Moulds are silicone templates for all kinds of shapes. You fill them with a medium like clay, modeling material, or resin and the appliques harden. You attach them to surfaces for a unique design. I love using them on furniture and decor to add details to my designs. I prefer to use fast cast resin. It comes in 2 parts and you mix them in equal parts then pour it into the mould. It hardens within 10 to 15 minutes and turns white. You pop them out of the mould and can attach straight away or paint them first and then attach. It is pliable for a short time after it hardens. This makes it convenient for attaching on curved surfaces or anything uneven. You can also heat the resin moulds to soften them and make them pliable again.
You can use many types of adhesive to attach them. I like using e6000 as it is durable and dries clear. There are many industrial strength adhesives available. Try them and decide which is your favorite. I tape the mould in place until the glue has had time to dry. The weight of the appliques causes them to slide down. If you are applying on a flat surface level to the ground you don’t need to but if it’s upright it’s best to do so. It also ensures the applique remains flush to the surface without any gaps on the sides of it. Experiment with your favorite casting medium to achieve your preferred look. Clay tends to crack and shrink as it dries. Resin does not shrink or crack. Depending on what you are hoping to achieve you will want to use a certain product that has the characteristics you like.
Before you paint, furniture prep is just as important as the finish. Your furniture will only last as long as the base beneath the paint. Most paint companies claim no prep is needed but it’s just a generalized statement with the caveat that the surface you paint on is ready to be painted. You must clean, do whatever repairs are needed, sand if needed, strip if needed, and make sure that the paint will adhere so that a scratch with your nail doesn’t result in seeing the wood underneath. The proper cure times are essential as well.
How do you know what to use and how to use it for prep? It depends on the surface slickness. Some pieces are made of pressed wood with a lacquer or laminate over it. This causes sleek surfaces that make it difficult for paint to adhere properly. That’s when priming is a must. Primers are made to adhere to glossy and slick surfaces however even primer has issues adhering to laminate type surfaces which repel water and thus repel the primer. You will need to sand so that there is some grip given to the product you use on it. I painted a laminate surface on MDF wood. MDF looks nothing like real wood but is comprised of wood fibers. An attractive finish is needed over it. Most of the time it is a faux wood-looking laminate that can be a solid color as well. I used a primer over it and after it had dried, proceeded to paint it with a high-quality paint that claims no prep is needed. What resulted was a peeling mess. The paint would not go on evenly and streaked. No matter how many layers I tried to cover it with, it still peeled easily. I stripped it and sanded the surface with 120 grit paper. After that, I went ahead and primed then painted. The paint stuck and didn’t peel. The lesson of the story, deglossing is not enough on the contact paper like laminate nor does primer prevent paint from peeling. Sanding is a must in certain instances. You cannot cut corners trying to go around essential steps in prep.
Shellac is made from secretions of the female lac bug. It is used to seal wood for a more durable finish. It is self-leveling. It also prevents wood tannins from seeping into the paint and stains that you cannot see coming through like cup rings. It provides a solid layer like resin for stain blocking properties. Certain woods are prone to bleed through more like cedar and redwood. Back in the day when people often smoked inside their homes, the nicotine coats the furniture over time. This is another reason a thorough cleaning with a product like the Krud Kutter degreaser is important to strip off accumulated layers of nicotine and old varnish. Sanding further removes any residue. If you use a shellac-based primer like the Zinsser Bin advance primer, it will help with paint adherence, coverage, and blocking stains as well as bleed-through of tannins. The staining is especially noticeable with light-colored paints and notoriously white paint. White paint is prone to yellowing for many different factors including bleed-through of tannins. This is not to say your white paint finish won’t yellow over time due to sunlight, what you use to seal it as an oil-based varnish will certainly yellow it, and what is used to clean the furniture. Do your diligence to prevent yellowing as much as possible with the proper prep.
I often use a deglosser as the last step as it helps remove any left over varnish and helps with adherence by making the surface a bit tacky to touch. It does not replace sanding. A deglosser merely coats the surface, it doesn’t prevent staining or bleed through. It’s useful to make surfaces less glossy but if you need to sand, you must sand. I like to prime even if it’s not necessary as it helps with the coverage of paint. If you are painting with a light color, you will not need to use as many layers because the primer has excellent coverage if it’s a quality one and it comes in white or gray. You must have a good base layer with certain paints like metallics. Primers are generally cheaper than the boutique paints that are popular these days. Even if the primer is costly, I prefer to use one layer of primer and decrease the double amount of layers I need to apply using light colors. If you are painting black, it isn’t necessary to prime most of the time. You would use a gray primer if you are using cold tone colors like purple, silver, blue, and dark green or dark red. The gray brings out the true shade of the colors.
