The home decorator should not expect to restrict his work to plain decorating, emulsion and paperhanging. It often happens that special finishes are seen which he would like to incorporate in his own work, but he is not certain how such finishes are produced. Decorators obtain many attractive finishes by blending, clouding, shading and stippling with oil paint, glazers or scumbles. Glazers are usually made of transparent or semi-transparent pigments ground in oil, together with turpentine, linseed oil, beeswax and a binding agent (usually size) are also used for glazing. Scumbles are made of opaque or semi-opaque pigments (usually white) with other pigments added for tinting) and they are used to give a bloom or a fine, even semi-opaque film to an existing colour. They are in effect, little more than thin oil-paints.


Artists sometimes make use of scumbles to soften colours and to suggest the effect of distance. They also you glazers to produce richness and depth of colour. The decorator produces simular effects on a larger scale. Where an artist glazers or scumbles an area of 1 sq. inch, the decorator may cover an area of 100 sq. yards; the walls of a large room for example. Paint and emulsion may also be employed for decorating ceilings, walls, woodwork or furniture by the use of shaped templets (thin metal or cardboard plates or shapes cut out of paper and used as shields to leave a pattern painted or unpainted) with which very effective shading and the production of abstract patterns may be obtained. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Stencilling was used extensively by decorators some years ago to produce patterns and designs in paint or emulsion. The use of stencils has fallen out of favour to some extent owing to the unsuitability of old designs for modern decorative schemes and neglect in preparing designs suitable for present day use. however, it is an easy matter to design and to cut stencils and equally simple to apply them. It will be found that this form of decoration is by no means out of date, as the description of the work and the suggestions for the use of stencils should prove.

The mention of painted furniture may suggest white-enamelled bed-room suites or nursery and kitchen furniture, enamelled in bright colours. It is true that such painted furniture has its use, but it is not so well known that some of the finest rooms in town and country houses contain painted and decorated furniture. Desks, bedroom furniture, occasional tables, console tables, cocktail cabinets and the like are suitable for painting and decorating, and they may be subsequently be glazed to give them an antique finish.

Such decorative finishes add interest to rooms which might otherwise be too severe in character and allow individual decorative schemes to be produced. The subtleties of colour and pattern and the uncommon, yet tasteful decorations which can be produced, allow decorative schemes to be built around the furniture. In this way colour contrast and harmony may be adjusted to fine limits which are outside the range of reay-made finishes in paint, emulsion or wallpaper.
The finishes which are most quickly obtained are those which employ only plain oil-paint, and the easiest finish to carry out is that obtained by stippling a dry, painted surface with a paint of another colour or with paints with two or more different colours. Special rubber stipplers are available for this work, but no difficulty will be experienced in using a piece of sponge or better still, a pad of old lace or net curtain for stippling on the colours. A few colour combinations are suggested in the following list.

Groud colour..................Stippling colour

White.................Light grey and light blue
White..........................Pink and delf blue
White...............sap green and light brown
Ivory white............................Olive green
Cream....Light buff and cinnamon brown
Cream...........Rust red and golden brown
Light green..............................Dark green
Middle green..................................Cream
Middle green....................Daffodil yellow
Sunshine yellow.........................Pale violet

This list could be extended indefinitely. In general it is better not to choose two strong, complementary colours for stippling on a background colour as the effect on the eye is to produce an unpleasant grey. However, light tints of complementary colours stippled on a pale neutral or slightly tinted ground will produce a delicate grey when the colours are seen from a distance. The individual colours will show when the work is examined more closely. Practice on a suitably prepared board before deciding on the colours which are finally to be used or on the amount of stippling to be done. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Flat (matt) colours for both ground work and stippling are generally preferable for this type of work, although many interesting effects may be produced by stippling work with flat colours on glossy or egg-shell finished grounds. Stippling with glossy colours on either flat or glossy grounds is not advised. When the ground coat on the surface to be stippled is quiet dry, put out the stippling colours in two paint kettles with a 1-inch paint tool in each, with which to transfer the paint to a palette. The palette should be fairly large; a piece of flat wood, measuring about 1 ft. 6inches square, with a handle attached, is the most suitable. Put a small amount of one of the colours on the palette, take a piece of sponge or a pad of old net curtain, dip it a little way into one of the colours, dab it on a empty space on the palette to free it of excess colour and then stipple the prepared surface.

To stipple a whole wall of a room, go over the whole area once without making a great effort to keep the work even. When the whole area has been stippled in this manner, go over the surface again with the sponge to fill up patchers which have been missed in the first stippling. If a second colour is required, proceed in simlar manner. When two colours are used, each one should be used rather sparingly so that there is sufficient space on the ground coat for the two. Stippling in this manner produces a granite-like effect (Fig. 1) See Fig.1. but if a piece of rag is screwed up into an uneven pad and used in place of the sponge or curtain material, a leaf-like pattern is produced (Fig. 2). Two colours have been stippled on a ground coat to produce the pattern shown in Fig. 1, but a single colour, more suitable for the pattern, has been used for the work shown in Fig. 2.See Fig.2.
Further variety of pattern may be obtained by twisting the sponge or rag as the stippling proceeds. A slight dragging movement while stippling produces yet another pattern, but the dragging movement should be in one direction all the time. When stippling walls by the methods described, be sure to stipple right up to the corners or picture rail and right down to the skirting. a very small piece of sponge or rag will be needed for this purpose. If these parts are not properly stippled they will appear lighter or darker than the rest of the walls according to the colour of the ground coat. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Graduated effects are produced by changing from one shade to another shade of the same colour, or by changing from one colour to another without showing a break or a sudden change. Ordinary oil paint is easiest to handle for this effect as it does not dry or set too quickly and therefore allows more time for blending the colours. Three lots of paint will be required whether one, two or three colours are being used, and at least three paint brushes will be needed, one for each colour or shade of colour.

