29 October 2015

A painted and gilded bath at Annie Sloan HQ

We’ve got a room here at HQ that we use as a studio, workspace and course room. It’s where I play around with ideas, create new pieces and explore techniques. It’s also where I hold training sessions for my Stockists (all my Stockists are trained as paint and colour experts). There’s a small room leading off this space where I’ve had an old roll top bath plumbed in – this is where we dye fabric with my paint! It’s a practical room, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t also be beautiful.

In my book Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, I describe how I transformed the white enamel bath in my Normandy home by adding a resplendent copper leaf to the outside. I decided to do the same with our rather dilapidated old bath here in Oxford.

I’ve gone for a recreation – or perhaps an exaggeration! – of natural copper by applying it over a base of my colour Florence. If you like this idea, play around with it and make it your own. You could try this with silver leaf – perhaps over Emperor’s Silk, or gold with Aubusson Blue.

The soft, warmer tones in copper and rose gold are popular at the moment, and the natural progression of copper is to form verdigris. The pinkish-orange of copper and the pale green of a true verdigris patina form opposites on the colour wheel, a complementary colour scheme. I used Chalk Paint™ in Florence to paint the base of the bath. I then brushed it with my Gold Size and, when the size was completely clear, applied my copper leaf over it (crumple the leaf in your hands before putting it over the size to make sure the look isn’t too uniform). I let small gaps and cracks appear in the leaf so that a sublime flash of Florence green would peek through.

Once the whole thing had dried, I applied my Clear Soft Wax all over to give it some protection – this flattens everything out, giving a smooth finish. Next to the bath, a series of tiles provide a patchwork splash back (these beautiful Welbec tiles come from my Stockist Rock Pool in Cornwall, UK. I sent her several old postcards and letters to make the tile designs!).

Behind it, I painted the wall with Chalk Paint™ in Emperor’s Silk. I’ve stencilled the whole thing with two different designs (my Arctic Poppy and Petrushka stencils) to create a wallpaper effect.

The bath is so small it has to stand on a base to be practical as mixing heavy swathes of fabric can be pretty back-breaking. However, by painting it in Olive, a cooling green next to the bright red walls, the whole effect is rather grand and certainly pleasing.

Yours, Annie

22 October 2015

Dyeing our t-shirts with Chalk Paint

October has become synonymous with the colour pink, thanks to the inspirational and successful campaign run by Breast Cancer Awareness who have urged us to Wear It Pink on October 23rd. We wanted to show our support here at HQ, and I realised that this would be a great opportunity to ‘dye’ our own t-shirts with my paint, Chalk Paint®. I’ve used Scandinavian Pink (predominantly) to customise a wonderful old piano stool and a chair and these will be on sale in my shop on Cowley Road, Oxford (from Monday) with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Care.

If you haven’t yet tried using Chalk Paint® to colour fabric, do. It’s simple and really straightforward – you just need cold water and Paint – no fixatives or salt, no faffing around.

Pour your Paint into an old tub – I use metal, but you can use plastic although you’ll need to take care to clean it out afterwards. When I’m in my house in Normandy, I do this outside so that any spills won’t matter, but do be careful otherwise.

Add the water, and mix gently but thoroughly. You’re looking for a ratio of around one part paint, to 20 parts water but, of course, you can play around with this for more or less intense gradations of colour!

Now, add your fabric and make sure it is fully immersed.
Leave it to soak for around half an hour.

The fabric will need to be fully dry before you use it but once dry, you can machine wash as normal.
Natural fabrics (linen, cotton, silk) always work best when you are dyeing material, no matter what you use to colour them. Polyester mixes, and other synthetics may not take the ‘dye’ so well. In my book, Colour Recipes, I describe dying old linen sheets in Aubusson Blue and found that the rustic effect of colouring them by using Chalk Paint® enhanced the natural texture of the fabric in a rather fabulous way. Here in Oxford, where I’m based, we’ve experimented with many different types of fabric, including some rather traditional lace panels which were given a contemporary twist by transforming them with colour.

And here they are, the team (with a few missing) in their pink t-shirts!

Yours, Annie

21 October 2015

Jelena Pticek's geometric sideboard

For her second Painters in Residence project, Jelena Pticek transformed an old, heavy-looking piece of furniture in to a wonderfully modern piece – using my paint, Chalk Paint®, and a handmade cardboard template.

Jelena applied French Linen – a cool neutral, khaki grey from the Chalk Paint® palette – using one of my Flat Brushes to create a smooth, neutral background that works beautifully with bright, rich colours.

She created her template and began to play around with the size to make certain it worked with the scale of the furniture. Using the template Jelena created the layout of the triangles – outlining each triangle with masking tape.

The new handles that Jelena had sourced for the sideboard inspired the colour palette for the geometric design. Using a palette of: Barcelona Orange, Duck Egg Blue, Antoinette and Scandinavian Pink she painted inside the marked-out triangles – making sure the four colours were spread out evenly across the sideboard.  

To keep things fun inside the cabinet, Jelena painted with Scandinavian Pink. She then finished the piece by removing the masking tape (once the paint was completely dry) and applying my Clear Soft Wax to make the piece really hard-wearing.


