Watercolor Dye Technique #7: Flip, Flop, and Press ... protecting the dye.

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 08-28-2013 11:23 PM 2195 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Toscana, Disassemble, Dye, Re-assemble Part 7 of Watercolor Dye Technique series no next part

Warning: boring content. ............ This is technical junk about a sequence of events that will interest people who want to try this technique. Others may fall asleep.

The marquetry and dyeing are done so the next step is to mount the assembly on a substrate, right?
Not so much. First and foremost the very fragile surface dye must be sealed to prevent its being abraded or smeared in the mounting process. To make things just a little trickier the Contact paper that it is currently mounted on is not sticky enough to keep all the bigger pieces flat without weights to help and you can’t have weights on top when you’re sealing it.

So the next step was to tape over the face side with medium tack tape, strong enough to hold the pieces briefly but not so strong as to pull dyed fibers off the surface.

All taped and turned over, the Contact paper peals very easily, hardly pulling any little pieces up with it … but a few of course. Now I can replace it with the same medium tack tape and remove the front tape. Flip ...... flop …
When the front tape is off I can press the assembly to improve the tack of this back side tape.

Aside: Here’s the thing, from an artistic point of view both my wife and I really liked the incidental dye job on the back (one of us liked it better than the front … ‘nuf said)

With the pieces now securely mounted on the back side it is safe to spray a coat or two of oil based poly on the dyed surface to protect it from moisture.

And flipping one more time, the front is laid on another sheet of Contact (low tack) paper and the back tape is removed. this is a little tricky as the tape is much better stuck than the Contact, but eventually I got all the little fence posts and grape vine bits stuck back where they belonged and I could proceed to pressing onto the final substrate.

Once out of the press I coated the whole piece with a good protective (and leveling) coat of epoxy.
(Shiny isn’t it?)

From here on it’s just a matter of sanding the epoxy flat and finishing with a couple of coats of spray
semi-gloss poly and cutting the edges to final shape.

There may be an easier way to do this but I thought the processes through and am happy that I came up with a sequence that worked. It may seem like a lot of steps but each one has a good reason behind it.

That’s it. Ill post the project shortly

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

13 comments so far

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3530 days

#1 posted 08-28-2013 11:48 PM

Another great follow-along Blog Paul, the final product is excellent!
I really liked the incidental image on the back too…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2950 days

#2 posted 08-28-2013 11:56 PM

Hi Paul,
You had showed a lot of skills plus the watercolor dyeing is one of the best solution for those green and blue colors seldom found in wood. Another way of doing right specially in making art through painting. Added to your skill is painting. A typical view that I like is the shadow formed from the pine which makes an additional 3D effect.

Very well done. Thanks for the lesson too!

-- Bert

View HumidorMinister's profile


412 posts in 3412 days

#3 posted 08-28-2013 11:57 PM

WOW Paul. you just keep taking it to a whole new level. Looking forward to your return to Tucson. That piece is absolutely stunning. So what can we work out to make something like this for the wine cellar I’m still building? 8-) Has to be something we can trade.

-- What you listen to is your business...what you hear is ours.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4081 days

#4 posted 08-29-2013 12:59 AM

Beautiful and a COOL technique!

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 08-29-2013 01:06 AM

Wow! Creation of a masterpiece

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3337 days

#6 posted 08-29-2013 03:32 AM

Impressive to put it mildly Paul. You are really accomplishing quite a bit with your marquetry and dyeing.

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3858 days

#7 posted 08-29-2013 04:10 AM

Great blog Paul, I followed along every step of the way. I’m glad you won the battle of opinion and decided to keep the intentional dyed side the face. :)

Can you provide some additional detail on the type of epoxy and the application method you use. You have made reference to it on several of your projects but I’m not sure of the details.

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View shipwright's profile


7996 posts in 2826 days

#8 posted 08-29-2013 05:09 AM

Hey Mat,
There wasn’t much of a battle really but I did make a note that it might be something to try on purpose another time. The effect is quite striking.
As for the epoxy I use, this is one of the pour-on bar coating ones but I’ve used laminating epoxy in the past and even glueing epoxy would work in a pinch. I don’t want the high gloss thick plastic look and since I will be sanding flat the self levelling part isn’t too important. This stuff is thin enough to self level reasonably well so it can be sanded flat but doesn’t really self level unless you use a gross amount (the recommended method) of it. It is however water clear and easy to buy in small quantities without having to go to a specialty store.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#9 posted 08-29-2013 07:47 AM

Interesting procedure and with an excellent result Paul. I read in my marquetry book that sometimes veneers are dyed from the back to give them special color or tonal qualities on the face side that the natural grain color lacks and that it is not possible in most cases to see that they are dyed. Great work and waiting to see your final project post.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2695 days

#10 posted 08-29-2013 01:57 PM

Boring are you kidding ?
This is a fantastic blog and a pleasure to follow along .
Love the intricate details you are creating with wood and colour ,I find it just amazing .

-- Kiefer

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3114 days

#11 posted 08-29-2013 02:31 PM

The look of the dye job from the back is quite something, and it will never be quite the same from one piece
of wood to the next, makes one wonder if you could make a reversible marquetry piece somehow. Thank
you for sharing and making us stretch our comfort zone.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2301 days

#12 posted 08-29-2013 05:02 PM

With each new project you seem to ‘up the ante’.

Are there any Chapel ceilings in your future designs? :-)

Your Tutorial Blogs are always well done and very inspirational.

Thanks for sharing your Gifted Talent.

Best Regards. Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View NormG's profile


6156 posts in 3032 days

#13 posted 08-29-2013 11:33 PM

Great job, looks so bright

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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