Sunday, 9 June 2013

DIY craquelure. Part 2

This post will be mainly of application - how to apply the products I talked about in my previous post.

At first some general rules: - the smoother the surface the better the cracks. I do not mean "bigger" but more beautiful natural shape of cracks;

- the dryer the first-step product the smaller the cracks;

- the thicker the layer of the second-step ptoduct the bigger the cracks.

I think this they are applicable to most of products, not only my DIY stuff.

How to apply the first step:

- if it's a shellac you need at least 3 coats (I do 4)evenly applied with a brush (I use fine fan brush). You can use a sponge but it's a waste of product, from my point of view. All coats except the very last one should be dry before next application. The last coat should be "touch sticky", i.e. slightly sticky to touch.

- if it's a gold size you need one coat (I do 2)evenly applied with a brush (I use fine fan brush). The coat should be dry. It will become transparent (initialy it's milky white) and very sticky.

How to apply the second step.

When you're done with the first product you can apply gum arabic. Usually I just pour a little of it on the surface and start to spread it with my fingers.

Important: gum arabic should be spread very evenly without bald patches! It takes time (up to a few minutes!) but you should keep going until you are sure that it's done properly and you feel that gum arabic become a bit thicker and you could not move you fingers that easily.

Now you will leave everything to dry. For how long - it depends on:

- the dryness of the first-step layers;

- the thickness of all layers;

- the temperature and humidity.

Usually I can't have it overdone!

As for myself I leave it over night and then start to check. Sometimes the cracks are so fine they are hardly visible, you need to turn your object and look at it from different angles. If you've waited for more then 2 days without success you can apply artificial heat - hair dryer, put it on the radiator or on the sunny windowsill...

Suppose we got them and now we need to hightligh them, make them more visible.

If it's shellac as a first step - I use artistic oil paint. I rub it gently over the surface, remove excess and leave for a while (30 min or 1 hour). Then I gently wash the gum arabic out, let it dry a bit and varnish.

If it's a gold size as a first step - you need to use powdery substances, like pigment powder, dry pastel or even eye shadow of your choosed colour. I usually work with dry pastel or golden pigment.You need to be very carefull, rub it very gently over the surface, remove excess and gently wash the gum arabic out, let it dry a bit and varnish.

These are very general rules! I strongly advise you to start with samples, try to dry the layers various times and choose what you like most. I hope to make the third part of this DIY course, more detailed and with some tips and advices.

Until then ask any question!

Friday, 7 June 2013

DIY craquelure. Part 1

I've got a letter from a Canadian girl with some questions about the ways of creating cracklings without using special products. As I promiced - this is "How I do it"! If you are an experienced crafter you know that there are a lot of products which allow you to create large cracks. It' usually a two step system of Italian, German or East-European makes, Maimeri is the most popular, I think. There is a variety of such products in Europe now due to popularity of decoupage.

maimeri idea craquele varnish medium for decorat

Unfortunately I could not get them here in Britain, not on a permanent basis anyway. So I tried to find some substitutions. There are two. As the first step I use the products which contains spirit solution of shellac. In my case it's a sanding sealer with shellac in it from DIY/hardware shop. This is an exact product I use on the picture:

11883 39262 ml

As a second step I use a gum arabic solution (for watercolour!) from any art shop.

WC Gum Arabic 75ml 2

The second pair is - a water-based gold size (sticky substance for gilding with gold/silver leaf) as a first step (some art shop or Internet shopping) and a gum arabic again. The product on the picture is just an example of how this water-based gold size looks like.


My next post will be about how to use them. Any questions are welcome!