For The Love Of Stencils

When you love doing something, it is a real bonus to be able to share some of your knowledge with people who have a similar interest.

I spent yesterday morning teaching a stencil workshop to seven lovely women, with the help of my teenage daughter who was earning half of an expensive jacket I had bought for her the day before!

We began the workshop by working with the Relief Stencil Paste, so that it would have time to dry before being painted. Using the Jaipur Stencil, it took a matter of minutes to create the lovely raised motifs on MDF boards.

We then covered all of the basics of stencilling, which included cutting a simple stencil from Mylar and how to stencil a border pattern around corners. The main mantra of the morning being, less is more when loading the brush with paint! Finally we ended where we had begun, applying a quick coat of paint to the relief stencilled boards. The results were fantastic.

It is lovely to see people expressing their own creativity when using the stencils, approaching it in a way which wouldn’t have occurred to me. All of the boards they created using the large stencils looked completely different to each other (and made for a great photo!)

All in all, it was a great morning and because I had bought that expensive jacket the day before, I didn’t have to wash anything up!

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Painted Writing Bureaux

Old writing bureaux are incredibly useful pieces of furniture and I have painted and stencilled quite a few. They are also a fantastic vehicle for a little bit of pattern which doesn’t need to be on show all of the time. I always stencil the inside of the drop front desk so that there is a lovely surprise when it is pulled down.

One day I am going to paint and stencil one to keep for myself!

I’d love to know which one is your favourite.Stencilled Graphite Bureaubureau 4bureau close upJaipur Stencilled Bureau_DSC0004styled bureaublack bureau1

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A Little Relief

It is actually very rare for me to work on a piece of furniture which I am not intending to sell but in truth I had actually run out of pieces to paint. Visits to all of my usual outlets proved fruitless and so I had to look closer to home, to my son’s bedroom in fact!

For this project I have used 3D stencil paste which gives a lovely relief effect. The stencil paste takes a few hours to dry, especially if it is applied thickly and so the whole process takes longer and requires more patience. The effect is really stunning though and it can turn something very simple into something very special.

Once completely dry I painted the whole piece in white and now it is ready to return to it’s rightful place next to my son’s bed.

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What To Do ?

Sometimes when I buy a piece of furniture I know exactly what to do with it and sometimes I don’t have a clue and have to wait. These chairs were bought in a silent auction at a local church and my problem with these was having too many ideas. They have sat quietly stacked in a corner for a couple of months whilst I mulled over the options. It’s a funny thing because suddenly I just know what to do, an image just pops into my head and off I go.

The legs have been left unpainted and I have used a selection of my stencils, so there is a lot of pattern, but by keeping the colour simple they sit (excuse the pun) really nicely as a group. I’d love to know which is your favourite.

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A Fair Trade?

My son and I struggled to carry this beautiful piece of furniture to the car. We collected it from a house with a very long path in the front garden and we had to collect it quickly in order to make space for the owner’s Christmas tree. I presented a bottle of Prosecco in exchange for the bureau and it’s quick removal! It seemed like a very good deal to me.

It was painted with a shiny Mahogany coloured varnish and I knew immediately I wanted to paint it a really deep Graphite colour. I gave it a coat of slightly watered down paint on the exterior and mixed a greyed off neutral for the interior. Initially my plan was to stencil the desk top in the dark Graphite colour for a really graphic contrast, but at the last minute I decided to take a more subtle approach, using a soft pearlised white stencil paint instead. I like the fact that from some angles you barely see the stencilling and then when the light catches it you see the soft shimmer of the pattern.

It has been named the Laxmi Writing Bureau.


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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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