Guest Blog – Whitson’s Impasto Plaster

An Example Of Whitsons Impasto Primer Used To Give Texture On A Wall
You can use Whitsons Impasto Plaster to texture and interest to walls.

We are relaunching our “Decorative Plaster” as “Impasto Plaster”. Why are we relaunching? Because we want to make a big thing about how great and versatile this product is and we needed a different word to describe what it did. Hopefully the word “Impasto” will help artists, decorative painters and gilders understand a little more what this product does.

Since we are relaunching we also thought it would be fun to share some techniques with the ever-wonderful GLS customers and show you something of what it can do.

Whitson’s Impasto Plaster is a versatile clay based plaster for adding texture to any decorative finish on interior surfaces. It is easy to use, comes in a neutral base – fully tintable with universal colourants – and dries to a hard, durable film. It can be used to create embossing and textured finishes, can be over-coated with all paints and enhanced with glazes, waxes, gilding and protective topcoats. Alternatively, it can be used as a finish without extra coats if required. It can be polished like a lime plaster too.

Apply with trowel, spatula, sponge or roller to an optimum depth of no more than 1- 2mm at a time to avoid cracking (although you can crack it if you want to… I’ll talk about that later).

An Image of A Striped Effect On A Wall Achieved Using Impasto Plaster And Metal Leaf
Using Whitsons Impasto Plaster and either metallic paint or metal leaf you can create your own fantastic striped effects!

The first technique is done using metallic foil beneath, but you could use Roberson’s Liquid Metal to equal effect.  We then used 6mm masking tape to mask off the stripes, we laid US style cheesecloth (a sort of open weave muslin) over the surface which has a more open weave than many fabrics however you could use all sorts of fabrics, like lace or a scrim type material or none at all…this is a product definitely worth playing with. Then the plaster was tinted using Mixol colourants and applied with a small trowel. You could also roller it on, just thin it a little with water beforehand. Then we allowed it to set up till it was beginning to become firm.  Do test pull away of the cloth, if it goes into nasty peaks it’s too soon. Don’t panic though if it does get peaks you can sand these off.

Finally, we used a white scumble glaze tinted with Polyvine Universal tints, which is a nice clean white.

If you want to encourage cracking then thicker layers can be applied and/or force dried with a hairdryer will give a more dramatic effect. You can also put some crackle glaze underneath it but practice that one first, you can only touch the plaster once as you apply it.

Cracked Plaster Effect

Here are a couple of examples of cracking –

This chest of drawers was primed, and the plaster was trowelled through a stencil. The plaster was then blow dried to encourage cracking. The surface was painted black, sized and we used foil, however you could use a foam roller and silver paint and “dry roller” over the top. It was then glazed with a black glaze (I used Polyvine acrylic glaze tinted with Polyvine tints) and varnished. A stage could have been cut if the plaster had been tinted black.

Flexibility

Because of its unique flexibility this product is perfect for use on flexible substrates like canvas and for off-site application of installation work. This flexibility means it can be applied to a variety of surfaces and shipped to site without concerns of delamination. The acrylic and clay formulation mean there are no concerns with incompatibility with other water-based products.

Here is a finish carried out by Lesley Anne Kinney of Bespoke Decorative Artisans. She has used a patterned croc roller to create the texture, but just check out how flexible this really is.

As this is a clay and acrylic medium – seal any raw substrate with a suitable primer sealer, for already coated surfaces apply Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer unless it is coated in an acrylic coating already.

Impasto Plaster dries in 20/30 minutes depending on the thickness of the coat applied.

Once the film feels hard and no longer cold you can recoat the Impasto Palster. To render the plaster scrubbable apply a good quality acrylic varnish.
After use cover the remaining plaster with plastic film and seal up the container, by doing so this material will keep for up 1 year.

Clean up and dilution is with water

We have more information about the product in this PDF download – https://www.caitwhitson.com/uploads/tinymce/Techniques%20for%20Impasto%20Plaster.pdf

TDS is here – https://www.caitwhitson.com/uploads/tinymce/TDS%20Impasto%20Plaster.pdf

and the MSDS – https://www.caitwhitson.com/uploads/tinymce/MSDS%20Impasto%20Plaster.pdf

More Example Finishes!

