19 November 2015

How to stencil a chair with Chalk Paint®

I have been dying to show you my new video tutorial about stencilling. My stencil designs and the way I work with them is quite free and, I hope, liberating!

In this two-part tutorial, I combine two of my stencils in random overlapping patterns to transform an old dining chair. It’s a fairly standard splat back chair with a good central panel for stencilling on. I love playing around with my stencils and I want to point out that just because you’re using a stencil with a particular design, it doesn’t have to inhibit your own creativity – mix them up, take the elements you like or those which are right for a particular piece from each, and see what you come up with. It's all about overlaying different patterns to come up with something unique.

For this particular project, I’m using my Lavender stencil and overlapping it with my Classical Bird – an idea inspired by one of my Stockists which I liked so much I had to try out for myself!

Before I even get started on a project, I like to sketch out the look I’m going for. For this tutorial, I decided to use Duck Egg Blue from the Chalk Paint® palette as my base colour. Although it can be tempting to stencil against a white background, it can be quite stark and using a mid-tone, fairly neutral colour will make the pattern sing out, especially if you’re using Old White in the pattern, as I do in this piece.

First, I paint the chair. You’ll see I tip it upside down whilst I’m painting it, as this makes the job so much easier. I’m using the larger of my Pure Bristle Brushes to apply the Duck Egg Blue, and this helps bring out the texture of the wood.

Once the first coat is dry, I can start stencilling. I already have a good idea of where I want the pattern to be, so I rely on my judgement when it comes to positioning the stencil.

Using sponge rollers makes overlapping stencil patterns a quick and very straightforward process. (For smaller, more detailed designs, I’ll use my Stencil Brush to stipple the pattern on). I’ve just brought out two sizes of Sponge Roller and I use both in the video. Don’t overload the roller with paint, and be gentle but firm. Remember, if the finish is denser in some areas and lighter in others that can work very well.

Although I’ve a good idea of what I want to achieve, I don’t always end up following my sketch in every detail. Random can be good sometimes, go with the flow and enjoy seeing where you may end up. Once I’m happy with the design, I add my Clear Wax and that’s really all there is to it!

I've shared Part 1 of my tutorial above, you can find Part 2 on my YouTube channel.

Also - I must tell you – I’m very excited because tomorrow I’ll be doing a demonstration with Kirstie Allsopp again, at the Handmade Christmas Fair in Manchester. She’s going to be joining me at my stand where I'll be teaching how to create a very special Christmas table runner with stencils and stamps (so easy and quick and no sewing involved!). I’ll be sharing pictures and tips in a few weeks, so watch this space!

Yours, Annie

13 November 2015

Introducing the Annie Sloan Mini Project Pack

I’m so excited to introduce my new Mini Project Pack – I’ve been working on this for quite some time. Each Pack includes two 100ml small project pots of Chalk Paint®, a 120ml tin of both Clear Wax and Dark Wax, and one of my small Pure Bristle Brushes – everything you need to create something totally you. And the beauty of them is that you get to choose your own colours, so if you’re buying one as a gift, you can make it personal and just right for the lucky recipient. A 100ml pot of my paint will cover around one square metre, so there’s enough in each pack to transform a bedside table, for example, or a favourite chair. Or you may prefer to do several smaller items – perhaps a group of picture frames or candle holders?

In this image above, we’ve shown the Pack with my Provence and Arles colours – perfect for creating the modern retro look which is so popular at the moment (see the Heals table below). These colours lend themselves so well to that smooth, contemporary aesthetic. Scandi-philes out there may like combining Country Grey with Louis Blue (see my Swedish inspired chair below). These cool, airy shades are perfect for recreating the light, classic Swedish look which I adore. I also love combining the vibrancy of Barcelona Orange with Château Grey, to bring out those warm green tones. Or, a flash of Emperor's Silk against a more austere colour, like Duck Egg Blue. You can see all the colours in the Chalk Paint® range online but I always recommend seeing them in store or ordering a Colour Card to get a truer reflection of my colours. Colours will always vary from screen to screen.

With the Mini Project Pack, you can use the colours in layers and then sand back for an authentic distressed look. Of course, you don’t have to use both colours on one piece. Just one colour will create a really strong look – or mix two colours together to make your own distinct shade. Do have a look on my YouTube Channel for my Tutorial on mixing paint. In the video, I’m mixing colours for a mid-Century modern chest of drawers, which I wanted to match perfectly to a particular vase, but there are plenty of other videos on there, which feature a whole range of styles.

