Monday, September 19, 2016

More Moulding and Painting; Part I of II

I have moved to another room in the house in which I have been doing the moulding project for the past Year. This time I am working on the dining room. It is not nearly so involved as the last project, and thus I will only be doing two posts on this one; this post, and again when it is finished.

The project entails putting up some mouldings on the ceiling, making a medallion and painting it, and re-doing the fireplace mantle. (Plus a few other odds and ends.)

A simple painted medallion. At least you will not find this one on one of
those Chinese import sites for a ridiculously cheap price. 
I used a sheet of cement board to make the medallion, applied the cast ornaments, (reworked from ones used in another part of the house) then cast and carved the connecting bars free-hand on the medallion. I used a couple sections of flexible moulding to make sections from which to cast the plaster pieces for the ceiling, and I carved, moulded, and then cast the 42 leaves needed to complete the design.

First stage of painting. I am using "Old Fashioned Milk Paint"

Left and right leaves

40 of 42 leaves cast in plaster, I do not remember why the other two did
not want to have their picture taken.

I first drew out the ceiling life sized on the floor of my shop. In order to draw an ellipse one needs to know the length and the height. Take half the length and multiply it by half of the width; divide that number by its square root, and that gives you the distance to place your pins (called foci) from the centre point. Use a string looped around one point and tied (forming a loop) exactly at the distance to the extreme tip of the ellipse. Take a pencil and make a notch in the edge, near the tip, and describe your ellipse. It sounds so simple but it took me nearly a day to work it out. I then kept the string, took notations of all the measurements, and duplicated the same ellipse on the ceiling so that I would have a guide to install the plaster moulding. It worked out brilliantly.

A picture found on the internet of the method of drawing an ellipse

Of course before any of the drawing or adding moulding or anything could take place I had to make a work platform. I built this right over the dining room table because it was so big it would have been a huge challenge to move it anywhere else. Working on a ceiling for very long in any position gets to the neck; one really has to feel sympathy for all the painters over the ages who laboured for years doing the magnificent frescoes one finds in palaces, churches and cathedrals.

My working platform; the planks can be moved to wherever they are wanted

As of Friday half of the leaves have been painted gold. The border around the medallion will also be gold, and there are a couple more appliques which go at the ends. This week I will begin working on the fireplace mantle. In a couple weeks I should be posting the completion of this project.


  1. Johann, just learned about your blog from Jonas Jensen's Mulesaw site. Have only read this entry so far, and already a fan. Looking forward to seeing all you've shared. Beautiful work.

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  3. Thank you, I appreciate everyone who reads and enjoys my blog, but especially those who take the time to say so. Happy reading, there is a lot to digest. Also thank you to Jonas for sharing! Cheers,