How we created our own Monet Waterlilies Masterpiece

How we created our own Monet Waterlilies Masterpiece

Just a few short years ago, we would never have imagined that we would be able to produce an art piece like this.  With every project and every mistake a new skill is learned. 

As I sit and look at our own #monet #waterlilies #masterpiece, the allure of waterlilies and the blue water tones provide a tranquil ambience. I could very well be sitting by the water.

Monet Waterlilies Whimseykel Designs Restyled Furniture Studio

The design of this piece was to be rustic and textured with an element of sophistication. Read along as we walk you through how we achieved this look.

First and foremost we must pay our respects to Kelly at @whimsykeldesigns who designed this stunning paper to work with.  Without her artistry, we would never have been able to create this beautiful piece.  Thanks Kelly

How we created this look!

The drawer set came to us as an unfinished piece from someone else.  It came to the studio white, with a lot of visible brush strokes.  To run your hands over the surface was like a fine grit sandpaper.  It wasn't pleasant to the touch.  It was then we knew this should be a textured piece.

Before Photo Whimseykel Design Waterlily Drawers Restyled Furniture Studio

We started with prep of course. We removed the original legs and drawer pulls then cleaned inside and out.  Followed by sanding the whole piece using 180 grit paper with our Dewalt sander.  Once we'd removed most of the rough surface, we sanded again with 240 grit sandpaper.

We painted the whole piece with Artisan Quick Prep Primer in white.  (In hindsight we should have used grey primer on the sides seeing as we were painting it a dark colour).  💡#lessonlearned Nonetheless, white was the right choice for the front to maintain the vibrancy of the decoupage design.  The white still did its required job of building a base to work on.

🔥HOT TIP: Generally speaking, Grey Primer should be used under darker colours, and White Primer under lighter colours.

Whimseykel Designs Waterlilies Restyled Furniture Studio

We sometimes start our projects in a way that might not make sense to some, however we have good reasoning.  For example, in this case, we wanted to paint the sides and back first.  This was to ensure that we didn't mess up the decoupage paper if it were applied first.  We used #fusionmineralpaint Chestler for the base colour.  Once that was dry, we created our texture by adding 1 part Salt Impasto to 2 parts Chestler paint.  

🔥HOT TIP: If you're a texture beginner gradually add the salt impasto to your paint until you reach the texture you're after.  You could also practice on a smaller project or a piece of cardboard to check the consistency.  We create our texture in a clean yoghurt container.

Whimseykel Design Waterlilies Chestler Fusion Mineral Paint Restyled Furniture Studio

We then applied the texture by dabbing or stippling the texture in areas that were a bit rough or that would naturally build up on an aged piece. For example, corners and edges.  Next step, using a different brush for each colour, stipple various colours and gradually blend them together.  For our sides we used Fusion Mineral Paint ChestlerCopper Metallic, Victorian Lace  and Artisan Mineral Paint Lagoon.  We wanted our predominant colour to be Chestler, so we used the other colours underneath then blended over the top with Chestler until we achieved the look we were after.  At this stage, less is more, dab your brush in your paint, but wipe of the excess so you just have a touch of paint left.  This method also achieves a textured look.  We didn't like each of our choices, but the best part was you can just paint over the top, until you're happy with your final product.  If you're anything like us, you might not like your first attempt.

   Whimseykel Design Waterlilies Chestler Fusion Mineral Paint Restyled Furniture Studio

Once that was dry we sanded it with our Artisan Mineral Paint Prep Pads.  

🔥HOT TIP: We love to use soft pad style sanding pads when doing this type of sanding.  The soft pad provides us with more flexibility to get around curves and corners and it provides a much less "scratchy" finish than traditional sand papers.  The sanding pads pictured below are washable and reusable with 4 different grits in the pack.

Artisan Paint Company Prep Pad Sanding SPonge Restyled Furniture Studio

Following the above step, it was time to add our textured stencil.  We tried with a couple of looks at this stage.  Initially we planned to stencil the whole side, but this didn't look right on this project.  It looked too perfect and tidy.  It did not suit our rustic goals.  We then stencilled randomly using Pearl embossing paste  intentionally not applying the stencil over the whole side.  We used a stencil brush with a little bit of embossing paste at a time.  (You don't want it too wet so dip and then wipe a bit off).  Use the stencil brush in a small circular motion.  We chose pearl embossing paste, because firstly, we love all things shiny, and second because we wanted more texture.  (It has a pearl shimmer to it, texture, dries fast, and you can use as a metallic or a white).

