Farmhouse Furniture

from Creative Home
Put your painting skills to work on new or time-worn furniture to give it a French farmhouse appearance.

Soften your furniture with washes of subtle blue glazes that can tie together almost any furniture grouping, from a table and chairs to a bench and a hutch. Then paint roosters, hens and chicks as well as sunflowers, wheat swags and delicate scrollwork to add a French touch to every piece of furniture. Use patterns purchased in a craft store for your painted details, or freehand the paintings from images in books or magazines.

Gather Your Supplies

  • Unfinished wooden table, hutch, bench, and chairs
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Soft utility sponge
  • Sponge brush
  • Plaid decorator glazes: Linen White #53505, Plate Blue #53515, and Tuscan Sunset #53506
  • Plaid FolkArt wash medium #698
  • Plaid FolkArt Artist’s Pigment colors: Burnt Sienna #943 (BS), Burnt Umber #462 (BU), Green Umber #471 (GU), Hauser Green Light #459 (HGL), Light Red Oxide #914 (LRO), Medium Yellow #455 (MY), Warm White #649 (WMW), and Yellow Ochre #917 (YO)
  • Plaid FolkArt glazing medium #991
  • Plaid FolkArt acrylic colors: Antique Gold Metallic #872 (AG), Apple Spice #951 (AS), Clay Bisque #601 (CB), Licorice #938 (LI), Maple Syrup #945 (MS), Olive Green #449 (OG), Purple #441 (PP), Sterling Blue #441 (SB), Sunflower #432 (SF), Tangerine #627 (TG), Teal #405 (TL), Vintage White #515 (VW), and Wicker White #901 (WKW)
  • Artist’s brushes: #8, #12, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch flats; #8 and #10 wave-edge filberts; #1 and #2 liners; and #1 script liner
  • #12 scruffy brush, small scruffy brush
  • Plaid FolkArt floating medium #868
  • Plaid FolkArt sealer
  • Clean rag
  • Plaid FolkArt Artist’s varnish in desired sheen

Start to Finish

Sand the wood furniture with fine-grit sandpaper and wipe clean with a tack cloth. Base-coat using a utility sponge and a sponge brush for difficult-to-reach areas, applying the paint in the direction of the grain. Base-coat the tabletop and the counter of the hutch with Plate Blue glaze, allow to dry, then wash over with Linen White glaze. Base-coat the benches, the base of the table, the slats on the chairs, and parts of the hutch with Plate Blue glaze. Base-coat the remaining chair surfaces with a mixture of equal parts MS and wash medium. Base-coat the edge of the tabletop and parts of the hutch with Tuscan Sunset glaze.
2. To paint the foreground and background effects behind the animals on the bench and hutch panels, first mix a glaze using equal parts GU, HGL, and glazing medium. Mix another glaze using equal parts SF and glazing medium. Load a 3/4-inch flat brush with glazing medium, then double-load with the two glaze mixtures. Paint the land area, washing in strokes horizontally. For the sky, load a 3/4-inch flat brush with glazing medium, then load with SB mixed with touches of PP and WKW. Paint the sky areas, washing in strokes horizontally. Load a 3/4-inch flat brush with glazing medium, then load with a bit of SF to add a sunny glow. To create foreground shadows, wash in MS or BU mixed with glazing medium using a 1/2-inch flat brush.
3. If you use patterns, trace them onto tracing paper and transfer them to the furniture with graphite paper. Or freehand the drawings on the furniture before you paint.

