Upcycling furniture, printing patterns out of nothing

Last Thursday was the second up-cycling furniture session. After the original chaos of the first week I am happy to say participants had started getting the hang of the methods and made friends between them and with their piece of furniture and material. Thinking outside the box (the tin of paint…) is my teaching method. I like making sure the participants to my classes use their full potential to maximise their experience with the techniques I show them. My main aim is to make sure that all leave the course feeling confident to try just about anything under the sun. Sometimes the best results come from trials and error. Specially when it comes with paint effects.


During the first session we distressed some items by applying two coats of waterbased paint and working with sand paper, we also make a go at crackle varnish. This time, participants, had brought in their own piece of furniture. They made a good start on it, first coat of paint, and soon no sound other than the sanding paper and the wet brush. From to painting to sanding to painting but also a great deal of sticking and painting/printing going on.

Some of the participants had made sure to research their favorite style using lifestyle sites like Pinterest and had general discussion on colours and finishes. But each session brings a new set of skills and this week its “decorate with print”. I had though of making stamps with polyesterene packaging but not being able to find any… I used embossed wall paper instead.

From my visit to the local D&Y shop I had come back with a large selection of samples of wall paper. Some of them vintage, some tiles, some patterns, but also some embossed and I decided to use this for making the most exquisite prints.

Here is how it goes:


To make a delicate print out of embossed wall paper.

1 – prepare your surface to decorate. In this instance I have used some shadowing with my top colour and applied it loosely.

2 – select a wall paper with smallish patterns but only use those with seriously raised areas. In this instance I have used an Art Nouveau pattern border.

3 – with a smallish brush cover the embossed pattern of your design you may have to try to print on loose paper before you go ahead to get the level of pressure right.


4 – turn over your design apply the raised areas on your work and apply gentle pressure with your hand on the whole back of the design.

et VOILA !!!

You should be able to apply several coats of paint before you have to change the piece of paper. You may able to get a better several prints in one go.

We kept going after this very magical moment and tried two colour printing as well as a week bit of stencilling.

Here is my board…


Protect your work with varnish.

Enjoy the process… Betty xx






Published by bettysbeautifullife

I am a Christie's trained artist born in France but living in Glasgow. I work with Eco Techniques like Natural dyes, Eco Printing and Indigo dyeing using recycled material. I learn, teach and share my techniques, I work with communities and travel to Asia

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