Alright, I know a lot of you guys have been waiting patiently for this one.
Sorry it took so long, but here is your Faux Tortoise Shell 101.
I'm so glad all my years of decorative painting are finally good for something.
Get the piece your want to transform. Prime and paint in a Cadmium Yellow. (We will get to the turquoise version next.) I actually found a Valspar spray paint from Lowe's in a bright yellow (Bumblebee) that worked well...
If you have a larger surface I recommend dividing the area. Tortoise shell is usually an inlay, and therefore done in smaller pieces. I divided my table into thirds, drew faint lines and taped one section off.
Next, I mixed my glazes. I used 3 parts latex glaze to 1 part paint. Use artist acrylics for your paint. The lighter glaze is made up of raw umber, yellow ochre and a bit of burnt sienna. I unfortunately was out of yellow ochre and raw umber so I used regular a Ben Moore paint I had lying around that was close to the final glaze color. *This made it more opaque and cloudy, not really what you want, but will be good enough if in pinch.
The darker glaze uses burnt umber and black in equal parts.
Brush on your lighter glaze and sponge it off with a damp sea sponge...
Using a softening brush to feather the glaze by lightly making crisscross strokes over the area.
-THIS BRUSH IS SUPER IMPORTANT!!!-
click here to see where to get one for $20. Mine cost $32. You need this brush, or else you'll get a big fail (see below in the turquoise section) like I did when I tried to paint this with an old, beat up one.
Next apply the darker glaze in patches/splotches. They can be big or small depending on the look you want.
Lightly sponge off any very heavy areas and soften... alot.
The softening gives it a cloudy, fogged out appearance.
Let it dry and repeat for each section.
Spray with two coats of polyurethane and you are done.
Easy, right? It really is, you just need the magic softening brush.
Now for the turquoise version. I got alot of emails and how to requests about Jennifer Boles
I know there were just as many haters as there were lovers, so haters, just skip this next section.
I happened to think it was pretty fabulous and brave.
So first paint your piece. Once again I scored with a spray paint (Valspar- Mediterranean), such a smoother finish than brushing it on.
Brush on the darker glaze from the last section, and wipe off. The main idea here is to mute the base color a bit. Let it dry. Add your splotches like before and go to town feathering and softening...
And that is it. So what happens if you don't have a softening brush?
So there is one more finish Jenny from Little Green Notebook had posted about. This one on a mirror from Todd Romano...
I was kinda digging it, so I sprayed a lamp I found for $2 turquoise
and striped away using the leftover dark glaze.
It started feeling a little Beetle juicy, and I sorta fell out of love. I did the tortoise on the base.
My little lamp just isn't as cool as Todd's mirror frame.
"feel sorry for me, I'm just a sad $2 lamp that got sacrificed for a blog"
I did shoot some video on the yellow tortoise shell,
and I will post it later in the morning once I get a chance to edit .
If I left anything out or was confusing just give me a shout.