Places to Party

Monday, February 29, 2016

The $5 Chair

I Need Some Love!

On it's own, isn't this the cutest chair? I bought this two years ago at a rummage sale. Marked $8 the owner sold it to me for $5. I just love the paint and definately was not going to repaint it.

I love good design even if it's a common object. I have a lovely necklace pendant in the shape of a ladderback chair. I used to wear it all the time (until one of the legs fell off. Once a coworker asked me if it had any personal significance. "No"  I told her, I just like the design. Maybe I'm weird.

It was the same with this chair. It fairly shouted at me, "Take me home! I need some love!"

So I did. 

And I knew exactly what I was going to do with it when I got it home.

Then it sat for two years still with the same intention.

But today was it's lucky day! Today it's getting it's moment in the sun.

It's no mystery that I love painting. Tole painting is so accessible to everyone that I love showing you how easy it really is because the end result is so impressive. With a little bit of paint you can turn a humble little garage sale chair into a work of art.

The first step in tole painting is to gather all your supplies. You'll need:

*Your Pattern
*Tracing Paper
*Transfer Paper
*Pencil or Pen

Let me start off with a common problem that I had. My pattern was well over ten years old. I could not find my paint at Joann's at all. Same with AC Moore or Michaels. You may find one or two but never seem to find all of them in a pattern. If you have a good picture, you can approximate the colors, there are books that translates one line into another line or there are converters available online such as this.

First you will need to determine what size you want your pattern to be. Rarely if ever is a painting pattern (or any other pattern you may want to paint) the same size as the piece you are painting. 

If you decide the pattern needs to be increased, measure the total pattern size. Then determine the size you want the finished piece to be. Remember to add at least 1" to the finished size to give you a little "breathing space. Once you have your two numbers, dived the larger number by the smaller number.

To reduce the size, do the same thing as above but divide the smaller number by the larger number. 

This is how you get the percentage of how much to increase or decrease your size. Take it to a copier and increase or decrease accordingly.

Once you have your pattern, take your tracing paper and trace the design. You use the tracing paper because it so much easier to see your positioning when you lay it on top of the work. Copy all the lines, etc.

Take his tracing pattern to your work and decide where you want it positioned. Once determined, take some painter's tape and take a few pieces at the top to position your tracing. 

To start transferring your image, slide some graphite paper under your pattern. Transfer only the general shapes as it's pointless to draw any details you are going to be painting over anyway.

Using painter's tape which can be found in any hardware paint section, section off the ribbon portion of your pattern and using a small sponge (I cut up a kitchen sponge) sponge two of the corners of the bottom of the chair.

Now, had I used common sense, I would have painted the ribbon first, but as I was following the pictured directions, I did the pine cones so I had to redo my pine boughs..not traumatic but irritating.

Base coat and highlight basic shapes.

Once your paint is dried, taking your graphite paper, mark in the details:

To add details that appear as highlights or low lights, you need to float your paint. What this means is, with a damp brush, load some paint to one side of your brush. Gently brush that paint out on your palette so that the paint slowly seeps across your brush on the water that is still there. 

This allows the paint to gently fade away from the edge which gives a more natural shading or highlighting effect. You are going to add both highlights and low lights to your piece to give it depth.

 Add the foreground details:

And any text:

Once I got the main piece done and it dried, I felt it looked too "new". To age it a bit, I took a sanding block and very carefully sanded away some of the painting to give it a faded look that I felt was more authentic to the chair.

To age it further, I did a technique called "Flyspecking". Using an old toothbrush, dip in in black paint and run your thumbnail across the the bristles (you can also do it with a light paint to mimic snow). It gives you random little circles of color. It's a very attractive treatment although knowing what those little dots really are in real life... well, not really sure why we would want to mimic that.... 


I painted the back of the chair and liking the dots so much, added it around the word "pinecone". 

The easiest way to make dots is simply dip the other end of your paintbrush in the paint and "dot" onto your piece.

Here is the finished piece unvarnished and still in need of a little clean up: 

Now the unavailing. All finished and varnished:

Close up of the seat:

 This is why I love painting! You can take something that is, well, nice on it's own, and with a little paint, transform it into something magical. If you can color in a color book, this is totally accessible to you. Pick up a small pattern or even a child's coloring book and a scrap of wood and try it. I guarantee it's very addicting!



  1. You are very talented! The color is perfect and goes so well with the pine cones and plaid!


  2. Stacey, that is just beautiful. As if I'd expect less from you! Please come and share at Five Star Frou-Frou at A Tray of Bliss this week? Love, Mimi xxx

  3. Thank you very much! I've been waiting for the right project to paint this pattern on and once I found the chair I knew it was perfect.

  4. What a great project that you have shared on the #OMHGWW!!! Love the blue!!
    Thank you for sharing on the #OHMGWW this week!
    Hope to have you drop by and again to share.

    Have a great week!
    Oh My Heartsie Girl


  5. Oh I love how you changed this! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  6. Dear STacey:
    Lovely chair and what a bargain! It would be so welcoming by the front door on a porch or Lots of PLACES REALLY! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hi Stacey,
    Love your chair! I picked one up last Fall much like yours but I paid more than five dollars for it. I have it sitting just inside our door. I love your painting too! I miss it myself. So glad you shared with us. Enjoy your day.


  8. What Beautiful hand painting Stacy, you've got mad skills girl, I love it!

  9. You are so very creative Stacy! Thank you for sharing with us :)

  10. This is so cute and such a statement piece. Love the hand painting that you did. :) Thanks for sharing at Your Inspired Design!

  11. You took an ordinary chair and made it extraordinary. This just the type of post we love at Vintage Charm. I would love for you to share it here Hope to see you there.

    1. Thank youso much for sharing this extraordinary project with us at Vintage Charm. sb

  12. Hi Stacey!
    Wow, you are quite the artist! Even if I had the thought that painting a design on a chair would be a nice idea, I wouldn't have been brave enough to actually tackle it! Very nicely done. Such a fun piece to have in the house, especially because it now has your artwork on it.
    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to #TALENTEDTuesday.

  13. I've never tried tole painting but you did a wonderful job. Your chair is charming. I saw your link at Diana's Adirondack Girl @ Heart/Vintage Charm party.

  14. This project turned out beautifully. I caught that you lived in a Gothic style Farmhouse too. Living there must be amazing. I love Gothic architecture. It was my favorite study when I was in college for architecture and interior design. Such fascinating and interesting history.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.

    Olivia, co-hostess
    Reinvented Collection

  15. Stacy,this is lovely! I have often admired peices like these and so wish I knew even where to begin. You make it look very easy. I'm so glad you shared this with our community at Fresh Market Friday! is so nice to meet you:)