Paint: A common name given to water base paints made
with an emulsion of 100% acrylic co-polymers. Artist's acrylics
by the tube and have the consistency of toothpaste. For decorative
painting they are
more often used to tint the glazing liquid.
Matt: A flat
finish. Not very durable, marks easily. Absorbs light, good
for hiding imperfections.
Eggshell: Also called satin, pearl, velvet. Subtle sheen, very popular
for walls as it is not too shiny, not too flat. Easy to wipe clean.
Semi-gloss: Most commonly used for woodwork, trim, and furniture. Reflects
light, so surface marks or cracks are visible. Semigloss latex paint is
an ideal base coat for painted finishes that require a great deal of manipulation
such as faux marbles and tortoiseshell; it is easier to manipulate a glaze
on a shiny surface. Easy to wipe clean.
High-Gloss: Commonly used for exterior painting and doors because of
its high durability. Also used on interior doors, baseboards, and trim.
Reflects light, so any surface marks or cracks are very visible. Adds
depth to your finish. Easy to wipe clean.
Alkyd: A synthetic resin used in oil base paints. Reacting a drying oil
with a hard, synthetic material creates an alkyd resin.
Antiquing: Technique intended to give appearance of age or wear.
Badger Hair Softener: A high quality brush made with badger hair and
used to soften and blend glazes together for Marbling, Wood Graining,
and other faux finishes.
Base Coat: The first coat of paint applied to a surface after the primer
coat or tinted primer coat to render it non-porous.
Broken Color: Techniques whereby a wet glazed surface is given a variance
by manipulating it with various tools.
Burnish: To polish using a hard, smooth tool such as a trowel or putty
Color Wheel: The visible spectrum arranged in a circle.
Combing: A technique of pulling toothed implements (rubber, metal, leather,
plastic or cardboard) through wet media.
Coverage: Amount of surface a given quantity of paint will cover; also
how well paint conceals surface being painted.
Crackle Finish: A finish in which cracking is produced, allowing the
undercoat to show through the cracks. Cracking is produced by rapid drying
of topcoat over slow drying undercoat.
Cutter: A short, natural (hog hair) bristle brush used to add specific
markings in simulating wood grain.
Decorative Paint Technique: Any technique of adorning surfaces in a decorative
way using paint and/or glaze.
Denatured Alcohol: Also, called denatured solvent or solvent alcohol.
Alcohol that has been made unfit for drinking. Used as a solvent for all
shellac-based media and dried latex and acrylic films.
Distressing: Another term for ‘glazing and wiping’.
Dragger: A stiff bristle brush used for “dragging”.
Dragging: A glazing technique for achieving a subtle mix of fine stripes
by pulling a wide stiff bristled brush through wet glaze. Also called
Extender: A slow-drying clear medium that when mixed with latex paint,
creates a durable glaze.
Faux: A French word meaning “fake”. Also, a term loosely
defined as simulation of a real substance.
Faux Bois: A French term meaning “fake wood”.
Faux Marbre: A French term meaning “fake marble”.
Fitch: A natural long hair bristle brush with bristles 1” wide
and 1 ½” long. Used primarily for mixing color into glaze.
Flogger: A brush with very long bristles used to simulate wood grain.
Flogging: A technique used to create the appearance of pores in wood
by “drumming” or “slapping” the surface with a
long bristled brush. Usually used in the 1st stage of imitating certain
types of wood.
Frottage: (in decorative painting) From the French word meaning “to
rub”. The decorative paint term denotes a technique of applying
paper to a wet glaze, rubbing it to create a texture and removing it.
Gesso: Traditionally a medium made from rabbit skin glue and whiting
(chalk) which was used to prime artist’s canvas or as a ground under
water gilding. Presently, gesso is made from acrylic resins yet still
has thickness, whiteness and hardness of traditional gesso.
Gilding: The application of metal in any form (metal leaf, metallic foil,
metallic paint, metallic powder).
Glaze: A clear, durable medium formulated to be mixed with latex paint
to extent the open-time or work time to the paint so that it can be manipulated.
Glaze is a paint extender.
Glazing: Process of applying glaze, either oil or water base, to all
or part of surface.
Grade: A continuous, gradual color transition.
Grain: Arrangement of the fibers in wood.
Heart Grainer (Rocker): A tool used to create the heart grain of wood
for “faux bois”.
Highlighting: Making certain parts of finished project appear lighter
than other parts.