Yours, Annie

Follow Jelena on InstagramFacebook, and their website:http://www.poppyseedcreativeliving.com/

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest.

16 October 2015

My new Chalk Paint® Workbook

My son Felix and I have been working together again to create a really useful Chalk Paint® Workbook, grouped into sections, with handy pockets for storing pictures torn from magazines, fabric swatches or even paint charts. The first Work Book I created (published in 2013) had hints and tips on how you may develop your creative side, but this new one is more of a practical guide to working with the different key styles from my book Room Recipes for Style and Colour. In some sections, we’ve combined different but complementary looks; Bohemian and Floral Vintage or Modern Retro with Warehouse, with suggestions on how to make them work together and plenty of beautiful colour photographs in each section to inspire you. Room Recipes had step-by-step guides and plenty of how-tos – with the Chalk Paint® Workbook it’s over to you. 

I’m never without a workbook to jot down ideas, sketch out designs that have caught my eye or try for myself colour combinations that have inspired me. I’ve been using them for my designs since art school, but even as a child I loved filling a scrap book with bits and pieces that I thought were pretty or interesting and wanted to keep with me. Much as I love Pinterest (and I do love Pinterest!), nothing replaces having something in my bag, or by my bedside table so that I can actually draw out designs, or – importantly – use my paints to see how the colours will work (colours can get subtley distorted on the internet, and even in print).

But! I don’t want to be prescriptive – no-one will be marking you on this. Don’t get caught up in thinking you can’t draw, or worry that your ideas may not be good enough, just put them on the page, play around with them and see what you come up with. I’ve added plenty of tips and some of my own doodles on each page, to guide you through. Think of the book as a place where you can explore your ideas and let your imagination run riot. You may have a very fixed idea of what you want to do when you start a project, but I often find it best not to be too rigid with myself. I’ll have something in mind, but once I get started I can find myself changing direction – using a different colour, adding some stencilling.

Remember – it’s your book, I’m just there offering some advice! Please let me know how you end up using it.

Yours, Annie

*Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint® Workbook is published by CICO and available in selected book stores as well as through Annie Sloan Stockists around the world.

8 October 2015

Faking a rich mahogany look with Chalk Paint® and Wax

I’ve seen a lot of projects around recently where the surface on a piece of furniture remains natural, and is contrasted by legs, or a bottom section, painted in colour. It’s a popular look and gives a classic yet contemporary flair. Often the natural wood is treated with a stain, to age it a little, add patina – or even change the type of wood altogether, from orange pine to rich mahogany! I couldn’t wait to try and achieve this using my paint, Chalk Paint® and my Dark Soft Wax. This is how I did it.

For this project, a beaten up old kitchen cabinet, I wanted a really deep, rich coloured wood to set off the coolness of the Old White I used to paint the rest of the piece.

To achieve a similar look, take these simple steps:

1. Have a good look at your surface – if there is any wax or varnish, roughly sand it off. You’re using paint to stain here, so it’s important that the colour pigments seep into the grain of the wood.

2. I’ve mixed up a purple colour by using Aubusson Blue with Burgundy (but you could also use Primer Red) to get a rather sumptuous aubergine colour. 

3. Brush the paint on, fairly liberally.

4. Use a wet cloth to wipe back the paint, revealing the grain.

5. Run a dry cloth over it to make sure there is no dampness left before applying the wax.

6. Using a small Annie Sloan Wax Brush, apply a generous amount of Dark Wax, working the brush in different directions as you go, to really make sure it is absorbed into the wood. You may want to do a second coat, but don’t forget to wait until the first coat has dried. Once dry, you can buff it to create a beautiful sheen

7. Paint the bottom section with Chalk Paint®.

If you love this look, I've also just created a video tutorial for you showing you each step in detail. You can watch this here or on my YouTube channel.

The beauty of creating this look yourself is that you can create any colour you like – whatever works best for you! Here are some examples of other colours from the Chalk Paint® palette finished with my Dark Wax to create different effects – I’m rather taken with Greek Blue, which will you choose?

Yours, Annie

2 October 2015

Tim Gould's "G Plan" table

The first project from my latest Painter in Residence, Tim Gould, is this fabulously witty table – painted in my paint, Chalk Paint®!

Tim bought this table from a man advertising it as "G Plan". On closer inspection, Tim suspected this may not have been true, which inspired him to write the words on the top. Tim always starts his projects by creating the design for his piece of furniture on Adobe Illustrator. He then prints his designs out on to vinyl – creating the stencils that he'll use on the piece. 

As this is a mid-century style piece of furniture, Tim used a retro palette of Emperor's Silk, Florence, Provence and Arles to create the stripes that run across the table legs and the slats below. The same colours are used on the intersecting geometric pattern that frames the typography on the table top. The typography is Pure White – a crisp white that forms a stark contrast against the wood. Tim finished the piece by applying Clear Soft Wax – the first coat was brushed on before the stencil was removed to avoid any shift in colour. A second coat was applied after the stencil was removed to make the piece really durable.
Have you ever used Chalk Paint® to give your furniture a voice?

Yours, Annie

Follow Tim on InstagramFacebook, and his website: http://www.objectables.co.uk/

And remember to follow #PaintersInResidence on Instagram and Facebook, as well as my Painters in Residence board on Pinterest.