Whimseykel Designs Waterlilies Restyled Furniture Studio

At this point, we had to drum up all of our energy to be patient.  Let these steps dry properly before doing anything else.  Walk away, if you're too tempted.

Applying the Decoupage and hitting the home run!!

Our front surface was ready for decoupage. To remove the fold lines, we ironed the print on the wrong side on a warm (not hot) iron setting with no steam.  We also used baking paper between the iron and decoupage paper.  There were still some fold marks after ironing, but they came out at the decoupage stage.

Whimseykel Design Waterlilies Restyle Furniture Studio

We positioned our paper, making sure that we weren't chopping off any features and deciding the best layout  We were also conscious of not ruining the design by having an important part of the picture where the drawer pulls would end up.  For example, Imagine if it was a picture that had a face and the drawer pull went straight through an eye or nose.  That's not a good look, so positioning is important.

We gave our self the green light and made a start.  The surface had one last wipe to ensure there were no lumps or debris.  We proceeded from the top and applied Tough Coat Sealer to an area approx 3-4 inches at a time across the whole width of the front.  Place the paper onto the surface from the centre and smooth down with hands very gently.  Depending on the decoupage paper choice, you have a limited amount of time to reposition the paper (with some papers once it's down it's down).  We lifted it once and sorted out a few wrinkles.  Then using a our hands and a small wad of glad wrap, we smoothed out the 3-4 inches that we had started by pressing and smoothing lightly across the surface. Other tools that might be helpful are a dry and clean paint brush, a smoothing tool, OR a credit card.  Yes that's right, a credit card!   Once you've worked on that portion, you're ready for the next 3-4 inches. On each of the following sections, spray a touch of water on the back of the decoupage paper.  This helps with application.  Continue until you've secured the whole decoupage paper.

🔥HOT TIP: Try not to get the top surface too wet, try not to cause too much friction on the surface, apply thin layers of chosen decoupage medium, make sure you cover the whole surface with sealer and don't leave any gaps

Zoom in to the photo below, and you will see that the paper has been applied over the gaps surrounding the drawers.  We left the drawers in so we didn't have to pattern match in parts later.

Whimseykel Designs Waterlilies Restyled Furniture Studio

Calling all of your patience!!

We had to call on all of our patience again at this point.  Once wrinkles have been smoothed, leave the piece to dry.  Upon return we used a stanley knife to cut between the drawers.  To remove the fluffy edges, we used our sanding pads on a 45degree angle to sand off the edges. Be careful not to sand the top of your design, just the edges on an angle. After completing this phase, we sealed the whole decoupage area and waited for it to dry.

Following on after drying time, we used our blending and stippling technique to blend the the edges.  We also took some of the colour into the picture to make sure that the edges were not the only areas with paint.  It can sometimes look a bit obvious where you have and haven't applied paint.  If needed, use the texture mix on the paper edges so you can't see paper lines.

Touch up any parts of the whole piece that require.

Once dry, we gave a very light sand with 320 grit sanding pad and sealed with Lavender Wax.  (Wax is not necessary with the mineral paint we have used, but it is a nice touch, and this one smells divine!!)

Final Stages, add your legs, and drawer pulls.  We love the choice of the Ginko Leaf Drawer Pulls that we found from Debra at @beautifullyhandled. Whilst they are not waterlilies, they have those beautiful wavy edges which emulate leaves in nature not dissimilar to lilypads.  The shade of gold is also spectacular. 

Ginko Leaf Drawer Pulls Beautifully Handled Restyled Furniture Studio


Whimseykel Designs Waterlilies Restyled Furniture Studio

We hope you enjoyed our blog post information and learned a thing or two.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or you may consider your own personal One on One Virtual Workshop to discuss your projects.

We're very proud of our achievement on this piece.

Available for Purchase

 Whimseykel Designs Waterlilies Restyled Furntiure Studio


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