Thursday, October 23, 2014

My new grouting technique

I’m not saying I invented this, because after all there is nothing new under the sun. Someone, somewhere, will read this and say “Oh come on, man! That’s MY move!”
But I did think it up all by my lonesome, and feel pretty damn pleased with myself for it.
For years I have been using multiple colors of grout on my pieces. I use it as a design element. But often the changes between colors were harsh. When it was too jarring, I would use acrylic washes to blend and soften the changes.
It works. But it’s another step, and sometimes the acrylic can leave a slightly grainy look behind. Bleh.
Having discovered Tints All, which is supremely mixable and whose colors are much more natural than the powdered pigments, I can get less harsh transitions. Not only that, I discovered that by working wet into wet, I can blend the grout colors beautifully!
OK, what?!?
Right. Think of it as similar to painting a fresco, where pigments are placed on top of wet plaster.
Here’s the photo of the blended grout colors (pale yellow, pale green and light gold) on the new piece (prior to final clean up):
grouting2
Very subtle, right? But here are the colors in the mixing containers:
grouting1
OK – I lied. The darker green on the right doesn’t show in the first picture. But the pale green at the top, the light gold at the bottom, and a pale yellow (not shown – I thought I had the picture staged right, but I blew it) are all visible in the upper picture. No harsh edges.
What I have done is make sure that the color I have just finished with is still workable in the container (not set up too much), then begin with the new shade. After I do the first wipe of the new shade, I then go back to the part I grouted with the old shade, and add a little of the new color over the top of the old one about three or four tiles up. The old shade is still wet. Then I dip a popsicle stick into the container with the first (old) color and add a touch of it to the wet blob of the new color. Then I scumble the wet grout to mix it on top of the tiles, press it in and scrape off the excess with my handy Grout Elf. By mixing a wet grout over a wet grout, the colors blend very nicely.
Tomorrow I’ll finish off the back and side of this mosaic, and early next week I’ll have a finished photo for you. Smile
I’ve already started the next one. And no, it’s not any of the ones I’ve talked about possibly starting. I’m flighty.
You’ll see why that’s in italics next week.
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