There is no shortcut to proper prep. Be mindful of what you are using and its properties. There are instances when you can just clean and paint but I prefer to be careful especially selling my furniture. I want it to last for another lifetime. Be wise in choosing the correct products and steps. Remember, the slicker the surface, the more you need to be leery of your paint peeling. For certain paints, you must use primer like with latex paint as it’s a paint meant for walls and not heavy traffic surfaces. You want to be able to clean the furniture after it’s been painted and cured. The paint should not peel or rub off when cleaning with soap and water. Extra steps will avoid extra headaches in the future of having to touch up the furniture.
Decoupage is when you apply an image onto the surface with various mediums so that it adheres. The most common decoupage product is tissue paper as it is thin and easier to apply to the surface without worries of peeling and seeing the edge of the paper if it doesn’t span across the entire area. Other choices are posters, napkins, and other paper like products with a design. When decoupaging, the desired look is one that is smooth, without wrinkles, flat upon the surface, and subtle so that it looks like it is part of the surface. Depending on the thickness and texture of the paper, techniques will vary.
I prefer to use heavier ply tissue papers as there is less likelihood of tearing and wrinkling. If you order tissue papers from sites like Zazzle, you have the option to pick the size and thickness. Ordering the thicker option will make it easier to decoupage and seal. My preferred product is spray adhesives like 3M’s 45 spray adhesive as it is strong but allows you to readjust if needed while remaining sticky. I spray the back of the paper, let the adhesive set a bit, usually a minute and then apply it to the surface and smooth it out with a brayer or wallpaper smoothing tool. I start at the center and smooth towards the edges. I then seal using a spray topcoat like Rustoleum’s spray polyurethanes. Usually, a few coats are sufficient. If the edges lift a little, I put some glue underneath and press it back down. The same applies to napkins or any other lightweight paper.
If you are decoupaging something thicker like a poster, you need a thicker paste like adhesive such as wallpaper or modge podge so that it will not peel. Spread a thin layer onto the surface and press the poster down doing from center to the edges with a smoothing tool. Let it dry and you can seal with a polyacrylic or polyurethane but make sure you do not apply it too thick as the paper will bubble up and distort. If this happens, do not panic. You can iron it smooth with an iron and piece of parchment paper on top of the poster. The iron on method will help smooth any bubbling or wrinkling with any type of paper. You can also use a heat gun and smooth with your tool.
I love the Redesign with Prima decoupage papers because they are intended for decoupage and the textures and paper fibers were chosen to make decoupage easy and durable. They have a few different types of papers made of mulberry fibers. The thicker decoupage paper with a dryer sheet like texture is the easiest as it will not wrinkle no matter the products you use if you smooth it on correctly. You can use any sort of adhesives like modge podge, gesso, and a spray adhesive. You can also use a wet medium like polyurethane or polyacrylic to adhere it just make sure it dries. When you topcoat, the topcoat permeates the paper and further adheres it on the surface.
The rice papers are a thinner consistency but more durable than tissue papers. I prefer a spray adhesive for these as it eliminates the issue of wrinkling. However, the texture of the paper camouflages any wrinkling fairly well. I like to tear the edges before applying so that I can blend around the paper with paint to make it look like the design spans across the whole surface. If you do need to smooth it, you can use the iron on method as well.
The new large decoupage rice papers are thicker than the rice papers and you can see the mulberry fibers on the back. Again, I prefer spray adhesives with a higher strength like 3M’s 90 spray adhesive to adhere them. I spray the back of the paper and apply it going from top to bottom slowly. I apply a bit of gesso or modge podge to the edges to make sure they stay nice and flat. If you use a spray adhesive it should not wrinkle. If you use a paste like gesso or modge podge, make sure you spread it in thin across the surface before applying the paper or as you apply the paper. The papers can be sealed with polyurethane or polyacrylic once you let the paper adhesive dry completely. Use the iron on method if it does wrinkle and you need to eliminate any creases.