Decorating Furniture: Texture, Paint, Ornament and Mosaic Projects

Decorating Furniture: Texture, Paint, Ornament and Mosaic Projects

by Sheila McGraw


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Decorating Furniture: Texture, Paint, Ornament and Mosaic Projects by Sheila McGraw

Texture, Paint, Ornament and Mosaic Projects contains complete, easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photographs to guide you. The book features:

  • stucco effects
  • make decorative moldings with caulking
  • artist's gels
  • all the products and applications clearly explained

  • textural effects with paint — dragging, smooshing, sponging
  • marble and granite effects
  • working with metallics, leafing and patina
  • all about paint and craft supplies and their properties

    Ornament and Mosaic
  • unusual accents including baskets, silverware, beads and buttons
  • leaves and vines for a rustic look
  • copper cutouts
  • three exciting mosaic tabletops

    Also included: a full section on making and repairing chair seats and cushions

Texture, Paint, Ornament and Mosaic Projects is part of a four book series on Decorating Furniture based on Sheila McGraw's highly successful Painting & Decorating Furniture (pb: 1-55209-380-8) that has sold over 40,000 copies. Booklist called this volume "Quite probably the best general instruction on furniture decoration that exists."

With these four books as guides, anyone can decorate furniture like a professional. Each book contains complete, easy-to-follow instructions and hundreds of step-by-step color photographs. The extensive range of projects and techniques provides something for every taste. Other books in the series are Antique and Country Paint
(pb: 1-55297-615-7); Découpage, Paint and Fabric Projects (pb: 1-55297-616-5); Stencil, Paint and Block Print Projects (pb: 1-55297-617-3).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781552976180
Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date: 09/07/2002
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.36(d)

About the Author

The most original and imaginative ideas are made easy with these masterly guides to decorating furniture. Sheila McGraw, an illustrator and designer, is an avid home sewer, decorator and painter. She has written six craft books, including Papier-Mache for Kids, a best-seller that won the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award, and illustrated Robert Munsch's international best-seller Love You Forever. She lives near Toronto.

Table of Contents

A Brush With Destiny
Using This Book
Choosing Your Furniture

Tools and Materials
Deglossing Agents
Manual and Power Tools
Painting Tools
Paint Products
Paint Removers
Specialty Products

Painting Basics
Priming and Painting
Brush Painting
Roller Painting
Spray Painting
Staining Wood


A Subtle Distinction
Understated Texture Polishes a Streamlined Desk

Feat of Clay
Washed in Stucco and Sepia, a Pine Cupboard Turns Classic Treasure

Heaven Sent
Divine Cherubs Are Framed by Gilt-Edged Decorative Plasterwork

Mineral Rights
Faux Marble, Granite and Gold Forge a Miner's Palette

Baskets Add Frivolity to Tiny Tables

Art in Craft
Attention-Grabbing Layered Color Is Offset by Crafted Copper

Art Attack
Adornment and Fanciful Paint Concoct a Work of Art

Sterling Qualities
Silver and Mica Put Fire into the Iron

Botanical Design
Grapevines and Sophisticated Color Produce a Crafted Cabinet

Mad for Mosaic
Crazy Paving Dishes Up Three Fascinating Tabletops

Sitting Pretty with Professionally Crafted Cushions and Seats
  • Basic Seat Cushion
  • PipedSeat Cushion
  • Woven Seat
  • Backrest Cushions



The exciting textural techniques developed for this book are complemented by additions of metallic highlights, glorious color and arresting ideas for ornamentation, including dried leaves and vines, baskets, cutlery, beads and medallions. Any piece of furniture, old or new, and no matter the finish, can be textured and adorned to achieve a stunningly original result. Texturing can be three-dimensional, using both traditional and modern materials such as mosaic, stucco, gels, silicone caulk, or molded plaster. Also highly effective are paint treatments — such as dragging, sponging or smooshing — where layers are either applied or lifted with combs, sponges or crumpled plastic to create depth and a textured look. These treatments are often used to provide a background over which additional effects, such as stenciling or block printing, are rendered. Painted faux granite and marble, which give a trompe l'oiel
appearance of stone, are other valid techniques. Whatever effect you seek, the textures, color treatments and ornamentation in this book will help you create beautiful works that are both fantastic and functional.

A Brush with Destiny

Many a furniture painter sets out with the simple intention of slapping a fresh coat of paint over a time-worn piece of furniture, only to have inspiration strike. The surprise result is a beautifully hand-painted work of art, a family heirloom to be cherished for generations. The flat planes of furniture — tabletops, drawer fronts and the like — present endless opportunities for decorative and pictorial techniques, while the three-dimensional form is sculptural in nature, offering many angles for viewing. Painting and decorating furniture is creativity in the round. Often the busy grain of wood, an unsuitable finish, or simply the familiarity of a piece of furniture can obscure these qualities until you stand before it, paint and brush in hand.

