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Step 10 - Choosing Your Varnish
4/10/2007 12:19:05 AM

Choosing Your Varnish

Now is the time to decide what type of varnish you are going to use.

Water based varnish is easy to clean up. It dries quickly so you can get more coats on in a day. It does not change the colours.

When decoupage a surface that will be subjected to a lot of wear and tear such as a tea tray or table top, I use a water based floor varnish.

If you are working on a project with a special colour scheme that must match something else exactly, then water based varnish is the one to use.

If you like that warm antique glow, oil based varnish is the answer. There is something very special about a decoupage done with oil based varnish.

Then there is Envirotex. This is best used on flat surfaces because it is applied by pouring. If the surface is uneven it will settle in the deeper parts and make a thick pool of resin. not good. It does save a lot of time though as one coat is equal to about 50 or 60 coats of varnish.

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Water Based Varnish
4/10/2007 12:24:46 AM
Water Based Varnish

STEP 10 ... Varnishing.

Always follow the directions for drying and re-coating times on the label of your product. Humidity and temperature both affect how quickly your varnish will dry. The old rule that thin coats are always better than thick apply.

As you apply more and more coats you will have to allow more and more drying time. And do not be tempted to try and speed up the drying by using a hair drier or putting the object by the fireplace. You could ruin it. A fan circulating warm air in the room is OK.

You need to keep track of how many coats you have applied so have a sheet of paper handy and keep a record each time you apply a new coat.

You must apply 20 coats of varnish to begin with. Don't let this frighten you, it is not that much. With water based varnish and summer weather you could possibly get in 5 coats a day so that is only 4 days.

Allow the 20th coat to dry for at leas 24 hours and then sand gently until the entire surface is dull. If you sand through to the paper then you have not applied enough varnish and you must stop, colour in the paper where you sanded through and apply more coats, and more coats,

You are going to apply a total of 60 coats of varnish.

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Oil Based Varnish
4/10/2007 12:27:21 AM
Oil Based Varnish

STEP 10 ... Varnishing.


Always follow the directions for drying and re-coating times on the label of your product. Humidity and temperature both affect how quickly your varnish will dry. The old rule that thin coats are always better than thick apply.

As you apply more and more coats you will have to allow more and more drying time. And do not be tempted to try and speed up the drying by using a hair drier or putting the object by the fireplace. You could ruin it. A fan circulating warm air in the room is OK.

You need to keep track of how many coats you have applied so have a sheet of paper handy and keep a record each time you apply a new coat.

You must apply 20 coats of varnish to begin with. Don't let this frighten you, it is not that much. With water based varnish and summer weather you could possibly get in 5 coats a day so that is only 4 days.

Allow the 20th coat to dry for at leas 24 hours and then sand gently until the entire surface is dull. If you sand through to the paper then you have not applied enough varnish and you must stop, colour in the paper where you sanded through and apply more coats, and more coats,

You are going to apply a total of 60 coats of varnish.

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Jenny SJ

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Re: Oil Based Varnish
5/6/2007 8:27:39 AM
Hi Jean,

This is an interesting article.  Although we make angels and nativities, I often use the varnishing techniques used in decoupage to create antique finishes on our figurines.

We often use the two varnish techniques to achive the antique effect of cracked varnish, which imitates the real crackling that occurs with age on much varnished work, whether it is a painting or a fired figurine.

The principal of this technique is to employ two varnishes that dry at
different speeds and cause a crackling of the suface of the second varnish.  


There are many ways to achieve this effect - here are two we use-

The first uses a two product kit sold by many manufacturers of arts and crafts materials.  You usually paint on one or two coats of the first varnish.  When it is dry you apply one coat of the second varnish.   As it dries, cracks appear on the surface.  Each manufacturer will have the instructions on the pack.

The second uses a more traditional technique.  First you apply one or two good coats of a latex based varnish.  The names of these latex varnishes will vary from country to country - your arts or crafts shop will be able to tell you which one to select.  When it has dried, you then apply a well worked in coat of Gum Arabic.  Dry this second varnish (you can use a hair dryer to hurry things up).  When dry, cracks will appear.

With both methods.  You then carefully apply a coat (patina)  of tinted wax or diluted oil paint or diluted acrylic paint and wipe it off. The colour stays in the cracks and enhances them.  You then seal with a protective coat of compatible varnish.  (If you are using abrasive materials as your patina, you may need to protect your crackled surface with a compatible varnish before you apply the patina.)


             click to enlarge

And Hey presto!  you have a genuine antique varnished finish that has
cracked with age.

Saludos
Jenny
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