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11 Finishing

Milk Paints:

In this workshop I paint the background around the dragonfly with 'milk paints'. These are a very old, non-toxic, type of paint, more and more available with a search online. Here's a link to Wikipedia all about them.

Milk Paints come in mixable, powdered form to which you add water. Why did I use milk paints? As you'll see, you can build up layers and then polish back with 0000 wire wool; the result is a ceramic-like look that is so much better in this context than any other painted finish. And it's the tiled-look we want for this Arts & Crafts project. Do experiment first before committing your colour to the carving! 

Ebonising (Ebonizing):

This works on Oak and Walnut. First make up your witches brew:

  1. Half fill a lidded glass jar with white (clear) vinegar, which is 3% acetic acid. ('Pickling' vinegar, if you have it, is stronger, 10%).
  2. Add some 0000 wire wool, say enough to take up half the vinegar volume. (Wire wool dissolves fast but you can use any old iron really, old nails etc).
  3. Leave for some time - a few days to a week - until the wire wool has mostly dissolved and you have a brown, sludgy liquid.
  4. Filter. It's very smelly! So lots of ventilation when you use it.
  5. Test on spare wood. You can make the effect stronger by upping the amount of iron dissolved.
  6. You don't need to stop the process in the Oak but you'll see that the wood wood grain on the surface is raised and feels rough. You'll need to sand that back with fine paper.

The iron reacts with the acetic acid in the vinegar to produce iron acetate. This in turn reacts with the natural tannins in the Oak to give you the black colour. And that's as far as my chemistry goes!

Acrylic Paints:

I used 'Process Black' in the numbers, though I'm sure most any other black will do. Acrylics are fast drying and don't wick into the pores of the wood at the edges on the letters or numbers as will, say, slow-drying, thinner oil paints . You can further inhibit wicking by sealing the insides on the numbers with a PVA (wood) glue before painting.

Related Videos:

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