Glaze Gives Furniture a Rich Look

Glaze is essential in creating rich, dimensional paint treatments such as in many faux and decorative paint techniques.

Glaze is simply a thin, translucent film of color that's painted over a base coat. Many faux and decorative paint techniques require glaze; it's essential to create rich, dimensional paint treatments. Here, decorative painter Gary Lord gives you the DIY Basics so you can start glazing like a pro.

  • Glaze is added to paint to extend the drying time -- which gives you more time to work with your glaze to create the look you want.
  • Water-based glazes and paints are the easiest to work with and to clean up.
  • You can buy glazes that are already tinted, or you can make up your own glaze color:
  • To tint, combine glazing medium with your paint (either latex or acrylic). Generally the ratio is four parts glaze to one part paint, but you should follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • The amount of glazing medium you add to the paint can affect the color of the glaze. When you're using lighter paint colors, a 4-to-1 mixture will not affect the value of the color. But darker colors may be altered to a lighter color value when mixed with too much glaze. It's always best to experiment with the color on a piece of posterboard.
  • The translucency of the glaze is determined by how much paint you add: more paint than glaze results in less translucency; less paint than glaze results in more translucency. I always like to test my glaze on a scrap board or posterboard to make sure it's the right consistency and translucency.
  • A key to a beautiful glaze treatment is the surface you'll be painting on. A low-luster or semigloss latex or acrylic paint will seal the surface well and allow you to manipulate the glaze and keep a wet edge.
  • Avoid using a flat latex base coat.
  • You apply glaze just as you would apply paint, with a brush or roller. Again, work in small sections: roll on the glaze, finish the technique and then move on to the next section. And if you're doing a two-person job, make sure one person is always rolling and the other is working with the glaze. That will give you the most consistent treatment.
  • Drying time for glaze varies; usually you have about 10 to 20 minutes to work with the glaze before it dries completely. To increase the drying time, add a paint extender to your mixture. Because of the time constraints, it's usually best to work in 2' sections.

It's possible to create beautiful paint treatments using glaze. Just remember:

  • Paint on a semigloss surface.
  • Mix glaze to the right translucency and consistency.
  • Work in small sections.
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