Tips, Tricks & FAQs

With a wide variety of products comes a wide variety of uses and techniques. I'll try to address the most common ones here but if I'm missing your particular question, please contact me and I'll be glad to help!

DIY Paint

DIY Paint™ is velvety soft, lusciously creamy, and creates luxurious colour dimension you have to see to believe. DIY Paint™ is eco-friendly containing only (9) nine total ingredients, it's the perfect all natural clay and chalk based paint.

How do I achieve a smooth finish with DIY Paint™?

DIY Paint is naturally thick and it does not self-level, but here are a few techniques for minimizing brush strokes if you’re looking to create a smoother finish.

- Begin by wetting your brush. I simply wipe off the excess water with a clean cloth as I don’t want it to be dripping wet.

- Dipping your wet brush into your undiluted paint, begin applying in smooth, even strokes.

- After two or three strokes, dip your brush into water again and go over the area you have just painted. This helps the paint move easier ‘erasing’ brush strokes.

- Continue with this method until you’ve covered the entire piece with the first coat. Then let dry completely.


- Pour some paint into a separate container and add a small amount of water. Begin with a small splash, mix thoroughly and add a bit more until your consistency is thinner but not watery.

** DIY Paint is highly pigmented, so adding a little water to the mix won’t affect the colour, however, when the ratio has more water than paint, the paint becomes translucent.

- Apply 2 - 3 coats of paint using either of the above methods, allowing each coat to dry completely.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT over-brush with DIY Paint. What we love most about this paint is its ability to blend beautifully - however, this also creates a struggle for some people. As DIY Paint will reactivate with water once dry, applying a 2nd coat can sometimes be a challenge as your 2nd coat will reactivate your 1st coat. You’ll know when you’ve brushed over a spot too much if you start seeing your bare surface show through. While this can be frustrating to you at first, it’s easily fixed by letting it dry, and then going over it again with minimal, sure, smooth strokes.

- Sand with a fine sandpaper or even a paper bag between coats to smooth out any unwanted texture.

- Finish with DIY Wax, Big Top, or Patina once your paint is completely dry. 

How do I achieve a textured finish using DIY Paint™?

DIY Paint is naturally quite thick and builds texture easily, even on a smooth surface.

- Apply paint directly from the can (meaning undiluted

- I suggest that if you’re using multiple colours, put your paint in another container to avoid colour transfer and messing up your paint jars).

- Apply your strokes in one direction or by using an alternating pattern, like and X.

- When the first coat of paint has dried completely, apply the second coat using the same or a different colour.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT over-brush with DIY Paint. What we love most about this paint is its ability to blend beautifully - however, this also creates a struggle for some people. As DIY Paint will reactivate with water once dry, applying a 2nd coat can sometimes be a challenge as your 2nd coat will reactivate your 1st coat. You’ll know when you’ve brushed over a spot too much if you start seeing your bare surface show through. While this can be frustrating to you at first, it’s easily fixed by letting it dry, and then going over it again with minimal, sure, smooth strokes.

- Apply these strokes so they cross over the texture of the first coat, creating even more texture.

- Move your brush slowly for a more solid coat, or quickly for a drier, more broken stroke.

- For extreme texture, use a putty knife to dig into your paint in places before the last coat had dried completely. This will expose the colours underneath (if your first coat was a different colour) and tie an especially weathered look to your piece.

- Finish with DIY Wax, Big Top, or Patina once your paint is completely dry. 

How do I achieve a distressed finish on DIY Paint™?

There are many ways of distressing a piece after painting it. The following are three methods I've used.


Wet distressing is a dust-free method so it works wonderfully when painting inside your home or like me, in the store. After your final coat of DIY Paint has dried…

- Wet a rag and wring it out so it’s wet but not dripping. You may also use a sponge or even a wet-wipe for smaller projects.

- Use the rag to wet one area at a time without puddles.

- Gently go over areas of your piece you want distressed with your wet rag - edges, corners, embellishments, etc.

- Gently rub away the top coat of paint to reveal the undercoat and even the furniture itself.

- Use a clean portion of the rag as paint is removed.

- Don’t be afraid of over distressing. You can always cover an area again with paint but you may be pleasantly surprised by experimenting.

Wet distressing works very well with a PUTTY KNIFE as well.

Once you’ve wet the painted area, you may use your putty knife to scrape off some paint giving you an authentic chippy look to your finish.

- With this technique, I sometimes use a mister bottle to spray the area I’d like to distress.

