O tint the Wallprim to the same color you’re going to be using (it will help you no end).  This is a great tutorial video of the product being applied.  

I watched this several times.  With a glass of wine…for I am a creature of habit.

 This is what I ended up with. Basically, if I can do this.  You can do this.

Isn’t it fabulous?  I loved it.  So much variation from one paint color.  This wall was sealed with Dead Flat Eco-Sealer. Yes, a durable dead flat finish.  On a wall.  Praise be!  And I loved it so much I ended up finishing three walls this way. This particular wall is my backdrop when I photograph my finished pieces.  Most of you will recognize it.

And I get a ton of compliments on it.  And I was SO happy with it…  And then I saw this: 

 A huge 28″x 45″ wall stencil called ‘Fortuny’ by Royal Design Studio.  IT IS BEAUTIFUL.   I remember my first introduction to stencils (in the 90’s).  Very basic….a vine of ivy (remember?)  a cluster of roses…..Those days are gone.  Now good wall stencils can mimic intricately detailed wallpaper.  And this is good, because have you seen the price of wallpaper these days?  

Take a look at this Farrow & Ball ‘Silvergate’ wallpaper. Equally beautiful.  But it’s $265 a roll!  For a small room I would need 8 rolls, and I would still need to skimcoat the walls! Not to mention the actual wallpapering.  I wallpapered our first home and almost divorced my husband because of the stress.  With each wall I hated him more.

My marriage can’t handle the stress of gluing paper to walls. 

Stenciling is a good option for me us our family.

But I wanted to try the stencil using the Fresco Lime Paint.  Because…why not?  Given that you get so much variance in color with the lime paint, I decided to use Steel Blue on the Steel Blue base.  

And this is how it turned out.

 

I absolutely LOVE it! There is so much variance in the color and texture.  On this wall I applied the lime paint quite thickly with a brush.  I wanted a more textured look.  And it really is reminiscent of  aged worn plaster.  Steel Blue on Steel Blue.  It works.  

On my dining room wall I wanted a smoother finish, so I applied the paint with a foam roller and then sanded.  This room doesn’t get great light, so the subtleness really works well.  Same but different.  

In this room it looks like aged worn wallpaper.

(Seriously, my poor stressed camera was about to commit Hari Kari.  Although beautiful, this type of wall is really hard to capture on film.  There is so much variance that my focus feature just about surrendered.  It just non-verbally gave up.  Sometimes I ask too much of it).  Case in point.  The deeper blue is a true representation of the Steel Blue.  The grey at the top of the photos, is just my camera getting it’s revenge on me.  

I love both finishes equally.  Given the huge size of the stencil, the actual process was pretty fast.  And again, because of the variance in texture/color – if you mess up on the stencil it blends in perfectly!

It’s very forgiving.  I like that feature.

My poor little camera was having a difficult time knowing what to focus on!

Look at the photo below.  It’s a great photo, for two reasons.  Firstly, it shows where I purposely dripped water down over the raised detailing (I did this effect in the corner also).  I really wanted the wall to look random, hand finished.  I think that’s probably the reason why I love this product so much: it won’t give you a generic finish.  The second reason I love this photo is that you can see the difference between the orange peel texture and the Fresco lime paint.  This is the walk-through between my dining room and kitchen.  Seriously, how hideous is the orange peel?

It was, at the end of the day, a great experience.  The results speak for themselves.  I really want to do my bedroom walls with this stencil and lime paint.  Think soothing greys….or creams…or….endless possibilities.

Besides, life is too short to embrace orange peel, and it’s too short to be generic.  The challenge is finding something that will take things to a higher level; to be stand-alone in your finishes. I think this product helps you get there.  I, for one, know that life is certainly too short to not challenge yourself.  

Now, where’s your trowel?

 

{instead catchy ending here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory

 

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Image Transfer: The Pros, The Cons, And The Other Stuff

Image Transfer: The Pros, The Cons, And The Other Stuff

Tip of the Day:   If you want to turn a quick profit, don’t do image transfer.