The Clear Wax will give a wonderful velvety finish (and help protect the finished piece from the vicissitudes of everyday life). This is also where my Dark Wax comes into its own. Work some over the top of the Clear Wax to bring out texture and don’t be scared of it! Yes, it looks dark at first, but experiment with it – work it in for real depth and wipe back the excess with Clear Wax.

You can use the Pure Bristle Brush to apply both the paint and the waxes. Just be sure to wash your brush out in warm water and hang to dry from its handle.

So once you've had a go with one of my new Mini Project Packs, please share your projects me online – upload them to the Made It My Own gallery or tag @anniesloanhome Instagram or Twitter. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Yours, Annie

11 November 2015

Tim Gould's dream cupboard

For his second Painters in Residence project, Tim Gould was inspired by Mexican art to transform a kitchen cabinet into a bold statement piece using Chalk Paint®.

Tim started by creating a neutral background using Country Grey and Paris Grey, and then highlighted the doors and panels with French Linen. Using Graphite – a soft black from the Chalk Paint® palette – he painted the frames around the doors to create a border. Then, with a small artists brush, Tim softened the edges of the frames by applying small dots of lighter colours that were also used on different areas of the cupboard.

Tim created his illustrations on Adobe Illustrator and printed them on to vinyl to use as stencils. He painted these in with Barcelona Orange, Antibes Green, Provence, English Yellow, Emile and other bright colours from my colour palette. He outlined each image in Graphite and then hand-painted dots and other embellishments to pull everything together.

Finally, Tim painted inside the left-hand cupboard in Graphite, and inside the right in Pure, adding a cartoon image with typography in each. I love how the result reflects Tim's distinctive wit and personality.

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.

6 November 2015

A flying visit to New York

Me next to a Damien Hirst painting in my hotel!
My Stockists are the most important people to me and to my business. It’s all about them. I am their ambassador – and they are certainly mine! Recently I spent five days in New York and was thrilled to meet up with so many great Stockists, many of whom have become firm friends over the years. And, staying in downtown Manhattan, I was able to slip away and do another thing I really love, taking pictures of New York’s fantastic buildings to play around with on Instagram. From graphite grey modern towers to these ornate and intricate brownstones near Gramercy Park. I was also extremely taken by this fire truck with its explosive and vibrant colours.

I loved the colours of this fire truck!
I arrived on Sunday, and Monday morning was spent filming a pilot for The Design Network (an online community and video network) - I’m dying to share some of the footage, but I’m not allowed to yet! There was me and three of my Stockists: Liz Western Brantley (Liz Douglas Designs) who set the whole thing up; Justin Power (Pioneer Goods) and Suite Pieces’ Amanda Peppard. 
From R-L Amanda Peppard, Me, Justin Power, and Lizzy (my daughter-in-law)
After a fabulous, creative morning I was lucky enough to have a very sociable afternoon! We took over well known French Style, New York cafe, Pigalle, just off Broadway, for a giant tea party. I was absolutely delighted, and honoured, to meet over 40 stockists from the New York area – well, broadly speaking. In fact, they came from Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, Virginia and even Minnesota. I got the chance to chat with everyone – old friends, stockists of many years standing, and it was a chance to meet some of my newer stockists, which is always exciting. 

Verdigreen Home, in the East Village
Me, Azie & Chettie from Verdigreen Home
On Tuesday morning I went to meet with various magazines, and in the afternoon I visited another Stockist, Verdigreen Home in the East Village. The owner, Azie Shelhorse, came to Oxford for training over the summer, so it was wonderful to have the chance to go to her adorable shop and meet her assistants and, of course, her very lovely customers. One of my very favourite things, which I really, really love, is visiting their shops, and seeing how they present my products, it’s a constant source of inspiration.

Mary Anne and I back in the 70s (and that's Rod in the background)!
In the evening it felt like I’d travelled back in time – one of my oldest friends, Mary Anne, was with me in my band, The Moodies. She lives in NY and is helping a friend who is writing his thesis on the correlation between art schools and the music of the 70s/80s. He seemed to know more about that time than I did! And even mentioned that a Moodies film was shown as part of an exhibition at Tate Liverpool a couple of years ago – I’d love to have seen that.

I was flying out on Thursday, but before I left, I had time to pop over to Greenpoint (it’s the new Williamsburg – where all the hipsters hang out!) in Brooklyn and catch up with Amanda Peppard and her girls at Suite Pieces – what a cool place. We chatted over pizza, which rather completed my New York experience for 2015.
Me, Amanda Peppard & her team from the 3 Suite Pieces shops

Yours, Annie

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