When the walls of a room are to be painted in a graduated effect, each wall must be completed separately. For example, assume that a wall is to be graduated from a very pale colour at the top to a much deeper shade of the same colour at the bottom. The light colour and the deep one are made up first and a part of each is taken to make an intermediate shade. The wall should have been previously prepared and painted in readiness for the finishing coat of graduated colour. The oil paint should be of a medium consistency and should contain approximately equal parts of turpentine and raw linseed oil.

The wall to be treated must be divided into three parts: the top being wider than the middle part and the middle wider than the bottom part. If the wall is say, 9ft. high, the proportions might be 4 ft., 3 ft., and 2 ft., respectively. The top part of the wall is painted first with the lightest colour. Plenty of material should be used and the colour should be brushed on evenly, but not laid-off. Using the middle shade with the appropriate brush, the middle part of the wall is brushed-in similarly and the joint of the two colours is blended with the brush which is used for the middle shade. The bottom part of the wall is then painted with the deepest shade of paint and the middle and deepest shades are blended in the same way with the brush used for the bottom part.

Next a small amount of the lightest shade of paint is brushed on the bristles of a stippler. This is to prevent the dry stippler removing the paint from the part of the wall which is to be stippled first. Starting at the top of the wall, the work should be stippled in horizontal bands, taking care to overlap each band with the following one. Never stipple haphazardly or go back over parts which have been stippled already. If the work has been blended sufficiently with the paint brushes, stippling will blend the shades of colour perfectly. If the work is not perfect, do not attempt to stipple parts of the wall here and there, but starting at the bottom of the wall when the stippler is in the deepest shade of paint, stipple the wall systematically upwards.

If the initial stippling has blended the walls perfectly, as indeed it should, a second wall may be brushed in the same manner as the first one, but when the stippler is in the deepest shade this wall should be stippled from bottom to top. A third wall would of course, be stippled from top to bottom and so on. When the walls of a room are being graduated in this manner the stippler should be beaten out from time to time to free it of excessive paint. An old newspaper, which can be opened to give a clean sheet on which to beat out the stippler, may be used. The stippler should not be washed in turpentine u7ntil the work has been completed.

It is possible to buy small stipplers specially made for treating small areas such as door panels and wall angles, but the amateur will find that a clean dusting brush is a good substitute for a small stippler and will be useful for stippling parts of the work where a large tool would be clumsy. Two-colour and three-colour graduations are carried out in a simular manner. For two-colour graduations a third colour is made by mixing the two colours in use. One a wall 9 ft. high, the middle band should be not more than 1 ft. wide for two-colour graduations otherwise a three-colour effect will appear. The bands for three-colour graduations should be equal in width for most satisfactory results. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Graduations carried out with flat paint may be executed in a similar manner except the work must be done very quickly. It is work for two men to graduate a large wall in flat paint and even then speed is essential. One man brushes on the colours and blends them roughly with the brushes and the second man follows with the stippler. Walls blended with flat paint must be stippled once only. If parts are gone over with the stippler while the flat paint is setting, the work will flash (shine where the extra stippling has been done) when the paint is dry. Fig. 3See Fig.3. shows a panel brushed-in and partly blended and Fig. 4See Fig.4. shows the finished work.

Walls which have been graduated in oil colour dry with a slight gloss, and may be finished with a flat or glossy varnish. Graduated effects, carried out in flat paint, may also be varnished, but some change of colour must be expected. In the decorating trade surfaces finished in flat paint are usually left unvarnished. A thin coat of decorators' size, which has been strained through muslin, is sometimes brushed over the dry, flat-painted surface and is then stippled with a perfectly clean hair-stippler. When walls so treated become dirty, the size and the dirt may be washed off with warm water and a sponge, leaving the flat paint quiet clean. The wall may then be given another thin coat of size. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Wall surfaces which are painted in flat finishes or water based emulsions, which wear well and make good backgrounds for furnishings. But rooms decorated in this severe style often lack interest, especially when the furnishings are rather ordinary. One way out of this difficulty is to add interest by breaking up the wall areas with decorations carried out by masks or templets. Fig. 5See Fig.5. shows a wall treated to give a fluted effect.

The walls are painted first with flat finish of a light tint and are allowed to dry. Next a lenght of lining paper, the height of the walls and about 3 inches wide, with one edge straight, is given a coat of knotting varnish on both sides and allowed to dry. The walls are then marked out with chalk in strips about 10 inches wide. Slight variations in the widths for separate walls do not matter greatly, but each wall must be divided into vertical bands of equal width.

A kettle of flat paint is then tinted a shade deeper than the existing colour of the walls; the slightest difference in shade being sufficient for the most pleasing effect. Working from right to left, the paper templet is put into position against the first chalk line and secured with small lenghts of transparent adhesive tape. With a 1 inch paint tool, the paint is brushed gently against the straight, right-hand edge of the paper templet, making sure that the paint does not stray under the edge of the paper. A strip of paint about 3 inches wide should be brushed on the wall, with the right-hand edge of which is left rather bare to assist in the subsequent shading. This stage of the work is shown in Fig. 6.See Fig.6.

