Swedish Chinoiserie Stencil Cabinet

by Annie Sloan

This cabinet has been painted by Chalk Paint® inventor Annie Sloan using her very own stencil, Chinoiserie Birds.  

Chest painted by Annie Sloan in Chalk Paint using her Chinoiserie Birds stencil

Annie has painted in the grand Swedish style, reflecting the way Chinoiserie patterns – used especially on wallpaper and fabrics in the late 18th Century – were the vogue in stately homes and palaces across Europe. Chinoiserie itself is specifically the European interpretation of East Asian artistic traditions rather than being an authentic Chinese decorative art form.  

The base of the cabinet has been painted with a blend of Chalk Paint® in Old Ochre and Old White. The benefit of using two different white shades is that you’ll build up a more nuanced, slightly cloudy base for the rest of your work. Nothing beats a well painted base in terms of creating a grand rustic effect. It’s the scaffolding to the rest of your work. Use a damp brush for ease of blending. 

Once Annie had completed the base, she then masking taped her Chinoiserie Birds stencil in place and used a small roller to apply Chalk Paint® in Olive. With the stencil still in place she then used a Stencil Brush to bring out different elements of the stencil in different colours over the base of Olive. The birds have been rendered with Aubusson Blue and Firle, whilst the branches and details have been highlighted and low-lighted with touches of Primer Red and Old White. Annie repeated the process on both front panels of the cabinet. She also used the same colours to apply the stencil to the drawers of the furniture; working upwards and using fewer elements of the stencil each time to give a crescendo effect with the full stencil drawing maximum focus at eye height.  

Close up of Chest painted by Annie Sloan in Chalk Paint using her Chinoiserie Birds stencil painted on a chest

She’s further exaggerated this eye lifting effect with the mix of Aubusson Blue, Old White and Old Ochre that she’s used along the edges and top of the cabinet. It gives a wonderful sense of perspective and grandeur, with the more heavily saturated blue used at the base, gradually lightening as it rises. Again, a spray bottle of water and a selection of damp brushes will make creating this graduated effect easier. 

Finally, the wall behind has also been painted with the stencil. A large piece of heavy cotton lining fabric cut to fit the wall from the ceiling to the dado rail has been painted with a wash of Aubusson Blue. To create a wash simply dilute Chalk Paint® with water, here Annie has added more paint or more water with virtually every brush stroke as she wanted an uneven effect to mirror the faded painted wallpaper in Drottingsholm Palace in Stockholm. Allow to dry and if you’re painting fabric which is likely to be handled heat seal using an iron or a gentle tumble dry. Annie stapled the fabric to the wall and then applied the Chinoiserie Stencil again using Duck Egg Blue as her base this time with Primer Red, Olive and Old White for extra detail. 


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Close up of Annie Sloan template used on a cabinet
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