An Overhead Projector Is A Must-Have For Custom Furniture Painting

Published in 2014

If you like the pieces below, its all due to having an overhead projector.

An overhead projector has been my go-to tool in the past when hand painting custom furniture.

There is no way I would have the talent to create such beautiful artwork without spending hours hand drawing a particular design.

Overhead Projector Chest Seen On HersitePainted Dresser By Meranda-Devan For Hersite

Create Interesting Patterns On Furniture By Cutting Your Own Stencils

Find your own patterns simply by using a stencil cutter. Cutting your own stencils can be time consuming but extremely rewarding to get the exact design you have in mind.

The first dresser pattern (seen above), was transferred off a patterned Ikea storage box.

If you are considering a custom pattern, buy a cutting tool that heats up that has a sharp rolled edge.  These stencil cutters work well with clear stenciling sheets.

Blow Up Pictures From Dover Pictorial Archive Pattern Books

Create one of a kind painted furniture by transferring images that no one else has!  You can find interesting patterns from books in your local library or order any of Dover Pictorial Archive pattern books on Amazon for pattern ideas for furniture or your walls.

In the past, I have photocopied images from these books because they include the most beautiful floral designs and motifs from vintage and antique drawings. All the drawings may be used royalty-free.

Simply photo-copy your print onto a transparency, and by using an overhead projector you can determine the size of the graphic by moving the projector closer or farther away from the piece of furniture.  It couldn’t be easier or more affordable to transfer a graphic.

Tracer Art – Amazon

Overhead projectors also work well for transferring large designs or graphics on to walls. If you lack talent to draw free hand (like I do), overhead projectors make it simple and easy for perfect designs every single time.

The possibilities are endless!  Here are some books to consider…..


  • The book Repeating Patterns 1100 – 1800 is an excellent book for cutting out your own designs and stenciling them on to the wall or furniture. The stencils can be very easy to quite complicated. This book and CD-Rom set contains a stunning collection of repeating patterns from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque.
  • The book 2,286 Traditional Stencil Designs is a 128 page book containing designs in reproductions of two rare catalogs: ornamental borders, corners and frames with intricate floral and foliated patterns, and architectural ornaments.
  • 800 Classic Ornaments and Designs contains 144 pages of ornaments such as decorated with flowers. This is a treasury of royalty-free art that includes classical columns, a rich selection of heraldic designs, and a variety of charming calligraphic alphabets. A priceless resource for artists and designers.
  • Fabrics and Wallpapers for Historic Buildings is a volume for everyone involved in restoring or researching American houses built between 1700 and 1900. An interesting guide for those who enjoy researching authentic wallpaper designs.
  • Overhead Projector Paint Finish Meranda Snyder For Hersite

Meranda Devans Faux Burl Chest

I have discovered Amazing Mold Putty.  It comes soft, and has a working time of 2- 3 minutes.  It has a part A, and part B, which are mixed together, which is then applied to your object.  The best thing about this product, is that it is bendable.

You can use it to make mold templates, and use the material as a mold itself.  If you are looking to make an applique that bends, this product will do that for you.

In the past, I found sculpey clay is rock hard, making it almost impossible to retrieve a soft mold out of it.

The line also carries Amazing Mold Resin, which produces a really hard finished product.  A two part resin system allows you to make a mold template, and when it is set up, you simply bend the putty to remove your object.

 Above I copied an ornate shelf which I plan to making duplicates using concrete.  So many of the vintage metal appliques I have found on ebay, have been duplicated for my dressers, tables, and chairs.

Painted-Dresser-By-Meranda-Devan-500x333I don’t know about you, but it seems like any time I come across vintage French furniture, I am always tempted to buy it because it is so versatile. I can always find a way or another to re-purpose it. Dressers, chests and cabinets are great pieces to buy if you want to add pattern and turn it into a statement piece.

I have found zebra patterns to be a pattern you can play around with. You can add splashes of color by mixing two like minded colors, such as an orange and a salmon pink together, or baby blue and cobalt, or go for creamy yellow with a pop of canary. Or you can go more traditional by painting it black, or staining the wood.

When I painted this dresser, I originally wasn’t planning for a wood effect. I believe when I purchased this piece, it had it’s original white and gold finish that you often see with French provincial furniture, so I simply painted over it.

I first started off with a cream base coat, then added brown paint and created texture using packing foam sheet that I cut notches into. Sliding the packing foam, (which sort of looked like a large comb you would use in your hair), through the wet paint, it created a bit of interest I could play off of.

You can use almost anything to create texture with, from sponges, to soft plastic, or even garbage packing, which I used. Using an overhead projector, I hand painted zebra stripes in black, using the graphic provided on the transparency.

At this point in the project, I found that the zebra stripes were a bit too bold, so I decided to tweek the finish using poly-stain for rich wood look. Adding the poly-shades blended the two colors together nicely, so the sharp contrast was concealed. Poly-stain is wonderful, because it gives you a translucent finish, and it doesn’t need to penetrate the finish, it sits on top of paint.

What do you think? Do you love it?

Meranda Devans Chest 1Meranda Devans Chest 2 Meranda Devans Chest 3Meranda Devans Chest 4Want your home décor to really make a statement? Incorporating prints into your décor is a fabulous way to do it.

