A Sweet Stencilled Step Stool

Sometimes when I paint and stencil a piece of furniture it is because I want to sell it, other times it is to try out new stencils or techniques and sometimes it is for a feature in a magazine.

When I began working on this IKEA step stool it was simply because I wanted to stencil something! I had been busy with other stuff for a while and had missed working with my stencils. A couple of therapeutic hours spent in the studio was a real treat.

I am a big believer in the mental health benefits of working with your hands to make something. My brain becomes totally absorbed in what I am doing when I stencil a piece like this and my children know to cough loudly as they approach the studio at the end of the garden, in order to prevent me from jumping out of my skin.

The best outcome of this project however is the fact that my teenage daughter actually loves it and now sits on it each morning to apply her pre school make-up. A very big honour! It is the only piece of my furniture which she has accepted into her room and believe me I have offered many of my creations.

For this project I used the Neemrana and Rajasthan Border stencils with the Purbeck Stencil paint.

Top tip: If you are thinking about stencilling your own IKEA step stool, I would recommend that you paint, varnish and add the stencil pattern before you assemble the pieces. This makes it so much easier to add the pattern to the bottom step and avoids having to push the stencil into tricky corners.


_DSC0279IMG_3459IMG_3464IMG_3466stool copy

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Filed under Painted Furniture, Stencil Paint, Stencils

How To Create An Ombre Effect

I have been meaning to create a YouTube channel for so long, it’s been one of those things on my mental list which never quite makes it to the top. For some reason this morning though, it pushed it’s way right up there and so whilst eating my porridge I signed up and uploaded my first video, which I am sharing here on the blog. A good start to the day!

This little film shows how to create an ombre effect using one stencil, two pots of paint and two stencil brushes. The trick to creating an ombre effect is to use very little paint on the tip of the brush and to blend, blend, blend.

Apply one colour to the bottom third of the stencil and the other colour to the top third, overlapping the colours in the middle third. Using a circular motion with the brush gently blend the colours to create a lovely soft gradation.

I used the Jaipur Stencil here, which is an Indian inspired motif , but this technique works equally well with repeating patterns.

Now I have actually created the You Tube Channel I will be adding lots more videos with demonstrations and tips for stencilling.


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How To Stencil A Mitred Corner

I am often asked how to stencil around a corner. There are several methods and it also depends on the stencil you are working with.

Here is a really quick video from my Instagram account showing how to stencil a mitred corner with the Neemrana Stencil. Simply fold a piece of paper to a 45º angle and mask the corner on both sides.

How to stencil a mitred corner using a paper mask. #stencil #nicolettetabramstencils #paintedfurniture

A video posted by Nicolette Tabram (@nicolettetabramdesigns) on


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Stencilled Loud and Proud

I have been a little restrained with some of the pieces of furniture I have stencilled recently, only adding subtle pattern to the interiors of cupboards. My latest piece however has been stencilled loud and proud giving i a contemporary Scandinavian vibe.

The cupboard was a little the worse for wear with stains and chipped veneers, so I decided to paint the whole thing, mixing a lovely greyed off pale blue colour. Before adding the pattern I painted the whole piece with a very matt varnish. The paint is then protected and any mistakes with the stencilling can be quickly wiped away with a damp cloth.

I don’t usually plan the pattern in advance, I just build up the design gradually using a selection of stencils, but I do usually begin the design on the outside edge working inwards.

The stencils I used for this project were the Bergen Border Stencil, Lund Stencil and Mini Triangles with the Whitstable Stencil paintIMG_3201cupboard 5cupboard 6cupboard 4blue cupboardCupboard 2cupboard 8


Filed under Painted Furniture, Stencils, Uncategorized

Orange Varnish, Matt Varnish and Bright Red Nail Varnish

Whilst walking back from the gym early last week in the pouring rain, I spotted this cupboard in the window of a shop. For me, it presented the perfect blank canvas for a spot of upcycling. It is a solid pine cabinet which is really useful with lots of space for storage and display and it would look good in most rooms in a house.

However, and it is a big however, it had been painted with a shiny bright orange varnish!

I rarely choose white when painting furniture, but for this piece I went for a lovely clean, fresh vibe, maybe because spring is just around the corner. Once the paint was dry I gave it a couple of coats of matt varnish. Finally I stencilled the interior using the Kasbah Stencil and my Whitstable Stencil Paint.

I began this project with perfectly painted red nails but by the time I began stencilling, the only varnish remaining was that used on the cabinet. Never have a manicure before painting a cabinet!

You can find the Granada Cabinet here and if you fancy having a go yourself, then you can find the Kasbah Stencil here


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Cushions Galore

I have been having a lot of fun stencilling cushion covers this week, using my stencil paint, and I have also mixed some colours using screen printing inks. This is such a quick, easy and satisfying thing to do and here is how.

  1. On a clean surface smooth out the cushion cover. If the fabric is thin place some paper inside the cover to prevent the paint from bleeding through. This is not necessary on thicker fabric such as canvas though.
  2. Lightly coat the back of the stencil with a spray adhesive and position it on the cover gently tapping it down. You could use a low tack tape to hold the stencil in place instead.
  3. Dip the tip of the stencil brush in the paint and remove as much as possible on a piece of paper.
  4. Using a circular motion apply the paint through the stencil, pushing down into the weave of the fabric.
  5. Carefully remove the stencil and once dry press the cover using a hot iron then fill with a lovely squishy pad.I always use a feather filled pad.

It has been great going back to my textile roots this week and now I have a hankering to get back to a bit of furniture painting Tomorrow I’ll be searching for a bargain in need of a touch of TLC and some serious reinvention.

You can find the stencils here

mixingpaintingblue cushionblue cushion 2 16                                        Safia and Fes Stencils8                                        Cordoba Stencil
9                                        Safia Stencilpendeen                                        Pendeen Stencil Paint4cushions


Filed under Small Painted Items, Stencil Paint, Stencils, Uncategorized

A Round Up of 2015

I took the whole of the Christmas and New Year holiday off this year and made a conscious decision to stay away from painting, stencilling and social media (as much as possible) in order to give my brain a rest. If you are involved in creative pursuits it can be hard to switch off but there definitely comes a point at which you need to rest your brain.

Back at work and raring to go, I have been putting together a plan of action for the coming year and reviewing what I did last year. Of all the pieces which I stencilled, here is a round up of some of my favourites.

With lots of new stencils to work with, I wonder what the round up will like at the end of 2016!3aainlay 10Step stools 7agra cupboard 6Nicolette Tabram Stool After 2trio1

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