I have been cleaning up old files on my hard drive and found this tutorial I wrote for A Vintage Charm several years back and thought I would share it with you.
I know we have all seen these cheese domes at flea markets/garage sales/thrift stores for next to nothing, ( I think I paid .25 for this one) and often as not just as dirty as this one. And “nothing” is exactly what my brain always came up with when I considered what I might do to recycle or reuse these babies. Then one day the light bulb went on. Why not use it like a glass cloche, which is a great way to highlight art, a collectible or just that something special you love. Plus it is cheaper than a cloche! Perfect! But first I had to clean it, then sand the wood base.
Since these wood bases usually have a finish on them sanding helps make sure the paint will stick. I usually start with 100 or 150 grit paper. You aren’t trying to remove the old finish, you just want to rough it up somewhat. Then sand again with something like 220 grit smooth out the roughness. Rub your hand over the wood to make sure you got all the rough spots. If you don’t have 220 grit, don’t worry, grab a brown paper bag and tear off a small part (a part with no printing) to act as your fine grit sandpaper. Works like a charm! And please make sure to always wipe away your sanding dust after every sanding. Even if you think there isn’t any…there is… and it will show up when you paint.
Next prime the base. Another option for primer would be Gesso or white spray paint, but NOT gloss! Any of these will work just fine for what we are doing. Let dry. Sand once more…to knock down any rough spots you may have incurred with priming.
Basecoat with your preferred color. You can use acrylic paint, satin or eggshell interior latex. You need a minimum of two coats. If after two coats it looks streaky add a third coat. Sand between each coat with your fine grit paper for a nice smooth finish.
I basecoat with a cheap bristle chip brush from the DIY store, or a sponge brush will work. Always size your brush to your project for less stroke marks. Be sure you paint all sides and bottom for a nice professional look when you are done.
When dry you can lightly distress the edges with your sandpaper, or you can wait to distress after we glaze. I sanded mine after I glazed it.
Time to glaze! Glaze is a product that helps make paint become transparent and dry slower. Once it is brushed on it is then usually wiped off in some kind of fashion.
My glaze happened to be a professional glaze left over from my faux finishing days. It has been years since I mixed this up and although my container is a mess; my glaze is still perfectly good after all this time.
So what can you use? You have options! Lowe’s and Home Depot both carry glaze, either already in a dark brown color or clear tintable glaze so you can add your own color. Any arts and crafts paint manufacturer carries a glaze, ie: Golden, Liquitex, Deco Art, etc and supply you with directions for mixing their glaze with a paint color. For our purposes a nice brown color is what we want.
If you don’t have glaze and don’t want to buy glaze, you still have another option. Mix up a wash of brown paint and water. This won’t give you the open time a glaze does but since it is a wash you have enough time to get it on and wipe it off since it is not a big piece. Because you do have to wait for glaze to dry and sometimes it may be over night depending on your temperature and humidity, I do use a wash on small projects a lot of times when I don’t feel like waiting for glaze to dry. Whew, okay let’s move on!
Again, use a good sized brush to add your glaze. In this picture you can see my chip brush I used. It’s a 1.5”. I paint the glaze first in one direction, then in the opposite direction to make sure I have everything covered in glaze.
With your "pouf" start gently and quickly dab the glazed surface, then begin to remove the excess glaze with small circular moves. Work lightly! No hard rubbing. We are trying to give this an aged appearance, so we want the glaze to soften the basecoat color and remain in some areas but not in an obvious manner. Let dry.
As I mentioned above, I lightly distressed my edges with sanding after I glazed, but it can be done before or after. Sanding before you glaze allows ageing of the sanded edges.
I added a coat of satin water base varnish to the wood after this step. You can use whatever sealer you normally use or have on hand. A clear spray sealer will work just as well. Let dry.
You can leave this as is and start adding whatever centerpiece you want to add but I took it a step further and added the back cover of an old sheet music book to the center portion.
Another option would be a page from a vintage book, sheet music, scrapbook paper. A paper doily or even fabric! I spread my surface with Tacky glue, laid my paper on top, smoothed it out with an old credit card, center to outside edge, then when dry I trimmed the edges with an exacto knife.
Ok, I can hear some of you now :)... but Gail why go to the trouble of glazing the whole base when you are going to cover most of it? Weelll...I happen to work very intuitively. Which means I don't always know where I will end up when I start out. So the addition of the paper was a decision I made after I painted, glazed and sealed. I just felt I needed something more to tie in with my nest.
Plus, whether I work three dimensionally or digitally it is always, always for me, all about the layers. And you just can not achieve a rich layered look without actually doing the work of adding layers. Which sometimes means covering other things up. So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)
I added feathers and yarn to my nest to simulate a real nest and glued in the eggs. I glued the nest to my surface, added some moss around the base, then added the word faith printed on aged muslin I serendipitously found in my scraps stash. And I called it done.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and maybe next time you see one of these for next to nothing you will be inspired to say “Aha I know what I can do with that!”
Happy weekend my friends!
xxoo ~ Gail