- Letting the water sit for about 15-20 seconds to give it time to reactivate the paint, I then scrape over it with a putty knife pulling off paint in the areas I’d like to appear worn.

- You can achieve more texture if you scrape off and then reapply the paint with the putty knife.

How-to Distress using a SANDING BLOCK

This is a very simple albeit dusty method. DIY Paint sands very easily and produces a very fine, almost talc-like consistency of dust. I recommend sanding outdoors.

- Using a fine/medium grit sanding block or sanding paper (220 grit or higher works perfectly), simply sand the edges and high points you would like to appear worn.

Finish with a top coat of DIY Wax, Big Top, or Patina once your paint is completely dry. 

How do I apply wax over DIY Paint™?

Adding wax to your piece is the final step to finishing your creation. You may wax over Big Top but you won’t achieve great results using Big Top (or any other liquid clear coat) over wax as nothing likes to stick to the wax. Sometimes, using wax over a liquid sealer gives you a little extra protection from water or other liquids (as may be extra protection on table tops).

DIY Waxes are like butter so a little goes a long, long way. Applying too much only requires you to wipe it off effectively wasting product.

- Apply clear wax with a wax brush or soft rag using circular motions.

- Remove excess wax with a soft rag.

- Allow wax to dry 4 - 24 hours then buff waxed areas with a clean, lint free cloth or buffing brush in circular motions for a hard finish.

NOTE: Applying wax on darker paint colours creates what we call the ‘wax freak out’. The wax will saturate more in the spot that your brush/rag first touches when applying, creating a somewhat blotchy appearance. Don’t worry - once the wax dries, it will even out again.

Using the Dark or White Waxes:

It can be tricky to apply a dark finish over a light coloured paint. Make sure your colour doesn’t get browned out (dirty looking) by following these simple steps, and remember, a little goes a long way.

*the same steps apply when using white or other pigmented waxes.

Instead of applying the dark wax directly onto your piece which can cause deep staining into the paint, use clear wax first as a buffer and diluting medium.While the clear wax is wet…

- Working in small areas, begin with a minuscule amount of dark wax on the tips of a wax brush. Apply in circular motions, spreading as far as you can, and working into details.

- You may add more dark wax if desired and if you find that you’ve applied too much, simply apply some clear wax over it as an ‘eraser’.

- Use a rag to spread and remove and excess wax and finish off by buffing after 4 - 24 hours for best results. 

How do I use the Liquid Patinas?

The patinas have many uses. The Dark & Decrepit and Old & Grey work beautifully as a wood stain - using either or both together blending to create an authentic looking, naturally aged, barn wood colour.

- Simply brush it on raw wood using as many coats (1-2 works fine) as you require to get the desired colour depth.

- You may seal with wax, Big Top, or Clear Patina if you’d like but not necessary.

Golden Ticket or Pennies from Heaven are the perfect highlighters and give your piece a subtle (or not if you prefer) pop of gold or copper to make it shine. They can also be mixed with any of the DIY Paint colours to create a bit of shimmer.

- To highlight accents, I simply dip my finger in Golden Ticket or Pennies from Heaven and rub on working in small areas.

- Spray with water and wipe to remove excess if needed.

- You may seal with wax, Big Top, or Clear Patina if you’d like but not necessary.

Antiquing with the Patinas

- Have a wet rag and extra clean dry rag on standby as you begin with dark patina.

- Dip just the tips of a soft bristle brush into DIY’s Dark & Decrepit or Old & Grey liquid patina and begin to brush it over your piece working in small areas.

- Immediately wipe away excess patina from the paint with your wet rag, then mop remaining moisture with the dry rag.

Remember that over-working the patina on your paint will cause your paint to reactivate and start to brush off. Work quickly and in small areas.

Finish with a top coat of clear patina or Big Top for extra durability. 

FUSION Mineral Paint

With exceptional ease of application, our formulation has high hiding coverage and a built-in top coat, it’s easy to Paint it Beautiful with Fusion™! With over 50 gorgeous colours to choose from, you can tackle any project small or large!

What's different about FUSION™ Mineral Paint?

FUSION™ Mineral Paint is a professional paint for the everyday DIY'er.
With exceptional ease of application, Zero VOC formulation with high hiding coverage and a built-in top coat, it’s easy to Paint it Beautiful with Fusion™! With over 50 gorgeous colours to choose from, you can tackle any project small or large!