A small hair stippler or a clean dusting brush is then taken and the overlap of paint stippled into the existing wall-colour until a graduated effect is obtained. Fig 7See Fig.7. shows the finished effect on one strip and another stip being stippled. The work is continued in similar manner until the whole area has been conpleted. The curved head and foot of each vertical band may be added by the use of curved templets cut to suitable size and shape. The heads should be painted with the deepest colour and the feet with the lightest, thus adding to the convex appearance of the vertical bands forming the pattern. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Templets may be used for many similar schemes (Fig. 8).See Fig.8. It will be possible to carry out some of the suggestions made in Chapter 2, and many other interesting designs, by this means. Fig. 9See Fig.9. shows an ordinary door and architrave decorated with a painted surround applied by the use of a paper mask. For the mural design illustrated in Fig. 10 See Fig.10.the sky should be painted first, graduating the colour from strong blue at the top to pale blue at the bottom. The distant hills should be painted next, graduating the colour from dull violet to blue-grey. The middle distance, graduated from blue-green to yellow-green, should follow and the foreground, graduated from bright green to pale, dull green should then be added. The silhouette of the trees should be painted last in deep grey-green with the exception of the pillars, which should be finished in white or cream. The whole of the work, excepting the sky, may be carried out by the use of simple paper templets.

One of the most charming decorative effects is obtained by glazing. Oil glaze is made by mixing 60 per cent turpentine, 25 per cent raw linseed oil, 10 per cent beeswax dissolved in turpentine, and 5 per cent japan gold-size, together with various tranparent or semi-transparent pigments ground in oil. Glazing is carried out in a manner similar to graining, but the medium is used with less pigment. It is applied to a previously painted, ground coat of suitable colour; usually white or a very pale tint is employed. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


The simplest forms of glazing are those in which either rag-stippling or rag-rolling is employed to produce the effect. The glaze which has been tinted to the desired colour, is first brushed on the dry ground-coat sparingly and evenly. A piece of clean, soft, cotton rag is then taken and, holding it as shown in Fig. 11,See Fig.11. the work is gently stippled. For rag-rolling, the glaze is brushed on the ground in the same manner, but the rag is twisted into a roll and, holding it between the two hands as shown in Fig. 12,See Fig.12. the rag is half pushed and half rolled down the work. If either of these effects appear to coarse or hard, they may be softened by stippling the surface with a hair stippler.

The following pigments ground in oil, are useful for adding to a glaze medium:

Raw sienna, Oxford ochre, Burnt sienna, Raw umber, Burnt umber, Vandyke brown, Prussian blue, Ultramarine, Crimsom lake, Scarlet lake, Viridian green, Lemon chrome. Lemon chrome although a rather solid pigment, may be included for its brilliance and it may be added to glazes which contain the pigments already mentioned.

Rag-rolled or rag-stippled are very pleasant when carried out in ivory or parchment colours. The colours of the grounds and the pigments required for the glazes are as follows:
For the finished colour of Ivory, a white ground coat is employed. The glaze is made of the following pigments:
Raw sienna, 90 per cent
Lemon chrome, 8 per cent
Prussian blue, 2 per cent.
For the finished colour of Parchment, a cream ground coat is employed. The glaze is made of the following pigments:
Raw umber, 93 per cent
Scarlet lake 5 per cent
Ultramarine, 2 per cent

These two glazes may also be used to good with effect on the following ground coats:
Pale green
Apple green
pale tan
They may also be used to glaze a surface painted with two or more colours. For example, the panels of a door may be pale cream, the stiles and rails pale green and the mouldings light brown. The whole of the door may be glazed and the effect will be mellow with a good colour combination.Coloured glazers applied over white grounds produce very delicate tints which are suitable for bedrooms and drawing rooms. Such glazers should be made up with high grade pigments. Raw sienna with scarlet lake added makes a rose peach colour when used as a glaze over white. The amateur is advised to prepare a panel and to paint it white. It is then possible to experiment with various pigments made into glazers and to practise rag-rolling and various kinds of stippling

A few hints on the mixing of pigments for staining glaze may be useful at this point. Ultramarine must not be mixed with yellow pigments to make green glaze, unless an exceptional dull green is required. Prussian blue and yellow pigments make green, but when used in a glaze over white a very hard green results, which usually requires the addition of a little red pigment to improve the colour. Orange glazers may be made with orange chrome, although this pigment is opaque

Oxford ochre when mixed with scarlet lake produces a bright orange glaze which is more transparent than similar one made with orange chrome. Raw sienna mixed with scarlet lake make a soft orange glaze. neither scarlet lake or prussian blue is suitable for making violet glazers as they both have a yellow content. Crimsom lake and ultramarine on the other hand, make a very pure violet.

Shading with glazers gives an ivory-like effect, but it must be carried out carefully or a coarse finish results. Two separate mixtures of glaze are required, the first is not stained with pigments but the second is coloured as desired. The tranparent glaze is first brushed over the area to be shaded and the tinted glaze is brushed around the edges (Fig. 13).See Fig.13. A hair stippler as shown in Fig. 4 is then taken and the tinted parts are stippled from the edges to the centre. Mouldings should be brushed in with the tinted glaze, stippled with the hair stippler and, when the glaze has set a little, the face of the mouldings should be wiped clean.

Graguated effects are easy to carry out in glaze. First the walls must be prepared and painted with a suitable ground colour. As when producing graduated effects in solid colours, as whole walls should be graduated at a time. The bands of colour are brushed on in the same way, but when glaze is being used the colour must be brushed out well and evenly. Stippling is done in the same manner as for solid colour.

If a graduated effect in one colour is desired, a method similar to one described for shading is employed. The colour of the ground coat should be similar to the one required for the lightest part of the work.

The top parts of the wall are then brushed in with glaze, which should be tranparent or very slightly tinted. Next the middle part of the wall is brushed in with glaze which contains rather more pigment still, according to the depth of colour required.

