Finishing the Ginkgo Lantern

small lantern

My last blog was showing photos of the Ginkgo Lanterns I made for our renovation of the front porch.  I have received several emails asking what I did with the finish on the lanterns.

leaf small 2

here is the raw leaf

Some people thought it was just the photo giving it the older finish, while others thought it was some painting technique.

Well, the paint guessers were right.

The finish is all powder coated with a brass paint.  I would have liked to have a more subdued color but the powder coat color is very bright and was more of a gold color.

I wanted something less manufactured so I needed to age it somehow.leaf small 5

I had used a paint technique to age metal before. Since I was successful with that one, I thought it would work on this also.

The first step was to take black enamel paint and apply it to the leaves in a liberal amount so it ran into all the cracks and low areas.

leaf small 3

I wanted it black in the recesses because that is where the dark stains and discoloring would naturally be located.  But the higher areas would be a clean brass color.  So in order to make the highlights I simply took a rag and wiped off the paint from the exposed areas.  The technique leaves the dark in the recesses and brass on the highlights.

Now take notice, it needs to be played with to get just the right mix… but it is not rocket science.  Just paint it on and wipe it off ‘till you are happy.

But the rest of the lamp needed to be aged some also.  I took the same paint and painted some of the areas in corners and other places where I thought the aging would look good.  Then wiped some of it off.  This was a little trickier because it involved flat surfaces and the wiping was more obvious.  But it works as you play with it.

leaf small 4

here is one with better lighting

I still wasn’t happy with the brightness of the of the brass finish so I misted the top and some of the sides with black paint from a spray can.  I laid the lantern on the table, stood about 3 feet away and puffed the paint in the air.

Kinda like a teenager putting her perfume on by spraying it in the air and walking into it.  Some sticks, some doesn’t.  The result was a black mist falling on the copper.

top small

the top needed just some ageing

I followed up with a dusting of a flat lacquer to kill some more of the shine…and I was happy.

The lanterns are done and mounted on the house…

and for now, all is well in the world.

That is until the next project gets going.

I would love to know what you think, contact me at Steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

or using the link below.

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