Using This Book

Whether you are new to texturing and ornament, or are highly skilled in the craft, this book will show you clearly and concisely everything you need to know. Beginners are shown the basics of applying paint and choosing and applying ornament, while the advanced crafter will revel in innovative, never-before-seen ideas and application techniques. This book is more than a simple instructional guide. We have compiled a wealth of information to lead you through the maze of paints and tools available and show you how to manipulate and combine materials and techniques for wonderfully creative results. Check the Tools and Materials section, to acquaint yourself with the many easy-to-find and easy-to-use materials available at paint, craft and art supply stores. Unless absolutely unavoidable, only low-toxicity, water-based products are used and recommended. Water-based paints have evolved into easy-clean-up, simple-to-use, durable products.

Painting basics such as brush painting, roller painting, spray painting, staining wood and varnishing are covered, as is performing a basic paint job for those who simply wish to paint their furniture a solid color. You'll also be referred by your project instructions to these sections as required. They provide a gold-mine of basic, common-sense advice and time-saving tips.

To choose a treatment for your piece, flip through the book to find ideas that appeal to you, keeping in mind that the finished look should complement your furniture and that the projects are in a progressive order of complexity, starting with the simplest and becoming more involved as you go through the book. These advanced projects are not necessarily more difficult; they may simply require more steps, drying times or tools.

Measurements are listed in imperial units, with metric conversions following them. To make the instructions less cumbersome, the conversions are often rounded. A quart-sized can of paint is listed as a litre, for example; a yard is converted to a metre. The projects work whether you use the imperial or the metric measurements. Finally, don't let the toy penguin who appears in the Before pictures throw you. This little fellow is working for scale, providing a point of reference. Without him, the size of a cabinet or some other piece of furniture could be hard to judge from the photo.

Choosing Your Furniture

Perhaps Aunt Flossie left you a four-legged monster. It's probably a sturdy, well-built, solid piece of furniture — better quality than you can purchase today. And it's free. Instead of relegating the monster to landfill, transform it to suit your decor and get ten or possibly a hundred years of use from it. If you don't have an Aunt Flossie, garage sales and flea markets are often treasure troves of old furniture. Another possibility is unpainted furniture — especially the knockdown variety, which is ideal for painting or staining in multiple colors. And don't throw out that plastic laminate furniture. Even recently manufactured melamine-over-chipboard furniture can be transformed with specialty melamine paints.

Just as the world is divided into cat lovers and dog lovers, it is also divided into furniture painters and furniture refinishers. Refinishers feel that wood and its grain are sacred, and that every stick should be stripped and refinished. Painters, meanwhile, believe that wood is simply nature's plastic, to be transformed into painted masterpieces. The truth is somewhere in between, and this book should help balance the two points of view. Virtually any style, type and finish of furniture can be painted, including wood, metal,
melamine and all previously painted, lacquered and varnished pieces. But please: don't paint over genuine antiques or other pieces that have historic or architectural integrity, including classics from as recently as the 1960s and 70s. If you suspect your furniture has value, have it appraised. Often, you can simply take or send a snapshot to an appraiser or an auction house. If it turns out that you own a classic, but the style is unappealing to you, sell the item rather than paint it. Antiques with original paint should be left intact original paint on an antique, no matter how worn, adds to its authenticity and value.

If you wish to cut down on preparation time, look for a well-proportioned piece that is solid and has a stable finish. Beware of furniture with worm holes, especially if you see sawdust on the floor around the piece — a sure sign of bugs. When they move in, these boring guests will literally eat you out of house and home. And while you can't expect perfection — the furniture is supposed to be old and worn — try out all moving parts to determine the aggravation factor of drawers that bind or doors that stick, especially if the vendor has them taped shut. Remove drawers to check that dovetalling is intact and that the bottoms don't sag. If chairs or tables have wobbly legs, check that they can be fixed. Bypass the item if the legs have already had surgery but are wobbling a second time.

If you are planning to apply a smooth high-gloss treatment, choose a piece with a solid, even finish in good condition. Try the fingernail test. Scratching with your fingernail should not lift the finish. Pieces with dents, scratches, cigarette burns and water or other surface damage require a busy-looking, low-luster finish to distract from the imperfections. You may wish to steer clear of pieces with water damage that has lifted veneer. Loose or raised veneer must be removed and the scars repaired, a job that requires some skill. And take a tape measure be sure the piece fits its final destination and can be maneuvered through doors and up stairwells.

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