Painting – How to Do a Plastic Finish Subtractive Method

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 34,841
    Professional painter Donnalynne Lefever discusses faux painting and demonstrates how to do a plastic finish subtractive method.

    Donnalynne Lefever

    Donnalynne Lefever is the owner of Lefever Designs and has been in business now for more than 10 years in which she creates faux finishes, murals, tromp l'oiel and artwork of any kind in homes and businesses on walls, floors, ceilings, furniture,etc. mostly in the Metropolitan Washington DC area. She graduated college with a theater degree at the University of Maryland and moved to NYC shortly afterwards to make costumes for Broadway. Upon returning home to Northern Virginia, she met a designer who introduced her to her current field and has been painting ever since. Starting in 1990 she worked with that designer for 3 years, then with a business specializing in faux finishes, murals and tromp l'oiel for an additional 3 years before branching out into her own business. She's taken faux finish classes in the materials she currently works with and numerous art classes as well. One of her favorite materials to work with is leafing; gold, silver or copper. This year, summer 2007, one of her clients/designer had her home featured in the magazine, Washington Spaces, in which a few of the rooms Donnalynne worked on are photographed. She mostly works with designers and by word of mouth which keeps her quite busy. When not creating for others, she creates her own artwork on canvas, clay or other various things. She belongs to the local art organizations of Del Ray Artisans in Alexandria, Virginia and Springfield Art Guild in Virginia in which she is currently co-president.

    Hi, my name is Donnalynne Lefever and now, we are ready to move on to a totally different kind of finish. This is a plastic finish. We are going to do a subtractive method and that basically means the glaze goes on first then we put the plastic on and remove it. So, we are going to start with a different color this time. We are going to do mildew green and the first one I want to start with is Saran wrap. It is actually cool to do. So, what you do is you just put your glaze on, you cover your surface. I don't think it really matters. It doesn't have to be on perfect. It can be -- do watch how thick or thin or like if you do it really, really thick versus something thin it will work differently.

    What we want to do is see if when you put it on, even when you are doing it on the wall, this can easily be the case. You can -- let's say you get your glaze on, you put your plastic on and you remove too much. Well, then start over. Just put some more glaze on and do it again. What you want to do is pull off a controllable piece of plastic Saran wrap because otherwise it gets too unruly and then you are going to actually just put it down on the surface. What you are going to do is smoosh it up a little bit, smooth it out and if I take this often it's all gone, no, it's not. You can see how you get a more of an organicy kind of look to it.

    Now, let's try again. You can't use the plastic over and over again. At least not for this technique because it is especially with Saran wrapping because it clings to itself which is what is it supposed to do. But anyway, you try -- you go, do your one section then go on in again. You don't - actually, I should not even do this. Don't make it look perfect. Putting straight lines down when you go from one section to the next section and next section on the wall can create sometimes lines and then let us know it look so great. So, you want to try to make it look, what I call inconsistently consistent.

    So, anyway then you go the next section, you lay it out, again smoosh it up, however much you smoosh it will determine the patterning that actually is created and then you rip it off. Now, you can see I got that one a little lighter than the other one. Now, I am going to show you a cheaty so, if you don't really want to go through all of your plastic unless you can, just slightly dab down and you just broke it up a little bit. Now, I am going to show you one other that is more of the Saran wrap. I am going to show you with the thicker grade plastic. I have already got it precut and then I will show you later how to cut the plastic. This is one millimeter Plastic Drop Cloth.

    So, anyway, depending on the size and actually this is too big so, I am going to go ahead and cut right now anyway. Depending on what it is this particular plastic is nice. I don't particularly like the 0.

    7 millimeter. It's too thin and you can try it with different kinds of plastic as it just creates different things. But here, you can already see how it makes a bigger imprint than what this one right next to it does. So, it's cool to know that you can do that. There is also one other sheet so that's how you see all these lines that are showing in here and you don't particularly like them. You can make it more and do the other technique which I am going to show you in a second and that's just takes off a little bit and then it makes it so that you don't see that issue. So, that's the first one. Now, I am going to show you without - that is considered putting it on flat. We are going to do this one different now. This one is the one I find a lot of people like and it is very successful and easy to do. So, again you put your glaze on same way and then you take your plastic and this one actually is pretty simplified. I actually recommend for doing the sample, it is okay to have bare hands but I recommend that you actually use gloves. I use latex gloves because this gets really messy after a while and your hands are going to be like all gooey. But anyway, this is just a dab method. Then you will have to twist and turn it and you are always going to look for a clean section on the plastic because it will get dirty and then you need to get a new piece. I also tend to cut a bunch of plastic ahead of time because it's just makes it easier. Especially when you are doing a wall I recommend you do enough that you think it can cover the whole wall before you actually go on or you may take your thought because you will be like trying to cut the plastic and your glaze is already dry. This plastic comes just from any hardware store. It is the plastic drop cloth that goes this and you can get the really super thick plastic drop cloth but they will create a different more of blobby look. So, it just depends on what kind of look. I don't recommend Saran wrap for this because it's too thin. It will all bow it together and then you won't have that kind of look. So, that's basically the entire look. Here are some of the other colors. One of the things that I want to show you is when it's a really dark color you can put a finished coat over it. It just clears your thing. Water based your thing. That actually brings out the depth of the color. So, depending on this you can leave it without the finish but it just gets a little richer if you don't and then you can have lighter colors, darker colors or you can do the finish on the walls and Stri your trim which you have already learned. Let me show you really quickly when you get the drop cloth, this one has been cut somewhat but all you want to do is just take a certain distance and just cut. That's usually more than enough for each size. Don't cut it too small or it becomes a nuisance and if you go like this, this is really too small to grab and do it the way that you want. It's inconvenient and you can see how it just falls into my hand too easily. You don't get as much variation or interest with it.

    So, anyway, that's pretty much doing the subtractive method for plastic.