Before I attended this workshop, I spent a long time browsing the photographs of painted furniture on the Katie Bonas website and really doubted whether I’d be able to create anything so lovely.
Take a look and you’ll see vintage kitchen dressers loved back to life with country grey paint, a duck egg blue pot cupboard, elegant console tables, and many more beautiful antique pieces which Katie sells in her shop.
Katie had told me to bring along a small item of furniture to paint, and I decided upon a little retro side table. Ok so it wasn’t exactly an antique. But I was pretty sure I could transform it from its current bright green into something a little more becoming.
Driving into the village of Yanworth in the Cotswolds where Katie lives and works, it seemed like the perfect setting for a day of painting. Pretty, picturesque and very peaceful.
On arrival Katie showed me into her furniture showroom with its paint-filled workshop at the rear.
Once everyone had arrived we all headed to another workshop which overlooks the surrounding countryside. With original exposed beams, handmade bunting and vintage china this is an inspiring place to work.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paints
First of all, we were each given some wooden boards so we could experiment with the various painting and ‘distressing’ techniques. This was to get a feel before getting to work on the furniture we’d brought.
Katie explained how she liked to work with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (listed in our directory here) because it covers almost everything. We were all surprised to discover that the furniture requires very little preparation prior to painting.
What you’ll need
Our materials for the day included chalk paints, brushes, rags, sandpaper (grade 120), clear and dark wax, crackle varnish and ‘size’ (a glue-like substance for applying metallic leaf).
Tea, coffee and treats were provided and we all set to work following Katie’s expert instructions. We were encouraged to play around with the paints and waxes to see what different effects were possible.
It was fun to try out different finishes and Katie showed us how to use some specialist products such as Annie Sloan’s Craqueleur. This is a two-part solution applied to the paint which creates a dramatic, well-loved crackle-glaze effect.
Towards the end of the morning, we gave our furniture the first coat of paint before heading out into the sunshine. We sat in Katie’s garden for a lunch of sandwiches, sausages, wine, juice and fruit.
The group chatted easily as we ate our lunch on blankets and cushions spread on the lawn. Not one car drove past, making for a delightful picnic spot.
The art of gilding
Feeling suitably relaxed after lunch, we headed back to the workshop. Katie then demonstrated the art of gilding, using sheets of metallic leaf so thin that they needed to be handled with a great deal of care.
These were adhered to the wood with a coat of ‘size’ to create a gorgeous shimmery surface that can be aged further with a little wax.
The afternoon passed by quickly as we applied a second coat of paint to our furniture. It was time to ponder which techniques we would use to distress them. I opted for a little sanding in the areas where the table would naturally wear over time. And tempting as it was, I resisted adding gold leaf to the whole thing!
As the day drew to a close, I left with my table and lots of tips and tricks. I can’t wait to try out a few on other pieces of furniture back at home. Why not book yourself onto one of Katie’s furniture painting courses to see what you can do?
Fancy having a go at achieving something like the beautiful swedish look linen press, Top? Check out this video of Annie Sloan herself showing you exactly how…
Feeling inspired? Take a look at the Creative Workshops category in our Directory, where you’ll find a variety of inspiring courses, from art and crafts to fashion and beauty, interiors, cooking and flower & gardening.
If you run a creative course that you think our readers would be interested in reading about, do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
All images courtesy of Clare Kelly.