I have recently just completed a writing bureau for my daughter.I found the desk on Trade Me, a regular selling site I use, I met the seller a lovely lady who was selling it on behalf of her father who was moving out of his earthquake damaged home that was to be repaired and into a rest home, I told her I was intending to restore it and give to my daughter ( I didn’t have the heart to mention the word paint), she was happy that it would go to someone who would appreciate it. I hope she would have liked what I have done.
I have been longing to transfer french script onto furniture, and when I came home and studied the writing bureau and saw the beautiful wooden inlay on the front I became excited, it was the perfect place for french script, after opening up the desk and seeing the green felt I knew I was in for a challenge as that couldn’t stay there. I had recently seen samples of oilcloth in my local paint store Femme de Brocante and knew that would be perfect and then I could find a chair and upholstery it in the same cloth.
The first task was to remove the felt, so I took a craft knife, a scraper and a spray bottle of water and set to spraying sections of the felt, waiting 10 minutes or so for it to soak in and set to scraping the felt off, this was no easy task and bits of fluffy green felt was soon everywhere.
After I successfully removed the felt, I removed the hardware and the tiny nails in the board and the whole section of wood came out. I painted the bureau in Annie Sloan Pure White. My next task was to get my french script (print your reverse image on a laser printer) that can be found on the handy Graphics Fairy Website the link is here http://thegraphicsfairy.com/ and transfer it onto the front of the wooden inlay I had removed and since painted in Pure White. My first transfer method was to use just Annie Sloan paint as I have had great success in the past with this method and here is a link on how this can be accomplished by Janet Metzger at the Empty Nest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W1uBtzXI2I
Unfortunately this did not work as the script was far too fine and too much off it came off after I rubbed off the paper backing with water, Not to worry I had some Annie Sloan Decoupage glue and varnish which also acts as another great transfer medium, I had heard Artisan Enhancement transfer gel is one of the best but unfortunately here in little old New Zealand is hard to get hold off and is expensive.
I have to be honest it did take me a few goes (four to be exact) before I got it how I wanted it, there was a lot of sanding and repainting going on, the beauty of Annie Sloan’s paint is that you can make mistake without it costing you too much, the key is to go slow and be patient, as patience is a foreign concept to me I really struggled with this part.
Now the front part of my board was complete, it was time to find material to use for the inner part, I selected a cute blue oil cloth with red cherries on it and made sure I bought enough to cover a seat cover. I purchased Annie Sloan’s Emperors silk for the wee cubby holes in the desk, thinking it would give a real pop of colour and tie in with the red cherries. After cutting the oilcloth to size, the hard part was to think about how I would adhere it. I tried a spray contact adhesive but unfortunately it didn’t try clear and I was left was patches showing through, I tied wallpaper paste and got the same results, next I tried to staple gun the edge of the cloth to the edge of the board but that didn’t work either as it started to split some of the board so frustrated and tired, my partner stepped in with Selleys exterior Aquadhere PVA glue that he uses on the building site, it dried pretty much clear although the fabric was a little duller it was at least even not very noticeable. Once the fabric was dry my helpful partner used gap filler and nailed the board back into plave.
I found a cute little piano stall that someone had lovingly hand embroidered with 1950 on the top left corner, I painted it pure white also and as the top was completely removable I tried my hand at upholstering for the first time, I just covered some polyester straight over the embroidery as I didn’t have the heart to remove it and thought it would be nice to keep a little of history in it, I then took my left over oilcloth and my newly purchased staple gun and set to work. I was surprised at how easy it was, it’s by no means a professional job and I still need to find some black backing fabric but I’m happy with the end result.
Finally with after putting on all the finishing touches, it was time for my favourite part, distressing and waxing. Here is the end result, this was not an easy project but well worth it as I have earned a lot from it.
As everyone loves a good before and after here it is…..