1. Note: Use #8 and #10 wave-edge filbert brushes to paint feathers. Feather sizes change according to location on the body.. Paint feathers by pressing, pulling, and lifting the brush at an angle, layering upward, keeping the darker side of the stroke toward the bottom. Start at the darkest area of the lower belly. Load a #10 filbert brush with floating medium, then double-load with BS and YO. Work from darker to lighter paint colors, making a soft transition. Start adding the next lighter color to each side of the brush as you move up and around the body. Progress through BS, YO, and VW. In the lighter range of colors, progress through SF, VW, and WKW.
2. Fill in each section of the pattern, always beginning at the bottom of the section and working upward, overlapping the feathers. The feathers on the side are painted with LI, TL, and WKW.
3. For the tail feathers, multiload LI, TL, and WKW on a flat brush filled with floating medium. Start at the farthest point on the bottom feather and pull inward toward the body, pressing the brush down where the stroke begins, pulling the brush backward, and arching the stroke to create the lift of the feather. Keep the lightest-color side of the brush at the top. Overlap the feathers as you move upward.
4. Add the teal-tint feathers using TL double-loaded with WKW. Paint LI feathers on the head and neck.
5. Use the #1 liner brush to paint the claws with YO. Shade with MS and BU. Highlight with WKW. To keep one leg appearing in the foreground and one toward the back, paint the background leg first and float a BU shadow over it. Then paint the foreground leg, overlapping the feathers over the shadowed leg.
6. For the rooster head, fill in the comb, hackle, and outside eye area with AS using a #8 flat brush. Highlight the crimson areas by floating VW touched with a little AS. Paint the entire beak with VW. When dry, paint the lower half of the beak with a #1 liner brush using VW dragged through BU. Add LI beak detail with a liner brush.
7. Fill in the eyeball area with WKW using a #1 liner brush; let dry. Paint the pupil with LI; let dry. Use a #2 liner brush to outline the eye with LI. Highlight the pupil with a dot of WKW. Using a #1 liner brush, add LI details around the eye, comb, and hackle to define areas and create shape in the face.
8. After all the feathers are dry, float WKW highlights. Float shadows with MS or BU.

1. Using the same techniques described for painting the roosters, apply WKW double-loaded with VW over most of the body and on the highlighted side of the head and neck. For the shadows around the neck, add VW and CB to the brush. As the shadows darken toward the back of the neck, start blending small amounts of LI into the CB to make a taupe color. Use the taupe blend under the wing and toward the bottom of the body. After the feathers are dry, float WKW highlights and BU shading where needed.
2. For the head, paint feathers with WKW double-loaded with VW using a 1/2-inch flat brush. Paint the hackle, beak, and eye the same as for the rooster, floating WKW highlights and LI
shading over the AS. Paint the comb using AS double-loaded with WKW. Float on WKW highlights. Float VW in shaded areas.

1. Use the #12 scruffy brush to fill in the shape of the chicks with YO, creating an overall fluffy appearance; let dry. Retrace the details of the chick pattern or sketch in your details again. Using the scruffy brush, highlight the top of the body and head with MY. Use a #1 liner brush and WKW to paint the tiny wing feathers, fill in the beaks, and make sharp, little feather lines across the body and at the tail.
2. For the eye, make an LI dot; pull a small eyelid across the top using a liner brush and highlight with a tiny dot of WKW. Load a #2 liner brush with floating medium and MS, then add shadows around the outside of the face and head; let dry. Add more highlights and shadows as needed.

Wheat, Hay, and Eggs
1. Load a 1/2-inch flat brush with floating medium, then double-load YO and VW. Using the chisel edge of the brush, pull random sharp lines to indicate blades of wheat and hay. To add wheat seeds to some of the blades, load the brush again, then press down lightly at the outer tip of a seed and pull toward the blade. Following the direction of the growth, add seeds on the tip and on each side of the blade. Make fine, sharp lines with thinned VW to create the plumes coming off the tops of the seeds.
2. Fill in egg shapes with VW, highlight with WKW, then float BU shadows to give them dimension. Let dry. Add more highlights and shadows as needed. Paint wheat and hay in front of the eggs to complete the nest. Scatter seeds of wheat randomly over the ground.

