Saturday, February 12, 2011

Handpainting Furniture

Several years ago Jon and I built 4 garden tables. The tables were 35 inches tall (countertop height), 18" deep, but the overall length varied between 5 and 6 feet. We constructed the tables adding a lower shelf to increase its strength and add storage. I gathered my oils, and handpainted them.

My initial thought was to make tables with holes to accommodate 10" clay flower pots, but later we found ourselves putting plates over the holes and making small buffet tables out of them for outside entertaining.

Above are photos of fruit I painted on one table, peaches, apples, pears, cherries, and plums. I readily sold it to my friend Pam.

This table, I call "picket fence".

Its all about experimenting. Look at the front of the table--see the vines and leaves? I hand-formed the vines and leaves out of sculpty clay, and made little nail holes with spaghetti. I baked the vines & leaves, and attached them to the table with little white nails. Then, continued painting the frame and vines white.

Before we were married Jon and I would swing on his front porch. When we married he restyled the swing, constructing a platform making it a stationary sofa. I painted it, and made pillows and cushions. Then I repurposed a coffee table, and painted it to match the pillows. The style now is a bit dated, and I had to look at the properties of the photo imgages to discover the year was 2001.

Below, is a hankie dresser I purchased for a few dollars. I found it at a garage sale. It was painted John Deere green, and had some chunks of veneer missing. I filled the veneer. My mother Lorraine sanded and painted two coats of satin black enamel. Later, I added gold flurishes, lovely black and gold knobs from a great shop in Waupaca "Embellishments", and made the worn interior suitable for garments by wallpapering the interior of the drawers with a classy black and gold wallpaper.

Now that I am retired, I look forward to painting and re-purposing some more furniture pieces.


  1. Great job of painting the furniture. I love the black dresser. Tables of this type would be great for summer picnics under shade trees beside your victorian house. You could even have a summer tea for friends and relatives. My wife's family had a tea in a park and took table, chairs, linens, china and crystal. They dressed victorian and many people stopped at visited just wondering what they were doing. A grat way to spend a summer afternoon.

  2. Wow Gearhart, that's a great idea. I'm really impressed by Janet's family's tea in the park.

    Yes, I would like to host a Victorian Tea right here in our yard.

    Perhaps this summer I should start looking for various cups and saucers at the flea markets and consignment shops.

    What types of food were served at the teas?

    Was it an afternoon afair?

    Or, we could also have a 1930's tea--that would be fun--dressing up. We could listening to our wind-up portable 1929 Pal phonograph. Croquet, anyone?

    Linda-Lu (Mrs. D)

  3. I love your painted pieces. I have a plan to paint a few pieces early in the spring....a dated coffee and end table set AND my old upright grand piano. I know this is going to be a HUGE undertaking and am eager to get things soon as we thaw out :)


  4. I just wanted to add, wonderful idea to host an outdoor tea. If I was a local, I would be there :)


  5. Linda-

    What pretty garden furniture, both designed and painted by you and your husband! I love the way you added the decorative "carving" using Sculpy. And the repurposed dresser is beautiful with it's new paint job! You could have a wonderful sideline selling painted furniture. I think your style of painting really suits the pieces. :-)