Fusion™ has taken us over 10 years to develop, test and refine, and our hard work has truly paid off. Fusion’s™ results are nothing less than spectacular, providing furniture painters a best-in-class paint that features; an environmentally conscious formulation, zero VOCs, superior durability, easy one-step application and significantly improved strength. Delivering an exceptional matte finish, this 100% acrylic paint requires minimal prep work!

Follow our directions carefully and Fusion™ can be applied to most previously painted or coated surfaces without priming or significant prep work.

Fusion™ is formulated with a built-in top coat, the 100% acrylic resin. You do not need to use a top coat for water permanency!

Excellent coverage! Our Fusion™ paint offers incredible coverage of 75 sq ft per Pint(500ml). In most cases one coat is all you need. Our coverage is outstanding!

Once Fusion has cured, it yields a highly durable and a washable finish. If you choose, you can of course achieve a beautiful lustre by adding a Beeswax on top, or the Tough Coat Finish. Fusion™ is dry to the touch after 2 hours and can accept a re-coat after 4 hours. Cure time with all acrylic paints is 21 days, however, painted surfaces can be used gently after 24 to 48 hours of drying time.

Fusion™ is offered in a gorgeous matte finish. This means an almost zero reflectance value that allows you to achieve a beautiful smooth finish.

Absolutely! This paint is extremely easy to work with, though we recommend distressing soon after the paint has dried. It is very durable, so achieving the same result is tad more work after it has cured! It is recommended to apply a top coat when you distress because you will break open the surface and a top coat will be necessary to prevent water damage and continued distressing through extensive wear and tear.

Where can I find more information on using FUSION™ Mineral Paint?

CLICK HERE to be directed to ALL the information about the FUSION™ family of products!

Are there any video tutorials on using FUSION™ Mineral Paint?

CLICK HERE for video tutorials by FUSION™ Mineral Paint.

Iron Orchid Designs

Iron Orchid Designs™ is a unique line of DIY decor tools that are sure to please. Its unsurpassed quality, ease of use and buildable nature ensures one of a kind pieces of art.

How do I use the new IOD Paint Inlays?

CLICK HERE for full instructions and videos directly from the IOD sisters (Sally & Josie) themselves.

How do I apply IOD's Decor Transfers?

IOD Transfers are a little delicate, need a little extra care, but are so worth it. With a little instruction, they are easy to use and add instant style to your projects. 

You may apply an IOD Decor Transfer straight onto paint, metal, wood, glass, mirrors, etc. It is also okay to apply a transfer to a sealed painted surface as long as the sealant was a water based, paint on sealant. The transfers understandably do not adhere well to a waxed surface.


Keep your transfer with its backing sheet until you are ready to apply. Keep free of dust or debris, which will interfere with adhesion. Do not allow the adhesive side of transfer to touch anything prior to application.

When handling the transfer, avoid letting the adhesive side touch itself (don’t do in a windy environment). Do not store transfer in extreme temperatures or humid conditions, which can affect adhesion.


Start with a clean, dry, surface. If painted, make sure it is completely dry, and if you have sanded the paint make certain there is no residual dust.

Carefully remove the transfer from its white backing sheet. Slowly and carefully lower the transfer onto your intended surface, making sure that it does not touch until the placement is correct.

Use small pieces of low tack tape to hold it in place if necessary. I like to use my hands to smooth the transfer down onto the surface being careful not to rub back and forth as this may cause the transfer to buckle. Then, using the provided tool’s long side, I like to start in the middle of the transfer and rub firmly outwards in a starburst pattern to begin to adhere the image to the surface. I find this method helps to keep the transfer where I want it and prevents buckling when I’m applying it. Then I go back over the entire image, using the short end of the application tool applying a firm pressure.

Do this until the entire image is transferred - you will be able to see the transfer separate from it’s sheet with the telltale ‘bubble’. Be prepared for a workout as it takes some muscle especially if applying a large transfer. If any parts aren’t transferred when you lift away the sheet, simply lay it back down and rub more on that portion.

Once completely applied, I like to lay the sheet back down on the applied transfer and rub over the entire thing with a soft cloth and firm pressure in a circular motion.

This is an especially effective step if applying to an uneven surface such as wood or painted, textured furniture. I then remove the sheet and rub over the entire transfer with my clean dry hand, carefully smoothing down any bits that aren’t adhered.

IOD recommends sealing with a water based sealer (I recommend DIY Paint’s Big Top top coat). Also, waxes created for chalk type paints also work well if they don’t contain harsh solvents (again, DIY Paint’s waxes have proven safe to use over IOD’s decor transfers, I’ve used them often as well).

