Thursday 22 December 2011

Crackers and Christmas

Have you seen our fabulous Concerto Crackers?
Each comes with a small whistle
so that you can form a carol-playing orchestra
(very easy instructions included).

Wishing you a very happy Christmas,
and a wonderful New Year.

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Thursday 15 December 2011

How To Gild: Gilded Paint Can Tutorial

This is the last in our festive How To Gild series, leading up to Christmas. We thought we'd end with an easy but incredibly effective tutorial.

Having used the walnuts to demonstrate using loose and transfer leaf, we wanted to take you a little further down the gilding route to create your very own project.

We hope that this will show you how very easy it is to create something really fabulous from something very ordinary, using the techniques we've demonstrated in our How To Gild series.

To make your own gilded container 
you will need:

An empty, clean paint tin

Step 1
Paint the tin using emulsion.

Step 2
Carefully paint on size using the smaller brush. The size needs to be applied only where you want the leaf to stick so bear in mind the eventual pattern that you'd like, whether that be swirls...or thick waves....or finer curves.

Step 3 
When the size has dried, apply the leaf over all the sized sections. It is possible (and straightforward) to interchange the colour of leaf you use.  Here we have used both gold and variegated leaf to gorgeous effect:

Step 4
To ensure durability, apply Liberon Finishing Oil, or wax (which will need buffing). However, we've had these pots for several years now, left unfinished, and they
have lasted beautifully.

Step 5
Stand back and admire your gilding handiwork...

To make these projects as easy as possible, we have put together a Gilding Kit full of the essentials to get you going with your gilding.

When you open your Gilding Kit, you will find:

a wooden-handled bristle brush
a packet of steel wool
a pot of size
a pot of base coat
a pot of antiquing wax
a pack of loose gilding leaf
two walnuts

Our Gilding Kit is £14.99 (plus £4 carriage, if you'd like one sent to you), which is a huge saving on the sum total.

Most of the items included are usually only available in large quantites, when bought separately, so if storage is an issue for you then this is the way to go.

We hope you love it as much as we do.

Happy Gilding.

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Thursday 8 December 2011

How To Gild: Part 3: Loose Leaf

Welcome back to our
How To Gild series.

We've been looking at how to use this fantastic craft
to give your house a really festive look this year.

This week, let's take a closer look at
Gilding with Loose Leaf.
{All materials are available to purchase from Relics - just click on the links.}

The difference between transfer and loose leaf
is that transfer leaf comes attached to waxed paper, whereas loose leaf,
although it is layered for protection between thin sheets of tissue paper,
is not actually attached to anything at all.

This makes it rather flimsy, and more prone to crinkling and tearing. However, loose leaf is considerably cheaper and works very well with moulded surfaces....and is not actually difficult to use, once you get used to its floaty, flyaway qualities.

Loose leaf can also be gently scrunched before use to provide more texture.

It will spring easily back to its original shape.
When you are using it on a curved or moulded surface,
like our walnuts, creating this additional texture works very well.

We started off by painting the surface of our walnuts in
which is a beautiful warm red.

We applied a coat of size, just as with the transfer leaf, 
and waited for it to turn transparent and tacky.

{It can be useful to apply a light dusting of talcum powder to your hands if they are at all sticky, as this will prevent the loose leaf from sticking awkwardly.}

Being careful not to rip or tear the leaf,
we wrapped the walnut up, a bit like a sweet,
and used a soft brush to press the leaf into every nook and cranny.
It's better to dab, rather than brush it as you would with paint, to prevent any unwanted tears.

Once the size has grabbed firmly onto the leaf,
we brushed rather more firmly to remove any excess.
These extra bits can be used to cover any gaps, 
or can be kept for another occasion.

The walnuts can either be left as they are,
completely covered like shiny, golden nuggets, or.....

...they can be distressed to allow the Baked Cherry to be revealed in places.
{The harder you rub at this stage, the more of a distressed look you will create, as little pieces of leaf come away from the surface.}

You can also rub with very fine steel wool,
which, as well as softly pressing away the leaf,
slightly discolours it to provide an aged look.

We love the look of loose leaf gilding. The delicate leaf picks up every detail of the walnut below. There is no end to its uses, particularly at this time of year.

We've put together a gilding kit for you at Relics,
which we'll be showing you next week.....
{though, as always, if you want a sneak preview, then pop in to our shop...} well as a fantastic and easy project for you to try out....

Come back next week, to find out more.


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Thursday 1 December 2011

How To Gild: Part 2: Transfer Leaf

Welcome to Part 2 of our
How To Gild series,
perfect for achieving a festive finish.

