We rescued this sweet vintage metal bistro chair in need of a new seat. After a little cleaning it was decided it was an ideal candidate for a unique paint finish.
We decided the new plywood seat would be the perfect canvas for a beautiful image transfer of a French graphic. This project was also a great opportunity for us to revisit the technique of applying an image transfer.
Summer is a few weeks away, so we wanted the bistro chair finish to be durable enough to be used outdoors. To make sure our surface would hold up outside, we prepared the new wood seat for outdoor use. To prep the surface, we sealed the unfinished plywood with a thin coat of Clear Topcoat Sealer 24 hours before painting.
Using the proper steps to prepare the new wood (unfinished) surface will help ensure the longevity of our finish.
Once our Clear Topcoat Sealer had dried, we painted the chair seat in two coats of pale grey. We allowed the paint to dry overnight to make sure all the layers had a chance to dry completely. Once the paint was dry, we were ready to apply our image.
This authentic French bakery graphic was found on The Graphics Fairy site and was so perfect for our bistro chair.
Transfer Gel by Artisan Enhancements will transfer black & white or color images. Remember that any graphics containing words or phrases must be printed in reverse (mirrored) for use with image transferring. When doing an image transfer, images must be printed on a laser printer.
If you do not have access to a personal laser printer, businesses like Office Depot, Staples, Kinkos, or the UPS Store offer printing services. Many print shops have to ability to edit, scale, and reverse your images for you. A color image will cost you slightly more to have printed, but the application method is the same. When attempting your first project, black & white images are good starter images. Black & white image transfers tend to be more forgiving and leave more room for error for first time projects.
For less than $1.00, we emailed our graphic to a local printer and requested to have it printed on 11×14, 24lb paper in reverse.
We chose to use pieces of painter’s tape as guides for where we wanted to place our image. Transfer Gel can be applied to either your image or directly to the surface. Either application is effective, just make sure you apply plenty of Transfer Gel and lay your image down immediately. Smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles with your hands. Allow your image transfer to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step. The longer the image dries before removing the paper fibers, the better your chances are at a successful transfer.
Use a damp sponge to wet the back of the paper and begin rolling the paper fibers away with your fingers. Avoid rubbing too hard or you will likely remove the image along with the paper.
It’s always a good idea to step away from your transfer project when you think you may be finished. Often times there are still paper fibers that may become more visible after the image has had some time to sit and become dry again. Simply dampen the image again with your sponge and continue to carefully remove the fibers. Your transfer should feel smooth once the fibers have all been removed. There may be a slight white haze, most noticeable around the outside of your image. You may choose to lightly sand this white “halo” to reduce it’s appearance.
At this point, you may feel like your transfer is complete. If that is the case, you can go ahead and seal your revealed image transfer and surface.
We decided to play up the look of the old graphic for our vintage chair with an aging technique using Scumble by Artisan Enhancements!
We started by applying a “slip coat” of Scumble. The slip coat helps provide a workable surface for the Scumble Glaze. In this case we used one quick coat of Scumble on it’s own (as is…straight out of the container). In other words, Scumble without any additives or paint .
While our slip coat was drying, we mixed a custom glaze of 5 parts Scumble to 1 part charcoal grey paint.
We then brushed our custom tinted Scumble glaze all over our chair seat and allowed it to sit for about two minutes.
Using a natural sea sponge, we wiped back our glaze, intentionally leaving it a little heavier around the edges of the seat.
Because Scumble has an open time of about 20 minutes, we had ample time to manipulate the finish and achieve the aged look that we were after.
No more than an hour later, our paint finish was dry enough for sealer. Using our Topcoat Brush and Clear Topcoat Sealer, we applied one thin coat and waited 24 hours before applying a second coat. Clear Topcoat Sealer by Artisan Enhancements provides a matte, exterior grade finish. Our 45mm Topcoat brush was designed to apply thin, even coats of sealer and minimize the appearance of brush strokes.
Our vintage iron bistro chair now has a custom, antique French Bakery graphic and aged paint finish ready for use on the summer patio!
For more DIY Transfer Gel projects visit our other Blog Posts “Image Transfer Tutorial” and “Crackled & Aged Image Transfer Paint Finish Tutorial”.
Watch one of our Artisans, One Girl in Pink, creates a custom sign using Transfer Gel on her YouTube channel.
Did you know that Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel can be used as a decoupage medium too? Stay tuned for more tutorials to come on The Artisan Enhancements Blog!
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Be sure to hashtag #artisanenhancements when you use our products and tools in your DIY projects! We love seeing your creative endeavors!