New Product – The Richard Gilding Tip

A portrait of Richard Walker working with gold leaf.
Richard is a master gilder and teacher with experience in all forms of gilding.

Now available on our website is an innovative new gilding tip – The Richard! This tip breaks with the traditional design of gilders tip. Tips usually have of a strip of long squirrel hair for holding the leaf. Instead The Richard uses a square of suede. This allows the tip to cleanly pick up, support and then release whole squares of gold with little effort.

This new tip is the product of years of experience in gilding and teaching by its creator Richard Walker. Richard is not only a talented gilder but he is also a passionate educator. His website, watergild.com, has a range of useful projects and guides on it and Richard is also available to hire for one-on-one tuition!

The Richard was developed to make gilding quicker and easier, not just for beginners but also for tradespeople and gilders. The suede top is specifically sized to take a whole leaf of gold leaf or other precious metal leaves in an 80 x 80 mm leaf size. The main body of the tip is a piece of solid oak topped with a handle. This gives the tip overall a pleasing heft that aids in the process of both picking up and laying the metal leaves.

Each tip comes in it’s own padded box along with a small tin of Vaseline™ for charging the The Richard.

If you would like to read more about The Richard or find full instructions and a video on using it then please click here. 

New Product Available – Modern Masters Metal Effects Reactive Paint Kits

Modern Masters Metal Effects paint is a high-tech acrylic paint with genuine metal particles mixed inside this. This unique formulation means that it develops patina or rust with time, giving an authentic aged look to any surface, indoors or outdoors!

These new kits have everything you need to transform a cupboard, a planter, or even a small wall into beautiful and natural looking oxidised metal finish. The kits contain a primer, the unique paint and a special activator to speed up the oxidation process! Using this activator, you can create your finishes by taking mere minutes to apply it! The kit also includes brushes and stirring sticks. It really is everything you need in one convenient box!

Click here if you’d like to read more about these kits or if you’ve got something around your home that you’d like to give a trendy, aged metal appearance to!

We Are Now The Official UK Distributor for Kölner Gilding Products!

It pleases us to announce that starting this month we are now the exclusive UK distributor for Kölner products! Starting from today we will stock and distribute their range of high-end, German-made gilding products.

Our relationship with Kölner started with a workshop in London last winter. An enthusiastic group of our most talented clients braved the freezing weather to take a class in gilding using the Kölner Instacoll Gilding System. Peter Voshart, one of the owners of Kölner demonstrated this and Kölner’s other innovative gilding products. Under his expert tutelage the class was treated to a demonstration of finishes possible using Kölner’s revolutionary products.

Our clients have years of experience with traditional gilding and products. In spite of this, Peters infections enthusiasm and confidence in his product soon swayed even the most dubious of them. The initial apprehension on how well the product would work vanished as soon as Peter guided them through their first application of the Instacoll Gilding system. After laying leaf onto the Instacoll Base all it took was a buff to create a glossy finish. The brightness and gloss of the gilt finish blew them away, even the biggest naysayers!

Pictured, from left to right: Steve, director of Gold Leaf Supplies and Armin, Claire and Peter from Kölner

We were so impressed by Kölner’s products that we needed to know more. One of the directors of Gold Leaf Supplies, Steve Rees, decided to visit the factory in Germany. The staff of Kölner showed the warmest hospitality and offered Steve a guided tour. After touring the factory Steve saw examples of items gilded using the Instacoll Gilding System. The finishes that trained German gilders have created using Instacoll are breathtaking. The visit convinced Steave that Kölner would be an excellent company to work with. Kolner’s staff and directors were friendly and impeccably professional, and their product excellent. The magnificent range of work on display was all the proof that their range would fit well with our client base and existing products.

