The holidays are the time to set a special table and we have the perfect project to get you there! Deb Trombly shares how to stencil a custom table centerpiece on a new/”old” shutter with Chalk Paint® from Annie Sloan.
I can’t explain why, but I’ve always seen an old rustic shutter on my holiday dining table. Weird, yes. But I felt understandably uncertain about putting a real shutter that had been exposed to the elements for decades on my dining table. I’ve cleaned shutters before; I know how dirty they can get. Instead, you can easily make a new shutter and paint it to look old! Then, paint holiday stencils on it for a Christmas table centerpiece. It brings a country touch, as if you were really going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for the holidays.
Supplies for this project:
- Stencils from Royal Design Studio: Jennifer Rizzo Noel Lettering Christmas Stencil, Jennifer Rizzo Christmas Ornament Stencil, Sultan Swirl Furniture Stencil
- Royal Stencil Cremes: Antique Gold, Bronze Age, Smoked Oyster
- Stencil brushes
- Chalk PaintTM by Annie Sloan colors: Florence and Country Gray; optional: Olive and Coco
- Optional for verdigris patina shutter hinges: Modern Masters Metal Effects Copper Paint and Green Patina Aging Solution
- Paper towels, Shutter hinge hardware, faux plastic or real iron
- Three long slim pieces of wood approx 2-3″ wide
- Two thin pieces of wood approx 1-1.5″ wide
- Wood glue
- Vaseline or other brand petroleum jelly
Making a Shutter
First, let’s make a shutter. This is so easy. Use a smooth wood without much grain, like aspen or pine. Be sure the length and width of your wood will fit on your dining table, with room for plates and glasses. Sounds obvious but I almost forgot to check that! Cut your wood down to a smaller size if needed.
To make the shutter, simply glue the three pieces of wood together with wood glue. Then, measure the width of your shutter. Cut two pieces of thin wood to fit the width of your shutter. Glue these two pieces near the top and bottom of your shutter:
You could screw or nail the cross pieces of wood to the shutter for extra strength. The wood glue alone is holding my shutter together just fine.
Making Copper Verdigris Shutter Hinges
I found cheap plastic shutter hardware at ShutterContractor.com. Google “shutter hardware” and you’ll find lots of sources. Depending on the final look you want, you could leave them as-is or paint them any color. I wanted a weathered copper look. To get this look, paint the hinges with Modern Masters Metal Effects Copper Paint. Paint two coats of copper paint. While the second coat is still wet, spray Modern Masters Green Patina Aging Solution on the hinges. Watch while they turn verdigris green before your eyes! So cool!
Set the hinges aside. The patina will continue developing over the next 24 hours.
Painting the Shutter
Going back to the wood shutter, paint a coat of Florence Chalk Paint. Don’t worry about 100% perfect coverage. Much of this coat will get covered up. As an optional step, add more color by brushing on streaks of Olive Chalk Paint.
Let this coat dry. You’ll often find chipping paint on old shutters. To get this chippy effect, spread Vaseline or other petroleum jelly on your base coat of paint. Spread petroleum jelly where the shutter would get more wear ‘n tear and paint might chip. Usually this is along edges and on the top.
When you paint the next layer of Chalk Paint, it will not adhere well to the petroleum jelly. It will rub off and like magic, you’ll have chippy paint! For this layer of paint, I used Country Gray Chalk Paint. Let this coat dry. Then rub the areas where you smeared petroleum jelly. The Florence color will be revealed.
If you want more Florence color to show, you can use a wet rag to rub off more Country Gray.
Next I dry brushed a darker Coco color on the Country Gray to make the shutter look older and, well … dirtier!
Once you’re happy with the shutter, take a peek at the shutter hinges. As they dry, they turn chalky verdigris green. Wow! So fun!
Stenciling Christmas Ornament Shapes
Now we’ll stencil elegant Christmas ornaments on the rustic shutter.
Painting the ornaments takes a bit to describe, but painting them is fast and fun. Lay the Jennifer Rizzo Christmas Ornament Stencil where you want it on the shutter. Paint the metal tops gold with Antique Gold Stencil Creme. The round area of the ornament looks great when you alternate between a light and dark ornament base color, and a dark and light pattern on top of the base coat. To get this look, paint the Christmas Ornament Stencil with Smoked Oyster Stencil Creme. Then, lay the Sultan Swirl stencil on top of the Christmas Ornament stencil. (Or use any other pattern stencil you already have – florals, damasks and swirly patterns look great as Christmas designs.) Paint the Sultan Swirl with Bronze Age Stencil Creme.
Paint the ornament stencil again, but this time paint the ornament with Bronze Age, and then paint the second stencil you lay on top of the ornament with Smoked Oyster. You will get alternating looks:
I let the ornaments fall off the edges of the shutter, and laid them every which way as if they had fallen all scattered onto the shutter. I stenciled the Jennifer Rizzo Noel Lettering Christmas Stencil inside the ornament too. All her Christmas stencils are designed to mix and match. Here’s the finished result — when the light is low, the metallic ornaments really stand out off the lighter Country Gray Chalk Paint.
You may want to add protective feet or felt pads under the shutter, so it doesn’t scratch your dining table.
Here is the “new old” shutter, styled up as a holiday centerpiece in my dining room.
You can add layers of holiday decorations on the shutter. Put candles on it, scatter real ornaments on it, wind green garland or holly around and over it. It’s now an old-looking rustic shutter to use as a holiday dining table centerpiece — without worrying about where the shutter was in a past life!
Also, maybe you like the idea of layering stencils over the Christmas ornament stencil like this, but you don’t want to build a shutter? You can paint ornaments on any surface. You could paint them on holiday placemats, a Christmas tree skirt, a tablecloth, pillows, or gift wrapping paper. Experiment with painting different stencil patterns through the ornament. You might find you don’t want to stop painting ornaments!