Success!  I’ve managed to get the words onto the chairs.  I’ll tell you how in a moment – as there are several ways that would have worked:

how to paint words on furniture

1. Stencil.

I’ve stencilled before, and it’s effective.  however, it’s most effective when you want to repeat a design, as the cutting of the stencil is very arduous and time-consuming.  Worth it if you’re then going to use it multiple times.  But for me in this project, every word was different.  And I also know that cutting beautiful curves in a stencil is difficult – and this font relies on its curves.

2. Overhead Projector

This technique is usually used for getting words onto walls, but could also work on furniture.  You need to photocopy your word onto acetate and then project it onto your piece and paint around the projected outline.  This just seemed overkill for six words.

3. Prick and pounce

This does sound like a game my cats would play, but it is actually a technique.  Print out your words, and then prick around the outline.  Then ‘pounce’ or dab dark pigment over the holes, keeping your paper still.  When you pull your paper away you should have the outline

4. Cheating Charcoal

This is what I did and I woke up in the morning with this idea.  I couldn’t be bothered to prick and pounce.  This idea entered my mind inspired by transfers – remember playing with thos as a kid?

So instead of more othodox methods, I printed my words out, in word, onto A4 paper, at the size I would need.  I turned the paper over, and because the words were large and dark, I could see them through the back of the paper.

word ready to transfer to chair

 I then drew over this with willow charcoal (it’s weird as it’s the reflection of the word), then straight away, before it smudges, hold your paper against the furniture and rub over it (I just rubbed it with my hand) remove it, and… Voila!

word on recycled chair

I felt quite smug at this point. ( I realise in the photo it looks as though the word has magically changed from Sage to Thyme!  Well – I’m just showing you various examples of the words I did.)

The smugness wore off slightly as I realised that the white paint I was using was going to be grey for the first coat, as it picked up the charcoal.

painted word on vintage furniture

I then tried using chalk, so this wouldn’t happen, but chalk doesn’t work.  Anyway – once your paint has dried, a damp cloth removes final traces of charcoal.  I then went over the writing with a second coat.

painting words on furniture

It’s starting to look OK…

Bit more work and soon these chairs will be ready to show you!