11 February 2016

Image transfer with Decoupage Glue and Varnish

Back in November, I wrote about the virtues of découpage, and explained how easy and fun it is to apply paper images on to your pieces of furniture and walls, to create different styles and looks – from bohemian to warehouse. 

Today I'd like to share another way of adding an image directly on to…well, anything really - furniture, walls, even fabric! I think I first wrote about image transfer in my book, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More. It’s a technique which I absolutely love and have been able to play around with in many different ways, using my Decoupage Glue and Varnish as a transfer medium. With this method, the image remains on the furniture but the paper on it is removed.

A transfer image can come from almost anywhere, such as a découpage motif book, a magazine, or the internet - as this technique works best with laser prints and photocopies you will need to scan any images from magazines, books etc. on to your computer. When choosing your image, bear in mind that it will transfer in reverse, so you may need to flip it on your computer before printing it out, especially if any text is included.

I start with a surface that has been painted but not waxed (unless you’re transferring onto fabric, then just make sure it’s clean and crease free). Once the paint is completely dry, the image can be applied. Choose a good strong image – I like using black and white which, as you can see from the picture of a door here at HQ, will adapt well to having different colours behind it. Adjust the size on a computer so it is exactly as you want it to be. You can just about see a seam in this picture as I wanted it to be on a grand scale – that doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I think it adds to the general effect.

I printed the picture on normal copier paper using a laser printer. You can also use a photocopier, but I'd avoid inkjet prints as they can bleed a little which can distort the image. Using sharp scissors, I cut my image out, getting as close to the image outline as possible. I then brushed a thin layer of Découpage Glue and Varnish over the part of the door on which I wanted the transfer. I was very careful not to make the area on which I was gluing much larger than the image, as the unused glue will leave a slightly sticky, shiny area when it is not covered by the picture.

Being extremely careful, I then painted the image with a very thin layer of glue (right side up) and, whilst it was still wet, slid it on to the surface face down. Make sure any air bubbles are worked out or even pricked with a pin as you don’t want these on your finished piece. Rub the image with a dry cloth, making sure it is totally stuck to the surface (don’t forget the edges!) and leave it to dry completely.

Now the magic begins. Once the glue was completely dry, I added a little water, just dabbing at the picture with my fingers. Once it was damp but not soggy, I started rubbing in little circular movements which has the effect of peeling off the paper. The paper will come off in layers so at first it may look a little cloudy – keep going. You could use a cloth, but I prefer the control that comes with using my fingers - I get a much stronger sense of how hard to rub! Once all the paper is off, the image will be clear, although it may look a little dull once it is dry so brush the whole thing with my Clear Wax and voila! You can rough it up a little by gently sanding the edges, or leave it as a clean, crisp image.

How have you used my Découpage Glue and Varnish to create images on your projects? Share them with me using #AnnieSloan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and use @anniesloanhome to tag me too!

Yours, Annie

5 February 2016

Maison et Objet Paris

Last week I was in Paris for Maison et Objet 2016.  It is *the* big international trade show for interior design, with exhibitors – and visitors – from all over the world.  It’s so exciting, I go once a year to see for myself all the new trends.  Some of the stands are just enormous – I worked out that one was easily twice the size of my house! Often it’s where I’ll find new things for my shop here in Oxford, but this year I had my own stand there, and had a wonderful time meeting with stockists and potential new stockists from across the globe – Hungary to Japan!   (Images below- left: Shiro and Kimie Ito, my distributors in Japan, with Monika Gawinecka - my distributor in Poland. Middle: the Chalk Paint colour wheel. Right: My Spanish distributor, Maria, doing a short demo on the stand.)

I made time to take in what else was going on – I’m so frustrated but, because it is strictly trade only, I’m not allowed to share any of the pictures I took of the other stands with you.  However, I just had to sketch out some of the amazing ways in which people are using colour.  I was incredibly inspired, and – I hope! – you will be, too.

