A new take on the well-known use of stencils, raised relief work is an impressively chic yet simple way to bring modern textured finishes into everyday surroundings. This effect can be used to imitate intricate carvings or moldings, adding style and elegance to flat or plain surfaces. It can also introduce a uniform theme into a kitchen with cupboard doors of
different shapes and sizes.
Impasto, a thick, textured paint that produces a raised finish, and is relatively quick-drying, is used here. It can be painted, colorwashed, and sanded back to create a subtle, distressed look. Used in conjunction with metallic effects such as metal leaf or gilt creams, it can lend a lavish, sumptuous feel to a kitchen. Or, as shown here, it can be applied using a neutral color scheme for a simple, modern style.
This technique is only suitable for solid wooden and fiberboard doors- it will not work on melamine, vinyl, or laminate surfaces. Prepare the door following the instructions
on pages 6-9, applying two coats of acrylic primer. Apply a coat of cream matte latex paint. When dry, sand using finegrade sandpaper.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- A CRYLIC PRIMER
- CREAM MATTE LATEX PAINT
- IMPASTO PAINT, OR A THICK TEXTURED PAINT
- P ALE GRAY COLORWASH
- 2 HOLISEHOLO PAINTBRLlSHES
- V ARNISH BRUSH
- H OG-HAIR SOFTENER
- D ECORATORS’ SPONGE
- SHEET OF PAPER
- B ORDER OR LINEAR STENCIL
- METAL RLiLER
- P ENCIL
- L OW-TACK SPRAY ADHESIVE
- OLD CREDIT CARD OR DECORATOR S’ STEEL FLOAT
- FINE-GRADE SANDPAPER
- M EDILIM-GRADE SANDPAPER
- MATTE ACRYLIC VARNISH
2. MARKING UP
Choose a border or a linear stencil. On a paneled door, draw marks along the center of the outer panel with a pencil; on a plain door, the marks should be about I 1/2 in (40-50mm) in from the edge. Make the same marks at intervals all around the door. Join the marks together to create a registration guide, to be lined up with the center of the stencil design.
3. STENCILING WITH IMPASTO
Decide how often you will need to repeat the stencil design, and at what intervals. Start stenciling in the middle of each length of the door. Spray the back of the stencil with low-tack spray adhesive, line it up with the registration guide, and affix it firmly to the door. Spoon 2 tsp ( 1O ml) of impasto or a thick textured paint onto the edge of a credit card or a decorators’ steel float. Pull the card lightly over the stencil at a 45 degree angle until the stencil is covered evenly. Gently peel way the stencil without disturbing the pattern created. Allow each stencil repeat to dry fully before stenciling the next.
Miter each corner by positioning a sheet of paper at a 45-degree angle underneath the stencil-this will create a professional-looking, picture-frame corner.
Allow each corner section to dry before stenciling the adjacent corner.
5. SANDING ROUGH EDGES
When the stenciled sections are completely dry, lightly sand any rough sections of the raised stenciling using fine grade sandpaper.
Brush or vacuum away excess dust.
6. OVER PAINTING
Apply a fine, even coat of cream matte latex paint over the entire door, taking care to brush out any excess paint that has gathered around the relief stencil design.
Do not “overload”the paintbrush, or the fine detail of the relief motifs may be lost. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Using a varnish brush, apply a coat of matte acrylic varnish over the door. This will create a non-absorbent base for the colorwash. Let the varnish dry thoroughly. Pour I tbsp (15 ml) of pale gray colorwash onto a decorators’ sponge, then spread over the door’s surface using swirling movements. While the colorwash is still wet, lightly brush over it with a hog-hair softener in cross-hatching strokes to obtain a bloom of color.
If you make a mistake while the impasto or thick textured paint is still wet, simply wipe it away with a decorators’ sponge. If you discover a mistake once the impasto has dried, just sand it down and try again.
When the colorwash is thoroughly dry, lightly sand the raised
areas using medium-grade sandpaper. This will create a
distressed effect, and will reveal the paler color of the impasto
or thick textured paint underneath the colorwash. Do not oversand,
or the raised areas may be flattened.
Apply three coats of matte acrylic varnish, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.
We use matte varnish here to enhance the natural chalkiness of this paint technigue. The relief effect will be diminished if a gloss or eggshell (semi-gloss) varnish is used, as these add uniformity to or flatten raised objects.