Although the stippling which follows should be carried out in the same way as solid colours, the material is more flexible and extra stippling may, therefore, be given to parts which are unsatisfactory. When glaze as once started to set, it must not be stippled, or, instead of the colour stippling out, the setting glaze on the wall surface will absorb any glaze on the stippler aqnd result in the appearance of a dark patch which cannot be successfully removed. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Clouding with glaze is a easy operation which is always effective, as it allows a margin of error and still looks well. As with other types of glazing, the surface to be clouded must be previously painted with a suitable ground colour. For clouding in a single colour, the glaze should be tinted and brushed over the whole of the area to be clouded. A piece of soft rag is then made into a smooth pad, and with a circular movement of the hand the clouded effect is produced by rubbing of parts of the glaze (Fig. 14).See Fig.14. Note that all the glazing is joined if only by a thin strip.
This prevents a patchy in the finished work, When the whole of an area has been clouded in this way, the work is treated lightly with a hair stippler to soften the effect.

Clouding with glaze in two or more colours is rather more difficult. Separate amounts of tinted glaze are required and they are brushed on the area to be clouded in equal amounts. As far as posible, each patch of colour should connect with a similar patch. The patches of colour should not be made to small or, at a distance, a mottled rather than a clouded effect will be seen. The work is then carried out as described for clouding in a single colour. As preliminary measure rag-stippling on the edges of the patches of colour makes the blending with the stippler a comparatively simple task.Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Plain glazing is employed at times to give brightness or depth of colour. The glaze should then contain rather more pigment than usual. It is simply brushed on the surface of the dry ground-coat and finely stippled with a hair stippler. In this case lightness of touch is neccessary and the stippler should be used quickly and lightly with a wrist movement only. The background for plain glazing should be rich in colour and the work is best confined to small areas, such as the wood-work of a room. A few suggestions for ground colours and glazers suitable for plain glazing follow.

Ground colour Pillar-box red. Pigment for glaze = Scarlet lake
Ground colour Rich red. Pigment for glaze = Crimsom lake
Ground colour Orange. Pigment for glaze = Orange chrome
Ground colour Bright blue. Pigment for glaze = Prussian blue
Ground colour Cobalt tint. Pigment for glaze = Ultramarine
Ground colour Middle chrome. Pigment for glaze = Raw sienna or oxford ochre
Ground colour Copper colour. Pigment for glaze = Burnt sienna
Ground colour Bright green. Pigment for glaze = Viridian green

The resulting colours are very rich or bright. They are suitable for interior work or for a front door. Pale carriage-varnish should be used to protect these finishes when they are used outside, but french oil-varnish is freferable for finishing inside work. Vandyke brown is one of the most transparent pigments. When glaze is stained with vandyke brown only, very beautiful, subdued colours are produced if the glaze is stippled over rich ground-colours such as maroon, deep apple-green, dark tan, rich blue or autumnal tints. It may also be used to subdue and to give bronze effects to groundwork painted with gold, silver or copper metallic paints.

Glazing may be carried out in water colour. Pigments ground in water are mixed with weak size and water, and the material is used in the manner described for oil glazing. Exceptionally soft shading and clouding are possible when water-colour glaze is used, especially when a badger softener is also used in the final softening. Surfaces which are to be decorated with water-colour glaze should be sponged with water to which a small amount of whiting has been added before the glazing has started. This provides a key for the water-colour which would otherwise be difficult to brush on the surface of dry oil-paint.
Water-colour glazing is more difficult to carry out than oil-colour glazing, but one advantage is that unsatisfactory areas may be sponged off and the surface can be reglazed. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Scumbling involves the application of a thin coat of opaque or semi-opaque paint over a ground coat. It produces the effect of a bloom as seen on grapes and peaches. Scumbles are made from high-grade, finely ground white and coloured pigments, thinned with different quantities of turpentine and linseed oil according to the finish required. Apart from the attractive finish given by scumble, it has the added advantage of giving unity to a decorative scheme by reason of analogous harmony which is obtained by covering each colour used in the scheme with a thin film of a single tint.

Scumbles are rather more difficult to apply than glazers. It is essential to work quickly and efficiently on account of the speed with which this material sets. When the walls and woodwork of a room are to recieve a common treatment, the following decorative effect of scumbling could be tried. It produces a charming and uncommon effect.

The whole area to be scumbled is prepared, painted with undercoating and given a coat of hard gloss-paint of a bright colour such as brilliant red, blue, green, yellow, violet or orange. This coat of glossy paint must be allowed to dry hard.
A scumble is then made up with flat white paint or flat cream paint and thinned with 85 per cent turpentine, 10 per cent raw linseed oil and 5 per cent japan gold size.
The mixture should be fairly thin; just thick enough to hide the colour of the ground coat.

The area to be scumbled is brushed in quickly and stippled immediately with a hair stippler. When, say a short lenght of wall has been covered in this way, the decorator takes a clean stiff carpet-brush and stipples the scumble with it. The carpet brush removes the scumble in tiny scratches which remain glossy and bright in colour while the scumble dries matt.
This method produces a fine, sparkling effect with very delicate colour. The carpet brush, used as a stippler, also removes the scumble from all the sharp edges of architraves, skirtings and mantlepieces. On no account must touching up be attempted while the scumble is wet. Any unsatisfactory places should be left until the scumble is dry, and then only touched up very carefully and a little at a time, by stippling on scumble with a small camel-hair brush or with a decorators fitch.

One man should be able to stipple up to 6 sq. yd. in this effect without help, but two persons will be required for larger areas. One person should brush on the scumble and stipple with the hair stippler, while the other should follow with the carpet brush.
This scumble effect must not be varnished or the effect will be destroyed. Extremely thin scumbles which are darker than the ground coat, may be rag-stippled or rag-rolled. In this way a more solid effect is produced than by similar stippling in glaze. The scumble to be used must contain more linseed oil than usual and the ground coat should be semi-flat. In this case the finished work may be varnished to leave either a glossy or flat surface. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Old plaster effects are sometimes carried out in scumble. The ground coat should be of semi-flat, white-oil paint which has been stained with raw sienna and raw umber to a parchment colour. When the ground coat is dry, a scumble made with flat white paint and a touch of raw umber, and thinned with 80 per cent turpentine, 15 per cent raw linseed oil and 5 per cent japan gold size, is brushed on the surface. A piece of clean canvas is then taken and the scumble is rubbed into the ground coat with a circular movement.

