Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Create the perfect crackle finish every time with DecoArt's Weathered Wood.

At You Can Folk It HQ, we love creating new projects and playing with different mediums and products to create different surfaces to add our Folk Art designs on to. One product we have been loving lately is DecoArt's Weathered wood. This fantastic liquid can help us turn any plain surface into one with texture and detail by causing your paint to crack and split.   Following our journal makeover, we have had so many questions about using weathered wood, we thought we would let you know how to use it well to create the best finish for each and every one of your future projects. 

Use DecoArt's weathered wood medium between two different colours/layers of paint to create cracks in your paint. This gives any project a vintage, aged look.

For this project, you will need: 

2 different colours of Decoart Americana or Chalky Finish Paints 
Base coating brush sponge 
Mount board for practice - this is great as it won't warp and we can add any practice boards we don't use for a project to our painting journal.

DecoArt weathered wood is known as a 'sandwich crackle' because it has to be sandwiched between 2 layers of paint to work. How you apply the top layer of paint determines how the crackle will appear, so it's always a good idea to try out variations before starting a project.

Here you can see some of the different effects you can create:

By applying the paint using a sponge or a brush, DecoArt Weathered wood creates different cracks on the surface of your project.

Depending on the look you wish to create, you can apply a dark colour on the base and a lighter colour on top or vice versa.  If you are using DecoArt Americana Acrylic or chalky finish paint for both layers, they can be used in any order you wish.  However, when you are using Dazzling Metallics, as we have done (see mount board No 4) metallics do not crackle. For this reason they can only be used as the base coat, not the top coat.

So now you have chosen your colours, let's begin.

Step 1. Basecoat your board and leave to dry. As always, you can leave your paint to dry naturally or speed the process up with a good old hairdryer.

Step 2. Apply a layer of the crackle medium and allow to dry naturally. This normally takes around 30 minutes.You'll know it's ready for the next step when your fingers don't stick to the surface.

Step 3 - Apply your top coat.  Feel free to mix a custom colour for your top coat but never water down your paint as this will affect the medium and prevent it from working as well. Once you've got your topcoat ready, this is where the magic happens! Two factors contribute to the crackle pattern you end up with; what you apply the top coat with and how thick you apply the top coat.

Applying paint with a sponge - dabbing the top coat onto the crackle medium. The trick to this method is to always work in a methodical way. Don't go back over the area you've already added paint to as this will remove the paint you've just applied.  On mount boards 1 & 3 above, you will see this method creates a lovely spidery pattern which is often finer than when you apply it with a brush.

Next, create some test samples using a brush to apply the top coat. When applying the paint lay the paint down gently, don't apply any pressure to the brush - you need to aim for a nice solid covering in one coat.

Again, once you've laid the paint down, don't go back over it, otherwise you will remove the paint. The main reason for this is that the top coat activates the weathered wood and it turns to a jelly like substance that is easily disturbed.

When applying the paint with a brush, the direction in which you apply the paint with a brush is the direction in which the cracks will form. Looking at examples 2 & 4 above, you can see that the paint has been applied with a brush using vertical strokes.  Had the paint been applied from left to right, the result would have been horizontal cracks.   

When painting circular or cylindrical items, apply DecoArt's weathered wood with a sponge. Creating vertical or horizontal lines would look severe and distract the eye from its shape.

The direction becomes important when you are considering the finished look of your project.   For a circular project for example, applying the paint with a sponge is the best option. As you can see from the enamel bucket we painted (above), the spidery cracks give it a beautiful finish. Creating lines of crackle would have distracted from the shape. However, when painting a wardrobe for example, by applying the top coat vertically, the cracks begin to enhance the shape of each panel you apply it to. 

Applying the top coat of paint in varying thicknesses will change the size of the cracks that form on your project.  Thicker paint will create larger cracks and a thin layer of paint will create finer cracks.  Never water down your paint or change the consistency in any way.

There are so many ways you can use crackle and there are so many factors that change the appearance of the finished look. Play with different colours and investigate whether you prefer light colours underneath or deeper shades as the base coat.   Why not try applying with a brush in a cross hatch motion which will give you a different effect once again. The great thing is with this medium is that you do not need to apply the medium all over the object or surface.  It's fun to just apply patches of weathered wood to the base or vary the thickness of the topcoat to change the size of the cracks you wish to form (as the love heart above shows).  

Change or update the look of any item with DecoArt Weathered Wood medium. We love the crackled, aged effect it creates.

Once we were happy with our crackled items, we used DecoArt Metallic Lustres to add stencils to some of them and also dry brushed the lustre around any raised areas/edges to give each one a bit of sparkle.  Whether you wish to leave them plain, stencil them or add a bit of Folky detail on your projects, each one will look nothing less than beautiful. 

Happy Folking, 

The You Can Folk It team xx


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A foolproof way to create a complimentary colour scheme every time

There's nothing worse than feeling inspired to paint a card, gift or piece of furniture and then sit back and feel a pang of disappointment that somehow the colours just don't compliment each other. While some of you out there are lucky enough to be intuitive enough to select colours that work together, this is not a gift that all of us have. The great news is that there is a solution with the colour wheel. With one of these by your side, you have a foolproof way of creating your own complimentary colour schemes. 
A few weeks ago, we created our own version of the Ives colour wheel using comma strokes. Not only is this a therapeutic and fun activity as you enjoy mixing each colour and practicing the strokes, you are creating something you can refer back to, time and time again. 
The great thing about this wheel is that it makes planning your colour scheme for a project so easy. To find complimentary colours, simply look at opposite ends of the wheel. When you put two complimentary colours side by side, they intensify each other. 
You can see this each time you pair red and green, purple and yellow and orange and blue. 
Create complimentary colour schemes by choosing them from opposite ends of the Ives Colour wheel. Always create stunning projects with this practice :)
By picking two opposites you are creating and working with a complimentary colour scheme but it doesn't end there...
If you think your colours are too bright, you can tone them down by mixing the two complimentary colours together. This will mean you are neutralising the colours. 
Red/green, blue/orange and purple/yellow are complimentary colours as they sit at opposite ends of the colour wheel but by adding a touch of one colour to the other e.g a touch of red to green and a touch of green to red, you neutralise them and you give yourself a wider range of colours to play with.
For example, by adding a touch of red to bright green, you tone it down.  Similarly, adding a touch of green to your red paint gives you a darker red. As you can see, this works with all complimentary colours. 
We used a complimentary colour scheme to paint our two sets of roses - red and green. On the left, we added white to create pink roses with light green leaves.  These still work as a complimentary colour scheme because after all, pink is still from the red colour family.  On the right, we created a complimentary colour scheme using burgundy and green creating a more vibrant look.
Red and green are complimentary colours both sitting at opposite ends of the colour wheel but so are pink & light green and burgundy/dark green. Each combination gives you a different look to your project.

As well as our complimentary colour schemes, you can create a monochrome colour scheme like the one we used for our Angel gift box. Choose one colour (we used violet but you can choose any colour family - blue, red or orange etc) Add black and white to create your monochrome palette
HOMEWORK: take two complimentary colours and use them to paint a design. 
Why not go one step further and add black/white to these colours to create tones and tints and create more colour schemes.  We hope you feel inspired to play around with your own colour schemes after learning a bit more  about colour theory. 
Which colours are you itching to put together first? 
Happy Folking! x 

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