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Create one-of-a-kind accent furniture

Use paint to upcycle secondhand or old furniture into trendy pieces for a home.



Painting furniture is a wonderful way to update old furniture to fit into your space, as was the case with this old credenza. This unit [above] offers plenty of storage but didn't quite fit in with the new look. A stencilled design transform the cabinet into a stylish piece that now fits nicely into a guest bedroom.

Using a stencil on furniture is as easy as using on walls. While we don't have a huge selection available locally, because stencils are lightweight, you can easily order from overseas and have it shipped. The stencil featured in this project is the French Floral Damask available online from Royal Design Studio.

The exterior of the unit is painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The stencil is also painted on with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

After a light sanding with 600-grit sandpaper, antique wax was applied and buffed to a satin sheen.

While chalk paint is wonderful to work with, I achieve similar results using Plascon Polvin - and it's much cheaper!

Stencilling Tips

1. Plan your time
Stencilling onto furniture can be labour intensive as there are so many steps and layers involved. Also, since it is a three-dimensional object you will oftentimes have to paint details in and around awkward and carved areas. You also need to allow each layer of primer, paint and finish coat to dry before applying the next layer.





2. Preparation
You don't want to have regrets about brush strokes on the piece because you should have sanded down beforehand. Look at what needs to be done in advance and prepare everything so that you end up with a fabulously painted piece.

3. Practice makes perfect
If you are still learning how to stencil, be on the lookout for inexpensive furniture with interesting lines, such as turned legs and carved detailing, that you can practice on. Lesser quality woods and slightly damaged veneered surfaces are crying out for a painted and stencilled treatment.

4. Think before you strip!
Today's modern paint products mean that you don't always need to strip off previous paint. Buy yourself a Plascon Primer that will allow you to simply sand, clean, and prime over previously finished surfaces, without stripping. Waxed finishes are the exception, you must strip, so avoid them and go for previously painted or worn finishes.

5. Paint techniques
You can use paint techniques to distress and age pieces. If you plan to do this, do so before you start painting, Add a small amount of wormholes with a hammer and wire nail, or use a length of chain to add small defects. After painting you can distress the edges by rubbing lightly over them with fine grit sandpaper. Be selective with your distressing so that it doesn't become overdone and fake looking.

6. Choose your paint colours
Don't go overboard with colour unless you really want a bold piece. You can gracefully combine different patterns by sticking to a limited palette of two to three colours. Add in some stripes and checks and you will have an interesting, coordinated piece.

7. Think vintage for antique-style piece
Create a soft, mellow, aged look and unify colours with a glaze finish. Glaze is normally a mixture of paint and scumble glaze combined at varying ratios to extend the drying time of paint, thereby allowing you more time to work on the effect that you want to create.

8. Protect and preserve
After all your hard work, make sure the finish is protected by applying three coats of Plascon Waterbased Glazecoat in matt or gloss. Waterbased is far better than oil-based and it will not yellow over time.

9. Be creative
While stencilling onto walls should be kept fairly neutral, let your creative juices flow for accent furniture. Combine designs to add punch and pizzazz.

10. Embellish
Don't be afraid to incorporate decoupage, moulding and trim, upholstery nails, beads, and tassels into your furniture creations, especially if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind piece.

It's easy to make your own stencils using acetate sheeting (plastic sheets) and a sharp craft knife to cut out your design.