This effect is not recommended for modern schemes or for smooth walls, but it is an excellent finish for period decorations when the plaster surfaces are old and rough, or when old ceilings incorporate plaster ornament or ancient beams and when old oak furniture, brasswork and pewter feature in the decorative scheme.

Plain scumbling may be employed for walls and woodwork if a delicate colour is required which has more interest than similar colours obtained by the use of solid, flat paint finishes. The work is painted first with semi-flat paint, which should be of much stronger hue than that which is required in the finished effect. When the ground coat is dry, a thin scumble made of flat white or flat cream paint and thinned with turpentine only is brushed quickly over the ground coat and stippled evenly with a hair stippler as soon as possible.

If a door is to be scumbled in this way, it is best to brush on the scumble and stipple the work from the top to the bottom of the door, instead of treating each part separately. Two people are needed to scumble large wall areas. If one man should attempt such work single-handed it will be found that light joints will appear where the brushwork has been joined up. If the whole wall is brushed in first, the scumble will have set to much for effective stippling. It is easier to cover a large wall single-handed if extra linseed oil is added to the scumble, but a perfectly matt finish should not be expected Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Scumbling will produce a charming effect of very delicate shading, clouding or blending, if a thin white or tinted scumble is brushed and stippled evenly over an area which has been previously clouded or blended with oil paint. Two or three colours of oil paint could be brushed on an area in patches and blended roughly with the paint brushes. The colours which could be say green, brown and pink, should be of medium hue; much stronger than those desire in the finished effect. The paint should contain equal quantities of turpentine and raw linseed oil. It should be of a consistency which does not set quickly, but such as to allow time to blend the colours. The scumbling that follows should be carried out with the same materials, and in the same manner, as plain scumbling.

Sponge stippling with thin, undercoating produces an effect similar to that of scumbling. It is a coarser effect but it is easier to carry out. The colour of the sponge stippling should be lighter than that of the ground coat, but brilliant coloured grounds should not be used. Flat white scumble of medium consistency, sponged over a pale tint such as peach, duck-egg blue or sap green, would look well. For this type of work both the ground coat and the stippling colour should be matt. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Most decorators do not believe they would be able to master the art of "Broken colour" grainning and marbling and the fabulous money they would be able to demand. Specialist finishes have been around for very many years, there popularity has peaks and troughs like any art form. Now they are coming back into vogue again with a bang. Typicaly the most common form of broken colour Rag-rolling, which is very simple has all the walls prepared before the "Broken colour" man arrives on the scene. He will not let you see him work, he will lock the door till he is finished. 'Why' because when folk hear what he earns!! Anyhow let me wet your appetite. Let me show you how to do some simple but very eye-catching Marbling.

The average decorator with only a little artistic skill should be able to turn out very good imitations of marble. The process is fundamentally the same for all marbles, so all that is necessary, once the principal is known, is to become familiar with the varieties of marble and to know the appropiate pigments to use. As in graining, marbling must be preceded by a coat of paint suitably stained with colours ground in oil. The following list gives the colours of the ground coats for the best-known varieties of marble.

Marble Ground
Italian sienna = Cream
French sienna = Pale cream
Rouge rio = Pale pink
Swedish green = oyster grey
Tinus (green) = Pale, dull green
Travatine = Pale neutral (putty colour)

There is no purpose in giving a longer list, as the simple rule to follow is to make the ground coat the same colour as the lightest part of the marble to be imitated. To carry out marble imitation, make up a medium of 65 per cent of turpentine, 30 per cent raw liseed oil and 5 per cent japan gold-size.

For the purpose of describing the method of marbling, which is the same for all marbles, we will take Italian sienna as an example. Arrange the following pigments on a palette: raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, vandyke brown, yellow ochre and ultramarine.

Brush in the ground with the clear medium, using sufficient to wet the ground well. Take 1-inch paint tool, dip it in the medium first, then into one of the pigments,and brush the colour out in a patch similar to that which appears in real marble. Use the remaining pigments in the same way, blending some of them with the brush as the work proceeds, but leave some places uncoloured.

Before the medium and brushed patches have had time to set, take a pad of rag and dab the whole area evenly but lightly. Next fold the rag into a long strip and standing a little away from the work, whip the surface sharply. This takes out light streaks in a very natural manner. With a painters fitch (a well worn one is best) add the dark veins in the marble, using a mixture of raw umber and ultramarine. Finally soften the work with a hog-hair softener or with a soft dusting brush. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


To describe an effective part of marbling, that of obtaining incidental effects by turpentine splashes, the imitation of swedish green marble will serve as an example. Note how a completely different marble may be imitated by the same technique by using different pigments. On a pale, oyster-grey ground, brush in the medium which has been stained with a mixture of 90 per cent burned umber and 10 per cent prussian blue. In this case the stained medium should be brushed out well and evenly. Now take a piece of srewed-up rag and dab the surface all over, afterwards softening the work with the hog-hair softener.

Put a little turpentine in a clean container and stain it with a small amount of raw sienna. Now take a clean 1-inch paint tool and dip the ends of the bristles into the turpentine. Holding the paint tool in the left hand, separate the bristles with the fingers of the right hand in such a way that small slashes of turpentine fly on the surface of the work Fig 30See Fig.30.. After a moment or two the turpentine splashes will separate the brushed-in work and will leave small yellowish patches surrouded by dark outlines similar to those seen in Swedish green marble.

