For those of us bitten by the bug of furniture restoration we’ve often got loads of ideas floating around, it’s all about harnessing them and finding that perfect piece of furniture to realise your vision on. I’ve been wanting to play around with negative stencilling and combine it with decoupage for a while now – luckily for me, I had the perfect little nightstand to work with. Unsure as to what negative stencilling is? Read on and all will be revealed.
As always with furniture restoration, a bit of prep is important, so this piece was lightly sanded and cleaned.
On with the decoupage! Like the large decoupage project, Hope I completed a few months ago, the decoupage design would be a focal point of this furniture restoration project. With decoupage, the whole point is for it to appear like the design has been painted on, with that in mind, it’s important to roughly tear the edges of your rice paper – no straight edges here!
Sticking the paper down with a top coat sealer means that my design would be properly protected once finished!
I’ve been playing around with crackle a lot recently and I think it really adds that touch of depth to furniture upcycling projects. Crackle, however, can be a bit of a fickle mistress when it comes to furniture restoration, and indeed, any projects. Once you’re painting over your crackle, you have to be very careful not to overwork it, you want to put a coat on and leave the crackle to get to work.
So, crackle on I painted over in a light cotton colour, I would be layering colours on this particular furniture restoration project and as negative stencilling was involved, it was important to get the lighter colours down first.
Negative stencilling then, a very simple concept but a little difficult to explain eloquently. With traditional stencils, you would create a base colour (if you should chose to have one) and then paint over it with the stencil, to create a stencilled pattern. Negative stencilling is the opposite, your base colour makes up the colour of your pattern and then whatever colour you chose to use with your stencil is the negative aspect of the pattern. I know that sounds confusing but follow on and it will make perfect sense. Promise!
Painting! I chose a light yellow to act as a first coat and the primary colour of the stencil pattern. I had an idea to add some darker colours and gold down the line – hence the need to start off nice and bright.
Like most of my furniture upcycling projects I’m a sucker for a bit of bling – or at least a bit of gold, and this project was no different. Once the yellow was down and dried I came back and created a swag of gold in the top right corner. The lighter yellow underneath would really help lighten the darker gold paint I was using. All throughout this furniture upcycling project I was using a little stippling when applying my colours. It’s all about the little details, this effect would give a nice subtle bit of texture to the paint.
When using decoupage, it’s important to try and match the colours of the paper just bring them out a little. Again, it’s about trying to create that seamless blend from paper to paint! So it was time to come in with a little bit more of that cotton combined with a touch of grey to just draw out the image on the decoupage paper a little.
It strikes me at this point that I’ve not touched on the name of this particular furniture upcycling project, Madame Lace. Well, as we would be using the Solly’s Lace stencil and the decoupage on the front had all the trappings of a well to do Parisian woman Madame Lace just seemed to fit!
Once the colour scheme had been copied on the sides I turned my attention back to the top and to the crackled cotton I’d painted earlier. By now, the crackle had taken hold and I had a lovely effect on top.
More decoupage! I had picked out a stripy decoupaged pattern to sit on top of the night stand; this is precisely why it had been painted in white. Ideally, you want your decoupage against a light surface, it just helps to pick out the patterns in the design. So on with my top coat sealer and we had a sublime stripy top!
Once my paint had dried on the sides, I reached for my sandy hand and just toned down the gold a little bit – I didn’t want it to overwhelm the piece and take away from the decoupage.
Onto the next stage, the negative stencilling. Up until this point the design has been bright and airy, but I was really looking for a vintage piece. This meant that I was going to have to employ some darker colours to further take the edge off. So, opting for the a few shades of grey, I got to work, contrasting my lighter grey with the gold up at the top and the much darker grey against the brighter yellow towards the bottom. I then came back in with my handy sandy hand and just distressed it a little. Remember, we’re going for that vintage look!
The pattern created with the Solly’s Lace Posh Chalk Stencil was continued around the sides and on our stripy top.
Stencilling stencilled, it was on to the innovative and eternally versatile WoodUbend Mouldings, first up was the 2152 pediment which would sit at the bottom giving the whole design a classical feel to it. I was using a flexible paint, this meant I could pre-paint the moulding. Using a paint that isn’t flexible means when you heat and bend your mouldings, the paint is likely to crack.
So, painting in the darker grey which also sat over the gold I got to heating and sticking! As well as the pediment moulding, I also added the 2160 corner mouldings to the top drawers and the 326 flower mouldings complimenting the decoupage. The corner mouldings were painted in the same grey (although admittedly in the image above it does look green) and the pediment. The flowers however, were painted in red! These was going to match the handles and really turn this piece into a head turner.
Once the paint had dried on the pediment, corners and the flowers it was time for a little dry brushing. I used the same gold I chose for the swag, just tying the whole design together.
What I was really excited for was to try out some new, bright red, lacquer I had got my hands on. The handles would be painted with this highly pigmented coating and along with the flower mouldings would seriously catch the eye.
Et voila and there she was, Madame Lace, in all her glory!