Some of My Favorite Products by Artisan Enhancements! - The Paint Factory

Some of My Favorite Products by Artisan Enhancements!

At some point, I’d like to think that I will sit down on a regular basis and write a blog post. At some point.

Kudos to the full time bloggers out there because, boy, I think it’s hard work having to have to sit down daily and write something that’s both engaging and interesting. My real interest is painting; but since my daughter has been here for the summer that, somehow, just went on the sidelines. Much to her slight annoyance, she was my sole interest. But she’s gone back to college and so I’m left to pick up my ‘old’ life – the magical world of paint, and products and tapping into that beautiful creative gene we all have.

Most of you know that I’m continually trying to push gently persuade people to try new products. When I first started painting, I was really hesitant to go beyond using paint and wax (remember the days when it seemed that there was only Annie Sloan chalk paint in the arena?). As with most new painters, the confidence factor just wasn’t there for me for many years. I watched tons of videos (mostly at that time from paint retailers) on painting and it seemed that the general consensus was that all you needed to refinish a piece of furniture was: two colors of paint, clear wax – and if you were daring, maybe a little dark wax – go crazy and throw in some wet distressing! And for the most part (for the newbie painter, like myself), that held true. Until I gained confidence. Then I wanted needed more. I wanted to start pushing myself creatively. At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do with paint alone. THIS I TRULY BELIEVE. And so the search for products, and new techniques started happening. It wasn’t long before I realized just how many products there were out there. Oh my gosh, a crazy amount. And I realized that while just using paint is fine, combining the paint with supplemental products is often a game-changer.

My first introduction to image transfer was a failure. I think I’d read on a tutorial that you could use Mod Podge to do image transfer; and afterwards I remember thinking that this was the last time I was ever going to try this ridiculous method because literally nothing transferred, and the part that did was cloudy. Total waste of my time and a huge knock to my confidence. Had it not being for my local Annie Sloan retailer, I probably would never have learned about Artisan Enhancements and their vast product line. They have everything from topcoats, to metallic foils, to brushes, to mediums. A virtual slew of fabulous products. Do you need to buy them all, or use them all? No. But, let me tell you, some of the stuff is so good you really need to at least explore them. I’ll talk about a few of my favorites here.

Artisan Enhancements transfer gel I’ve used for years. My ASCP stockist told me this is what I should have used instead of the Mod Podge, and while I balked at the price (a noticeable difference between the two), it turned out to be a fabulous investment. If I were to sit down and really do the math, I’d have to admit that it’s probably been around 10 years since my first introduction with these products. A few weeks ago, I was given an affiliate link for the company a (which I very much appreciate); However, over the many years of using this product line, I have always purchased and bought the products myself. When I taught my first teaching class in France two years ago, I reached out to the company (so strong was my conviction in their products) and asked if they would provide products for the class. As a new instructor, I knew that I needed to work with products that would do the job – and do it exceptionally well! The women did such a great job playing with them! I introduced them to Image Transfer Gel, VP Antico and Crackle Tex.

Artisan Enhancements recently did a relaunch (a rebranding, essentially) and have introduced new sizes. If you’re only thinking of doing a small/medium transfer you don’t need to invest in the largest size, there’s now a ‘just right’ size available (this is something that, as a consumer, I actually really appreciate). If I remember correctly, my first large image transfer was Flaming June. It’s such a great painting and it’s where I really started to see the benefits of using a specialized product. This is the piece that made me realize that I wanted to focus on image transfer. While I love the piece, I look at the overall painting and think ‘Man, that paint finish was rather…let’s just say… ‘rudimental’. While I wouldn’t touch the image itself, I would love to repaint the body!

Next up: Artisan Enhancements Pearl Plaster.

This is really a fun little product to play with. It’s a plaster medium, with a pearlescent finish. If you’re looking to create something with a French, romantic feel to it – this is your stuff. It can also be used for raised stencils, and it’s tintable – so you can play around with the color a little. This is the product that you can use when you buy that little cheap vase from Goodwill and want to make it into something more upmarket. I bought these horse head lamps years ago. Loved the idea of them, but hated the brown shiny finish. One quick coat of chalk paint for a base, and Pearl Plaster to the rescue.

I do realize that these are neither ‘French’ nor ‘Romantic’ – especially given that I called them The Godfather lamps, but you get my drift. And they sold literally the first day I listed them (total sellers remorse there). A small amount goes a long way. I’ve also used the Pearl Plaster for a raised stencil of French script on a little side table (which was such a long time ago, but I can’t find the photos for it. But trust me, it was very cute).

Next on the agenda: Artisan Enhancements VP Antico

I guess I do have a weakness for plasters, because this one is quite lovely. This medium gives you the look and feel of Venetian plaster. You can get an incredible honed silky smooth finish with it, but still create a sense of depth and movement. Again, it’s very easy to use. I don’t like over-complicated products, simple is good – and this one is hard to mess up. Don’t be intimidated with this product. Yes, you can apply it with a trowel (which once you get the hang of it is super easy), but if you’re working on a small surface anything flexible will work (palette knife etc). I think once you realize that you can compliment paint with these types of mediums, the game changes. I’ve only used this for interior use, but I’ve just noticed that it can be used for exterior use too. That really interests me… because now I’m looking at those old plant pots outside.

My favorite of all of the products has to be Crackle Tex.

There are a lot of ways to use this product. Artisan Enhancements created this product to “reproduce the look of aged, weathered paint and plaster”. And it does just that, it can also be used between paint coats to create a crackle. You can seriously create some beautiful finishes with this product. Hands down my favorite product!! I go into detail how I personally use this product on my image transfer tutorial.

One of the main purposes of making an online tutorial (link here) was to introduce various products that I’m comfortable using, show you how I use them and encourage you to look beyond paint. There’s a whole wheelhouse of mediums to explore. That’s the fun of it. (Did I ever tell you about the time I ordered product from Italy and had to get my nephew, who’s fluent in Italian, to read the instructions to me?). Maybe that was going to the extreme, but new product just excites me. That’s the beauty of being creative – getting comfortable with what you know, and then forcing yourself to feel uncomfortable with new products. Paint is wonderful, but I now see it as the ‘foundation’- something to build upon. That’s where you enter the ‘fun zone’. Don’t let paint limit you, use it – and then add stuff to the mix! You’ll be glad you did!

{insert catchy ending phrase here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory

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