Next take a piece of old dry sponge, dip it into a little strong colour (burnt umber and prussian blue) and stipple the surface of the work, taking care to make the marks small and even. A few very light and bold veins are added to give relief and interest. These veins may be wiped out in the same manner as the figure in oak graining; that is with rag and a well worn penny. These examples should be sufficient to give the general idea of marbling, and it will be found that by combining them, and by using suitable pigments, any marble may be copied speedily and with excellent results. It is hardly neccessary to point out that work which is to be finished in an imitation of marble must be quiet smooth, otherwise the finished work will always look unnatural Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk .


Stencilling is a convenient means of carrying out decorations which are intended to be fairly permanent. It is a method of applying patterns and designs to a painted or emulsioned surface by means of a stencil brush and paint which is dabbed over a design cut out of paper. Decorators can design their own stencils and cut them out of cartridge paper. The design is first drawn on the paper and care should be taken to leave sufficient paper ties to hold the paper together. Fig. 15,See Fig.15. shows the construction of a design suitable for a stencil border. The heavy lines are those which are to be cut.

When the design has been drawn, the cartridge paper is turned over and the back is given a single coat of knotting-varnish and allowed to dry. a sheet of thick glass is obtained which should be larger than the size of the stencil, and laid on a level surface. The cartridge paper paper is then placed on the glass right side up and the designs cut out with a stencil knife (Fig. 16.)See Fig.16. The coat of knotting varnish on the back of the stencil prevents the paper from tearing while the design is being cut. Stencil knives must be sufficiently sharp to cut through the paper without undue pressure.

A single-edged razor blade make a good substitute for a stencil knife. When the design has been cut out, the unvarnished side of the stencil should be given a coat of knotting varnish to prevent the oil and turpentine content of the paint from penetrating the cartridge paper when the stencil is used. Note that guide lines have been drawn to the ends of the stencil and that snips have been cut out at the ends of the lines.

Before the stenciling is begun, a chalk line is made on the wall corresponding to the guideline on the stencil. Fig. 17See Fig.17. shows the stencil border being applied. The cut-out snips have been placed on the chalk line to locate the stencil in the correct position. To avoid damage to the wall surface, small strips of transparent adhesive-tape may be used to keep the stencil in position. A stripping knife is used to keep the stencil flat on the wall so that paint does not creep under the edges of the cut-out design and spoil the outline.

Matt paint thinned to the required consistency with turpentine and a few drops of japan gold-size should be used for stenciling. The stencil brush should be dipped into the paint a little way only and then dabbed on a palette board to remove excess colour before applying the paint to the stencil. Use the stencil brush as dry as possible, and with short, straight, quick jabs.

When one lenght of the pattern has been stencilled, the stencil should be lifted straight off so as not to smear the finished work and placed in the next position in such a way that the pattern at the end of the stencil covers a similar pattern of actual stencilled work, care being taken that the cut-out snips still coincide with the chalk line. If a considerable amount of stencilling is to be done, it is best to stencil the design on one or two separate pieces of cartridge paper. These may be kept in hand and cut when the first stencil begins to wear. a copy of every stencil used should be kept for possible future use.

When a stencil has been used for some time the surface will become clogged with paint, and if it is used in this condition the stencilled pattern will not be as clear and sharp as it should be. The stencil should therefore, be cleaned occasionally with turpentine and rag and dried well before it is used again.
Stencilling may be carried out in two, three or more colours. If the stencils are of simple design (Fig. 18)See Fig.18.. the separate colours may be applied with one stencil, using separate small stencil brushes; but complicated designs which require two or more colours, are applied by means of two or three separate stencils which combine to form the complete pattern. Fig. 19See Fig.19. shows to separate stencils and the design produced by them. The second stencil must not be used until the colour of the first part of the design is dry. When drawing a design which is to be made into two stencils for the application of separate colours, sketch the complete design on tracing paper, rub soft-lead pencil on the reverse side and retrace the separate parts required on separate pieces of cartridge paper. The two designs may then be cut as previously described, and when they are applied a perfect design will be produced. At a convenient place on the second stencil, a small part of the design of the first stencil should be cut out. The exact relation of the second stencil to the first one will then be seen. Care must be taken that the guide is not stencilled again accidentally. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Negative stencils enable the background of the design to be stencilled and the design itself to be left in the colour of the wall (Fig. 20)See Fig.20.. Note that the background has been cut out and not the pattern. Stencilled borders have many uses. They may take the place of a wallpaper under a picture rail or they may be used as panel borders, dado borders and the like. Poster colours are convenient for use with stencils which are intended to be applied to wallpaper. If an oil-paint stencil is applied to wallpaper, the parts to be stencilled must recieve two coats of size before the stencils are applied, otherwise the oil content in the paint will spread from the edges of the design and discolour the wallpaper.

The amateur decorator has the advantage of being able to design and colour a border to suit the decorations of a room, and to apply many yards of stencilled border at negligible cost. Most stencil designs follow plant and flower forms, but an attempt should be made to design original stencils. Many ideas may be drawn from periodicals, advertisements and film studio sets. Simple designs stencilled on a wall at regular intervals give very attractive effects. Small spots, dots, stars, diamonds, rings and conventional flower or plant forms, such as fleur-de-lis, stencilled on a surface at regular intervals, come under which is known as powdering. Walls to be decorated in this manner are first marked out lightly with chalk in the form of a grid.

