I then found some wood stain - Antique walnut. What was nice about this one was it was water based so was easier on the brushes and cleanup. The disadvantage was that it made the colours quite dark and made the whites very "muddy" in appearance. I tried lighter shades of colour before the stain, but couldn't fix the white. So I was painting over it after the wash, which was ok, but another step.
I read on numerous websites about using future acrylic floor wash. The challenge was finding it in Australia. Unfortunately it seems it is no longer sold here. But I found a substitute - Long Life self shining floor polish, made by Pascoe's. I found it in my local Woolworth's. It looks very milky, but apparently is the same stuff.
The recipe is equal parts water and floor polish, and colour with ink or paints (black or brown). Some people suggest adding some dishwashing spot remover, a teaspoon per jar. Not sure what it is supposed to do, I'll try it in the next batch.
So I block in the paints on the figures, let it dry, the a generous slopping of the wash over it and let it dry. It dries glossy, but puts a fantastic black lining in all the creases. The white don't get greyed out or muddied. You can matt varnish over it if you don't like the gloss to further protect the paint job.
Another option is to varnish before adding the wash to further protect the colours. I find that this wash doesn't darken the colours as much as my previous options. And it's very cheap.
|Block painting before the wash is applied|