Seriously.  Don’t even think about it.  For the time involved in getting a truly ‘authentic’ look (meaning to have the artwork appear to be original to the piece) you would weep a river of  tears if you did the math and found out your hourly pay.  Peanuts, my friends.  Sour, bitter tasting peanuts that almost elicit the gag reflex.  Very unpalatable.

But.  If you want to make a piece of furniture truly unique and stand out from the crowd,  do image transfer.

A good friend asked me why I still focus on this method.  She has a point;  my pieces appeal to such a small niche in the market that often it can take months and months to find a buyer.  My honest answer was ‘ It’s relaxing to me’.   I really  enjoy doing it.  I can spend hours upon hours  searching for the right image.  Magical.    And that ~ the simple JOY factor ~ is priceless.  So I spend my time doing image transfers, making peanuts very little money.  Firmly living in the belief that my life resembles a Shakespearean tragedy.

(such a melodramatic drama queen, am I).

So, what is image transfer?  Using the most simplistic example, think of it as a child’s fake tattoo.  tattoo

Image face down, and rub away at the paper backing.   All that’s left is the image on the surface.   Easy, right?

I’m not sure what my first image transfer was (possibly this small coffee table).  TopI used a vintage black and white photograph of downtown Portland.  The rust patina is achieved by using Modern Masters Reactive Iron paint and patina.   This was a small table, and therefore relatively easy to transfer.  My advice to you: Start small.   Get a feel of removing the paper before you go for a big image.  There’s nothing worse than having your confidence blown by taking on a project that’s too overwhelming.  Don’t do that to yourself.

Before I started playing with image Transfer, I dabbled with decoupage.   By ‘dabbling’ I mean  I’ve done two pieces using small sections of decoupage.  No big whoop de woo.

DrawerDecoupage is the much easier, faster version of image transfer.  Versailles decoupage dresserWith decoupage, you’re gluing an image directly to the piece of furniture.   And there are lots of adhesives to choose from.  Mod Podge is probably the most commonly used one.

With decoupage:  Apply a thin coat of adhesive on the piece of furniture, place the image face side up, smooth out any air bubbles, trim and then seal with several thin coats of adhesive.

The pros:  Easy Application. Inexpensive adhesive can be used.  Any size image can work (eg.  Posters).  Excellent chance that full image will be transferred to the piece.

The Cons:  While it’s a simple process to do, the biggest downfall is that you have to deal with the thickness of the image.  You can’t ‘remove’ the backing, and so the image can appear ‘bulky’.  You also have to deal with trying to blend in the edges of the paper to the rest of the surface.  It might not seem to be a big con, but if you’re tactile (like me) it bugged the heebeegeebees out of me.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this on a big piece of furniture.

I quickly realized that I hated disliked decoupage.

I did try to adapt the decoupage process, by using an engineering print.   Same concept, except with engineering prints you can get your image copied to ANY size – like HUGE – for pennies.  The cons to this method are that the image is grainy (which I actually like), but the paper is very thin and applying a big image to a piece of furniture without going crazy is hard impossible.  It really is a two person job, and because the paper is so fine there’s no wiggle room to readjust the image.  If instant commitment isn’t your thing, you’d be wise to skip this method.

Top

You have no idea how crazed I was after doing this engineering print  (It actually lives in Salem, Oregon now).  Good riddance to it, I say.

So, I quickly moved on to image transfer.  And that’s when I feel in love.  I’m not a natural painter.  I can’t freehand paint.  I leave that to the real artists.  I glue stuff on pieces.

But, I like to think I’m very good at it.  And still learning, thankfully.

The Pros: Because you remove the backing pulp, you don’t have to contend with the ‘edge’ problem.  You can retouch the image with paints to add depth, interest to the piece.  The only material that is being transferred is the image itself, so it leans itself to a more organic end product.

The Cons:  The image has to be reprinted with a laser printer, otherwise you lose some of the clarity of the image.  Laser printers are limited in size. The biggest print you can get is 11″x 17″.   Therefore, if you’re working on a big image, you have to piece the small tiles/blocks together.You have to work with the image ‘facedown’, so placement is paramount.  The last thing you want  (after spending hours removing the pulp) is to discover that the subjects face lies midway between two drawers.  It’s incredibly time-consuming and messy.  You usually end up losing some degree of the printed image (regardless of how careful you are), which will require you to handpaint over those areas (another part that I especially love).