The small patterns are then stencilled on the wall surface at the grid intersections. Coloured patterns on a ground of a light tint or light patterns on a deep ground are equally attractive. A close pattern stencilled over a wall area could be the same colour but a lighter shade than the background. nother pleasing combination is produced by powdering the walls with a small design in flat paint on a background of glossy paint of exactly the same shade of colour. Glossy paint stencilled on a flat ground is similar in effect, but it is not so pleasant to use on account of the sticky nature of this type of paint when used in stencilling. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Stencilled designs may be applied in variegated or graduated colours. Designs in variegated colours are only suitable for objects viewed at close range, as they lose there effect at a distance, but stencilling in graduated colour may be used for border stencils which imitate the effect of light and shade on mouldings. One such border is shown in Fig.21,See Fig.21. where the monochrome effect suggests relief. This type of border looks best if the lightest part of the stencilling is lighter than the background and the darkest part considerablely darker than the background.

Such a stencil could be used to give the effect of a cornice. In this case the broad effect of light and shade should be emphasized, but indicate detail need not be included in the design. Stencilling with gold or silver-bronze paint must be undertaken with caution. Remember that gold or silver will not appear to be bright on every wall at once. In fact at least half the design stencilled with this material will look dull. In general, gold and silver look better on dark backgrounds such as crimson, powder blue or jade green. Gold looks well on any colour, but particularly on scarlet, purple and deep apple-green. Silver has a cooling influence and looks well on pale blue, pale green and crimson, but not so on yellow or orange backgrounds.

As far as possible, the paper ties which hold the stencil together should be incorporated in the design. Painting out the blank spaces left by ties will then be unnecessary. Intricate designs will need ties on the stencil contrary to the design should have these ties painted out in suitable colours with a sable-hair pencil brush. Alternatively, a small stencil could be cut to fit the ties and to connect the design. Painting (running) lines may be difficult at first. Decorators use a straight-edge and a lining fitch for such work. The position of the line is marked with a struck chalk line; that is, a lenght of string is ckalked well, placed against the wall to be marked by holding the string tight at each end and, by lifting the middle of the string with the thumb and forefinger and releasing it suddenly, a perfectly straight chalk line is marked. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


The straight-edge is placed on the wall in such a position that the top edge of the fitch reaches the chalk line. The bevelled edge of the straight-edge is placed against the wall so as to leave a space between the straight edge and the wall, and the lining fitch is used from left to right (Fig.22).See Fig.22. Lines up to half an inch. wide may be drawn with a single stroke of the lining fitch, but wider lines need marking out first with a double chalk line to show the correct width. Two lines are then painted with the lining fitch: the top line being painted as already described, with the top edge of the lining fitch touching the chalk line; but the straight-edge is held so that the top edge coincides with the chalk line for painting the bottom line. In other words the bottom edge of the lining fitch touches the chalk line. Any space which is left between the two lines is filled in free-hand. After use lining fitches should be washed well, first in turpentine and afterwards with soap and water. Soap should be left on the bristles to keep them straight and compact, but it must be removed before the lining fitch is used again.

The amateur may find it easier to paint lines by means of a stencil. Double lines and series of lines as well as corner-pieces may be painted in this manner. Fig.23See Fig.23. shows a border and corner-piece formed with lines only; this idea could be used as a panel border. Very fine lines, such as those sometimes seen on carriages and painted furniture, are applied with specially fine brushes known as liners. The lines to be painted are sometimes lightly marked out, but more often they are drawn free-hand with the liner. The side of the hand or the little finger should rest on a moulding or the edge of a table while the line is being run. Paint is first put on a palette and the liner is drawn through it. The full lenght of the hair of the liner is placed on the surface to be lined with a single confident movement, and the liner is then drawn with a single stroke in the desired direction to produce a line of even width. This is difficult work and skill in lining can only be acquired by practice.

Decorators often use gold leaf to decorate mouldings and the parts of an ornament that catch the light. The whole of a plaster ornament is rarely gilded all over. More often the larger part of it is painted a buff colour, which at a distance, appears to be gold when the ornament is not catching the light. Only the tips of the ornament or a few narrow lines on the face of a plain moulding are usually gilded. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


The parts to be gilded are first painted in gold-size. When transfer gold is to be used, a mixture of japan gold-size, and yellow chrome ground in oil, is applied, but when loose leaf-gold is to be used oil gold-size is applied. The application of loose-leaf gold is very difficult at first. The oil gold-size, which must be prepared only a few hours before it is intended to be used, is painted on the parts of the work to be gilded and allowed to remain until it is almost dry. A few squares of gold leaf are then allowed to fall out the book which contains them on to a guilders cushion, see Chapter 11. The leaves should be allowed to float into the corner into the corner of the cushion against the parchment shield. A gilders knife is then taken and one leaf of gold is picked up (with the knife and not the fingers) and placed in the centre of the cushion as level as possible. The gilder then breaths gently on the centre of the leaf to open it fully and lays it flat and taut on the centre of the cushion. The knife is then used to cut the gold leaf into convenient sizes for the work in hand. For example when gilding a line the gold would be cut into narrow strips just exceeding the width of the line to be gilded. The decorator then takes a gilders tip and allows the camel-hair of the tip to touch his cheek or his hair. The camel-hair of the tip is then placed on one of the strips of gold. The gold which adheres to the tip, is lifted, placed on the gold-size and pressed lightly in position with the tip. The gold which overlaps the part painted with gold-size will hang loose, but it should not be touched. When the gilding is complete, take a paper bag and a camel-hair mop and remove the excess gold, allowing it to fall into the paper bag. Any parts which have been missed are now gilded by stippling a little of the loose gold (from the paper bag) on the part missed, using the camel-hair mop as a stippler. The skewings (loose gold which remains in the paper bag) may be returned to the goldbeaters who will allow a refund according to the weight. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