For the past few years, the big story has been white with grey.  I love this pared down look, but somehow it just doesn’t excite me in the way that bold use of colour does, so I’m thrilled to say that this year colour is big and strong!  There were some really powerful statements: red walls, red furniture, strong splashes of bright green and yellows…yellow everywhere!  And, importantly, this wasn’t just in reference to one particular style (e.g. mid-century Modern) but across the range.  Palatial grandeur, warehouse, bohemian (of course!) all infused with the colours I know so well from the Chalk Paint® palette (Emperor’s Silk, Burgundy, Antibes Green, Greek Blue, English Yellow to name but a few).  Barcelona Orange and English Yellow worked particularly well in warehouse settings, especially when paired with Paris Grey, French Linen, Versailles

I’ve been struggling to come up with a way of describing the colours used, and can only come up with ‘strong florals’ – these aren’t pastels, but instead the strong red of tulips, vivid yellow like daffodils, marigold orange and beautiful cornflower blues.  And in combinations which were striking and somehow exotic.  Here’s a sketch based on a stand I saw which put together Graphite with Emperor's Silk, Antibes Green, Barcelona Orange and English Yellow.

Despite this and although colours were generally more dramatic, they were also used to create some more gentle looks.  The ubiquity of white and grey has been refreshed by using colour to replace white - it is now grey with orange, or blues, or yellow.  I saw a fabulous room set made up of soft greys – so relaxing – but with one vibrant orange chair – I love it!! For this look I've used Paris Grey and Barcelona Orange from the Chalk Paint® palette. (See image above.) 

I love seeing pictures of your bold colour statement pieces, keep sharing them with me using #AnnieSloan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Use @anniesloanhome to tag me too!

Yours, Annie

20 January 2016

Tim Gould's Objectabletable

Here's the latest project from my British Painter in Residence, Tim Gould. You might remember that he works as an artist under the name Objectables. Well, here he's created the Objectabletable – a table with attitude!

This cheeky piece of furniture has its own Twitter account (@objectabletable) and it undergoes constant makeovers, highlighting the way that people share their opinions across social media channels – and everyone knows how much I love social media!

Tim tends to work with stencils and always creates his own. For this, he created the lettering on his computer and printed it out on vinyl. He gave the table top a light sand to remove any varnish before applying his stencil. He then created a stain with my paint in Graphite – diluting the paint and applying it onto the surface before wiping it away almost instantly. Tim did this three times, gradually leaving a build-up of colour around the stencil. He applied a bit more paint in some areas to create an uneven patina.

I love the legs on this table too – he painted them with a pattern made of hashtags, again in Graphite. He also gilded the edge of the table in with silver leaf. Tim then finished the piece with a couple of coats of my Clear Soft Wax.

So what do you think? Are you going to tweet anything to Objectabletable? Maybe it will tweet you back!

Yours, Annie

Follow Tim on InstagramFacebook, and his website: http://www.objectables.co.uk/

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest

13 January 2016

Christmas in South Africa

Christmas now seems a distant dream – I hope yours was a merry one. I was very, very lucky this year and spent Christmas in South Africa with my husband David and two of our sons, Henry and Hugo. My son Felix (whom many of you will know works with me here at HQ, couldn’t come as he and his partner Lizzy are expecting their second child in the next couple of weeks – we were sad they couldn’t be with us, but so excited about a new addition to the family!).

South Africa was really gorgeous, I loved it. I think it is one of the most creative places I’ve ever been – it’s incredibly inspiring and I’ve been trying to put my finger on why that is. I think in part it must be due to the extraordinary mixture of international influences and visitors dating back to the Seventeenth Century. I met some great people – I really enjoyed a conversation with my taxi driver on Christmas Day in Cape Town – as a self-identified ‘Cape Coloured’ he spoke three languages – Afrikaans, Arabic and, of course, English. Another lovely man I met whilst doing a wine tasting (it’s the law to do a wine tasting in South Africa!) told me his great, great, great, great, GREAT grandmother was from Indonesia. The cultural mix coupled with South Africa’s separateness and the Afrikaans heritage, based around farming and home-making, make this a peculiarly unique part of the world. I don’t know how, or why or what, but the effect on the country combined with fantastic weather and such diverse flora and fauna plus those inspiring views make it an astonishing, and very, very creative place to visit.

