Rock Out with a Soapstone FinishComments (0)
Prep and prime, then begin with a base coat
MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is a great material to use for a tabletop that will get a faux finish, but it’s important to prepare it correctly. After cutting a panel to size, I round all sharp corners with sandpaper and apply two coats of all-purpose primer. Make sure to coat both sides and edges. Your base coat comes next. I prefer to use chalk-style paint because it dries to a smooth, flat finish. Natural soapstone doesn’t have a shiny surface, so it’s best to avoid paints that leave a glossy finish.
When the wash coat goes on, the fun begins
The goal here is to imitate the random blue swirls and spots that Mother Nature puts into the basic black background of real soapstone. On a panel this size, I start by applying a 3-4"-wide wash coat of slightly watered-down blue paint. As soon as the glaze is on, I manipulate it with paper towels and by light spritzes of water from a spray bottle. Work quickly; it’s important to apply the next strip of glaze before the previous application starts to dry. Re-wet the glaze if you want to modify your faux effects.
Blue over black. Use a foam brush to apply a wash coat between 3-4" wide across the width of your panel. The paint dries quickly, so it’s important to work in small areas at a time. Immediately spritz the light blue wash with water.
Work your way across the panel. Once an area is done, move to the next section. Step back to examine your work and make sure that no application lines remain. To remove lines or rework an area, spritz with water, add more glaze, and repeat your blotting process.
Work the edges. For the faux finish to be believable, you’ll need to treat the edges of your panel to the same technique used on the top. Apply the blue wash, then hold the paper towel under the edge to catch drips as you spritz the edge with your spray bottle. Finish up by blotting with the towel.
Protect with a flat topcoat. Once dry, your faux finish needs several coats of clear finish. I apply several light coats of General Finishes HP clear finish to seal and protect the surface. A final GF Flat Out Flat coat dries to a matte finish that simulates the look of real soapstone.
Keys to success
- Make sure to prime and base-coat the MDF panel on both sides and all edges.
- When applying glaze, work in sections. Don’t try to coat and treat the entire surface all at once.
- Keep plenty of paper towels on hand.
- As you work from one glazed section to another, take care to eliminate any lines between sections.
- Remember that the blue glaze will lighten as it dries.
- Protect the faux finish with 3 coats of flat varnish. Sand between coats with 220-grit sandpaper.
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