The following is some terrific advice direct from Sally & Josie themselves (the IOD Sisters - designers of the products we’ve all grown to love!)

Tips for good adhesion with your IOD Transfer projects.

There are so many fabulous paint and coating brands designed for furniture and décor use that it’s not possible to address or formulate specifically for all of them when it comes to transfer application. However, your IOD stockist will carry their favorite paint line and be knowledgeable about how it works with the IOD family of products. Here are a few tips that we find helpful to ensure a good bond and maximize compatibility on your projects.

1) Paint porosity - When using chalk and mineral type paints without a “built in topcoat”, sealing with a liquid topcoat over the paint can increase the bond of transfer to surface. It reduces the porosity of the surface and increases adhesion of transfer. Your stockist will have advice on the best product for use with their paint line. If you do not yet have a stockist you work with, we have found that General finishes 450, a water based topcoat, has a high compatibility with other brands, and is a great option. As always, make sure that the paint has had time to dry thoroughly before applying the sealer coat, and then allow the sealer coat to dry thoroughly before applying the transfer. Seal the transfer with another coat. When applying sealer coats, remember “thin to win”. Applying thin coats is preferable to thick coats.

2) Burnishing - After the transfer is down securely (clean dry hand to get all edges and wrinkles down), then do a thorough burnishing. This simply means taking a clean dry soft cloth and in circular motion with increasing pressure, buff until the transfer is really adhered down well. This step is really important.

3) Prep practices - Appropriate prep of a piece prior to painting is always recommended. Any residue that is left behind can possibly cause contamination and adhesion problems between paint and substrate, as well as transfer and paint. This is another area where your stockist can help recommend their favorite cleaning and prep practices to avoid issues.

4) DRY time - Appropriate dry time before transfer application is always recommended. At least 24 hours, depending on conditions. As an added measure, we suggest 24 hours with a fan on low setting to create air movement and hasten any residual moisture AND gas evaporation. Keep this in mind with each coat, whether paint or clear coat, before the transfer is installed.

5) Cleanliness is next to….a good bond ;) Be certain that your surface is very clean, because dust (like if you just sanded the paint) will definitely interfere with adhesion.

6) Once in a while, it happens, a transfer peels. With the high number of variables involved (type of paint, sealer, surface, weather, application, etc) there is room for the occasional failure to occur. If this happens, it can usually be repaired by using something to gently, every so delicately re-adhere the peeled bits down. Contact the stockist whom you purchased from and together we can help fix the peelies, and adjust for the next project.” 

How do I use IOD's Decor Stamps?

For anyone who hasn’t used the IOD Décor Stamps, they are essentially what they sound like — a stamp. Similar to a stamp that you may have used as a child - but magical.

The IOD décor stamps aren’t just for furniture and home décor, you can use them to transform your food art as well! The stamps are made from a food safe material (do not use the same sets for food and paint). But be warned - they are not for high heat applications.

Do NOT put your stamps in dishwasher or leave them in a hot car as they will melt into curly, useless silicone blobs in extreme heat.


Before removing your new stamps from their backing, condition your stamps with very fine sandpaper, scuff the surface in two directions. This helps the mediums stay put, and not bead (which some types, like ceramics glazes, tend to do). Remove stamps from backing when ready to use. This takes some force, but don’t worry, the stamps are strong.

**note: you do not have to remove stamps such as the large full sheet ones (Cubano, Craquelure, Distress) from their backings. But you may cut them apart for ease of use. For example, just cut out the various parts of the Barnwood Plank stamp or the Cubano while on their backings.


Freestyle stamping

This is what we call it when you use a flexible piece of plastic, such as the clear sheet that came with the stamps, or the available Thin Mounts as a mounting device. Simply position the stamp on the sheet and proceed. This is great for irregular surfaces such as walls or furniture (surprisingly, many furniture surfaces that appear flat have dips - this method will conform nicely).

Whichever mounting method you use, the stamp backs must be perfectly clean, as well as the mount, in order for the stamp to cling firmly to the mount.

No mount

This is when you would use the stamp without mounting to anything, because you want it to really conform to a curved surface, or even stretch. When using the bare stamp make sure that your fingers don’t stick to it, this could cause the stamp to lift from the surface and create a smudge. Nobody likes an unintentional smudge.


Paint: Paint works wonderfully with the Décor Stamps. When using paint we recommend creating a small puddle to roll your brayer in. A small dense foam roller works as well but you will have a lot of wasted paint as the roller really sucks it up. Make sure you get an even load and roll onto the design side of the mounted (or if using unmounted, proceed accordingly) stamp. This part takes a little practice to get the feel of the load so that it’s enough to give you the impression you want without being sloppy.