Hog Hair Softener: A high quality brush made from hog’s hair used
to softer and blend glazes together for wall glazing. Also, used to remove
excess glaze build up in corners of walls or recesses of carved mouldings
or to eliminate brush strokes in wet glaze.
Hue: The family name of a color according to its wavelength on the visible
Latex Paint: Water base paint made with a synthetic latex emulsion.
Marbleizing: Finishing process used to make surface being painted look
Masking: The use of tape, paper or other substance to protect and isolate
a particular area of painting.
Mineral Spirits/White Spirits: Used as a solvent for oil-based paint
Moiré’: Visual effect of different tones used to render
certain linear patterns in marble & undulations in wood grain to achieve
nuance & depth.
Mottle: A British term meaning to break up a glaze giving a blotchy surface
appearance by manipulating a rag, sponge, stippler or brush into the wet
Mottler: A short, natural, soft-haired (squirrel) bristle brush used
in simulating wood grain.
Negative Technique: Glaze is applied to a surface with a roller or brush
and then manipulated with various tools thereby moving and removing it.
Opacity: The degree of covering/hiding power of a paint or coating.
Open-Time: The amount of time that a glaze stays wet and workable.
Oxidation: The chemical change caused by the introduction of oxygen.
On iron it creates rust, on copper it creates an attractive patina known
as verdigris (due to the greenish tint).
Patina: A thin greenish layer that forms on copper or copper alloys,
such as bronze, as a result of long exposure to the elements and often
valued aesthetically for its color. A surface appearance of something
grown beautiful with age or use.
Positive Technique: Glaze is applied to a surface with the manipulating
tool (such as a sea sponge or rag).
Picture Framing: Not bringing the finish to all edges.
Primer: The first coat of media applied to a surface to reduce absorbency & to
ensure adhesion of subsequent coats.
Ragging: A glazing technique that involves using rags to manipulate wet
Scumble: Traditionally, a British term denoting a tinted oil (or water
color) glaze or stain that is used to produce a broken color effect. In
North America the term means a translucent, slow-drying, water base glaze.
Shade: Degree of color obtained by adding black to a color or hue.
Shellac: An alcohol-soluble liquid derived from lac, the resinous secretion
of the lac beetle. Deep orange-brown in its natural state, white shellac
is bleached colorless to make clear shellac
Skim Coat (Venetian Plaster): The second step in the Venetian Plaster
Techniques whereby a skim coat of Venetian Plaster is forced into the
valleys and recesses of the texture coat, filling in the pattern and creating
a tone on tone effect (also called “smooth coat”).
Soften: To blend a color or brush marks by lightly smoothing, partially
or wholly, generally with a badger hair softener.
Sponging: A broken color effect produced by either applying color or
removing color by dabbing with a natural sponge.
Stipple: A decorative treatment also known as “Pouncing”.
A glaze is applied to the surface and while it is wet, a stippler
is hit or pounced onto the surface causing the glaze to disperse
into tiny dots. Stippling gives a very even film of glaze while removing
brush strokes in a wet glaze.
Stippler: A large brush, usually with a large surface area of hundreds
of hog hair bristles, that when applied to a wet paint or glaze produces
a mottled, stippled pattern.
Strie’: A glazing technique for achieving a subtle mix of fine
stripes by pulling a wide stiff bristled brush through wet glaze.
Sword Striper: A small, fine, artist brush made of natural (Sable) hairs
and is shaped like a sward or dagger. Used for fine veins in marbling.
Texture Coat (Venetian Plaster): The first step in the Venetian Plaster
techniques whereby a pattern is made in the wet Venetian Plaster Base
Coat and left to dry in anticipation of a second smooth VP coat (skim
Tint: Pigments used for altering the hues of all types of media.
Translucency: Clarity: transmitting light but causing sufficient diffusing
to prevent perception of distinct images.
Trompe L’Oeil: French phrase meaning, “Deceive the Eye”.
A paint technique in which an illusion of depth and reality is created
by emphasizing highlights and shadows as if an object is seen under a
defined light source.
Universal Tint: Super-saturated colorants used to tint water or oil base
glazes, paints, varnishes, plasters, gesso etc. The colorants cannot be
used alone, they must be added to another medium.
Value: The amount of light & dark in a hue.
Varnish: Traditionally a transparent coating composed of a fossil resin
drying agent and volatile solvent (very yellow). Presently, the term is
used to describe any synthetic resins such as alkyd or acrylic clear coats,
epoxies and polyurethanes that provide a clear protective coating.
Wet Edge: The place where one section of glaze joins a still-wet, previously
applied section so that no seam (or break) is visible