Today I’m happy to welcome stencil designer Victoria Larsen as a guest blogger. She’s here to share some tips for upcycling old furniture pieces with paint and stencils, along with some great projects she created using her new line of furniture stencils. Be sure to read all the way to the end to see how you can enter our giveaway for a chance to win your own set of furniture stencils!
Turn Any Tired, Old Furniture Piece into a Decorative Piece of Usable Art with Paint and Stencils
by Victoria Larsen
Tired furniture pieces needn’t become Goodwill donations any longer. With a little elbow grease, some paint, stencils and varnish, you can turn an ugly, worn out piece of furniture into an exciting new decorative piece.
Stencils are an excellent way to add unique and beautiful designs to furniture and cabinetry. They are available in any decorative style you might favor.
There are two types of stencils to choose from: Standard painting stencils used with paint to add a colorful design, or Raised Plaster Stencils to add ornamental raised designs to the surface. Raised stencils create the appearance of hand carved designs on your piece.
In many instances, you can use both types of stencils on the same project. Use raised stencils to create ornamental borders around trim work and legs, and painting stencils on the top where a flat design is needed.
Furniture Stenciling Tips
Examine your piece. Make sure it is sturdy by making any structural repairs needed. If you’re not sure quite how, check YouTube for how-to videos or search online for furniture repair websites that will show you in step-by-step instructions. In most cases, minor repairs simply take a bit of glue or the turn of a screwdriver.
Old paint can be removed with any one of the great paint removal products on the market today.
If the finish is rough and damaged, sand the piece to smooth scratches and dings. My little hand held, electric sander (purchased at my local hardware store for around $20.00) is my best friend and makes quick work of sanding furniture or cabinetry. I chose the model that has a triangular shaped head so that I can easily get into tight corners.
Larger damaged areas may need to be filled with wood putty to make them flush with the surface again. Fill the area with putty and allow it to dry completely. Sand smooth.
With these repair steps, your piece will become a quality makeover that you will not only be proud of, but that will hold up for years.
If you choose to cover over an existing paint finish, simply rough the surface with your sander and prime as stated in step 3.
Primer is an important step in helping paint to adhere to any surface. My preference is high quality “Pro” primer such as Zinsser’s Premium Primer. This stuff is wonderful and sticks to any surface, even slick tile, so it’s worth the few extra dollars to “Go Pro”.
Apply two coats of premium primer to your piece, allowing it to dry completely between coats.
If you plan to add a raised plaster design, this is the perfect opportunity. On furniture and cabinetry I prefer to use wood putty as my medium, rather than joint compound or plaster. Simply tape the stencil in place and spread pre-mixed wood putty evenly over the stencil openings. Remove the stencil to reveal the design, and allow to dry. Lightly sand any irregular raises, if needed.
Paint your piece. Various paint types can be used with furniture or cabinetry. Personally, I prefer cabinet or trim paint. It gives you a solid and very sturdy paint finish that is meant for surfaces that may receive abuse. If you have added a raised design, apply the paint directly over the dry design as well.
Allow paint to dry completely before adding decorative paint stenciling.
Stencils come in all styles and sizes. Many stencil companies will be happy to re-size designs for your particular needs, but in many cases, stencils can be adapted by using various parts of the design in different places on the piece you are re-doing.
For example, let’s say you chose a rose design for your decorative elements. Stencil the rose in larger areas and then tape off just a few leaves to repeat as a border on trim and legs. Let your imagination look at the stencil as being more than one design since various elements make up a complete stencil design.
Any portion of the piece you are working on can be embellished with a stencil design, including the top, sides, drawers, legs, and trim areas. Make it as simple or elaborate as you choose.
For the table shown, I simply primed and painted the table black. I then taped off a square in the center of the table top and sponged on two colors of acrylic craft paint, blending to create the look of marble. I did the same for the lower shelf, then removed the tape.
Using our Furniture Borders stencil, I stenciled designs in gold metallic craft paint around the marbled frames and down the legs of the piece, then added a central stenciled element to the center of the top of the table.
I allowed the stencil designs to dry overnight and then varnished the table with two coats of clear, non-yellowing polyurethane varnish.
This “throw away” table is now a featured occasional table in my living room.
The techniques for furniture also apply to your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Cabinetry is simply furniture that’s permanently attached to the wall. That’s truly the only difference.
So go forth my stenciling friends! Now you can create an entire room of matching furniture pieces or do each one differently.
© Victoria Larsen 2012
Victoria Larsen is a professional wall stencil designer. Her website can be found at www.victorialarsen.com
Giveaway: Furniture Stencil Set
And now for the details of our furniture stencils GIVEAWAY! You have a chance to win a full set of Victoria Larsen’s furniture border stencils. These are 3 stencil sets that includes 15 different borders. Two of the sets are for painting and one is for raised plaster effects.
How to enter
Like Victoria Larsen’s page on Facebook, then comment here to let us know that you did. If you are already a Facebook fan, that counts too! Just leave a comment telling us so.
Want more chances to win? We’re offering two ways to get bonus entries. Try either or both of these:
- Double Bonus: Visit victorialarsen.com, then share your favorite stencil designs (either a link or the photo) on Victoria’s facebook page. And yes, you’ll then need to come back here and leave a comment, telling us you did that, but remember, this is worth TWO bonus entries in our giveaway!
- Pin an image from this post on Pinterest, then share the link to your pin in a comment on this post.
Up to 4 entries total per person. Just remember that for any of these entries to count, you need to leave a comment on this post, telling us what you did to qualify!
You have until Sunday, September 30th, to get your entries in. The winner will be chosen via Random.org and the name will be announced on Monday, October 1st. Good Luck!
Fine print: Giveaway ends Sunday, September 30th, 2012 at 11:59PM ET. Winner will be chosen at random. USA residents only. Must be over 18 years old to enter. In order to win, all rules and entry guidelines must be followed.
Disclosure: this post is brought to you by Victoria Larsen. Please see my disclosure page for a complete statement.