The Marquetry application is for those who aspire for decorative beauty, but do not have the funds to construct an inlaid wood floor. That tends to mean most of us. Marquetry is a combination of designs using color geometric shapes and small pictorial motifs and symbols.
The basis of Marquetry has its origins in Scandinavian culture. Its purpose was to bring elements from the environment and incorporate them into a durable, folk craft type floor design. It includes the use of stencils, rubber stamps and fine artistic brush work.
Marquetry is intended to be used to enhance the beauty of an open wood floor that is typically bare. For optimum decoration, though, the floor is best if nothing rests upon it, including around the perimeter.
If such a floor design interests you, try designing a small hallway floor.
Now, how: is such a thing accomplished?
- Design a scale drawing of your concept. Grid paper works well.
- Refer to your scale drawing.
Here’s what you will need to begin:
- Choose your motifs: a stencil form, or with the addition of rubber stamps.
- Choose your sheen: matte, semi-gloss, gloss, or a combination.
- Oil base finishes are recommended. Fine art oils will do.
- Use a matte shellac for quick sealing.
- Use a varnish or polyurethane for final finish protection.
- Use assorted abrasives: #220, #80, wet sandpaper, or emery cloth #400.
- Also you’ll need rags, tack clothes, mineral spirits, and easy remove masking tape.
The basic procedures – Finished wood or unfinished-bare wood floor.
- Measure off. Tape area to be painted or stained. Scuff sand surface with sandpaper.
- Paint in corner designs first.
- Then work in between placing stencils and stamps at equal measurements from corners and adjacent designs.
- Work multiple designs with same color.
- If a narrow border design is to be used, run it completely around entire perimeter.
- Let dry before doing block designs. Mask accordingly.
- When blocks are completed, seal with shellac to protect.
- There are four sides; blocks should be duplicated no more than twice per side.
- If you have chosen a center motif, measure and tape off perpendicular to the sides. Note: The scale of the motif may be adjusted up to 4 times size of the perimeter block designs.
- As an option for creative effect: Stain, pain, and ink can be used simultaneously.
- When dry, make sure to seal with shellac each individual block design.
- Remove masking tape as necessary; and tack cloth surface.
- Once designs are completely dry, lightly sand surfaces.
- Apply first coat of clear finish. Let dry over night.
- Lightly sand with #220 or #400 sandpaper, depending on overall smoothness of the wood.
- Apply second coat of varnish, polyurethane or clear acrylic.
- In ten days, apply floor wax (optional). The work is completed.
A Marquetry design can be finished in any number of ways. It does not have to be traditional as in Folk Art. If you are doing a child’s room, animals, clowns and rocket ships are excellent choices.
If it is a family dining room with a light stain colored finish, try using traditional miniature farm scenes with fruits and vegetables placed in between. A stencil works well because it creates an easy method of producing repeatable designs.
And if you choose a contemporary design, try using world symbols as a motif. Vary the colors. A neat trick would then be to apply a varnish with various sheens on different block.
In decorating a floor, there are many options available. Some are simpler than others. Choose a design motif that fits your personality, level of skill, budget, and time allotment.
Remember: If you cover the design with furniture, you will have defeated the purpose of Marquetry. That’s one reason it works exceptionally well in hallways.
Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.