But.  I love doing it.  All of it.

I’ve tried three ‘image transfer’ mediums.

CloseupThe Bath of Psyche (1890) was one of my first transfers using Mod Podge.  It’s ‘Cheap as Chips’ and readily available at most craft stores.  With Mod Podge you don’t need to have the image laser printed.  But it shows.   It worked, but it just wasn’t a clean and crisp transfer.   I love the image itself, but I hated the execution of it.  (I ended up painting over this).  Way to go, Diane (you tragic figure, you).Kathleen watermark

With  The Crystal Ball (1902) I experimented with Annie Sloan Decoupage glue.  I did go the extra step and  laser printed the image.  Much crisper, but I did lose some of the image that needed to be filled in later (this I believe is just the nature of the beast).  ASCP decoupage glue worked, but it’s expensive  and I wasn’t in love with the texture of the glue (every time I looked at the glue I was cruelly reminded of my cellulose stricken thighs. No one wants that vision while working). The Highboy took an entire jar of ASCP decoupage glue ($22.5o for a 125ml jar).  Golly Jeepers!

What I use all the time (what I’m comfortable using) is Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel.  I’ve been using it for almost three years now.    It’s usually around the $32 mark for a quart size can.  And it lasts a long time! It can also be used as a decoupage medium.

I strongly encourage you to try out different products.   One shoe doesn’t necessarily fit all.  Don’t follow the hype, try stuff yourself.  Get a feel for what feels right for you.  This product is what I choose to use.

Here are a few examples of my pieces using Artisan Enhancements.

PicMonkey Collage2

 

 

PicMonkey Collage3

 

PicMonkey Collage1

I mentioned to  Artisan Enhancements that I was writing a post on decoupage/image transfer and they very nicely offered to send a one quart can of Transfer Gel to someone from my Facebook page!  Yeah!

So hop over to my page, Like it, and leave a comment.  I’ll pick a name from a hat in the New Year and you can try it out!!

And with that, I’ll say Happy New Year lovely people!  Looking forward to enjoying a colorful 2016 with you!

 

{insert catchy ending phrase here}

 

Diane aka The Paint Factory

 

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When Painting Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing.

When Painting Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing.

I have no doubt that I will get some flack from this post.  But, you know me and my big Yorkshire mouth…sometimes it can’t be silenced. Plus, I’m in the middle of stripping two chairs…and I felt somewhat compelled to write this.  

So take a seat, let’s talk.

I love chairs. All sorts of delicious chairs.  Don’t think I’ve ever met a chair that I didn’t like.

And I love doing upholstery, often to the distress of my fingers.  There’s something very relaxing about the dulcet sound of the air compressor going in the background.  It soothes me.

But, in the past,  I’ve struggled being able to successfully recover the simplest of dining room chairs.  

The end job was fine good-enough actually the end job was often quite pitiful, if I’m being completely honest.  And so I always had this desire to learn the tricks; to make my chairs less pitiful.  And I know I’m not alone, because I’m seeing a trend that shows me that most people shy away from upholstery.  The trend that made me write this blog is people painting over the fabric on a chair, in lieu of doing a full upholstery job.

I get the draw: you want to save money, and time, and energy.  Totally get that part.  

But honestly, it makes me a little queasy.  It makes my eye twitch.  And I start becoming anxious.

I react to painted fabric is a physiological way.  And I do so because I’ve stripped down way too many chairs for my own good. And I know what lurks beneath the fabric.  And it’s not nice. And even if the chair looks clean, trust me it isn’t.  And I say this in truth, because I’ve raised three kids and a dog, and a husband and I know how much mess they have made.  I know that each one of them have left biological evidence of their being there. And I know that even though I’ve managed to clean the fabric, I won’t have necessarily been able to clean beneath the surface.  

I stripped a quite nice looking  antique chair once and I swear you would have thought it had been part of a crime scene, once the fabric had been removed.  

Painting fabric reminds me of putting a Band-Aid over a festering boil.  

Sure, it looks fine – but I know what’s underneath.  