It *was* a holiday, but I’ve come back wanting to make things. I found a freedom of expression, a loose style – people don’t do fiddly, precise little things. It’s much more in keeping with the way in which I like to work – no restrictions, just pick up a brush or pencil and enjoy yourself.

Here are a few little sketches I made while I was there – I didn’t really make them with the idea of sharing them, but in my blog back in October, when I introduced my new Chalk Paint Workbook, I wrote that I always like to have a sketchbook to hand... and here’s the proof!

I also took advantage of the opportunity to pop into The Pause Room in Cape Town, and say hello to my Stockist there, Michelle Kunze. And, of course, I visited lots of galleries. The style is so craft inspired – African workers using traditional techniques to make tremendous, contemporary pieces. Above all, they’re not scared of colour in South Africa – not in the slightest!!

Finally, please indulge me by letting me share some photos taken by my son, Henry, who has a Facebook page. His photographs really capture some of the diversity and colour I loved so much!

Yours, Annie

8 January 2016

Mid-Century Modern Chairs

My paint, Chalk Paint®, has been influenced by the painter’s palette, which means that it is perfect for recreating any style – and mid-Century Modern is no exception. I adore this modular streamlined look, made bold by use of colour and pattern. For this project, these mid-Century chairs have been transformed into something quite tremendous using just a small set of products from my range. This is a project that would be fairly straightforward to try at home. The chairs I used here were languishing in an attic, having been cast aside as too dated – yes, really!!

1.The first thing was to strip the old shabby velvet from the seat pads and add a new piece of polyester wadding and some fire-retardant calico before adding a new fabric covering. I chose the Gentleman fabric from my range – it’s perfect for the Modern Retro look and, as a natural cotton fabric, it’s so simple to dye using my paint, Chalk Paint®. 
2. Use masking tape to mark out the area you’re going to paint and get a good clean line. If you look carefully at the set of chairs you’ll see the colour is painted over different sections of each seat pad – the devil is in the detail! 
3. Mix the paint with water until you get a loose consistency, roughly one part paint to ten parts water. If you apply it too thickly it may dry with a crust (this can be brushed off, but it can be a messy job). Better to layer washes of paint, until you reach the intensity of colour you’re after. Use a small, flat brush and make sure to work it into the fabric as you apply it. 

4. For the frame, I wanted to contrast the colour of the seat pads with something stark that would make the colours sing out. I used Graphite on the legs and supports for the seat back, but kept the panel in its original grain, polished with some Danish oil to bring out its natural lustre.
5. Once the paint is dry, apply my Clear Soft Wax and take any excess off with a dry cloth or rag. 

6. Pop the pad back into the seat and they’re good to go!

I’m so pleased with these chairs – they work really well as a set, but, individually, each one works just as well on its own.

I hope you enjoyed this project – follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and please, please, please share your own projects with me by sharing your pictures with me there.

Yours, Annie

6 January 2016

Jelena Pticek's Striped Chest of Drawers


Today I'm sharing the final project from Jelena Pticek, my brilliant Painter in Residence from Toronto, Canada. For this project, Jelena used my paint, Chalk Paint® to give a chest of drawers a modern look with horizontal stripes of colour.

Following the simple lines of the chest of drawers, Jelena used a palette of Graphite, Olive, Duck Egg Blue, French Linen and Antoinette to paint different widths of stripes around the piece. The French Linen and Graphite act as neutrals, keeping the colours balanced and working together.

Jelena applied my Clear Soft Wax, then lightly distressed the moulding on the top drawer. She then sealed the piece with a final coat of Wax.

I hope you've all enjoyed Jelena's worannk as much as I have and have been inspired to add some pattern to your furniture with Chalk Paint®?

Yours, Annie

Follow Jelena on InstagramFacebook, and her blog: poppyseedliving.blogspot.co.uk/

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest.