How to: Create Your Own Patterns with Paint

So time for some fun! I’ve painted this chest that I’m probably going to give to my grandchildren. I’ve paint it with Henrietta and I want to put lots of pattern on it. So putting pattern on is such great fun and if it goes wrong, you can always paint it out. I do a little bit of experimenting before and then I just get into it.

[Starts applying different colours and using stencils] Now I’m going to add some white. Barcelona Orange on there, it’s got a little bit of white on it, and let’s see if this works on there. Oh, that’s nice! I like that. I think I’ll go and get myself some Greek Blue.

One of the great influences for me, for my work, has always been the Charleston group of artists who worked in England in the 30s and 40s. And they did an awful lot of improvisation, painting furniture in their house.

What I need to do though – it’s a little hard – so I’m going to sand it. And I’m going to sand it without waxing first. This is a little bit unusual but I just want to get that very pared away look. I’m sanding with the fine sandpaper here, or the sand sponges, it’s going to take quite a lot off, but quite sensitively. You get a little bit of the underneath showing, so where I randomly overprinted, you get that coming through which I think is very, very nice.

So now the big decision is… Having sanded it, it’s looking really nice. I’m going to try using the White Wax directly on, nothing else, I’ll see how it looks. So what I usually do is try and find a little bit that won’t be seen much. Yes, this is definitely it! I think the this is looking very nice, I like it a lot actually.

So that’s it – it’s my finished piece and I actually really, really love it. Although it’s not at all what I expected. And I did have to change my mind, I had to do things and and paint it out, but that is part of the whole process of painting, especially with this sort of thing. And don’t be surprised! Don’t be worried! At some points, you might go “I really hate it”, but actually keep going and you can do something which you really love.

I hope my grandchildren like it, but if not… well, it’s staying in my house!

It's easy to create your own patterns with Chalk Paint™ using stencils and found objects just like Annie.

The playful use of patterns and colours can really give you the opportunity to flex your creative muscles and make your furniture truly your own. If you want to create your own patterns with paint, you can do this using all sorts of found objects. You can use a piece of cork or the rubber on the end of a pencil as a stamp. Fold some cardboard and use its edges. Perhaps try string, or use the tines of a fork. Lots of people love the rustic simplicity of potato printing for creating repeating patterns (this works on fabric, too!). You could also use stencils, for instance isolating parts of the design you really like.

All of these objects  with Chalk Paint™ to give your furniture a whole new look. Have fun experimenting – try out different patterns and colour combinations on paper first – and really let yourself go. If you want to build up your confidence, why not start small? This technique is just as effective on a picture frame as it is on a whole chest or dresser.

Step by step guide to creating paint patterns

  1. First, paint your furniture piece in a Chalk Paint™ colour of your choice.
  2. Experiment with colour on the Annie Sloan MixMat, using Chalk Paint™ colours in different combinations. Adding Pure will brighten and lighten colours.
  3. After your base coat is dry, then you’re ready to add patterns to your piece. Try using an Annie Sloan Sponge Roller to apply different stencils in random placements.
  4. Patterns can be created from anything. Annie has wrapped string around a rectangle of cardboard in varying angles and painted the string to stamp a pattern around the edge of the chest.
  5. What else can be used to apply paint? Try using the end of a bolt dipped in Chalk Paint™ for a random circular motif.
  6. Then, once you’re happy with the pattern you created, sand down the painted piece using a fine Annie Sloan Sanding Pad. This will reveal the layers of patterns you have painted, creating a pared-back look.
  7. Finally, apply Clear Chalk Paint™ Wax directly on the paint with the Chalk Paint™ Wax Brush to seal in your paintwork. If you want to change the appearance of the colours, why not try a coloured wax too?

There’s no limit to the ways in which you can create patterns with paint. Try out different techniques to see what works for you and the piece of furniture you choose to paint – does the shape of the chair inspire a pattern in any way? Is there a nice flat surface on your blanket chest that’s just crying out for an interesting pattern? Perhaps there’s a colour palette you really want to work with to go with the rest of your room? Enjoy the process and don’t worry if it goes wrong – you can always paint over any mistakes and try again.

Now you know what to do, make sure you support local by buying Chalk Paint™ from your nearest Annie Sloan Stockist. When you’re done, take a picture of your finished painted pattern and share it with the Annie Sloan community using #AnnieSloan.

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