But let’s say you can overlook the germ factor, without removing the fabric you have no idea how structurally sound the chair is without eyeballing it.  Case in point, my chaise lounge.

Yes, the fabric is disgusting – but it was so comfortable to sit on.  Unbelievably so.  When I stripped it down I found that the springs had been cut along one side.  Essentially, at some point in time, they would have worn through the fabric and come spewing out.  Plus adding a simple new piece of foam and Dacron can bring new life to an old chair. 

Plus, new fabric just looks better.

Personally, for me, it also comes down to aesthetics. Yes, you can paint fabric on a chair – but you still have to contend with the pattern of the fabric, because it will very likely still show through.  And yes, you can wax over the paint but then it leaves the fabric feeling ‘leathery’.  And listen, I’m a menopausal woman.  I do not want to sit on a waxed chair.  I will melt that Sucka before my second glass of wine.  And that is never a good look.  On anyone.  

Don’t do that to me.  It will test our friendship. Just let me enjoy the wine.

So, what am I advocating?  Well, it’s time to learn how to upholster.  It will ultimately save you money,  you will love how your ‘new’ chair looks and feels, and you will feel incredibly inspired and proud of your work. It’s a win-win.  

No Band-Aid in sight.

During my quest to learn how to upholster, I stumbled upon this blog post by Interior Designer, Betsy Speert.  This post motivated me to find upholstery classes in my area.  Betsy does a fabulous job on taking the mystery out of upholstery.  She has a very easy ‘step-by-step’ approach; and the one thing that I especially love is that when she  messes up, she tells you.  I’m always weary of blogs that try to showcase what perfection looks like.  

Perfection has no place in my world.

If you can find adult education courses nearby, sign up!  I take classes at my local community college, and I highly recommend it.  It’s slightly addictive.  But don’t despair, if you can’t find any.  

There’s more options for you.  

Let’s take Youtube.

 There are a gazillion tutorials to watch.  I personally like this series from DIY Upholstery Supply.

 

 Youtube has a way of zapping away time.  Be warned.
 

Another absolute must is a good upholstery book.  (I’ve included affiliate links to get you directly to the Amazon pages).  I bought most of my products from there.  This book, I LOVE.  Author, Amanda Brown uses the same techniques as my instructor.  The plus side to this is I’m not having to learn a new approach.  

(There’s only so much my brain can hold).

This is my Upholstery Bible.  

Yes, I learn a lot in class – but I equally forget a lot that I’ve learned in class.  You dig? So it’s really beneficial to me to have something that I can pull out when I’m full of self-doubt and dread.
 
So, you have the blog, the tutorial video, the book…..now the tools.  Although I can use the tools at school, I also need a spare set for work done at home.  This is a great set of tools (Osborne is a highly respected company in the upholstery world).  A good pair of scissors will save your life.

 The only thing it doesn’t seem to have is my favorite kind of staple puller.  

And trust me, that is the tool you will be using the most! 

 
Yes, you can use a hand held staple gun.  But to get a professional polished look, it’s worth investing in a professional-grade staple gun, that requires an air compressor to power it through.  Getting the right tension in your fabric is crucial to achieving a nice smooth finish; professional staple guns use fine wire staples and it makes a BIG difference when securing fabric.  This is my ‘bad boy’. He’s Italian.  He’s Bello! I’ve had him about three years now, and although I’ve badly abused him, he’s still holding tight.  And at $133 it’s not super expensive.  
 
I think I’ve covered most areas.  I’m still learning, it’s an ongoing battle.  But I love it.  Once you learn the basics of upholstery you will start to see chairs in a new way.  
 
That is good.  
 
There is such a wealth of fabulous fabrics available these days, that it’s almost a crime not to use them.  Start small.  A side chair, an ottoman.  Go slow.  If you get frustrated, take a break.  Read the book, look at the tutorial again.
 
 Have wine.
 
Have faith that you can do this.  And you can!  Really!  
So put down the paint brush, we don’t need to be doing that.  And pick up a staple gun and start creating!  
 
You won’t be sorry!
 
{insert catchy ending phrase here}
 
 
 
Diane aka The Paint Factory
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