As featured in
Bring some pared back styling to your home and update a sideboard with a pop of yellow and graphic detailing for a one-of-a-kind interior statement.
I picked up this little vintage sideboard by Remploy on Ebay quite cheaply. I was drawn to it as so many people have chimney breasts preventing them having full-size sideboards and I loved the 1950s details, like the legs and handles. It was quite tired looking and needed perking up though. The design inspiration was a minimalist geometric pattern that had been used to illustrate a blog post on Scandivanian design – I thought it would be fun to try out translating it to furniture. I toyed with putting the pattern all over the front of the piece but decided that it would be too busy and that ‘less is more’ in the Scandinavian way! I picked the drawers in the middle and to carry the pattern across the doors too. I settled on a lovely vintage shade of egg-yolk yellow as my accent colour imply because I hadn’t done a piece in yellow yet and wanted to give it a try.
You will need:
Zinsser cleaner and degreaser (or sugar soap)
General Finishes Gel stain in Antique Walnut
Fusion Mineral Paint in Coal Black and Picket Fence (white)
A custom mix of leftover paints and Fusion Picket Fence to make the grey and yellow.
General Finishes High Performance Top Coat
Zinsser clearer and degreaser (sugar soap works too)
Regular painters’ masking tape (Frog tape or 3M Edgelock)
Delicate Surface painters’ masking tape (Frog tape or 3M Edgelock)
Sandpaper 180 grit
Craft scalpel knife
1 inch artists flat oil paint brush
2 inch flat paint brush
Sanding pad super fine
Polka dot stencil
Step 1 - Prepping the piece
Prep the piece ready to paint if it needs it by cleaning first and then sanding in the direction of the grain with 180 grit sandpaper to de-gloss the surface if is it painted or varnished. I re-finished the wood of my sideboard top, drawers and doors first with Antique Walnut gel stain to freshen up and darken the wood colour. I painted the legs and sides in Fusion Mineral Coal Black to tidy them up. I removed the doors, hinges and handles from the piece to make it easier to work on the design. I also masking taped the edges of my drawers and doors before starting to protect them from paint.
Step 2 - Planning your design
Plan out your design first by finding the number of squares that will fit across your piece. The squares can actually be slightly rectangular if this helps them fit edge to edge. My rows are slightly different heights too as the drawers are not exactly the same depth but it isn’t too noticeable in the final effect. Divide some of the squares diagonally into triangles. You can play around with ways & colours to fill the shapes making sure to mix it up between plain and patterned sections. I cut my square designs out in paper so I could play around with layout and follow it as a guide when painting.
Step 3 - Masking out your design
Use decorators masking tape to mask out the rows first, then the squares and finally any triangles and, if you are doing a striped section, add the strips of tape to make the stripes last. The sequence of taping means you will be able to remove only the tape that you need to as you move to work on the adjoining triangle or square. Make sure to press & rub the edge of the tape to get a good seal. You will see the tape is darker where is pressed tightly to the surface.
Step 4 – Painting the shapes
Using a flat artists brush fill in the shapes with thin layers of your chosen paint colour going in straight lines in the same direction across the section. You can use any paint as you will seal it with a top coat later but I like Fusion for this as it gives really good, quick coverage and very crisp lines. Allow time for the first coat to dry completely and then very lightly sand to remove any little imperfections using a super fine sanding pad. Wipe away the sanding dust with a lint-free cloth, before adding the next coat. This gives a really smooth, flat finish.
Step 5 – Removing the tape
I like to wait until the paint is touch dry to remove the tape to avoid the risk of making a mess with the wet paint. Once a section is touch dry peel back the tape slowly and steadily, making sure to move your hand down the tape as you pull so you have more control. Angle the tape back over itself as you pull too as this help it cut through the coats of paint and leave a crisp edge.
Step 6 – Painting more sections over painted areas
Once the first set of painted sections are fully dry, move onto the next set of shapes. As you now have to apply tape over newly painted sections make sure to use a masking tape for painted surfaces such as Frog Tape Delicate Surfaces. Make sure to leave the tape on only as long as it is needed – the longer it is on the more chance it will bond to the paint below and pull that off as well. If you need to leave your project for a while, it is best to remove the tape and re-apply when you come back to it.
Step 7 - Protecting your design
To protect the design once finished, seal it with two coats of a clear water-based top coat using a 2 inch fine finish paint brush across the whole of the piece, rubbing down between coats again with the super fine sanding pad.
Top tip 1
A sharp crafting scalpel is essential for creating precise masking tape designs. I use it to slice away excess tape cleanly and also use the tip to gently scrape away any paint that needs tidying up - wait until it is dry first though.
Top tip 2
When painting detailed patterns like this where I am working in different colours at the same time I find it helpful to have a brush for each colour and to wrap them in cling film between coats. This saves time washing them and also means they are easily on hand for touch ups too. They can be left for a good few days if kept wrapped well & airtight.
If you want to try a geometric pattern like this but would like to start smaller you could try doing the design with just a few squares on a smaller item like a box, tray or placemat. The key thing is to find an item with a flat surface to create your design on. You can easily swap stripes, spots and solids around – the more random the placement the better. You can change the accent colours easily to personalise it as well but it works best to stick to one or two colours, combined with the black, white and grey. You could add different such as zigzags or stars, but just make sure to keep them simple, modern and crisp to fit the Scandivanian style.