Plastic paint has the same surface appearance as the old cementitious materials and is just as permanent. It is, however, far easier to apply. Plastic paint will cover any surface that can be successfully painted and the same general principles which govern the application of paint apply also to plastic paint. Plastic paint, however, has this quality that it provides a uniform coating over a variety of different surfaces such as glass, cement, brick, etc., which makes it a boon in remodeling. It also covers wall board most successfully providing the joints are properly filled.
Surfaces which are to form backgrounds for objects bold in design and color can be richly coated with the material and broadly swept and smoothed with rhythmic sweeps of the trowel or a celluloid triangle, such as an architect uses. The artistry lies in emphasizing the strokes of the implement without placing them too self-consciously or automatically, the heavier the coat the rougher will be the resulting finish. Heavy, richly carved furniture and gorgeously colored textiles are enhanced by being placed against an effective background of this kind, which offers a subdued contrast of texture.
On the other hand, objects fragile in outlines and delicately tinted should be placed against a wall thinly coated with plastic paint and then slightly textured with the brush or stippled. Besides their attractiveness, lightly brushed and stippled textures are practical and economical, particularly where there are large areas to be covered.
If a one-coat finish is desired, color is added to the mix before it is applied to the wall. Best results are obtained by tinting with dry or fresco colors of the best grade, avoiding those colors which may fade in water mixes. The color should be broken down in water until it is the consistency of cream. It should be stirred first into a small portion of the plastic paint, which, in turn, is stirred with the whole mix. It is advisable to test the color by force-drying a small sample as some colors dry several shades lighter than they appear when wet.
Color for plastic-paint surfaces, however, is usually applied in a glaze which is washable. The surface is generally sized to kill suction and prepare the surface for the glazing. The glaze, contrary to the mix of plastic paint proper, is tinted with oil colors. Pigments that change should be avoided. The glaze should appear over the sized plastic-paint surface as evenly as possible with an ordinary wall brush. It can be stippled to insure an even distribution and to help in blending the colors. It should be allowed to set a few minutes and then before it becomes tacky wiped evenly and carefully with a cloth rolled into a pad. The wiping removes some of the color from the projections of the texture, giving clear and distinct highlights, and leaves it in the depressions. The finished job results in a pleasing suggestion of light and shade - a subtle and very lovely two-toned effect though only one color has been used. Vari-colored finishes are produced by blending separately tinted mixes of glaze. If pastel shades are desired base colors should be toned down by using zinc white.....
1 Adapted from "Plastic Paint as a Background for Antiques," Arts and Decoration, February, 1930. Printed by courtesy of the Arts and Decoration magazine.
The wall finished with plastic paint is textured and colored by hand; it is a product of the craftsman and as such it is a natural and sympathetic accompaniment to the antiques and other art treasures. One can obtain almost any color effect desired by experimenting a bit with blending different tones. This, with the fact that plastic paint can be applied as readily over an old as over a new surface, makes it an extremely practical interior finish for general use.
[Note: To obtain artistic results from plastic paint the greatest of care should be exercised in its application.]