Create a Reusable Stencil for Decorating Vintage Painted Furniture

The Graphics Fairy web site is a free resource of over 4,000 vintage images for any creative work that you can dream up. Block Posters is the go-to spot for free image enlargements.

The Graphics Fairy has a dozen tutorials on how to transfer images using different methods. I wanted to make a stencil that I could use over and over and that was the one method I didn’t see listed.

I learned about Block Posters from my favorite blog q is for quandie  Wait till you see her sense of design. Stop over and look at her furniture to  get some good ideas for yourself. Her furniture sells in Minnesota if you are in her part of the world.


I picked an image from The Graphics Fairy and printed it out easily on to the size I needed for the dresser. I printed the design on  stiff cardstock and then cut out all the letters and designs with a stencil knife.


A coat of  boiled linseed oil covers the cardstock paper making it strong and transparent. Wipe off the excess linseed oil and hang it up to dry overnight. Then tape both pages together.


After the cutting, the rest was quick and easy. I measured the width of the top of the dresser using a flexible sewing tape measure, folded the tape measure in half to use as a guide and made a pencil mark to mark the center.  I did the same thing with the depth measurement, leaving a pencil mark to mark the depth center of the dresser top. Repeat the same  procedure to find the center of the stencil. When I had the center of the dresser top and the center of the stencil marked, I lined up the two little crossmarks on each (The boiled linseed oil makes the paper transparent.) and taped down the corners of the stencil. It is as simple as that.


I used flat latex paint from a Martha Stewart tester jar and covered the cut-out completely with paint, dabbing it on as I went, using a small stiff brush.


I may sand slightly over the stencil paint to fade it after it dries completely.


This beautiful old dresser has dove-tailed joints, dust dividers between the drawers, and center rails so that the drawers always ride smoothly. Its veneer finished was so damaged that it couldn’t be saved. The secondary wood is white oak and the workmanship is a thing of art.  I think it is beautiful in a creamy white with glass knobs.

I got four pieces of furniture finished in my spare time during the two weeks of cold weather and felt good about that accomplishment. I’ve got to get down into the building basement next week and organize again. I sent two cartons of things to Purple Heart last week so I made a small start on it. Lots more to do and I can’t wait to get started.

Meanwhile, one of the cats, Emma, contemplates life.on the inside.