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After painting a Chest for my daughter Daisy, we felt George should have one too! The idea was to take a picture of George, do some Photoshop (CS5.1) work on it, to turn it into an outline image but still retain detail. So it looks something like a comic book illustration. I think I used ‘Filter – Sketch – Photocopy’ after turning the image to Greyscale. If you know photoshop I suggest just having a play with all those filters, you can get some great effects. In case you’re wondering, I’m a Mac man – Macs are great design tools.
The chest itself was a late victorian with quite a bit of damage to the veneer and water marks and scratches all over – a suitable candidate for a makeover! I gave it 2 coats of Annie Sloan Country Grey, which covered all the marks and scratches. You might notice that I went straight over the metal handles as well, Annie Sloan is a great time-saver with bits like that. At this stage it all looks a bit flat and dull, I find it’s always the waxing that brings out the character of these pieces.
Here we see the enlargements of the original print-out, as these were oversized I took them to my local Print Shop in Sevenoaks (Thanks Hannah at Ditto!) where they can print out really big photocopies for a small fee.
The next job was carefully cutting out the image – as I wasn’t interested in the background. I wanted this to be more cartoon-like. I always use a scalpel when I’m cutting out images for decoupage, it’s a throwback from my paste-up days as a designer. I find it much quicker than scissors and much more accurate – but hey, watch those fingers – I still have the scars from my learning days! If you do get one, use Swann Morton 10A blades, you can get them cheaply from Art supply shops or Amazon too.
After cutting out the image, I also cut it into the sections that would eventually go onto the drawers. I find this works best as it’s really difficult to cut paper that’s wet with glue – it tends to rip or bunch up – which is a real pain when you’ve got that far and then it goes pear-shaped. So cut sections first, even those little slim bits between the drawers.
I used Annie Sloan Decoupage to paste the print-outs in place, trying to ensure the dreaded bubbles were pushed out. There’s a bit of a knack to it, but like most things in life, the more you do it – the better you get. When you first use the decoupage, it looks white, but it dries out and disappears. With the colouring in, I used really watered down Annie Sloan colours, do it on a flat surface or the paint will run. It needs to be diluted to allow the details in the print to show through.
After I was happy with ‘George’ I could work on the rest of the chest, you might see I’ve used Craqueleur and Clear and Dark Wax to give some age and character to the chest, I like using craqueleur over decoupage – it just makes it more finished in my opinion. Anyway George seems quite happy with his ‘very own chest’ even if it is residing in Dovetails for our customers to have a look at!