Friday, 21 July 2017

How to paint a new plastic frame to look like an authentic antique ~ #2

The moment you look at a plastic photo frame and conjure up a vision of a 17th-century lady opening her travel chest to unpack her mirror protected in a velvet lined box, is the kind of moment that we as up-cyclers live for.

After all these years, I still find infinitely more pleasure from searching markets and attics for possibilities to transform, than looking at real antiques. For one thing, centuries old antiques are generally out of my price range, but mostly, as beautiful as they may be, I see them as reference and research. For me, the challenge does not lie in acquiring antiques, but in creating something from nothing.

And that is pretty much why I bought this little plastic frame without any hesitation. Another "cheap and nasty" from the East begging for a make-over.


The first thing I did was to prime it brown. That way it will look like wood when it gets distressed.

{See MATERIAL LIST at the bottom of this post}

I wanted to transform it into something a little more substantial. The design reminded me of a Renaissance frame I once saw in a museum. It had a large outer frame with the valley decorated in scrolls. My solution was to cut a hardboard backing slightly larger than the existing frame and an outer frame from left-over wooden moulding I had in the studio. 

Cutting the hardboard turned out to be the most difficult part. The plastic had no straight lines and had all sorts of bits protruding everywhere. You may relate to this as a fellow painter: when you think something will be easy, it often turns out not to be and vice versa. Very frustrating...

So this is basically what I ended up with as far as making a template fitting around the plastic frame at the back.

I always make paper templates rather than taking lots of measurements. It is a lot easier, faster and cheaper to chuck a template the bin. With a template, you have the assurance that your final cut will be a perfect fit.

Having said that, my template may have been perfect but my cutting, alas, was not. This I very professionally fixed by sticking masking tape on the gap. I say "professionally" because you cannot see it from the front. And we are talking about an upcycled frame here, so I see no reason to adhere to museum standards. After all, if the Cairo museum can stick Tutankhamun's beard back on with super glue after it broke off, I think my masking tape is fine (a story both funny and sad - Google it if you missed it).

Next, I cut all the outer frame pieces and glued them directly onto the backing. This is a much easier way than joining frame corners.

Here you can see the masking tape that closed the gap between the backing and the plastic frame.

My good old clamps - the extra hands you need without asking for help.

After a few coats of gesso, my new frame was getting older by the minute and I was able to add the homemade "bole".

Next, I mixed some gold tempera which I toned down to look like an old gold and applied it to the detailed areas. 

At this point, I could start adding some patina to the gold and my frame was starting to look more like what I had in mind.

I mixed two shades of teal casein paint and applied that to the valleys. While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I aged a newly cut piece of mirror glass to create "old" foxed glass.

All that remained, was to distress and seal the frame and fit the small mirror.

So, to sum up ...


1. moulded plastic frame with some detail
2. hardboard

3. wooden mouldings
4. small handsaw
5. primer ~ recipe from FARRAGOZ Online Courses
6. gesso ~ recipe from FARRAGOZ Patina PROJECTS Course
7. "bole" ~ recipe from FARRAGOZ Patina PROJECTS Course
8. gold tempera ~ recipe from FARRAGOZ Online Courses
9. casein paint ~ recipe from FARRAGOZ Online Courses
10. paintbrushes
11. polish


1. prime ~ following instructions in FARRAGOZ Online Courses
2. cut and add outer frame
3. apply gesso
4. apply "bole" to details ~ following instructions in FARRAGOZ Patina PROJECTS Course
5. paint gold details ~ following instructions in FARRAGOZ Online Courses
6. add patina
7. paint teal casein paint
8. distress ~ following Methods in FARRAGOZ Online Courses
9. polish
10. distress mirror glass ~ following instructions in FARRAGOZ Patina PROJECTS Course

I don't usually paint plastic, but the last plastic frame I painted, got more hits than any other post on my blog. I'm not sure if people actually want to know how to paint plastic or whether they just liked the finish, but let's see what happens this time.

Happy Painting!


FARRAGOZ Students are creating the most beautiful patina, applying paint and techniques from the online courses to their own projects.

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

How To Make Traditional Easter Egg Decorations

I've been wanting to use gesso to add ornate decoration to blown-out eggshells for some time now, but somehow never got round to it. Last Sunday I saw a gap in my time schedule and seized the moment.


I already had the blown-out eggshells, so that saved me some time. Afraid of crushing the hollow shells, I stuck a large needle through both the existing holes and used Blu Tack to hold it in place. This provided me with a small handle enabling me to effortlessly add a few doodles with a pencil.

