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Decorative Printing with Annie Sloan

Back in September Olive and I visited The Handmade Fair located just opposite the beautiful Hampton Court, on the outskirts of London and took part in a wonderful painting workshop with Annie Sloan.

The fantastic Annie Sloan is the creator of Chalk Paint, a revolutionary tool for anyone interested in up- cycling furniture, dying fabrics or just giving your walls a fresh coat of paint.

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Annie talked us through how to completely change the look of this wooden picture frame by using various printing techniques as well as her versatile chalk paint which incidentally is celebrating its 25th Birthday having been created in 1990.

Annie is absolutely lovely and has endless enthusiasm for decorative painting which meant the workshop was incredibly easy to follow, super informative and really inspiring to continue painting at home. (We already have an endless amount of projects in mind…..!) 

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Annie first instructed us to design and create are very own print made out of lino (Lino is a super cheap and really easy to use printing tool that can be found in most arts and crafts shops- I think the ones we used in the workshop were from Hobby Craft)

As you can see our design was a little bit random…. but as the overall look that Annie wanted us to create on our picture frames was a build up of different texture, we thought it would be more effective to have a design that is made up of different shapes, dots and lines rather than a solid shape. Also you do have to be a little bit careful  with lino that you do not leave too much flat surface as it may look a bit too paint heavy but other that its actually really fun to use and oddly therapeutic!

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We used two of Annie’s Chalk Paints in the workshop, one called Graphite and the other called Provence. Both paints were lovely to work with, very easy to use and super speedy to dry. What is also great about Annie’s Chalk Paints is that they work or pretty much any type of surface and the furniture does not require any priming of sanding before hand. (This is particularly good news as I once sanded a chest of draws and hope to never do it again!)

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Its always a good idea to test out your lino print before printing it on your actual piece, just on a bit of scrap paper to see whether the design looks as it should and to trial out the amount of paint you need for each print. Again as our design inspiration for this piece is pretty “rustic” we were not too fussed about the patchyness of the print as I think it lends itself to the general feel of the piece quite well! However if you did want a clear design coming through its great to practice how much paint and pressure you require.

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Once tested you can start printing on to your actual piece! The first one is always slightly nerve racking but after the next couple you get the hang of it in no time. Its totally up to you where you place your print on the frame, you may want to have the print all over, all perhaps just down one side or only in the corners of the frame. It does not matter if your print still does not come out exactly as you would like it as Annie’s techniques are very forgiving! You can either try printing over the top or can cover any gaps with the below technique….

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This was one of our favorite parts of the workshop as you could pretty much print anything you wanted! Annie had gone to the trouble of collecting a whole heap of random household items that can be used for printing, we had straws, screws, plastic tubing of some kind, pieces of string and thread. Its a great way to use any odds and ends that remain in the bottom of draws for years.

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We used a selection of straws and plastic tubing as well as the tops of screws and nails to form my printing design. This time we used a beautiful colour called Provence to layer on top of the Graphite lino print. Again Annie encourage us to be as free with the printing as we liked, as you can see we went for quite a hap-hazard approach giving an overall rustic feel to the frame. To finish off we brushed over the edges of the frame using the same Provence Chalk Paint just to add a bit of texture and colour to the sides.

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Olive and I are super pleased and proud of our new wooden frame, all thanks to the wonderful Annie Sloan and her lovely Chalk Paints.

Please do feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions on the above workshop and if you would like any more information on Annie please do take a look at her website which has thousands of tutorials, great tips and a wealth of design ideas.

Blanch + Olive

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