Antique French Florist's Table - Painting A Table Like An Antique French Sign

faux finish, vintage sign,

I bought an old desk with a single ink-stained drawer at an auction several years ago.  It has been used as my kitchen table ever since and surrounded by six Spanish leather chairs. The top of the table was in poor condition with a couple of missing knots of wood and bad repairs with wood fillers.  I decided I was going to whitewash the table.

I found GraphicFairy's wonderful blog with several images of French ephemera, advertising labels and signs.   Since I love the art of floristry, I chose a design of a French florist, Mademoiselle Boileve from an antique invoice. So off I set on updating a neglected table.

I began by washing the entire table down with warm water and vinegar.  There wasn't a heavy finish on the tabletop so a light sanding was all that was needed to remove any barrier to keep that paint from adhering.  I made repairs to gouges and holes with wood filler, let dry and sanded smooth.  After I was finished, I gave the table another wash with water and vinegar.

 I decided I wanted two shades of whitewashing - a chalk blue and white. To give the sign a little more emphasis and anchor in the center of the table, I began by whitewashing with white a border around the edge.  I then took a pencil tied to a string and drew a circle in the center of the table - intending to have the circle-shape drop off the edge of the table. 

After taping off the white border, I then added a couple of drops of black paint to a light blue paint that I had left over from painting the bathroom to make a chalk blue shade.  I carefully whitewashed with this blue around the white circle making sure to minimize any brush strokes that would be left behind.

Using a broad tip Sharpie paint pen, I outlined the circle, border and free-handed a trefoil design on the corners.

To get the sign design off the computer, resized to the size I wanted,  I placed my flat screen monitor in my lap and traced the design onto paper.  I wanted the word Paris in the design.   Ch√Ętellerault is not Paris (lol), but I added the word Paris anyways from another graphic at GraphicsFairy.  Whatever works!

I began by tilting the table toward me as would be a drafting board - standing the opposite table legs on paint buckets.  To transfer the design I traced on paper to the wood, I covered the back with charcoal, taped the design in place and traced over pencil marking with a ball point pen - pressing firmly but not too hard as not to damage the top.

Using a small beveled paint brush and black acrylic paint, I began painting the design in place correcting any flawed edges with a small paint brush and paint pen.

After adding two scrolls on both sides, I shadowed the lettering with a bevel tipped gold paint pen.

After giving the tabletop three coats of a water based polyurethane, I am very happy with the results!

Additional note:

To distress and age, I sanded off the edges and stained.  This was done before the tabletop was sealed.

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