Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Glaze - What It Is and Why I LOVE It!

Perhaps you have seen some of my pieces and have noticed that often times the description has said "painted and glazed"...the term "glaze" may be recognizable in and of itself, but do you know what exactly it is?

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE glazing because it brings so many more decorative options to the table when it comes to painted furniture. Glaze can be tinted in any colour, and put on top of any colour...so you can imagine how many possibilities there are!

The actual glaze that I use is made by Benjamin Moore and is water based (I use mostly water based for easy clean up, and less stink!). This glaze is hard to come by, even at the Ben Moore stores, since not a lot of painters use glazes on walls anymore, and therefore they do not stock much (if any). I usually have to call ahead to the one store just to be sure they have a quart before I venture down there.

The glaze looks like this...

This of course is a gallon, but I usually go for the quart, as the glaze does go a long way when used properly. A quart costs approximately $25 so it is hard to swallow spending upwards of $40 for a gallon of this stuff at one time!

Basically how this glaze works is that you mix 2 parts glaze to 1 part latex paint (in whatever colour you want) and this extends the paint in a way that gives a translucent quality to the colour, and also allows you to wipe off excess colour without streaking. You can add more colour or less, depending on how heavily you want the colour to show on top of the base coat. For example, a common technique I use is painting a light grey, then glazing a black/dark grey over top. This gives dimension and interest to the surface, while also highlighting any detailing in the piece.

As awesome as this glaze is, it can be very difficult to work with and get to look "just right". You can't go over previously glazed surfaces with more glaze or it removes ALL the glaze in that one spot. Doesn't look pretty. Glaze also sets fairly quickly so you have to work fast and don't have a lot of time to overthink.
And ALWAYS be sure to wipe glaze off with a damp LINT FREE cloth. I can't stress "lint-free" enough!

Here are some photos of pieces that have glazes on them...

Glazing can also be done using an oil-based medium, which of course you would use alkyd (oil) based paints with instead of latex. The bonus about using the oil-based glaze is that you have a little more time to tweak your finish as it doesn't set as quickly, but at the same time, it takes forever and a day to dry depending on how thick of a coat you did of your glaze!

Glaze also still requires a top coat - glaze itself has more of a sheen to it than plain chalk painted surfaces, so I will typically top coat with my Diamond Varathane to maintain that nice smooth finish. You could wax it as well, but that doesn't make as much sense to me, and I worry that the wax won't fully penetrate the surface given that it is already a tad shiny to begin with!

Here is a DIY recipe for oil based glaze I found in case anyone wanted to test it out:

1 part linseed oil

2-4 parts pure turpentine

10% driers (can be purchased at craft stores or paint stores)

plus colourant, you can use artists oils for this but they need to be best quality not student quality

Overall, I think glaze is an amazing tool, although not for the paint of heart! If you want to tackle a piece using glaze your best bet is to try it on an item that has a lot of larger surface areas such as a coffee table or side table - and stay away from chairs (unless you are more experienced with this finish) until you are confident that you know how the glaze works and how quickly you have to work before it sets. 

Any questions? Feel free to contact me at rechicpaintedfurniture@yahoo.ca

Thanks for reading!

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