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Painting Basics - Finishing
By Prudy Vannier

A good finish is essential to protect a project and add life to it.

First, check your project for graphite lines that need to be erased or details that need to be fixed.

Can the design be enhanced with antiquing or fly specking? Do this with Burnt Umber. To antique, float or wash over Burnt Umber then lightly wipe. To fly speck, load a fan brush with thinned paint and then tap the handle to spatter the surface.

Occasionally, to have the wonderful architectural qualities of wood detail such as a routed edge emphasized, you can sand it so that the lines are contrasted and show up a little more on the finished piece.

Now that the project is perfect, how do you varnish? Varnish comes in several finishes.
A matte varnish has no shine.
A satin varnish has a little shine and is the most popular.
A gloss varnish is very shiny. You would use this on a special piece to give it an old-fashioned lacquer finished look.

Choose a varnish that is non-yellowing and dries clear. Use brush on or spray, and this depends on the project. A little nutcracker will take one coat of brush on. A bigger project will take more coats, sanding between for a smoother finish. For a large plate, a perfect finish requires a couple coats of brush on, then a finish coat of spray varnish.

Polyurethane is a good type finish for “working” projects like a tray. It is a hard, plastic-like finish that endures wipe ups.

Apply varnish with a large soft brush in long, even strokes.


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