Thursday, June 14, 2018

Stain and Foil Tutorial: A Table in Need of a Little Drama!

It’s been such a long time since I last wrote a blog tutorial!  
I have had several questions recently about some of the products and techniques I use.  
I thought it would be fun to walk you through the makeover of this sweet vintage table and share
a little insight and tips along the way!

I have gotten out of the habit of taking before pictures, so you’ll have to forgive me for this partial,
mid-project pic!  This table started out with a well worn, dark brown finish.
I started with a coat of Country Grey Chalk Paint® with the intention of doing a two-color wet
distressed technique.

I opted for sanding and staining the top.  This isn’t something I usually do!
I have never cared for working with furniture stain at all!  
My experiences with traditional furniture stain have left me with brown fingertips,
ruined paint brushes and horrible headaches.  I have always been sensitive to the harsh
chemical odors emitted from those little cans. For that reason, I have pretty much avoided stain
at all costs, until…

I was introduced to Bio Savvy Stain!  This stain is completely non-toxic and fume free!  
It also cleans up way easier than traditional stains!  
No more stained fingers and ruined paint brushes! Dark Walnut is my favorite of the 4 Savvy Stain
colors and the one I chose for this table top.  You simply brush this stain onto your raw wood surface,
no need to wipe back! The stain penetrates the wood, leaving a beautiful rich color behind.  
Your stained surface does not necessarily need to be sealed, but I have used Annie Sloan’s clear wax
as well as Artisan Enhancements Clear Topcoat Sealer over my stained surfaces for added protection.  
Both work great!

Bio Savvy Stains can also be used like a glaze!  I still use Annie Sloan’s dark and black waxes for
aging and adding richness to my paint finishes.  I chose to do a glaze technique here instead,
for two reasons…

First of all, I loved the idea of glazing my Scandinavian Pink over Country Grey paint finish with the
same Dark Walnut color that I had used to stain the table top. It pulls the piece together for a
cohesive look.
Also, I really like the matte finish I can achieve with the “stain glaze” technique.  
As you can see, I just brushed the stain onto my dry paint finish and immediately wiped it back with
a lint-free shop towel.  I also used baby wipes in some areas where I wanted to remove more of the
If you’ve been with me for a workshop, you know how much I love my Kirkland Signature wet wipes!  
I used them to do some wet distressing on these table legs as well.

After having stained, painted and glazed my table, I decided those fancy legs needed some metallic
accents!  You’ve seen me use a lot of gold gilding wax on past projects. Leaf & Foil applications
create a different kind of metallic finish.  Metallic foils offer more of a dramatic effect, where gilding
waxes are softer and more subtle.

I felt like these table legs were in need of a little drama.

Artisan Enhancements Leaf and Foil Size can be used to apply metallic leaf or foil.  Foil is much more reasonably priced and less messy to work with. Although there are a lot of foil colors to choose from, my absolute favorite is Soft Gold, especially with pink!

A word to the wise...Leaf and Foil Size is super sticky stuff!  Be very careful opening that container. If you end up with Size on your fingers (which you probably will) or any other surface you didn’t intend to apply it to...hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol should help with removal.  Don’t use your favorite, high end paint brush to apply Size or you will certainly regret it. I use cheap chip brushes for larger applications. For more detailed projects, Artisan Enhancements has very reasonably priced small stencil brushes, which is what I am using here.  I was able to remove most the size from this brush by soaking it in rubbing alcohol after use, but it will probably be my designated detail Size brush from here on out.
Simply apply the Size to the areas you want to be gold (or whatever metallic foil color you choose).  Apply Size sparingly! A little goes a long way. After about 20 minutes the size will be tacky and ready for the foil.  
Note: Artisan Enhancements Size will remain tacky for at least 20 if you have to walk away from your project for longer than 20 minutes at this point, it’s not a problem.  Unless your cat rubs up against said project… That would definitely be a BIG problem. I honestly worry about this every time I step away from a Foil project! Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet!  (knock on wood!)

This is the fun part!  Metallic Foil is sold by the roll or by the foot.  I like to cut my foil into strips. Here I’ve wrapped a strip of foil around a table leg where the Size had been applied and allowed to tack up.  You must apply the foil SHINY SIDE UP! It seems completely backwards, but this is just how it works. Sometimes I just use my fingers to rub the foil onto the surface, other times I might use a dry paintbrush or a scrubbing brush to “burnish it.”  
Instant gratification!  This is such a fun technique to teach in workshops.  
There are always lots of “oohs and ahhs” as the foil is pulled away!
If you feel you’ve missed a spot or wish there was more foil left on your piece, you can always apply more Size, let it tack up and lay your foil back down.
If you end up with a bit of foil in a spot where you don’t want it, I find the best way to remove it is either a light sanding or just covering it with a bit more paint.  It’s pretty forgiving. Just work with the finish until you love it!
After having accented all six of my table legs with foil, I was ready to seal my paint finish.  As mentioned before, the Bio Savvy Stain can be sealed with Annie Sloan wax or Clear Topcoat Sealer.  I prefer a brush on sealer such as Clear Topcoat or Clear Finish over foils. Although Clear Finish is great for enhancing the sheen of metallic foil finishes, I didn’t want my overall paint finish to be shiny, so I opted for the matte Clear Topcoat Sealer.  If you’re not familiar with Clear Topcoat Sealer, here’s a brief video explaining the product and how to best apply it.
I hope you’ve gained information from this tutorial that will be useful to you in your future projects!  Are there techniques you’ve seen featured on my blog that you have questions about?
Please don’t hesitate to email me!  I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for your visit!
Best Wishes and Blessings,