{If you missed Part 1,
which covers what you'll need to get started,
then you can find it here.}

This week, we're looking at transfer leaf.
{All materials are available to purchase from Relics of Witney - just click on the links.}

Metal leaf can be bought in two forms:
Of the two, transfer leaf is less daunting for a beginner as the waxed-paper backing allows you a firmer hold, as well as strengthening the leaf.

We've used walnuts in this tutorial to allow us to show you, in detail, the techniques involved when applying transfer leaf.

Begin by brushing your surface with a layer of emulsion. By applying the paint thinly, the details of the surface will show through more clearly. Bear in mind that if you like a distressed finish then the colour of the paint is the colour that will show through beneath the gilding. We used {left to right} Farrow and Ball Calke Green, Hague Blue, Brassica and Plummet.

Coat the painted surface with size (the special glue used for gilding) and wait for the allotted time (usually about fifteen minutes). When ready, the size becomes tacky and transparent, and has a slight sheen.

How you apply the transfer leaf depends on the shape of your object. These walnuts are spherical so we rolled the transfer paper around the nuts, pressing firmly to ensure that all lumps and bumps were coated. The waxed paper peels away, leaving the leaf clinging to the size.

Unwrap the nut and check for any unleafed areas. Then reapply a new area of the transfer leaf until you're satisfied with the coverage.

Softly rub the nut with a clean brush to remove any loose flakes of leaf. Then apply a thin coat of wax with a soft cotton cloth to protect the gilded finish. We've used Liberon's Antique Pine wax. If you want a distressed look then rub a little harder in places, particularly over corners and edges.

After the allotted time, buff the waxed surface with a clean cotton cloth.
Rub harder if you need any further distressing. We left one walnut completely covered with the silver transfer leaf and distressed the other so that you can easily see the effect of the Brassica paint peeking through the gilding.

Then stand back and admire your handiwork.
Don't they look lovely and festive?

Come back next week for a closer look at loose leaf gilding.

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Thursday 24 November 2011

How To Gild: Part 1: Your Kit

Welcome to our How To Gild series.

Heading towards Christmas is absolutely the right time to be thinking about gilding. Once you get the hang of it (and you will after you've read our instructive posts over the next few weeks), gilding is a gorgeous way to add festive touches to your home.

Just take a closer look at what we've done with these walnuts to demonstrate some of the different techniques that we'll be sharing with you

Aren't they beautiful?

Let's begin the series by looking at what you need to get started, before we move on to any detailed instruction.

Firstly, if you are going to gild any porous surface, you will need a barrier of some kind to act as a key. You can either use a fontenay base or emulsion, which can be used to give a wonderful range of decorative effects.

Next, you will need size, which is simply another name for the special glue used to stick down metal leaf. Our water-based acrylic size remains tacky indefinitely, giving you all the time in the world to get precisely the effect you want.

In your kit, you will also want a few different kinds of brushes. A large brush for applying the base, another for spreading the sticky size, and then a firmer gilding brush to be used specifically for tamping down delicate metal leaf.

There are various methods of gilding, which we're looking forward to covering in the coming posts, involving metal leaf....

and gilt creams.....

which all come in various colours....

 and all produce slightly different effects.

The gilding products that we stock have all been tested by us. We are confident that they are the best on the market. As always, if you have any questions then please don't hesitate to contact us.

See you next week for our first How To Gild tutorial.....

Linking with:

Fingerprints ON the Fridge At The Picket Fence Romantic Home The Shabby Nest Frugalicious Friday Simply Designing Remodelaholic Chic on a Shoestring Common Ground's Vintage Inspiration Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

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Thursday 17 November 2011

The Perfect Fireplace Part 2

Although still mild, the weather this week has been noticably cooler, which leads us nicely onto Part 2 of How To Create Your Perfect Fireplace.

This week is all about seeking out accessories that conjure up images of fireside country bliss, toasting crumpets and sizzling chestnuts. That's the look we love. 

At Relics, we pride ourselves on sourcing well-made, good quality items: ones that have character but also a strong air of originality. We've picked out just two of our fireside accessories to show you what we mean. 

If you'd like a closer look then pop in to the shop, or contact us for more details.

A companion set is essential for keeping your hearth in tip-top condition. Our sets (this is the smaller size of two) come with a poker, tongs, shovel and brush.
 Not only useful for keeping everything looking beautiful, companion sets are a great way of introducing character to a modern home.

Our chunky wicker baskets have been a huge hit with our customers. This is our favourite for holding kindling and a few logs. The wicker is strong and sturdy, and has a gorgeous, slightly greyed finish.

One of the queries we frequently get asked at Relics, is how to add character to featureless properties. Decorative touches that are textured and traditional, such as these, are an easy way of doing just that.

Next week, we'll be starting a detailed tutorial series about gilding. Impeccably timed to lead us into the Christmas season.

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