Kölner’s range of products for gilding is quite broad, with a product for almost any use, including stone, ceramics and more. Their flagship product is the Instacoll Gilding System. This water-based system creates intense high-gloss gilded finishes on both interior and exterior surfaces. For stonemasons we recommend Kölner Rapid Stone. This product designed for stonemasons and letter cutters looking to gild blasted or carved stone. Another specialist product is Kölner Miniatum. It’s designed for use on flexible surfaces such as paper, leather, and vellum – it’s perfect for illuminating manuscripts. If you are looking to gild, or repair previous gilding, on ceramic items then Kölner’s Ceramic Size is the best product for the job. Finally, Kölner Permacoll is a superb, water-based adhesive size. It’s well-suited for large interior projects, such as gilding walls and ceilings.

All the above products mentioned above and more are available for in our online shop. We stock smaller sizes for enthusiasts and hobbyists alongside larger pack sizes for trade users. Our range of products also includes professional quality gilding tools for any gilder.

Click here to view the Kölner section on our website.

We will be organising further tutorial workshops from Autumn onward. Please watch this space for details or contact our office.

New and utterly fantastic – Whitson’s Super Adhesion Primer

No more sanding and extensive prep on difficult surfaces!

WHIT-GROUPMade from natural soya alkyd with a small PU content, Whitson’s is a water based, no fuss primer designed to give high adhesion to factory finished kitchens, cabinetry and problem substrates. It will allow you to easily transform any existing painted or sealed surface without hours of preparation and with no unpleasant smell. This Super-Adhesion Primer can be applied directly to tiles, plastic and melamine as well as high lacquer surfaces.

The primer was developed by Cait Whitson and Gibson Donaldson from Carte Blanche Decorative Painters (http://www.decoratescotland.com/) who are Specialist Painters and Decorators with over 30 years’ experience. One of their specialities is transforming cabinetry and furniture. Whitson’s Ltd came about when they had the opportunity to join forces with a really great formulations chemist, Nick Dubbels, who was the catalyst to allow them to invent products that helped solve problems – they are the painters making paint for painters!!!

Cait and Gibson were so frustrated over the years with what they had to work with to re-vamp kitchens, furniture, factory finished doors and contract materials like veneers, foils, melamine etc. that they decided to develop their own product.  What they found was that the products on the market that were nice to use, water based with easy clean up didn’t work very well; and while there were ones that worked very well, those were smelly, sticky, difficult to get a good finish with, expensive and ruined brushes!

They wanted something that worked brilliantly, flowed nicely, didn’t affect your health, taint food or leave a home or commercial project smelling terrible. After much research and development, Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer was the result! It adheres to many problem substrates – oil based paints, varnishes, plastics and tiles.

Is there anything it doesn’t do? Well there are no particular stain blocking properties; it is designed for interior use – however it can be used outdoors as long as it is not applied in humid or cold weather which will have a delayed effect on drying and curing. Of course testing before working on an unknown substrate is advised.

“This primer is the best adhesion primer we have ever used. Fantastic Cait & to be water based is amazing. Brilliant work!” – Henry Van Der Vijver and the HVArt team give the Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer a massive thumbs up!

Makeover using the Whitsons Super Adhesion Primer

Fireplace transformation – painted by Gibson Donaldson of Carte Blanche Decorative Painters

This fireplace was varnished pine and composite moulding and was very shabby. The client was looking for a makeover and wanted it to match her fabulous new radiators in antiqued pewter.

It needed a thorough sand before applying a coat of Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer. With it’s great coverage and superior adhesion the fireplace barely needed sanding before the next phase. Once the primer was dry it was caulked and filled as necessary and then a coat of Liquid Metal Acrylic – Warm Platinum was painted over the whole surface. As an aside,  if you want to work with metallic paints and brush apply them then you need the right brushes, there are special ones specifically for the Liquid Metal Acrylic paint and they are more expensive than other, cheaper general purpose paint brushes but they are well worth having.

Liquid Metals are dry very quickly and can be recoated in a short period of time. After the first coat Gibson did a quick dry brush over all the high spots that will be revealed after second coat just to solidify the coverage. Then a coat of Liquid Metal Acrylic – Graphite was applied. Gibson masked off the detail and stippled it and then with a damp cloth pad wiped off the high spots to reveal the colour below. Then he painted the flats with the Liquid Metal Acrylic Brushes, wiping back only the edges of the contours.

