Thursday, June 23, 2016

Easy and Not-So-Easy Frenchness

Don't you just love a pretty easy project that doesn't take a lot of time to do and turns out better than you thought?  I'm finishing up a trio of stools for a client who likes the French stencils I have used on other pieces of furniture.  

Here is a before picture--an icky color, but a very nice shape.

After a couple coats of an off-white chalky paint, they look fresh and ready for some serious sitting-upon!

Need a closer look?

How French is this?  The bee, laurel wreath, and crown are symbols of French royalty, in particular Napoleon Bonaparte, who favored the bee with open wings.  He had bees embroidered on the imperial cloaks he and Josephine wore.  They were woven into carpets, wall hangings, and upholstery used in their regal homes.  

Want to read more about the Napoleonic French bee? Go here:

The laurel wreath is an ancient symbol of victory and the crown--well I'm sure
it's just a symbol indicating a king or queen.

Paris, city of light, makes for a lovely design in and of itself.  But, add in a little
scrollwork and you've got a very pretty stencil.

I have to give credit where credit is due--I bought these stencils online from

They have a big bunch of nice designs and are reasonably priced.  I have no affiliation
with them, other than being a satisfied customer.

Now for the not-so-easy-Frenchness.  We had an old, handmade trunk with few redeeming features.  It is lined with cedar flakeboard and could be quite useful.  But it was still just a big ole brown box.  It was taking up far too much real estate on our back porch and 
selling it was an attractive option.  
But, who would want a big ole brown box?
So, I painted it.
Now it was a big ole white box, plain and boring.

I had seen some very pretty French typography on everyone's favorite source
 of free vintage images, The Graphics Fairy, at 

I found a vintage label that has charm, style, and some scrollwork, too, and decided to put it on the lid of the trunk somehow.  It is a label for cocoa, loosely translated, that is inviting you to have some Payraud cocoa 
with your breakfast.

I enlarged the graphic with my little handy dandy Tracer Projector.  I taped some large tracing paper to a closet door, set the projector atop my little printed-out copy, and spent some quality time with a pencil, tracing over the whole image in the darkened room.  
That little projector can put out the heat!  
I'm now in the market for a much cooler used overhead projector, like we used to use in schools before computers and Smart Boards.

Once I had the enlarged copy, I went over it with graphite paper underneath the tracing paper, transferring the image to the top of the trunk.
Here's the French label after I hand lettered it 
with a Sharpie paint pen:

The whole trunk:

Got any furniture with a flat surface that you find boring?  It can always be changed into something interesting, pretty, and attention-getting!  Your make-over can be
as simple as using a stencil or going all-out with an image transfer and Sharpie paint pens.

Until next blog post,
À bientôt

I'm joining these fabulous link parties:

Home and Garden Thursday  A Delightsome Life
Simple and Sweet Fridays  Rooted in Thyme
Share Your Cup Thursday  Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olsen
Share Your Style  The Essence of Home
Craft Friday Frenzy  Little Vintage Cottage
Confessions of a Serial DIYer  Get Your DIY On


  1. Both your projects are lovely. I love to paint furniture, but still haven't added French words to any. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Thanks so much for reading my blog! I appreciate your comment. Hope you can add some Frenchiness to one of your future pieces!

  2. Oooh, those are all so pretty! I love creamy white furniture and the stencils really make them special!


    1. Thanks, Tania! Hoping my client likes them! Just linked up to Craft Friday Frenzy--thanks for the party!

  3. These stools turned out super cute! Love the transformation.
    Mary Alice

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary Alice! I appreciate your comment!


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