Thursday, March 3, 2011

Faux Vintage Plaster Plaque- Do-it-Yourself

I've been wanting a vintage plaster architectural piece for over my bathroom window for some time now, but didn't want  to spend money on anything that we don't absolutely need.  So my challenge was to make one, from things that I already have around the house.  I have so many odds and ends of things, that I figured I could come up with something.  Here are some ideas that inspired me.

The first thing I did was go through my craft room and house, to see what I could use to accomplish this. I already had several  scrap pieces of MDF board from previous projects, and I was lucky enought to have one piece that was already the exact size as the finished piece I  wanted.  I decided on a long, narrow plaque:  4 inches high by 24 inches wide.  This would fit perfectly over the window in my bathroom.  If you don't have this, it's relatively inexpensive at any home improvement store, and they will cut it for you to any size you want .  I had some 1/4 inch dowels , and a couple of pairs of old earrings from the 1990's that I could use for some of the detail.  I did have to buy one large wooden applique for the main body of the plaque, but this only cost around $8.00 at Home Depot. 

I took the earrings apart, and will later glue them down into the overall pattern.  It looks kind of weird at first, but the finished products looks authentic.

Next, I glued the wooden applique' to the MDF board.  Make sure it's centered and there's a boarder all around the outside of the applique'.

Now you glue the dowels around the edges, and if you want, make an interesting pattern with smaller pieces of dowel in any bare spots on the MDF board.

I hot- glued the earring pieces into place- looks really weird now!!!!!!!  But the real fun is about to start.  Are you ready?  Here we go.........................

Dip your fingers into the spackling compound and just start smushing it in all over the place.  Get it into all the cracks and spaces between the earrings and MDF board.  Put a thin layer over all the wood dowels and the wooden applique". And a thin layer overr the earrings (not too much or you'll lose the detail).

I got smart and put on gloves after a while, although it did feel good to get that stuff all over my fingers- just like a kid doing paper mache' or finger painting!!!!!

Once you get the first layer on, let it dry over night.

If there are any areas where there is too much spackling compound, just wipe it off with a damp paper towel- BEFORE IT DRIES.  When it's completely dry, add another thin layer or two, depending on how thick you want the end result.  Don't smooth it out too much because you want it to look a little rough.

If there are any areas that are too wrough, you can give it a light sanding.

Then with a wooden barbeque scewer, I scratched out any areas that were too built up with spackling compound.  You want the design to be visable in relief.  Next , prime and paint the whole piece a flat white color and let dry thoroughly.

I used a creamy white latex paint that I had left from another project.  You could use acrylic craft paint as well, if the piece isn't too large.

Now, mix equal parts of a darker color craft paint with faux- finish medium.  I used soft sage/grey color called Stonehedge Green by Ceramicoat.  This green matches some of the colors in my bathroom, and besides blue, is my very favourite color.

Paint this mixture all over the piece, getting into all the cracks and crevices, then quickly wipe off the excess on top with a damp lint-free cloth.  Use a light circular motion so that the color stays in the crevices.

With a damp sea sponge, gently dab over some areas to leave more texture, and some sort of bubbly looking areas.  You want it to look really old and crusty.  Then let the whole thing dry thoroughly- I left it over night.

Here it is all dry- sorry for the bad lighting- I took these pictures at night.

Now for even more fun!!!!!!!

Take a flat-head screw driver and start to gouge out areas of the hardened "faux plaster"

When you like the effect you've got, dab in some straight craft paint into the gouged- out areas ( the same color as you used with the faux- finish medium), and take off any excess.  The paint will be absorbed into the cracked areas and look like old cracked,  painted plaster.  I'm hanging mine in my bathroom, so I sprayed it with two coats of flat arylic sealer.   I decided it was a little too clean and bright looking, so, then I went over the whole thing with brown shoe polish, just very lightly, and it gave it an even older, more interesting look.

Then for even more interest, I hammered an antique finish upholstery tack into each corner. To hang it, I used my staple gun and stapled picture hanging wire to each side.  The plaque wasn't thick enough for a nail or a wood screw, and I didn't want to risk going through to the front and ruining it

Here it is over my bathroom window.  I just noticed that it's a little crooked in the picture

Here's a close-up of it.  I think it turned out pretty good- and it only cost me $8.00  Let me know what you think!!!! 

Well, that's it for now.  Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and will be inspired to try making something from items you have around your house. 

My next posting will be all about my Spa's-  since I just went to a lovely spa called Ste. Annes.  I'll tell you all about it next time, and show you some cute projects and ideas you can do at home for the  "Spa" experience.

Til next time.  Au Revoir!!!!!