It’s Just Paint! Moroccan Table Re-Paint

Moroccan Table with Raised Stencils

Sometimes your style changes. Sometimes you get new ideas. Sometimes you think, I wish that looked different.

Sometimes this happens to me … with things I painted!

I painted this table with Moroccan patterns years ago and it was loved.

Moroccan Table Painted with Stencils

Hard to see in the photo, but the white lines were shimmery pearlescent. With pink, blue and green veins like mother of pearl inlay. If you want to learn how to paint that, visit my tutorial at Paint + Pattern.

We lived with this look for about four years. Then one summer evening, while blasting Queen music probably a little too loud for the neighbors’ liking, I did a “messy metallic” look on candlesticks. I mixed golds, bronzes, coppers, silvers, and made them look burnished and old. This was originally a white farmhouse style candlestick:

Messy Metallic Painted Candlestick

I loved this look. This might not be everyone’s favorite look, but it’s right up my design alley. I wanted to do messy metallics on MORE and BIGGER.

That’s when I got the idea.

I could see the Moroccan table with raised patterns, and messy metallic. I wanted it to look like a bronze table cast with lost wax technique in a sandpit somewhere deep in the Sahara Desert. Maybe the table was made many decades ago, and since then the table sat in a flood for awhile, so patina is darker on the bottom. Or maybe it sat too close to a road, and grease gradually built up on the bottom of it. Dust settled in the crevices between the raised patterns. Edges of the patterns got brighter as hands brushed them and books, tea cups and dishes were dragged over them.

Maybe you’d call that a wild imagination. Or a hallucination! But when painting, I’m going for an idea, a feeling, a memory of a place. I wanted this table to travel further back in time and through rough stuff in its life.

Before showing the paint steps, I want to say first … about the roadside grease … no we wouldn’t really want grease on our furniture. Right? We wouldn’t really want mold on a table in our living room. We might not want horribly chipping paint all over the outside walls of our house.

So, isn’t it funny that so many of us — me included — take pictures in front of things like this when we’re on vacation? Like chippy walls with dirt, grease, and frankly, likely mold, is worthy of photos. We call it patina. “Aged to perfection.”

But when the “dirt” or “grease” is just paint, it’s fine in the house.

STEPS TO DO THIS

After that way-too-long intro (but I’m not cutting it down), here are a few tips to get this look …

Raised Stencils

I used the same stencil as the first time the table was painted — Starry Moroccan Night from Royal Design Studio. I did not want to buy new supplies, so I used what I already owned to make raised patterns. I used a Golden molding paste on the top. That ran out. So on the sides, I used Modern Masters Venetian plaster. After the paste & plaster dried, a light sanding knocked off sharp peaks and sharp lines. I left many imperfections, pocks and pits because I want the table to look old and a bit battered. I want some color to settle into the pits.

Golden-Moulding-Paste-Raised-Stencil

I added a “sort of floral” pattern along the edges. That pattern I believe was from stock photography like iStockphoto or ShutterStock, and I cut it with a Cricut Explore.

Metallic Paints

Gather a bunch of metallics. Lots! I used mostly acrylics: coppers, bronzes, silver, golds from bright gold to old gold, even a shimmery metallic black. And yeah, I used several coppers, several bronzes. This builds up a depth of color and variety.

Brass Moroccan Table Look with Paint

I couldn’t even tell you what metallic I did first, second, third, fourth etc. because I didn’t document and photograph every step. I needed to get into a creative flow with this. Stopping to document really interrupts that. In general, I used gold and silver in the middle, and darker metallics like the bronzes and black on the edges. I used more bronze and black along the bottoms and feathered it out about 1/3 to halfway up.

Spray Watered Down Paint & Spread It

I wanted “dust” in the crevices between the raised patterns. This was a two-step process. For “dust” to show up, it’s better if it’s on a darker background. So first you paint a dark background, then you do the dust over it.

First, fill a spray bottle with water and black paint. The ratio should be 20% paint, 80% water. Maybe even 10% paint, 90% water. Lots of water so the paint is runny. This is MESSY. Protect the surface under your project. I had  a dropcloth on the floor but some black paint splashed on white walls nearby!

Painting a Table to Look Old

I sprayed the watery paint lightly over the top of the table, then immediately — before it dried — smooshed it into the crevices with a tile grout spreader. To do this, you simply drag the grout spreader over the surface so you’re pushing the watery paint off the raised patterns, so the color flows between the patterns. The tile grout spreader behaves sort of like a trowel but it has a gentler, rubbery edge.

Here’s a video showing how to smoooooosh watery paint between the raised stencils:

Extra water WILL run off your project. You might get drips. Some people like drips, some don’t. Have paper towel on hand to dab watery paint where you don’t want it. Let the surface dry.

