February 15, 2012 by
By Kathy van Gogh
I originally demonstrated this technique at IDAL back in 2010! Really! I can’t believe it’s been that long already! I’ve been asked many times since then how to create these beautiful vessel sinks I’ve used this technique on glass Christmas ornaments, martini glasses, glass fruit bowls, as well as clear glass plates, but it all started with my idea to turn plain glass vessel sinks into the jewel of any powder room. I thought it would be so cool to mimic the running water you see when you use a sink, but with colour. Once you install one of these sinks, the effect is stunning. Whatever you choose to grace with your art, put the work on the non-used side of the piece whenever possible. In other words, decorate the outside of the bowl, the bottom side of the plate or the outside of the glass. The finished piece is not dishwasher safe. You must forever hand wash these and obviously, being metallic, they can never go in the microwave.
- Golden Proceed Slow Dry Fluid Acrylics (SDFA)
- Golden Proceed Pigment Dispersion (PD)
- Spray clear acrylic
- Gold leaf size – Golden Proceed Cracking Size
- Sparkle dust or mica powders
- Composition gold, silver or copper leaf (though you could probably use metallic foil as well – I have not tried that yet – if you do, please send me pictures)
- Paper cups
- Spray bottle
- Rubbing alcohol
- Clear varnish – I use Rolco MSA Varnish, also known as Rolco Acrylic Topcoat, but I have also used oil based Varathane with good results. Just remember that oil based varnish will yellow, but sometimes that’s a good thing (as Martha would say)
- Clean your sink thoroughly. Make sure you don’t leave any soap residue. Charles Douglas, of Charles Douglas Gilding Studio recommends Bon Ami cake soap. Apparently, that’s very difficult to find, and if you do find it, be a hero and send him some (and me too)! I took a water gilding class from this very gentle master of the art and you can too. (www.gildingstudio.com).
You are going to be working on the outside surface of the sink. If there are any areas you want to avoid finishing, such as the stem of a martini glass, apply tape to that area now..
- Pour about a dime size of your selected colours of SDFA and PD into paper cups, one cup for each colour. Dilute your colours with water to a very thin consistency of cream or skim milk. The thinner you make it, the more translucent your work will be, the less diluted, the more opaque the colour will be. Mix well. Poorly mixed colours will result in totally opaque blobs of colour which I think are undesirable.
- Now for the highly technical paper-cup- pour- method of artistic application. Turn your sink upside down on a surface that can get messy – and it will get very messy! Squeeze the rim of one of the cups to create a spout and drizzle some colour over your sink. Experiment with changing the height of the cup, the higher you pour from, the thinner and longer the lines, the lower, the thicker and heavier the lines.
Try one cup in each hand.
Don’t always aim for the centre of the sink, start some colours lower down.
Experiment with more and less diluted colours.
- Now you want to mess up what you’ve created a little bit. Fill your spray bottle with water and start spraying the sink. Try using the stream and the spray setting on the bottle. You want to create liquid runs of colour.
- Decant some of the alcohol into shallow container. Dip your fingers into the alcohol and flick the sink. This will open up some of the colour to create interesting shapes.
- You can also take some plastic and lay it over the sink and stroke some patterns into it with your fingers, then remove the plastic.
- If you want, you can sprinkle some mica powder over the sink. You can do this at any point in the process. It doesn’t have to come after the plastic, it could be the first thing you do, but if you spray a lot of water, you will wash most of it off.
- Assess your work. Move back and forth between all the steps until you achieve something beautiful. Try not to be too uptight about controlling what happens. Instead think of yourself as a conduit through which the artistic process flows. Yes, you need to make some technical decisions about what colours to put together and you need to be analytical about the design to avoid predictable patterns or repeats or symmetry, but try to let go of that as much as possible so that you can just let the colour and movement speak to you.
- Allow the piece to dry completely.
- Spray the entire sink with any kind of clear acrylic. I’ve used several different kinds and they all seem to do the same job. The purpose of this step is to lock the colour in so that you don’t inadvertently remove it when you apply the gold size in the next step. Allow this coat to dry completely. This may take a few days depending on what product you use.
- Apply a thin coat of gold size all over the sink. I’ve used several different sizes, in this case, I chose to use Golden Proceed Cracking Size. This product is actually designed to work as an augmentation for their Cracking textures, but it also works well for this purpose. Wait about 20 minutes and repeat. Your brush strokes count so apply the size in the direction that works best with the design you’ve created with your colours. I usually stroke down from the centre of the sink to the edges.
- Allow thesize to come to tack, about 20 minutes, then begin applying the leaf. Lay the leaf on, to cover the sink completely. Pinholes will not be attractive so ensure you get good coverage. You could strategically leave open spots as part of your design if desired. Burnish the leaf with a soft lint free cloth to remove any small fragments or seam lines.
- Use a razor blade to clean up any mess you made on the edge of the sink.
- Apply one coat of MSA Varnish, allow to dry, apply a second coat. Ensure that your varnish covers right up to the edge of your leaf to avoid tarnish of exposed edges.
- Enjoy the beauty you have created!
Here’s a link to a video of this process: Click on the video screen when you get there.