Oct 21, 2008

faux stone finish for my DIY pine cabinet

you all know that i had to DIY my art cabinet cos i couldn't find a ready made one ...

now, i have a gigantic, stained white, not-so-beautiful but definitely practical cabinet in my possession. i love the storage and the space that it provides but i don't love its looks very much. so of course my hands have been itching to no end to do something. and as a result of the spring cleaning i did on my painting stuff, i discovered a pot of half used texture paste by jo sonja and another pot of unopened alpha artist's modeling paste (which comes up to about the same thing...texture paste, modeling paste...). hmmm... my brains are storming once again :)

i envisioned something of old, of magic, of runes, of stone carvings, of elves and ... of lord of the rings *sigh*...

design was important. knowing that if i were to do something with texture paste, the designs would definitely appeared embossed (raised) from the surface. since the cabinet is sat halfway into a table, with doors made to open downwards (see pic above), the embossed details shouldn’t prevent the doors from lying flat on the table, otherwise my work space is as good as zilch! therefore my designs are concentrated on the top 2/3s of the doors leaving the lower part of the doors free to lie flat. phew… that was difficult to explain!

here are the steps I took to turn a wooden cabinet into stone. well… sort of… i gave it a stone effect actually. my first attempt at making faux stone … good thing it didn’t look too bad :)

step 1 is of course to design the motifs that i want to put on the cabinet doors (pic above). i drew the motif on several pieces of transparency stapled together so that i can flip the design the other way for the other side of the door. then i transferred the motifs onto the cabinet using transfer paper.

next was the laborious task of applying the texture paste on layer by layer. i did this until i was satisfied with the thickness of the design. a palette knife was used to apply the texture paste on and to smooth it into a curve.it took about 5 days to get the motif to appear nice and plump :) i let each layer dry overnight before applying the next layer of paste on.

tip : to get rid of texture paste smears, use a wet brush (paint brush) to swipe the smear off. that's what i did when the paste smeared out from the edges of the motif.

here is the near complete motif. note that you can still see the pine knots on the cabinet because at this point i hadn't thought of texturing the base yet... which was a mistake. i should have textured the base first before doing the motifs.. ah well... trial and error... it still worked out quite well :) )

after doing the main design of the cabinet, i thought it needed a bit more. so i drew up another motif and put it in the middle.

tip : for the larger design above, i actually transferred the motif onto the cabinet doors then 'painted' on the texture paste. for the smaller design, i cut out a stencil and stenciled the first layer of paste on then added the other layers freehand. i must say the later method of stenciling is easier because with stencils you can easily create a neat and no-smear motif. but then again, to cut out stencil for the larger design would be horrifying, so i chose to do the large design freehand

ahem... note the runes? my name translated in elvish :D. this is a direct translation of the alphabets of my name... so if you can read elvish, you'll be able to figure out what my 'real' name is ;)

now coming back to the cabinet... you'll see that the base is no longer pine. i have spread a layer of paste on at random so that the surface will not appear too smooth.

tip : i use an expired credit card to spread the paste on in random directions.

next step was to make it look old. how could a design like this not have 'age'? (would aragorn have believed if it didn't look thousands of years old?) so i made a patina by mixing 3 paint colors (paynes grey, antique green, burnt umber all from jo sonja) with some kleister medium. kleister medium makes the paints transparent without diluting them. alternatively you can use brown wood stain to achieve the patina effect. but because i wanted the color of the patina to be greyish green, i mixed my own.

then i used an old cloth, dipped it into the patina mix and slowly rubbed the mix onto the cabinet. the parts which are smoother will take less patina. in parts where the texture paste is uneven, the patina will flow into the nooks and crannies therefore creating the effect of age. (then i cleaned the extra patina mix off so that the 'old' effect won't look 'soiled')

from the picture, the left half has not yet been aged, while the right half has had its dose of the patina mix. click on the picture for a closer look.

tip : use a gel retarder to slow down the drying time of the patina mix so that you have more time to spread the patina mix into the design and clean off whatever that's not needed.

more pictures below to show the details of the faux stone and the aging process. (click on them to get a closer look)

and below is the finished product in tungsten light.

texture paste is an extremely interesting medium to use in craft making. you can use it to create faux finishes like i did, you can put it into a piping tube and squeeze it out like you would do with icing, it can be imprinted with stamps, and you can also use it in painting... mix a bit of texture paste with your paint to give your art some added dimensions. :)

on a different note... the best comment i had for this cabinet was from a friend whom i communicate with in another blog... this was the comment he wrote : "Aragorn would think it most excellent :)))" well... i sighed... and then melted :)

i hope i have given you some ideas to start playing with texture paste :)

happy pimping! :)


  1. hi walk... :)
    thank you very much! :)

  2. This is beautiful! Wonderful work.

    Thank you for stopping by the back porch and your lovely comment.

  3. How incredibly cool and creative you are! It's going to be such fun to glean inspiration from you -- thanks for sharing your blog with me!

  4. Thank you so much for coming by pat and jen :) and thank you for your lovely and encouraging words :) do stop by often... will love to see you again :) hugs!

  5. Luthien, this is ingenious! Absolutely not only a wonderful solution for storage AND workspace, but gorgeous work with the texture paste! Gosh, I've had a big jar of texture paste since 1994 and haven't had a clue what to do with it.

    Hmmm.. I also noticed one of your other blogs, so it looks like I'm going to be following that one, too. :)
    Great stuff!

  6. hello balego!
    Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I'm on top of the world today with all these wonderful words coming in :))))) muah!!!!

  7. This is a wonderful blog. I am so impressed by your arts/crafts! Especially the cupboard. Very cool.

    I got your link from GardenWeb.

  8. Thank you so much robin :) pls come again :) i'll be updating soon :)))


thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post :) it makes my day!!
Luthien :)