Now. You might notice my table has six sides. When you do this watery paint spray, you have to spray it on a horizontal surface. So … I had seven surfaces, and all had to dry before I could roll the table over and do the next side! It took forever.

But wait, there’s more. Next we add the “dust” over the dark areas in the crevices.

Dust is not shiny, so I used matte chalk and clay paints, like a neutral DIY Paint or Dixie Belle paint. I washed the black paint out of the spray bottle, then made another watery paint with about 10-20% clay/chalk paint with 80-90% water.

I followed the same steps as above. Spray the watery paint on a flat horizontal surface. Smoooooshhhhh the watery paint into the crevices with the tile grout spreader.

Old Brass Table Look with Paint

And yeah, I had to do this with all seven surfaces, letting them all dry before flipping the table over.

When the paint dries, you should see what looks like “dust” in the cracks between the patterns.

If the raised patterns have pits and holes in them, the black paint and the chalky paint will settle into those pits and make cool old-looking patina.

It Looks Worse Before It Gets Better

This admittedly looks terrible. When working with lots of paint layers, it looks worse before it gets better!

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing toned down the black streaks:

Tone Down Paint with Dry Brushing

Dry brushing a great for depth and variety of color. After I applied a base of bright gold in the middles and bronzes on the edges, most of the painting was dry brushing one color after another after another after another. Until I got the look I wanted.

There was some re-doing and re-painting with dry brushing.

Sometimes the table got too light — I dry brushed too much silver.

Sometimes it got too red — I dry brushed too much copper.

Sometimes the gold got too muddy — I dry brushed too much black on the gold.

None of this is a problem. It’s part of the process and everything can be painted over. The nice thing about dry brushing is you can do many layers, and the paint doesn’t get too thick because you’re applying barely-there feathers of paint. When color was going in the wrong direction, I corrected it by dry brushing another color. I was aiming for a color in my head, and I knew if it was on track or if it was off.

Dusty Look

Old Brass Look

Final Result

I’ll be honest, I was getting really tired of this table at the end.

Even when it was done, it sat in the sunroom for a few days before I brought it in to photograph it. I was THAT tired of painting it!

The work was worth it though. It is exactly the Moroccan table picture that popped in my mind. It looks good between red chairs.

Old Moroccan Table with Paint and Raised Stencils

I have not sealed it with any wax or topcoat. I worry about changing the sheen of the metallics and/or the “dust.” I worked so hard to get it the way I wanted it, I would kick myself if i put a topcoat on it and the color or sheen changed! Most of the paint is acrylic and the table is not heavily used, so I’m not worried about wear ‘n tear.

So if you’ve been looking at something that you wish was different — even if it’s something you painted — it’s only paint. You can always re-paint. Try it, have fun, play with giving it a different look!

Raised Stencil Moroccan Table

Painted Jeans Inspiration

I’m seeing painted jeans everywhere! And not just because I hang out around people who paint. I’ve seen painted jeans in our local Sundance store on Johnny Was jeans. And believe me, the paint was no accident!

You can buy jeans already painted, or you can do your own design freehand with finger painting or brushes, or even stencils.

For ideas, see these jeans from Free People

Gray print on white jeans – this could easily be stenciled:

Free People Printed Jeans

Free People Printed Jeans Close Up

Faded denim jeans with white flowers (affiliate link) – again, this could so easily be stenciled with white paint. Just arrange flower stencils in random directions like they’re falling down the jeans:

Free People Faded Denim Jeans with White Flowers

A darker jean for greater contrast with the pattern:

Free People Dark Denim Patterned Jean

Maybe I would stop the pattern a little lower on the leg, around the knee or low thigh, let it fade out. The patterned waistband is cute.

Free People Printed Jeans

And, I love border prints when they hit the hem of pants.

Here’s a different look. These are crochet panels. But you could tape off sections of jeans in squares and paint a pattern like these Free People jeans (affiliate link):

Crochet Pattern Free People Jeans

Free People Crochet Jeans

These are embroidered. But you could paint flowers in color to look like these Free People jeans (affiliate link):

Free People Embroidered Jeans

Free People Jeans Embroidered

Pull out your blue paints and paint the blues on your jeans like this:

Blue Embroidered Jeans Free People

Also please do not think this is only for models of this age or with these bodies. We should all live fun and free and do whatever we want with our jeans!

Maybe the jean style matters though? I did notice while scrolling all the jeans at Free People, that they’re mostly doing this design on the flared jeans, and not the straight leg, boyfriend, cropped, or skinny jeans. I don’t know, maybe they’re typecasting the flared jeans as bohemian? Maybe paint wouldn’t look so good on straight leg jeans? What do you think?

I’m about to go raid my closet for jeans and pull out the paint and stencils …

White Jharokha

Sometimes I see an idea and it sticks and I have to do it.