1. Go Subtle With Patterns

If you want to add just a few splashes of animal print to a room, do it with accents. Work with throw pillows, hand towels in the bathroom, or an upholstered chair. A print here or there can add that much-needed flair without going overboard. Picture frames, trinket boxes can also be used to incorporate a hint of print if you’re going for a soft look.

2. Work With One Bold Piece

Animal prints doesn’t have to be limited to accent pieces. If you want to take it a step further, introduce one boldly patterned furnishing into the room. A sofa or chair upholstered in animal hide fur, or a faux-painted chest, or cow printed zebra rug will command attention in a space.

3. Mix and Match Prints

Mix and match one animal print with either solid colors, or one other print to avoid a look that can be too busy. If choose to go bold with a sofa upholstered in a zebra print, work in colorful accent pillows or another pattern with a brighter color scheme. Solid upholstery mixed with animal prints will give you control over the level of boldness in the room. Neutral solids work well to tone down animal prints, while rich or bright colors can really spice things up.

4. Larger Prints Look Fantastic On Furniture

There are a variety of animal prints to choose from. Smaller sized animal prints tend to look more sophisticated in throw pillows, while larger prints work better for focal pieces such as furniture and floor coverings. Avoid working with too much of the same-sized print, as the room will look over-worked. Decorate with one dominant pattern, work it in one piece, and make a statement out of it.

There are many ways to make a statement with animal prints. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a piece in order to get just the right look. Go for one piece and work it into your decor, to get the right spicy look you are comfortable with.

French Cheetah Print Commode From Alibaba

French Cheetah Print Commode From Alibaba

Pair Of French Gilded Louis XV Style Armchairs Little Paris Antiques

Pair Of French Gilded Louis XV Style Armchairs Little Paris Antiques

Entrance of a Manhattan apartment decorated by Miles Redd, a leopard-print stair runner adds a subtle graphic touch- Elle Decor Magazine

Entrance of a Manhattan apartment decorated by Miles Redd, a leopard-print stair runner adds a subtle graphic touch- Elle Decor Magazine

Sally Wheat Interiors

Sally Wheat Interiors


Showcase Your Best Finds, And Reduce The Rest

Sometimes people have too much stuff in their house, that when a guest comes into their space, they don’t know what to focus on. They may gravitate towards something of less importance, and miss out on a really spectacular piece, because it isn’t showcased well or hidden amongst too much clutter.

Even if you are on a budget and can’t change everything in the room, look carefully at what you already own, and decide what is worth displaying, and what is worth putting away.

  • Display little valuable items in a collection. Caddy boxes, small picture frames work best if they are grouped on a table. Keep all your smaller collections in one area.
  • Look for glass shelving, or wood display cabinets, and don’t fill them up. For bigger items, work with 2 or 3, or even just one item per shelf. Putting up less on a display shelf will make your items appear more valuable, and seem as though you carefully collected every item with great precision.
  • Opting for accent rugs and throw pillows as an inexpensive way of changing the look of a room. Most accent rugs, and pillows are available in a wide range of colors and sizes, that it can be simple to throw together a new room fast and on a budget.
  • If you are handy with a sewing machine, you could also purchase tortoise shell fabric and use the fabric to add edging to a plain white pillow. The contrast would look amazing, and would be a soft way of introducing the pattern.

Design Master Spray

Creating Faux Tortoise Shell Finishes On Furniture

If you are wanting more of a glossy appearance after painting a faux tortoise shell pattern, Michael’s Crafts sells a line of floral spray paint called Design Master. In that line they sell a “cherry 756” and “walnut 758” spray paint which is transparent. The finish almost appears like furniture stain. If you decide to work with faux painted burl or tortoise shell finishes, and it does a remarkable job of blending paint strokes for a deep rich appearance.

These sprays do need to be experimented with, before applying them to a final project. They dry very quickly, and don’t work like polyshades or any other wood stain. If you buy both stains and start spraying with the cherry, consider dulling down the color with the walnut finish, as you may get a richer finish that isn’t bright in the red tones. Consider working with thin even sprays than thicker applications of the product.

How Plain Tape Made This Dresser ExtraordinaryStunning Stripe Dresser

Are you wanting to add a bit of personality to your newest acquisition?

Tape can be your best friend….especially when adding interest to an old piece. For this dresser, I used basic paint tape to create a marvelous striped appearance.

To start with a nice base coat, I needed to strip the dresser of its previous painted finish. I used a walnut/mahogany stain for the base coat, after the existing finish was removed. This chest was genuine mahogany, and at that time, I really didn’t know too much about staining wood, so I went over the raw wood with a colored stain. With mahogany furniture, you don’t need to apply colored stain, you can use clear polyurethane, which in fact brings out the grain nicer than any other stain for that matter. Going forward……….

I used the tape itself to measure out my lines. By that, I mean, I applied the first piece of tape, and secured it into place. Next, I took a piece of tape, and butted it up to the previous tape seam. Again, applying my third piece of tape, I applied it to the last seam, and removed the second piece of tape and repeated this pattern. I found this was the easiest way to apply the tape without thinking too much about the spacing. I ended up getting perfect spacing without it taking me too much time to mark out the lines.

After the tape was applied, I took black spray paint, and sprayed the entire chest. The best part of the project was removing the tape! As you can see, it looks classy in a white interior.

Borrow this look for your own home.

Dresser Reveal Meranda(Beautiful against white walls, don’t you think?)

Merandas Painted Stripe Chest