{See MATERIAL LIST at the bottom of this post}

Next, I started to apply gesso decorations in low relief. I used the same recipe and methods we used to create the decoration on the Italian Style Mirror Frame in the FARRAGOZ Patina PROJECTS Course.

It needed a few hours to dry so I had to abandon my little project until the next day when I painted the details with homemade gold paint.

After the gold paint had dried, it was time to add a resist and then it was ready to be painted with white casein paint. Finally, all it needed was some distressing and to be sealed.

So, to sum up ...


1. Blown-out eggshells
2. Large needle or piece of wire
3. Blu Tack
4. Pencil
5. Gesso ~ Recipe and methods from FARRAGOZ Patina PROJECTS Course
6. Gold tempera ~ Recipe from FARRAGOZ Online Courses
7. Casein paint ~ Recipe from FARRAGOZ Online Courses
8. Paintbrush
9. Polish


1. Create handle
2. Draw design
3. Apply gesso ~ Following instructions in FARRAGOZ Patina PROJECTS Course
4. Paint gold details
5. Paint white 
6. Distress and polish

I was absolutely thrilled with my new Easter decorations and in complete Easter-decorating-mode by the end of it, so I just kept going.

I had lots more of these empty white eggshells in different sizes and merely added them to other existing displays.

My collection of Easter eggs grows every year and I'm over the moon with what I've added this year. I already have some ideas for next year's Easter, but for now, I'm just enjoying the new additions.

Happy Easter & Happy Painting!



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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Another BONUS FINISH added!

It's finally here! 
The paint finish that so many of you have been asking for.

Some time ago I made a sample board like this and blogged about it. Subsequently, we have had numerous requests that we should add this finish to the FARRAGOZ Patina FINISHES Course.

So, I constructed a board and painted it in various layers of paint using a homemade wood stain, 2 separate paint recipes and glazes.

As with all the other finishes in this course, short videos were made of every little step and instructions were written to accompany each video. Many hours of footage were edited to bring you an easy to follow, step-by-step version of how to recreate this finish. It is presented in 8 units, starting with the "Overview" and working all the way through to "Distress and Seal".

This new finish is a free addition for students currently enrolled in this course. For the rest of you who are not yet enrolled in the Patina FINISHES Course, the price remains the same at $150.

Students get access to:
  • Age old PAINT RECIPES.
  • Step-by-Step INSTRUCTIONS and VIDEOS to recreate 26 finishes and their paint from scratch.
  • 12 MONTHS online private tutor SUPPORT.
  • COURSEWORK, even after tutor support expires.
  • An optional larger support group where students receive help with their own furniture projects when using recipes and techniques from the course.
Here are some of those beautiful furniture projects students have completed lately:


We hope you will enjoy recreating this new finish.

Happy Painting!


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Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year from FARRAGOZ!

2016 Saw the most awesome patina pieces emerge from the studios and workrooms of FARRAGOZ online students. In celebrating the end of such a creative and productive year, I'm sharing a handful of these treasures with you.

There were exquisite Colour Wheels, Icons, Clock Faces and Plaques which students made from scratch in the Patina PROJECTS Course.

Lola Llobet - Colour Wheel

Kristin Novljan at Kristinji's World - Made With Love - Icon

Nadia Galinkin at nadia.g2 - Clock Face

Joan Murphy - Icon

Lola Llobet - Plaque

Jayne Camille Slovick - Clock Face

Anna Fabricci at Tea & Table - Icon

And equally beautiful Display Cases, Italian Style Mirror Frames in Low-Relief, and French Style Trumeaux from the same course.

Arleta Strzeszewska at Deququ- Low Relief Mirror Frame

Tina DeLeone - Display Case

Jayne Camille Slovick- Low Relief Mirror Frame

Colleen Doolin - Display Case

Arleta Strzeszewska at Deququ - Trumeau

Sample boards with a rich patina were recreated by students of the Patina FINISHES Course.

Molly Eaton at OUF - F306

Rebecca Nelson at A Farmhouse In Provence - F112

Tina DeLeone - F122

Gerlinde Buck at Flomarktkunst - F125

And students of the Patina FINISHES Course put their newly learnt skills to very good use when they applied them to their own projects.

Michele Wilkinson at Reclaimed pcs

Jan Hetherington at Hether & Grabchyk

Gerlinde Buck at Flomarktkunst

It has been a treat guiding students and having all these and many other masterpieces shared with us throughout the year. Well done to all!

We're extremely excited to see the patina that students will create in 2017. Creativity is therapy for the soul and we hope that through these courses we can help people deal with the many issues they may be struggling with and make 2017 a joyful, beautiful and peaceful year.

To all of you and your loved ones, 




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