Places to Party

Friday, July 25, 2014

Paint Your Cottage Pretty

Pattern copied from a child's story book.

Tole painting for me is like a  mediation. Hours can fly by and the world goes away when I'm in front of a piece I'm working on. I love tole painting.

It's my firm belief that if  you can color a coloring book, you can tole paint.  It really is accessible to everyone. At it's core, tole painting is simply copying a pattern onto a surface, coloring it in and then shading or highlight an area to apply dimension to your piece. Surfaces can vary, paints can vary and even in the realm of tole painting, techniques can vary. You can create something very elegant to something cute, it really is up to you.

Spring and Summer Pattern from Catherine Holman.

Catherine Holman Pattern Winter

Women have always used paint to decorate their homes. I often refer to paint as the great equalizer. As far back as women have kept  homes, women of meticulous incomes have often turned to paint to mimic the pricier paper treatments or expensive materials used in great homes. Rosemaling or stroke work is prevalent in early Eastern European designs with entire rooms being covered in beautiful stroke work. We often see this being mimicked in screen printing processes in today's furniture. Tole painting
is another way to bring beautiful images to your
home and with you as the artist, you can be a
patron of the arts as well as participate in them!

Jill Ankrom's Pattern Nick & the Moon
(sans moon)

When we purchased our farmhouse sixteen years ago, we inherited a kitchen with flat white paint and spade shaped handles (and a stained carpet in the kitchen with even nastier linoleum underneath). Yuck. Flat paint captures every splatter and grease stain. What were they thinking? Seriously? So, figuring I had nothing to loose, I gathered up patterns from my favorite painting authors and even a drawing from one of my son's picture books, I went to work. I'm very proud of the results. Now, starting with winter, you can follow all four seasons as they emerge on my cabinets, ending with Halloween. (Added benefit? If I like a holiday decoration, I can leave it in my kitchen year round and say it's part of the "theme"!)

Our Family Going Trick o' Treating. Dixon in his
bee costume.

In each house, there is something painted that is just for my family. It may be my cats in the window, our house number, the sign in the front yard that reads "Just Bob Was Here" (my son's story book the snowman is pulled from) or even my family trick o' treating with my son in his bee costume.



Just Bob Was Here.

When you are the artist, you can add those little little touches that make that piece mean something to you and your family. A favorite picture from a picture book can decorate a child's room, little touches can make those pieces family heirlooms.

Catherine Holman's pattern Fall.

One woman I met was painting her farm animals on her dining room wall. While not for everyone, they were very special to her and so every time someone came to her house, they had a unique mural that was deeply personal to the homeowner and a built in conversation piece.


Donna Atkins Pumpkin Cats

So, if you are ready to embark on a new adventure, I'll share with you how to create beautiful artwork for your home. I promise you it is totally accessible and you can do it! In my next post, I'll teach you how to prep a surface, what brushes to invest in if you are an absolute beginner, how to resize a pattern to fit your surface, how to transfer a pattern and begin base painting. So let your eyes wander to see what captures your fancy. When you find it, make a copy and get ready to PAINT!



  1. Wow! That's a neat idea. I didn't know it was called 'tole painting'. Great pieces, too! :)

    Stopping by from Wednesday Whatsits!

  2. My daughter has been wanting to learn to tole paint (she wants to do roses)! I look forward to your next post and will show it to her... Thank you for sharing some creativity on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

  3. too neat! I bet everyone wants to tour and look at the artwork! Thanks for sharing with us :) Pinned!

  4. You are very talented in so many areas. Love this post...the vintage santa is my fav. Thank you for stopping and commenting at ShabbyTeaParty. I must go look around some more. Have a great weekend. Hugs,

  5. Oh, I actually follow Catherine Holman, her paintings are amazing.

  6. So happy to see this! I thought Tole Painting was a dead art. I taught it for years and actually had a business with a friend where we taught classes and had a gift shop. We closed it when my husband was activated for Dessert Storm and I needed to be home with my 5 children in the evening. I haven't actually tole painted in years. But I too found it to be very relaxing and rewarding. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  7. I use to tole paint all the time ( I miss it)