Faux Painting School
School of Decorative Arts

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To understand how a water-based glazing liquid works, the artist must first understand the fundamentals of water-based paint. Wall paints are opaque and are either latex (synthetic rubber-based) or acrylic (plastic-based). Artist acrylics in the tubes are opaque, semi-transparent, and transparent.

Wall paint has two basic tint bases. One is a WHITE base to achieve all of the light to medium colors and the other is a SEMI-TRANSPARENT base, called a deep tint base, to achieve the medium to dark, rich colors. The deep tint base is white in the can but it dries clear.

How can you get black paint when you start with white paint? You can’t! Black paint is a semi-transparent base with dark tints added. To achieve sage green, you start with a white base then add blue, yellow, and a little gray or black.

The reason decorative artists use glazing liquid is to make an opaque wall paint a transparent paint. The idea behind a faux finish technique is to add layers of translucent color to give depth, texture, and/or movement to a wall, furniture, etc. Paint is opaque in nature. How else could it be used as a base to cover walls, especially new drywall or walls that have been painted an undesirable color?

Some ingredient or ingredients must be added to bring the opaque level of paint to a translucent level.

One way to make opaque paint translucent is to add water. On a very small surface that may work. The problem with using water is that when you add enough water to bring about translucency, your mixture of paint will drip and run or it will lose much of its bonding qualities. Of course, water does not make the paint stay wet long enough to maneuver it on large spaces.

Another way to make opaque paint translucent is to add large amounts of a deep tint paint base. This WILL dilute your paint color therefore changing the color choice of the client. To achieve the translucent level needed to be a faux finish glazing liquid, three to four parts of the deep tint base must be added to one part paint. This is the reason the original color is diluted.

If a label says to add three or four parts of glazing liquid to paint, it is a sure bet that it is a paint base. Unfortunately, that paint base has drying agents in it so that the water-based paint will dry quickly. This will make your glaze very hard to maneuver causing streaks, start and stop lines.

Many paint manufacturers are now using their own deep tint base, adding water, putting a glazing liquid label on the can, and passing it off as a glazing liquid. It contains the same exact ingredients as their deep tint base. The only difference is that you can go to the paint store and purchase a gallon of their "glazing liquid" for $25 or purchase their deep tint base for $18 or less.

Even if straying from the original color is not important, the deep tint base will not add the open time needed to maneuver your glaze and create that layered look of a faux finish. It also will not seal your creation and protect it from damage.

At our faux finishing school, we use ALL-IN-ONE GLAZING LIQUID™, which is a completely transparent base, not a deep tint paint base. The original paint color remains true with no dilution because the recipe is one part ALL-IN-ONE GLAZING LIQUID™  to one part paint. One to one means no dilution of color. Four to one means a definite dilution of color.

Another great quality of ALL-IN-ONE GLAZING LIQUID™  is that it has an extender added which means a long open time. Open time is the amount of time it takes a paint/glaze mixture to dry. The longer a glaze stays wet the more open time it has.

ALL-IN-ONE GLAZING LIQUID™  can be mixed with any water-based paint, latex or acrylic, artists acrylics, and/or any universal tint. It has all the qualities of any water-based product: low odor, easy clean-up, and it assumes the sheen level of the paint used. If a semi-gloss paint is used, it will remain a semi-gloss mixture. If a satin paint is used, it will remain a satin glaze mixture.

ALL-IN-ONE GLAZING LIQUID™  is made of quality ingredients that maintains the bonding and adhesive qualities of paint, goes on smoothly, and adds the translucency needed for faux finish techniques. It also has a sealer which makes your creation washable after the curing time is observed.

Many artists hear the term glaze and wonder what that is or how one glaze differs from another. Glaze is a term that is used so much in the wrong context that is has almost become a generic term. A glaze is actually any glazing liquid mixed with paint. If you mix an oil-based paint with an oil-based glazing liquid, you will get an oil-based glaze.

That brand name glaze on the paint store shelf is only the paint manufacturers brand of glazing liquid (probably deep tint base), mixed with their paint, and water. Again, the artist is paying an additional cost for the manufacturer to mix and package the product.

Decorative painting is an art as well as a science. It is up to you to decide the exact formulas. Not all paints are created equal. If a certain ratio of paint to glazing liquid works on one brand of paint, that does not mean it will work as well on all brands of paint. There are guidelines but no exact formulas. To learn how to faux finish, one must understand the products.

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