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Dolls' Houses
Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern.
Plus furniture and accessories.

Issue 32 (March 2020)

Decorating a Table

by Pinch of Pepper

I was recently sent a bare whitewood table from Minimum World Dolls House Furniture Ltd, and asked if I would decorate it.

Minimum World barewood table side view

If you are not confident enough to make your own furniture from scratch but want to decorate some in your own style, then barewood furniture is for you. It's cheap to buy and readily available.

Minimum World barewood table top

This is the surface of the table I was sent - unfinished limewood/whitewood with a regular, open grain.

Barewood table top stained light green

You can stain it in a variety of colours.

Barewood table painted aqua & sanded for faux worn planks look

You can paint it in faux finishes to make it look like weathered planks.

Barewood table top decoupage of 19th century sepia and black ads

You can use decoupage and glue paper to the surface.

I decided on a vintage look for my table and started by painting the whole thing with a very watered down black acrylic wash to make it look old. The black will be the base that I hope, will show through in places under the second layer of paint.

Barewood table stained with watered down black wash

Then I painted it with white acrylic. For this layer I didn't add water but used very little paint on the brush. It gives the effect of age to the table as if the outer layer of paint has been worn over many years of use.

Barewood table sparely painted white on top of black wash

I thought I would try a technique that I've seen many time before but have never used. There's a great video tutorial to explain how to print and transfer images onto wood. I found a vintage label I liked on The Graphics Fairy. (Note the image is mirrored so that when you transfer it to the wood, it is the right way around.)

Mirror image of vintage decorative ad for French patisserie

I resized it in inkscape so that it would fit onto the table top.

Screenshot of graphic in Inkscape software for resizing

Then following the advice on the video, you print the image onto wax paper (wax side up) and place it onto the wood with the wax surface faced down. Because the ink isn't absorbed into the waxy finish, the ink remains wet.

Printed transfer of graphic next to white table

Here you can see the image printed on the waxy side of the paper. To transfer it onto the table, I put the paper on top, ink side down and carefully used a ruler to press the paper against the table top. You have to make sure the paper doesn't move or else you get inky smudges sad

This is the table after I let the ink dry for a couple of hours. Very vintage chic, no?

Table with vintage French patisserie graphic printed on top, with blue carafes and green chair

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