Adding embellishments to pieces is a great way to dress up an otherwise plain or somewhat lacklustre piece. Large flat spaces can be given new interest, providing you with areas that allow for more techniques to be used.
For this little piece I created interest by layering paint colours and distressing back to reveal the hidden colours beneath but you could choose to use glazing, washes or waxes to create interest and highlighting the crevices.
The Paper Clay is extremely malleable but does dry out quickly. When not in use keep the rest of your clay covered to prevent it from drying out on you. Choose which mould shapes you are interested in adding to your piece, bearing in mind the size or your piece and the area you want to apply the moulds to. You want things to be in balance. Know that you can use small moulds in a large space when you are adding a number of them – visually this will be the same as if you used a large mould and may prove more interesting, depending upon the finish you choose.
For the above piece I chose to add moulds to the front facing panel of the Demi Lune table – above each of the three legs. I used a combination of two separate moulded shapes – a circular floral medallion and an Escutcheons 2 to frame the medallion and to make it larger.
To form the moulded shape take your paper clay and press into the desired mould, smoothing out the back to ensure that it is level and flat. I will often make use of an old credit card to scrape across the back of the filled mould to remove any excess clay.
To unmold your clay turn the mould upside down and ‘peel’ it back and away from the clay. If you find your clay sticking to the mould at all then lightly brush it with some cornstarch before applying the clay – it will help the clay to release easily.
I will generally apply the moulds to a piece before they have dried. Although they shrink slightly when drying, I find it easier to shape them on the piece while still malleable. You can bend them around corners if needed and ensure they fit closely upon a surface with no gaps.
Apply wood glue (you could also use white craft glue if desired) to the back of your moulds and place them in the desired position on your piece. You could choose to lay your piece flat so the mould doesn’t slip from its desired location, or you could use your painter’s tape to hold it in the right spot!
Allow the moulds to dry overnight. Remove the tape and paint as you desire!
It’s that easy!
Ultimately you are limited only by your imagination and, perhaps, the moulds you have available but know that any interesting shapes you have at your disposal can be used as moulds also.
The paint finish below was achieved by first painting in two coats of an olive coloured paint (I used Annie Sloan here) and a custom mixed mid-tone grey colour (a blend of Annie Sloan Chicago Grey, Graphite and a little touch of DIY Bohemian Blue) watered down to create a wash. Using an extra-fine grade sandpaper, the grey layer was sanded back in places to reveal the olive undertone, which adds a depth to the grey that can’t be achieved with a flat grey paint alone.
Clear wax was applied and then polished to a sheen which creates an almost marble-like finished texture that I love!
Use a light hand when sanding the top layer of grey smooth – because it was applied in a wash it doesn’t take much to reveal some of the olive paint beneath. Even where the grey paint remains the olive paint will echo through the grey, giving a richer finished colour.
(Links have been provided to help you access some of the more specialized products used – using them will not cost you anything more but I might make a few pennies!)