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SCAGLIOLA IMITATION MARBLE – A HOW-TO

A new client came reached out to Pierre, wanting an imitation marble finish on his mantel.  The client was very interested in a scagliola, which is a theatrical rendering with aggressive breche and color, a GIDP specialty!

Scagliola is a process of imitating real marble by using “dough” from lime plaster and pigment.  The result is a more dramatic and less refined faux marble look.  Typically, faux marble finishes are completed in a 3-layer process; 1- background, 2- veining, 3- overglazing.   Pierre Finkelstein of Grand Illusion Decorative Painting shows you how he created this finish.

HOW TO CREATE THIS FINISH

Use our step-by-step instruction below

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

1

PROPER PREPARATION

STEP 1 – PROPER PREPARATION: The substrate needed some aggressive sanding to make it smooth enough for the finish.  Real marble is very smooth to the touch.

Next GIDP added a tinted Primer.  Followed by a warm Basecoat.

2

CREATE ON-SITE JOB SAMPLE

STEP 2 – CREATE ON-SITE JOB SAMPLE : As is customary, a sample was made on-site.  This is a crucial step to nail down the technique.

3

BACKGROUND LAYER - APPLY MOTHER GLAZE

STEP 3 – BACKGROUND LAYER – APPLY MOTHER GLAZE:  This faux marble finish will be completed in 3 layers.  The mother glaze consisted of a slow-drying acrylic Glazing Medium mixed with slow-drying Acrylic Colors in burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre, and raw sienna.  This midtone was applied to the area using a Domed Glazing Brush.   The glaze was then stretched to cover the surface.

4

BACKGROUND LAYER - TONING

STEP 4 – BACKGROUND LAYER – TONING: A palette cup of the mother glaze was clipped to the side of a disposable palette.  On the palette, an array of earth tones from red ochre to raw umber was placed. Slow-drying Acrylic Colors were used to increase the working time.  An off-white, titan buff color was used but only sparingly at the end.

With a 2-Header Flat Chiqueteur Brush, Pierre sketched out the breche.

The colors were intensified to create gestural movement.  Warmer tones were added to the palette. Finish with the addition of whitish areas.  For more finite marks, use a flat Detailing Brush.

Pierre Finkelstein of GIDP
5

BACKGROUND LAYER - CHIQUETEURING

STEP 5 – BACKGROUND LAYER – CHIQUETEURING: Next, while the surface was still wet, a Samina Nylon Chiqueteur Brush was used (barely damp with water) to break up the tonalities.  This process is called chiqueteuring).

6

BACKGROUND SOFTENING

STEP 6 – BACKGROUND SOFTENING: Finally, a light softening with a round Softener will complete the background layer.

7

BACKGROUND LAYER - NEGATIVE TEXTURING

STEP 7 – BACKGROUND LAYER – NEGATIVE TEXTURING: The background layer was achieved using slow-drying Glazing Medium and Acrylic Colors.  This allowed the glaze to be tacky enough to create this negative technique, using a wet brush to disperse the background glaze.  The Pointed 2-Header Brecher Brush was used in addition to the straight.  Pointed 3-Header Brecher Brush.  A networking or hooking technique was used to make a quick texture.

8

BACKGROUND VEINING - FINAL GLAZE

STEP 8 – BACKGROUND VEINING – FINAL GLAZE: Finally, we used a flat Detailing Brush, to add a transparent earth-orange glaze to select areas.  Lastly, we lightly softened using a Softener Brush.

9

VEINING LAYER

STEP 9 – VEINING LAYER: From our palette, the most dramatic veining began.  With the background in place, it is clear where to paint the breche (generally).

The Pointed 2-Header Brecher Brush is our first choice for the beginning stages of breche veining.

All of the sides of the mantel must work with the overall direction as if they were cut from one big piece of marble.  It is important that, although a fantastic, imitation-style marble, the marble must follow the rules of nature.

10

VEINING LAYER - FRAMENTING

STEP 10 – VEINING LAYER – FRAGMENTING: Switching to a creamy yellow, it’s time to paint the fragments of the marble.  A Single-Headed Brecher is the best brush for this job.

The Round Softener is a great tool for accurate softening

11

OVERGLAZE LAYER

STEP 11 – OVERGLAZE LAYER: The overglaze step consists of more dramatic flames and crystallization using brighter-toned whites.  You can use similar brushes to those in the previous layer.

12

PROTECT AND FINISH

STEP 12 – PROTECT AND FINISH: After the final layer was dry, the surface was sanded lightly and dusted in preparation for the Varnish.  In this case, the client wanted a satin sheen.

COMPLETED FINISH

This scagliola imitation – essentially copying faux marble, was an enjoyable job for GIDP. The Italian style of decorative painting is a favorite of Pierre Finkelstein. With its loose, bold colors, painted with great intensity and direction.

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