Then once dry he used a patinating fluid – he made this using General Finishes Black Glaze Effects and a bit of Extender. This glaze dries fast so for this small project it was perfect, the glaze was stippled on and then wiped off with a soft cloth. This left the glaze in the crevices, lending more definition to the carving and enhancing the effect of the highlights. Once dry a coat of Robersons Universal Lacquer was applied over the whole of the fireplace to protect it.


And after four visits of varying lengths we have this finished result and a delighted customer!

New Product Range Available – Caselo Classic Casein Paint!

If you’re a gilder who has used Plaka in the past then you probably know the frustration of Pelikan discontinuing their larger sizes of Plaka Paint in certain colours. While all the colours of Plaka will continue to be available in their current smaller sizes we now have an alternative for those who need larger, cost effective quantities for their projects. Caselo paint boasts many of the same properties that make Plaka superb as a base coat for gilding. It dries quickly to a smooth, velvety matt surface that makes for a superb surface for further gilding. Many of our gilding customers recommend it as a good alternative to Plaka.

Caselo comes in 500ml tubs and is available in a variety of colours including  black, white, yellow ochre, a variety of red hues and shades of blue and green.

Click here to view Caselo Paints on our website

Modern Paints Need Modern Brushes – Now Available In Our Store : The Fox Painting & Decorating Brushes!

Due to regulations concerning VOCS manufacturers have been switching their paint bases from traditional oil- and solvent-bases to water- and acrylic- bases. What this means for painters and decorators is that older style brushes with natural filaments are less and less useful as they tend to soak up water into the hair, losing their stiffness and becoming floppy in the process. For water-based paints you ideally need a synthetic filament brush and one of the best synthetic-filament brushes available on the market right now are The Fox brushes.

These brushes are designed by traditional painters for professional painters, striking a perfect balance between quality and price. You don’t need to be a professional decorator to use these brushes though!

The most distinctive feature of The Fox brushes are their reddish-brown filaments – specially formulated from a poly/nylon blend they are designed to work with modern paints (fully VOC 2010 proof) while still boasting good performance with oil-based products. The synthetic filaments maintain their rigidity even when loaded with paint, allowing for precise and solid cuts – and speaking of paint loading, the long bristles can hold a surprisingly large amount of it!

The Fox range consists of a number of brushes, the Straight Cut brushes are your standard paint brush and are great for laying down smooth, accurate cuts on large surfaces. The Laying Off brushes are designed for laying off, or brushing back over your paint to soften brush marks to give a smooth finish to your paint. The Sash Brushes are designed for painting tall, thin surfaces – like the sashes of windows or door frames, and come in both a regular Round Sash and an Angled Sash, which has the brush head at an angle, allowing it to reach into tight spots. The Fitch Liners are perfect for small detail work and fine lining and finally The Cub is a small, accurate all-round brush that’s useful for corners and edges.

Each of these brushes share the same, specially formulated filaments for optimum performance with water-based paints and come mounted onto unvarnished beechwood handles with stainless steel ferrules.

Every brush in the range is very competitively priced, especially considering if you look after them these brushes will last a long, long time!

Click here to view our range of The Fox brushes!

Check out some testimonials from satisfied customers here –

 “This is an excellent brush with a familiar bristle matched with a Kaiser handle. The length of filament is just right for acrylic paints and the unvarnished handle fits comfortably in the hand. Applies paint easily and smoothly, It also cleans up well.” – RT

“The Fox is an awesome brush at a very competitive price. Holds a surprisingly large amount of paint and has great spreading rate and accuracy. Fantastic brushes, you must give these fiery redheads a go.” – K.B.

“What an amazing brush The Fox is. The uptake of paint seems to be far more than other well-known brands & it almost makes painting effortless. There has obviously been much thought gone into the design of The Fox and everyone involved in the development should take a bow!” – M.F.