Hand Painted Detailed Furniture Made EASY

Painted Drop Front Desk Seller Fireside Antiques

Most people are not naturally talented free hand artists.  If you love the look of detailed hand painting on furniture, but do not have the thousands to afford genuine antiques, you can achieve the look on your own with a little hard work, and some tracing paper.

One way of being able to transfer an image with precision is old fashioned  tracing paper.  Detailed hand sketching and  painting is quite a bit easier when tracing an image that is perfectly proportionate.  Using tracing paper and a pencil, an image can look quite stunning as a chest worth several thousand dollars.

(All these chests pictured in this post are quite a bit of money, because they are genuine antiques)   

Graphite TRANSFER PAPER-Tracing-Sketch-DrawingEXCEL Burnisher with 4 assorted tips

Depending on the style, your first step is to paint the overall background color on to your painted piece.

{It is always important to lightly sand your furniture piece before painting, which prevents peeling.  }

Consider using a flat or eggshell finish as your base paint, as it accepts drawn images on the surface than semigloss paints.  The finish is just like paper, so it will be much easier to use as a canvas with liquid pens.  Once the image is drawn on to the furniture piece, use a colored pen to go over the traced images.  From there, follow your inspiration pattern for color filling and additional colors.

Illuminated Initials in Full Color: 548 Designs features an archive of extraordinarily beautiful and decorative letters of the alphabet splendidly ornamented with geometric and curvilinear motifs interwoven with royal and saintly figures, mythical creatures, knights in battle, exquisite florals and much more. A wonderful glimpse of the ancient art of manuscript illumination.

Decorative Flower and Leaf Designs, 4000 Animal, Bird and Fish Motifs: A Sourcebook

The The World of Ornament brings together the two greatest encyclopedias of collections.   Illuminated manuscripts, textiles, ceramics and a wide range of designs are there to inspire you to design beautiful hand painted furniture.  The ornamental designs encompass a wide range classic Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Asian, European, Etruscan and medieval motifs as well as many designs through the 19th century.  The price is well worth the investiment as it also includes a DVD-ROM containing high-resolution scans of all individual ornaments for unrestricted use.

The Treasury of Floral Designs and Initials for Artists and Craftspeopleis an  archive of over 700 wonderful graceful and imaginative designs featuring flowers, leaves, and vines in delicate interlacements.

Fantastic Ornament: 110 Designs and Motifs , include cartouches, frames, doors, trophies, cabinets, friezes for textiles and wallpaper, decorative scutcheons, stone balustrades, arabesques, roof cornices, and much more.

3,000 Decorative Patterns of the Ancient World, Plants and Flowers: 1761 Illustrations for Artists , Chinese Flora and Fauna Designs

French Architectural Ornament: features designs from floor to ceiling, and spanning grand facades, supremely rich ornament and detail envelops the enduring landmarks of France.

French Baroque Ornament (Dover Pictorial Archive Series)

Early 19th Century French slant top painted desk Louis XV style By Jacqueline Adams

Hand Painted Italian Lacco Povera Commode Furniture Seller John Yaconetti Antiques

Italian Painted Commode Seller John Yaconetti Antiques

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  • Grace

    This reminds me also of decoupage, when all else fails, you can also photocopy images, paint the colored background and stick the images you want. BTW, I have started working on my first piece of furniture – an old secretary with some scratches on it. I am just painting it white at the moment. On the lookout on craiglist for some nice dressers but they are mostly pretty pricey! I come to your blog for some instructions. It is very helpful! Thanks!