texturing gesso

Terry Hart cpf

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sep 23, 2003
Excelsior, MN
Are there any gilders out there (or others) that have a way to create an "alligator" type texture in gesso? Terry
What is the shape of the profile?

For production work an embossing wheel is used. For a small frame I would carve a pattern in soft gesso after transfering a design with a pencil.
Probably carving the gesso in this case will be too much labor.The profile will be wide and flat with steps. It's for a contemporary oil of an angel in a suitcase you might say, the suitcase being the frame. Anyway the artist likes a leathey sort of look. I've got an interesting bumpy sort of texture by adding linseed oil to my gesso and I've done boulder type of panel useing a stencil but an alligator texture might be interesting. I might try somehow pressing cheescloth into the gesso or more probably painting over cheesecloth an pulling it off. Thanks for your input. Terry
gesso will need to be carved to get that look.I have done a couple of frames with a similar type of finish.The style of moulding needs to be right as well or it just isnt worth the hassle.

to get a crackle finish you need to gesso over silk or a close weave cloth and then just as its touch dry you stretch the cloth until the gesso cracks.
I assume you are trying to create the effect of cracked, "alligatored" gesso (not faux-crocodile skin effect). There was an article in Picture Framing Magazine Sept/Oct 1990 "Uncle Bob's Crackle Gesso" by Bill Adair that gave instructions for recreating this. It involved using cornstarch in the gesso formula.

Terry -
The Society of Gilders will be offering a gesso class - www.societyofgilders.org - as well as an upcoming message board for members. If you renew your membership for this year, you can get a class discount, as well as a new benefit - discount coupons to some major gilding suppliers.
Adding starch to gesso will lead to the creation
of cracks in the surface, but it also weakens
the material. If the gesso air dries, its cracks
tend to have triangular interscetions. If a heat
gun is used to speed the drying, the cracks tend
to be more rectangular.

An added thought, If you only want the bumps and no scales, use an air sprayer and set it to produce "orange peal" using thick coats.

I sent you a picture of what I think it is the very look you'd like to get (much like reptile scales). Check your mail and, if that's what you need, I'll get back to you with technicalities.

I wanted to post the picture in here but I got kind of lazy (too convoluted of a procedure). I am going to send that picture to Ron in hope he might squeeze it in here.
Thanks Cornel, picture recieved and looks good. I'll be trying that. Thanks everyone else for your suggestions. Terry
I've posted a picture of my first alligator texture trial for anyone interested. It's not a frame yet just done on a board 8"x2 1/2". Terry