Art Nouveau Frame Update and Fixes!

ArtNueveu Frame

Here is the Art Nouveau frame in its’ final form with the designated painting by Diane in it.  There has been some “trials and tribulations” in the making of this frame which are mostly due to my own errors!!  I’ll blame some of that to being about 2 months away from signing up for Medicare, will you buy that excuse?

A Tale of Two Paints

In my last blog I explained how the usual technique of gilding portions of a frame and then spray painting it black prior to using wax to reveal the gild didn’t go as planned.  I thought that it was because the formula of the paint may have been changed.  Well, he says with his head hung low; Krylon and Rustoleum are two different brands of paint.  Even though both cans are the same size and say Satin Black doesn’t mean the formula is the same — that’s why the paint didn’t rub off of the gilded areas as it always had in the past.  The proper paint to use for this procedure is the Krylon.  That problem led me to remove all traces of the wax then re-size and gild the entire frame with silver leaf.  The result was a pretty cold looking frame so multiple coats of  Kusmi #2 button shellac from were applied with an air brush. is my recommended source of supply for shellac flakes of almost any variety.  It warmed the silver up considerably and meets Diane’s requirements.  Here is a side by side comparison of the frame it was in before and the new one.  With all of the reflected light it is somewhat difficult to get a true appreciation of the final result but I took both pictures in the same light and location.

The new frame picks up the warm tones in the painting which completes the mood Diane was after.

A Tale of Two Waxes

Completed Sample

Completed Sample

I’ll stick to this Tale of Two theme and elaborate how the Krylon paint over gilding process works.  At the left is the completed sample piece, please note that the carving was left pretty rough as it’s just a trial piece.  Also, there is an error in the design, it should go over and under rather than crossing over two strands!  The frame is correct.  After gilding the complete piece and realizing my mix up with the paint brands this piece was sprayed with Krylon and allowed to dry for 24 hours.  Now what I mentioned in my previous post applies; the longer you wait for the paint to cure the more difficulty you’ll encounter with removing it.

All waxes are not created equal, my preference is for Liberon Black Bison.  This is a great wax for the final step for most projects. Matter of fact, that was used on the frame for the final rub.  I like its mild odor and the finish it leaves.  The other wax I use sometimes is BriWax.  It has  more solvents which is apparent not only by the odor but also by how quickly it will remove the paint from the gilded areas.  In this slide show, the first work I did on this was on the sight edge using Liberon and a cotton ball.  It took quite a bit of rubbing to expose the gild.  I then went to the carve itself and began using the BriWax.  I should have used a Q-tip right away because the BriWax on a rag or cotton ball also removed the paint from the field surrounding the carve.

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Corner Detail of Frame

Corner Detail of Frame

So, there you have it the completed tutorial on how to do a painted frame with gilded highlights.  As you can see with the sample piece I did it’s important to have the frame as smooth as possible.  Preparation is very important and after the problems I had with this frame very glad it turned out the way it did.  Over the years I’ve found that Krylon rattle can leaves a very nice finish on a frame.  I know some purists may cringe at the thought of using something like that on a piece of fine art but at a show Diane was in in San Antonio I saw them using it to repair a frame on a multi-thousand dollar painting so figure it must not be all that bad!

About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
This entry was posted in Carving, Gilding, Picture Frames, Tutorial and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Art Nouveau Frame Update and Fixes!

  1. Love this frame John, you’ve done it again!


  2. ROBERT R LINDH says:

    Nice job!!

    Liked by 1 person

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