No doubt the amateur will prefer the more simple method of gilding by tranfer. The parts to be gilded are painted with japan gold-size which is allowed to become tacky. A leaf of transfer gold is then taken from the book and is held by the narrow strip which is not covered with gold. The leaf is then pressed against the part to be gilded with a small pad of cotton wool. The gold adheres to the surface of the tacky gold-size and the leaf is then removed. Gold leaf is expensive and it should therefore be used to the best possible advantage. If the leaf is dabbed on the gold-size haphazardly quiet a lot of gold will be wasted and it is likely parts of the work will be missed. Twist and turn the leaf to fit parts which are to be gilded; leaves of a transfers on which scrap gold will remain should not be thrown away but saved for touching up small parts which may have been missed. When the gilding is complete it should be lightly dusted with cotton-wool to remove any scraps of excess gold. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


There are no doubt many people who have furniture which is no longer in the prime of condition. Packed away in boxrooms and attics may be pieces of old furniture which for reasons of design have been banished to those regions. Such furniture usually has one thing in common, and that is soudness of construction. With a little planning it is possible to alter such furniture. The removal of meaningless ornament, the replacement of ugly panels of plywood, the renewal or alteration of legs, and similar changes, may produce a useful piece of furniture which can be painted and decorated successfully. Indeed it is just such furniture which is offered for sale at so-called fashionable prices. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


It may be argued that painted furniture will not stand up to wear as well as french-polished pieces. On the contrary, decorated furniture will in fact last equally well, but only if particular care is paid to the preparation, the painting, the decorating and the finishing of the work. Furniture which is to be painted and decorated and which has previously been french-polished must be washed with ammonia and water to break the surface of the polish and to provide a key for the first coat of paint. The french-polish could be stripped completely by the use of a paint-remover, but there is no need to go to such lenghts unless the furniture has been polished again and again and the surface of the polish is cracked. Very thin coats of flat undercoating should be used to build up the painted surface.

As this type of work is likely to be undertaken as a hobby, there is no point in rushing the job by attempting to obtain solidity of colour in one or two coats of paint. Treatment with fillers should procede the second coat of paint. Rubbing down with fine-sandpaper should also precede each coat of paint. If this procedure is followed, a smooth glass-like finish will result. Decorating furniture is largely a matter of personal taste. Furniture may be glazed by one of the methods previously described, parts may be picked out in colour, mouldings may be gilded or painted with gold or silver metallic-paint, it may be grained to imitate antique finishes or modern veneering, table-tops may be marbled or two or more of these suggestions may be adopted simultaneously. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk


Much of the beauty of painted and decorated furniture lies in the hand-painted ornament so often included in the design. The amateur who does not feel equal to such work may substitute stencilled ornament. A study of antique painted furniture, much of which appears in our museums, will be most profitable in providing ideas. A semi-circular table top, painted and decorated by means of templets (for shading the fan-like shape), stencilling (for the border) and lining is shown in Fig. 24.See Fig.24. Furniture decorated in this manner may be glazed with a clouded effect after the painting has been completed. Raw sienna and a touch of black added to the glaze produce an excellent antique shade. a few suggestions for colour schemes follow.

Furniture colour. Off white, ornament colour, Dull green, Pigments used for glaze, Raw umber.

Furniture colour. Cream, ornament colour, Dull red, Pigments used for glaze, Raw umber and burnt umber.

Furniture colour. Green, ornament colour, Gold, Pigments used for glaze, Vandyke brown.

Furniture colour. Crimson, ornament colour, Cream, Pigments used for glaze, Vandyke brown.

Furniture colour. Biscuit, ornament colour, Rich warm brown, Pigments used for glaze, Raw sienna.

Furniture colour. Pale yellow, ornament colour, Scarlet, Pigments used for glaze, Raw sienna.


Painted and decorated furniture may be varnished with either gloss or flat varnish. If gloss-varnished finish is desired, it is best to choose one of pale colour such as french oil-varnish. Polishing with white or transparent french-polish gives a superior, hard wearing finish. French polishing is difficult, but the amateur will find that this work can be successfully performed in the following manner. The painted work must be perfectly dry and hard and the polishing must be done in a dry even temperature. A small quantity of white french-polish is put into a clean, dry container and one coat of the polish is applied with a large camel-hair mop. A new 1 inch. paint tool is recommended. When the surface is dry (in about an hour) a piece of clean cotton-wool is placed in the corner of a square of clean, soft, cotton rag (Fig. 25).See Fig.25. The cotton wool is saturated with french-polish, a few drops of raw linseed oil are added and the rag is folded as shown in Fig.26.See Fig.26. The rag is then twisted and held as shown in Fig.27.See Fig.27. By this time the french-polish will have soaked through the pad, which is known as a rubber. The rubber is now placed on the surface to be polished and moved over it with a continuous circular movement and without lifting the pad. The polish gradually soaks through the rag and gives the surface a very thin film which dries quickly; in fact before the rubber goes over the same place twice. The movement of the rubber must be continuous, and it must not be lifted off the surface suddenly, or the polish already on the surface will lift. When the rubber begins to pull, that is when it becomes difficult to work; it should be taken off the surface with a sliding and lifting movement.

Adequate time must be allowed for the polish to harden between applications of polish. Extra french-polish must be added to the cotton-wool from time-to-time, and a few drops of raw linseed oil dropped on the rubber. All parts of the work must be treated many times in this manner until a smooth shiny surface appears. This is known as bodying-up. The final polishing, which gives the glassy surface typical of french-polished work, is carried out by using the rubber with a backward and forward movement. Practice on some unimportant object before attempting to polish a painted and decorated surface. It is important to get the feel of the work in order to know when progress is being made. The feel of french-polishing is almost impossible to describe in words, but will be gained by experience.

The final stage is to give the work a swift polish with the rubber which has been damped with methylated spirits only. This removes any trace of oil which may remain on the polished surface and gives a mirror-like finish. If a dull finish is required, the work should be polished in the ordinary way, but when it is dry and hard the surface the surface can be dulled with dry pumice powder and a new boot-brush. Back to londonwidepainters.co.uk