Sunflower Leaves
1. Paint the leaves first, then the flowers. Load a #12 flat brush with floating medium, then load with OG, filling three-quarters of the width of the brush, and tip the corner with VW. Fill in each leaf following the direction of growth, pulling the brush from the center out to the edge. Leave a bit of the base coat showing through to create shadows.
2. To highlight, double-load the brush with OG and VW. Repeat the fill-in strokes over the light-color side of each leaf.
3. Load the brush with floating medium, dip one corner into VW, then stroke on additional highlights with the white corner toward the top or outer edge of the leaf. Mix equal parts GU, HGL, and glazing medium. Gradually add this mixture to the white on the brush; this blends the colors naturally around the edge of the leaf.
4. To paint the center vein of each leaf, load the brush with floating medium and tip the edge with VW. Starting at the stem end of the leaf, pull downward with the white edge following, all the way to the tip of the leaf, making a soft, translucent line that curves slightly with the leaf. If the leaf is curved, float a soft highlight of VW across the arch of the bend. Paint the side veins in the same way, but lift the brush just before reaching the edge of the leaf to avoid giving the stroke a blunt end. Apply more floating medium to the brush to “erase” a translucent line through the leaf, following the direction of growth; let dry.
5. Load a #12 flat brush with floating medium and YO, working the paint to a translucent pale color on your palette. Brush against the grain of the leaf, crossing over the vein work in patches on each side. 6. For the small leaves, mix equal parts GU, HGL, and glazing medium. Double-load the 3/4-inch flat brush with the mixture and VW. To form the top arch of a small leaf, set down the brush’s chisel edge where the body of the leaf begins. Press down slightly and pull forward, turning the brush and lifting quickly to a point to form the tip of the leaf. To form the lower arch of the small leaf, use the same motion, keeping the color darker at the bottom of the leaf.

1. Load the 3/4-inch flat brush with floating medium, then double-load the brush with TG and YO. On the YO side, touch back into VW. (This is the base-color technique for painting the sunflower petals.) Starting with the back petals, use the two-stroke process used for the small leaves to create each petal. Continue until all the back petals are filled in; let dry.
2. Fill in the centers of the sunflowers using the 3/4-inch flat brush double-loaded with LI and BU. Keep the LI shading on the lower part of each circle and the BU at the top; let dry. Using a scruffy brush loaded with VW and BS, lightly pounce around the top edge of each center to create an uneven distribution of highlights; let dry.
3. Retrace the front petals over the painted back petals. Fill in the front petals as you did the back petals. Touch the brush into OG, working it into the existing colors on the brush. Paint the open leaves around the petals. Add touches of the mixture to the other leaves in the background. Float BU over the shadow areas of the sunflowers and leaves to create depth; let dry.
4. Mix a glaze using equal parts WMW and glazing medium. Mix another glaze using equal parts SF and glazing medium. Use a #12 flat brush to apply the two glazes over the leaves and petals to create depth and blended highlights.

1. Note: Keep floating medium in the brush to smooth out your strokes. To paint the red daisies, double-load a #12 flat brush with AS and VW and paint the petals.
2. To paint the white daisies, double-load the brush with VW and BU. Paint the remaining daisies randomly over the spray; let dry.
3. Mix one glaze using equal parts WMW and glazing medium and another using equal parts BU and glazing medium. Double-load the brush with the mixtures. Repeat the petal strokes over the red daisy petals to create shading and depth. For the white daisies, double-load the brush with the white glaze mixture and a touch of BU.
4. To create the daisy centers, use a small scruffy brush loaded with OG and YO. Pounce a small circle in the center of each daisy. Using the #1 liner brush loaded with BU, fill the shaded side of each center with small dots. Let dry, then use the small scruffy brush to pounce the white glaze mixture for highlights.

Note: The scrollwork is used in different amounts and on various parts of the projects. Refer to photos for ideas and placement.
1. Mix AG with water to an inky consistency. Using the #1 script liner brush, paint the scrollwork.
2. Shade with BU.

Tabletop Lettering
Transfer the lettering pattern from the packet to the tabletop. Mix BU with water to an inky consistency. Using the #1 script liner brush, follow the letterforms with sharp, smooth strokes.

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