Stencilled Aprons

After the Christmas holiday I decided to dedicate a week to textile based projects rather than furniture. However, as hard as I worked last week, there wasn’t enough time to tackle all of the projects I had in mind and so there is nothing for it but to continue this week. This morning has been spent working on a pair of stencilled aprons, in truth, they took me about an hour, not a whole morning!

I used the Kota and Janpath stencils with textile printing ink and decided on the monochrome palette already used on the tea towels. I was seriously tempted by a gorgeous cherry red ink though!

Right, on to the next project!


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Stencilled Tea Towels

Whilst at college, I studied Textile Design, specialising in print. Decoration has always inspired me and I have a strong urge to create pattern.  Once upon a time I was actually quite good at screen printing, now find that my anxiety levels rise with each wasted T-shirt or tea towel ruined by a blob of ink here or a smudge there. Something which should be a therapeutic process, becomes a source of frustration and disappointment.

Today I decided to try stencilling some tea towels instead and the results were both successful and therapeutic! The process isn’t as quick as printing, although I find it more controllable. Some people use mini rollers when stencilling fabric, but I used my trusty stencil brush along with a selection of stencils from my range. The layout of the designs was built up gradually.

Once the ink has been fixed, they will be ready for drying the dishes. Fit for purpose and looking good!

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towels 1

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Happy New Year 2015

table nest 2015

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Stencil, Stencil, Stencil.

The human race have been using stencils for thousands of years. There is evidence of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all having used stencils. In fact, stencils have been used by many cultures around the world, throughout history to create decorative imagery.

One of the things I battle with when I tell people that I design stencils and use them on my painted furniture, is the perception of what stencilled furniture looks like. I know they are thinking about the stencil overload of the ‘8os and ’90s.

The blog Apartment Therapy recently posted one of my ‘before and after’ projects, which proved to be quite contentious. There were over 60 comments about the piece which debated the rights and wrongs of painting wooden furniture. There were a couple of comments in particular which referred to the use of stencils and the expectation of what that would look like. You can read the comments here .

 There are many people out there doing really beautiful things with stencils and not just on furniture. There are gorgeous things happening on floors and walls and fabric too. I for one am going to continue with my mission to change the way people think about stencilling. post

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Oberoi Stencilled Chest

This wooden chest is made out of really solid pine, but it was painted in a very shiny, very yellow varnish and I wanted to give it a more sophisticated look.

I painted two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Graphite to begin with and then gave the whole piece a coat of clear wax followed by a coat of dark wax. The Graphite colour becomes really deep and rich when coated with the dark wax. For this project, I tried something a little different for the stencilling by using a pearlised white paint. It has a lovely subtle shimmer and translucence.

As usual, the stencil layout wasn’t planned in advance. I began with the outside border on the top and then gradually built the design up around it. To my credit, I managed to leave some of the surface plain. I really lose myself in the process of stencilling and sometimes I just need to stop but I’m having such a nice time that I just carry on!!

I even managed to leave the interior unpainted, but I did add the Jaipur Stencil as a little surprise!

This piece is called Oberoi Stencilled Chest, because when I travelled regularly to India, I used to stayed in the Oberoi Hotel. It was full of beautiful pieces of decorative furniture which have obviously inspired me.

This is the finished piece, you can find it here.

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Noteworthy Notebooks

I love an interesting notebook and own a bit of a collection. I notice the books people use in meetings and often give them as gifts. This year I am going to be giving them as stocking fillers and plan to bundle up a group of books with different designs, neatly tied together with gardeners twine.

A while ago I tried to screen print some books, but it wasn’t very successful, there was too much wastage and so I turned to my stencils. Stencilling notebooks is ridiculously easy and quick and you can buy plain notebooks very cheaply.

book bundle

If you fancy having a go, here is how:-


You will need

Plain notebooks

Piece of paper


Stencils Brush

Spray adhesive or low tack tape

Stencil paint (I have used metallic gold for a Christmassy feel)

How To

Place the plain paper underneath the front cover, in order to protect the pages inside the book.

Place the stencil in position on the cover of the notebook, using either spray adhesive or low tack tape to hold it in position. If using adhesive, spray the back of the stencil very lightly and allow to dry for a few seconds. You can play around with where to position the stencil and can use a section of a large stencil, as I have done

Dip the end of the brush in the paint and remove any excess on the lid of the pot, or onto a paper towel. It is important not overload the brush in order to prevent the paint from bleeding underneath the stencil.

Gently push the paint through the stencil using a soft circular motion.

Carefully remove the stencil.

books book 3 desk 4 book stencils book stencil 2 finished books

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A Folky Desk

Often when I find a piece of furniture I am absolutely not looking for it, I think you often find things when you are not looking for them.

I actually set out to buy food, which I did, but I also returned with a child’s vintage desk!

There is definitely a case for not painting some pieces, but this one was in a bit of a state. I deliberated over what colour to paint it and for reasons which I am not completely clear about, I decided to go with a folky feel and so it had to be red,  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in Emperor’s Silk to be precise.

It was pretty dirty and so the first job was to wash it down and remove the stickers (which took an age!) I applied two coats of paint and then waxed it, before adding the stencil motif. I cut this stencil by hand in my studio a while ago, it isn’t one which I have put into production, but every time I use it, I love the results. When using a motif like this, I always measure the centre to make sure it is accurately positioned.

Here it is reinvented and ready for it’s new home.

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