Also keep in mind variables such as the surface you are stamping, the medium you are using, as well as the look you are trying to achieve. Practice makes perfect!

Ink: Our Décor ink, and most other inks, work fabulously with the Décor Stamps as well. Ink gives finer detail and tends to be a little more translucent than paint, keep this in mind in consideration to your project. I use both depending on the project and surface. I recommend using the blank stamp pads to apply the ink (one for each colour), then pat the surface of the stamp with it. This is much easier than using a brayer to apply the ink or the liquid chalk and saves on waste.


Fabric: When stamping fabric the load of medium should be generous in order to penetrate the fibres, and the look will be different with different levels of fabric texture. Décor ink, Chalk paint and other fabric suitable mediums work well. It is our opinion that the ideal fabric for permanent washables is 100 percent cotton. However, blends and some other natural fibres can sometimes work as well. Do a small test to be sure. Allow your newly stamped fabric to dry/cure for a minimum of 24 hours, then heat set with an iron on high heat before washing.

Furniture: Both painted and stained furniture can be stamped. In fact, this is one of the most common uses of our Décor Stamps. You can use ink or paint. Walls: Walls are a fabulous surface opportunity for Décor Stamps. Create all over patterns that are a level up from wallpaper, and completely custom, or use the décor stamps to create an old world border.


I find that the easiest way to care for and clean stamps is to keep wet wipes nearby, and avoid letting the medium dry all the way on the stamp surface. Then, when you have time, wash them with mild soap (blue Dawn is what I use) and warm water scrubbing with a soft brush. For some mediums you may find that you need a stamp cleaner, I haven’t had any issues with clay/chalk based paints, IOD Decor Inks and Erasable Liquid Chalk. Use one that is safe for clear stamps. After thoroughly cleaned, place them back on the clear backing for storage. 

Stamp scrubbing video HERE.

How do I use IOD's Decor Moulds?

The IOD Décor Moulds are made from food safe materials (do not use the same set for food and crafts), and can be used to transform and create clay, baked goods, furniture, soaps, jewelry, and just about anything you can think of.


IOD Décor Moulds can be used with many different mediums. The two most common are clay and resin. Every medium has its own characteristics, challenges, and virtues.

Air dry clay or paper clay: IOD Air Dry Clay is my favourite moulding medium. Like most paper pulp based air dry clays, some shrinking, and cracking is inherent. I like these qualities for a distressed, authentically vintage look. Warping can be a problem if you just sit your moulds out to dry without being adhered to your project. To combat warping, I remove the mould immediately after forming and adhere it to the surface with glue so it conforms well. For vertical surfaces, use a piece of low tack tape to hold it in place so it doesn’t slide until your glue dries enough to hold it. With IOD Air Dry Clay, though not major, you can still expect some shrinkage as it dries. This can vary in severity depending on conditions - hot & dry = more shrinkage.

**Tip: If you need to create a lot of moulds but are unable to adhere them to your project right away, place them in the freezer until you are ready for them. Remove them in time for them to thaw out before you try to glue them on however.

Casting resins: There are some great pourable resins available. The favourite with IOD users (myself included) seems to be the Amazing Casting Resin (available online and in-store). These have completely different qualities than the paper clay. There is no shrinking or warping and depending on the project, these qualities can be helpful. If you need to conform them to a curved surface, this can be done if removed from the mould before it’s completely hardened.

On release: We find that most of the time a release is not necessary if using resin, the casting will come out without the use of a release, however, if you are having trouble with the material sticking (more common with clays than resins), a light dusting of simple cornstarch or arrowroot is a great choice. I use cornstarch before I create each mould using clay.

CARING FOR YOUR MOULDS Keeping your moulds clean will provide you many years of use. Once I’ve completed making the castings I’m going to make that day, I simply soak the moulds in warm soapy water for a couple minutes to soften any hardened clay that has stuck to them (if using resin, it should just flake off). Sometimes, scrubbing with a soft brush helps get rid of any stubborn bits. I then simply place them in a dish rack to dry and they’re ready for the next time I need them. 

Roycycled Treasures Decoupage Paper

How do I decoupage?

Learn the basics from Royce herself using her fantastic Roycycled Treasures Decoupage Paper.

Watch the video HERE.

Saltwash Paint Additive

From what it is to how it works...

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