Full Chisel Blog

November 7, 2008

Overcoming an Old Problem

This is something I have been wrestling with for quite a period of time and for some reason this morning I had an epiphany.  When putting stripes on furniture or glass in this case, there is always a problem with starting and stopping the line.  Even using brushes it is the same problem, but it is more common using the liner and a straight edge.

The first thing is that the straight edge be slightly elevated above the surface so as not to cause the paint/ink/varnish to wick under and bleed out on the surface where it is not wanted.  Now I have learned a lot of tricks over the years and have even used tape to mask, but it may suffer from the wicking problem.

A friend of mine that painted bill boards uses tape then talcum powder to dust the tape, then brushes it completely away.  It gets caught up on the adhesive of the tape and helps make a dam to prevent the paint from bleeding under the tape.

Well the problem I have is that when starting and stopping, there is always a large blob before the line gets good.  Generally, I just let it dry then using a sharp knife I cut it back to its proper line, usually not a problem but it does take some time.

 Clock Door Glass strip

As you can see the line on the left has big blobs where it starts and stops.  And on the right you can see that I have started beyond the starting place and finished beyond the finish point, putting the blobs outside of the area of interest.  Nice thing about glass is that I can just scrape off any problems which is what I did with the entire line on the left.  I then re-did the line going beyond the starting and stopping points.

Clock Door

Here is the finished clock door with the gold stripe.  It is painted on the back side, reverse glass painting and needed to be cleaned up at the corners.  I used a sharp wide blade chisel to remove the excess paint.  Any residue remaining was easily removed with alcohol.  The paint is an oil based gold paint.  I also used the chisel to straighten up a couple of crooked parts of the lines.  I just pushed it up and left it, from the front it looks almost perfect.

 Tomorrow I am going to try to use tape on the starting and stopping points on a painted surface to see if I can eliminate the problem I have when I paint stripes on painted furniture, which I do a lot.  The ‘blobbing’ problem doesn’t seem as bad on painted surfaces, but I must remember the chisel trick.  I think the glass is so smooth that it causes the blobs to spread more than a painted surface.




  1. That, sir, is a very pretty clock. I did some pin-striping on my boat once. I used Mastic, available at any art shop, to set up the pattern. You brush it on and it dries to an almost rubber quality. Once dry, you paint in the spaces and peal the mastic off before the paint kicks. There is no bleeding as the mastic is liquid when it goes on and seals to the base nicely. Looking at the lines on that clock, though, I don’t think you need anything but your line tool. Great stuff.

    Comment by Mitchell — November 7, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  2. I forgot to mention the important part of why to use Mastic. Once it dries you can cut the pattern out in it using a scalpel or Xacto knife. Because it is rubbery, it is easy to work with and if you make a mistake, you just paint more on, wait for it to dry and start again.

    Comment by Mitchell — November 8, 2008 @ 2:14 am

  3. Mitchell,

    I know of that type of mastic* and there is also a water color resist that will probably work, but I am not sure how old the technique is? I am certain the masking tape thing is a more modern method, so I am looking for methods that were used in the nineteenth century.

    Like how did they mark on glass in the 19th century? No ‘sharpies’, probably a grease pencil or wax crayon. I just tried iron gall ink and that does leave a visible mark on glass when dry.

    I think putting a piece of sized paper under the straight edge at the beginning and end might do the trick, I will have to give it a go.

    *Mastic in the nineteenth century is Gum Mastic (Pistacia Lentiscus) and was used for varnishes and cements.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — November 8, 2008 @ 6:37 am

  4. Stephen,

    Your clock is magnificent. Oh to have 1% of your talent.

    You probably know this but to keep paint from wicking under a taped line, take that wonderful mouth-driven atomizer of yours and spray some thinned shellac along the tape edge. This will seal things so that you’ll get no wicking. This is probably not useful on glass as you don’t want shellac residue on the glass but on wood it works great.

    Cheers — Larry

    Comment by Larry Marshall — November 8, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  5. Stephen, The clock is beautiful! That couple will be delighted

    Comment by Dave — November 8, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  6. Larry,

    I am going to give shellac a try as a resist, might work on wood if it is varnished first.


    Thanks, I finally got ahold of the couple, I was a bit concerned as it had been a while, but they still wanted the clock. So I gave them the address of the blog, and they should be able to see what they are getting. The paint on the dial is nearly dry, so I will be numbering and marking the dial in the next day or so.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — November 10, 2008 @ 5:57 am

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