Turning A Used Item in to an Elegant Treasure
By Victoria Larsen
B eing a person who has always loved using my skills and ideas to give something old a fresh new look, no one ever had to encourage me to go “green.” I love the fact that the rest of the world now sees the value in re-using and re-furbishing thanks to this tough economy. Not only does it prevent the waste associated with previous attitudes, it opens new doors to the faux finish artist to include furnishings, cabinetry, and smaller projects in their portfolio of services.
I’ve also been someone who loves creating my gifts by hand, often utilizing thrift store items as my project base. There is a multitude of items at thrift stores that can serve as the project for ultimately elegant gift ware. Consider wooden trays, boxes, racks, and even large ceramic vases. In this case, I found a sturdy wooden box at a thrift store and decided to turn it in to an elegant, ornamental gift that is not only unique and can’t be found in any store, but also looks ‘high end’ when complete.
The outdated toll painting on the raw wood lid easily vanished with a light sanding and two coats of premium primer. Raised plaster stenciling transformed the lid and box base using common joint compound. This provides the first level of dimension.
Choosing small plaster mold designs, pieces were cast using Plaster of Paris. Cast plaster objects must be thoroughly dry before applying to walls, ceilings, or smaller projects. The drying process can be sped up by placing the pieces in your home oven for one hour on 300 degrees.
Once the pieces are dry, they are attached by spreading an even layer of joint compound mixed with a small amount of white glue over the back of the piece. Then press it firmly to the intended area. Any space between the plaster piece and the surface should be filled with the remaining compound/glue mixture to assure complete and sturdy adhesion and a more professional appearance. Excess mixture can simply be wiped away with a damp sponge.
Once all plasterwork is complete and dry, I re-prime the entire piece to prepare the plaster to accept a decorative paint finish. Since raw plaster is very porous, this step is necessary to ensure even and smooth coverage.
Three coats of Metalglow Fontana Gold Paint by Faux Effects gives the box its elegant gold base. Then a color wash of dark brown acrylic paint mixed with translucent wall glaze is scrubbed over the textured surface and wiped off with a terry towel. This brings out the rich detail of the plaster stenciling and ornamental pieces.
Make sure to paint the inside of the box as well or line it with black velvet once all of the painting is complete.Two coats of non-yellowing polyurethane seals and protects the surface.
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victoria larsen creative entrepreneur
Victoria Larsen is a professional Wall Stencil/Ornamental Plaster Mold designer and manufacturer located in the evergreen state of Washington.