The half-round table features artist's oils on the striped border and the medallion around the drawer pull, and a coat of pine stain over the entire surface.
On this table, decorative painter Molly Spain taped off a series of wedge-shape pieces -- inside a semicircle along the back of the tabletop and in a complete circle around the drawer pull -- and lightly brushed one edge of each with thinned artist's oils. She filled in the background of each medallion and painted the rope border she had taped along the table's front edge with the same oils. The effect is subtle but dramatic; the shading lends a carved look to the medallion motifs.
By carefully blending the oil paint in from the edge of each wedge shape to its center, Spain created a remarkable effect that looks more complicated than it is. "The key is applying the paint lightly and then blending it toward the center with a rag," she says. "You just use a little bit at a time."
- Compass, ruler, and pencil
- Tape: 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch plastic striping or other low-stick tape
- Crafts knife
- Artist's oils: Burnt Umber (BU) and Black (BL)
- Windsor & Newton Liquin
- Brushes: #4 oil, 2-inch disposable chip
- Lint-free cotton rag
- Minwax Puritan Pine stain
- Start with an unfinished wood piece.
- Remove hardware and store it in a safe place.
- Work on a drop cloth or plastic to protect your floor and catch dust and drips.
- Sand and wipe with a tack cloth.
- Using a compass, arch half-circles with 3- and 1/2-inch radii in the center back of the tabletop. Then arch full circles with 1 1/2- and 1/2-inch radii around the drawer knob. Using the edge of a ruler and a pencil to make light marks, divide the circle and arch into even wedge shapes.
- Using 1/4-inch plastic tape, tape along the outer edges of the larger circle and arch, burnishing the tape to the surface with your fingernail. Tape off one edge of a wedge shape, and with a 3:1 mixture of BU and BL, load the oil brush lightly and dab gently along the edge of the tape in a stippling motion. With a small corner of a rag, blend the paint toward the center of the wedge. Continue taping and painting until all wedges are done. Use a drop of Liquin to thin the paint if needed. Brush paint onto the center of the arch and the outer edges of shelves and rub off excess with a rag.
- Tape an angled "rope" pattern along the edge of the tabletop using 3/8-inch tape. (Cut the tape with a crafts knife; it will not tear easily.) Burnish edges with your fingernail to ensure sharp lines when finished. Fill in the unprotected areas with the paint mixture, adding Liquin to slightly dilute paint and ease the spreading of the color onto the wood surface. Dry thoroughly.
- Stain the entire piece with Puritan Pine stain using a chip brush.
- Sand lightly and wipe with a tack cloth.
- Apply several coats of varnish or polyurethane to protect the finish. Allow to dry and then sand lightly between coats.
Continued on page 4: Simple Trunk