DIY: French Washing Frames Part 2

by | Oct 12, 2016 | Frames | 3 comments

This is Part Two of the DIY: French Washing Frames Post. Click here to go back to part one. In the previous post, we covered the Base Color, Gilding, and French Wash. Now we are continuing on with the last remaining steps: Splatter Seal, Wax & Dust, and Highlighting!

Splatter Seal

Splattered shellac was another great idea that from ! It creates a pretty, light-catching effect of “years gone by.” Horowitz explains it best, but the idea is to create multiple rounds of random splatterings using a brush. As you can see in the video below, I used a steel brush but you could also use a tooth brush.


Splatter Seal Shellac

splattered shellac catches the light in different ways and creates the illusion of “years gone by.” this close up shows how moving the brush closer or further away from the frame creates bigger or smaller dots. randomness is key.

Dust & Wax

Blending the dust was my favorite part! I’ve always wanted to try an aging dust, but found dust of ages looked too “dirty”. So I decided to make a custom dust that matched the bridesmaid dresses – blush! I ordered commercial whiting online (after checking local stores) as well as red and yellow cement color.

I found it was easiest to pick out a Pantone color to match it to. The one that seemed the most "blush" was Pantone 7604 U.

mix dust from commercial whiting & cement color. i found it helpful to pick out a pantone color to match. i thought the perfect “blush” was pantone 7604 U.

I didn’t follow an exact formula, but started with white and mixed in only a tiny amount of red and yellow. (Easy tip: add gold leaf scraps to the dust for a “fairy dust” effect.) I blended until I matched Pantone Color 7604 U. It helped to have a specific color goal – otherwise it’s hard to know when to stop adding color.

The dust sticks to the frame with wax. After trying dark, clear, and liming wax on my practice frame, I instead opted for a custom wax blend. I found the clear wax was too clear, the liming wax too opaque and I wanted something in between. So I blended clear wax, blush dust, a drop of acrylic white paint, and mineral spirits. It went on like butter!


It finally comes all together! I used normal aging dust instructions. The video explains it best, but you apply an even, thin layer of wax and wait until it becomes tacky (roughly 5-10 minutes) and pounce on dust. (if you apply too soon, you risk altering the dust color.) Let everything dry for another 30 minutes or so, and then brush off excess. Buff with a clean rag.

Excess dust comes off with a rag or q-tip and a little bit of water. I especially highlighted the gold corners with industrial q-tips, and then i finally buffed with a little clear wax to seal the work!

After Photos

Finished Frame for "Gifts & Cards"

this is the finished Frame for the smallest sign “Gifts & Cards”. as my final step, I added a little more gold leaf to the corners. there will be lots of candles at the wedding and i want the accents to romantically catch the light. 


Final Three Frames

this is how they turned out! they are especially stunning under dim lighting.

Video Summary

This video is a quick summary of all these techniques!



Now for the best part — adding the signs! I’ll include those photos soon! Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please email — Susan