I’ve followed Bisque on Instagram for years. They are in Byron Bay, Australia and they sell things mostly from India but also Africa and Indonesia with a distinctive look: many layers of natural textures in neutrals. Textures from carvings, weavings, nature’s etchings. They live with this look, they wear this look, they design the look for others.

Years ago I spotted a row of white painted jharokha in their pictures:

White washed Jharokha

I wanted that look!

My design theme for the India pied-a-terre – our apartment in Chennai, India – is light & white with layers of global textures.

I intended to buy a collection of jharokha and hang them on a wall, copying the Bisque look with a little bit of shame. So far I only did one! I found the jharokha on Pepperfry.com and in the comfort of our home by Chicago, paid for it in rupees and had it shipped to the Chennai apartment. Gotta love online shopping. There it sat for maybe a year until my last trip to India.

It was dark brown. And you can see it was in rough shape.

Pepperfry Jharokha

Now, you gotta remember you can’t just go to Home Depot for last-minute supplies in India. So I usually pack things like wood glue and wood filler in our suitcase. You know, along with the toothpaste and antiperspirant! Normal traveling stuff. I appreciate having Amazon.in available, but it doesn’t sell everything in India.

The bottom shelf of this jharokha was loose so the wood glue came in handy. However, the wood filler was dried up.

What to do?

Well. I remembered back to my early adult apartment rental days. The time I moved out and had a bunch of holes in the wall from hanging stuff. I wanted my security deposit back. So you know what you do. Yep. Toothpaste. So, I filled all the gaps in the jharokha with toothpaste! It worked!

Then I painted it with neutral clay and chalk paints.

Painting Jharokha

I first painted it with a darker neutral — Old Ochre from Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. Then, I added a lighter layer of Vintage Linen from DIY Paint.

DIY Paint Vintage Linen

I applied the DIY Paint lightly with a damp paper towel so the darker color below still showed through without brush marks. A fabric cloth or a baby wipe would have held up better, but the paper towel was all I had handy.

White Jharokha

Here you see on the right side how Vintage Linen lightened it up. I wanted it to look like dust in the crevices of white wood. But, not dust for real.

White Painted Jharokha

It’s still in rough rustic shape. I did not have sandpaper. Add it to the list of stuff to take on the next trip.

Jharokha with White Paint

It will eventually be hung somewhere within view of this area, to give you an idea of how it fits in.

Living Room India pied-a-terre

Time to find a few more jharokha to paint on the next trip! I’m glad I photographed the paint cans, so I remember what colors to pack next time.

Travel: The Mayan in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

For all my friends who love to paint, I found an airbnb for you! It’s in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and we stayed in it in January 2019. It’s like a castle! It’s a castle with a circular staircase in a turret! (Scroll down, you’ll see.) And, fabulous painted walls.

Let’s get right to the walls. This mural with metallic gold design is in the dining room:

In the morning, the sun streams in and the gold glows.

If you have stenciled or painted precise decorative wall treatments, you can appreciate the math & measurements that went into spacing those grids and circles so perfectly.

The tiles + the gold paint design on the fireplace almost vibrate with energy.

Painted Fireplace Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Here we are on our last morning enjoying breakfast in the dining room. Can you see how the plates even pick up on the blue tile in the fireplace:

Breakfast Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Okay, let’s move on to the next mural in the house. Imagine walking through a steel door into The Mayan, and you’re in a courtyard. Look up, and there’s a huge mural on the wall. This mural is visible upstairs from big windows in the bedroom and the bathroom. Here we’re looking through the bedroom windows:

Mural Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

The mural goes up, up, up beyond this. Here’s the full flowering agave:

Agave Cactus Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Here I tilted the phone down so you can see the entryway courtyard below:

Mural Courtyard San Miguel de Allende Airbnb

Here’s looking up from the courtyard below. See how the mural is topped off with sky, and when the sky is deep blue, it’s like the mural merges with the sky above:

Mural in Courtyard The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Now, here’s the mural of women, the namesake for this Airbnb which is called The Mayan. Believe it or not, when you step out of the shower, this is what you see!

The Mayan Mural Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Let’s get a closer look.

Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

The finish is “grungy.”

Grungy Finish on Mural San Miguel de Allende Airbnb The Mayan

Now turn around, and here’s the bathroom and shower area:

Bathroom The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

You can see the arch frames the bathroom view. All walls and the ceiling are hand-painted. Even on the doors, there is metallic red paint that pulls color from the floor tiles, and also from red colors in the bedroom that you see when you look through those doors. Here’s that view from the bathroom doors:

Bedroom View from Bathroom Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Those square red and gold shapes are not tiles. They are all hand painted! Let’s look closer.

Hand Painted Walls in Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

As you can see, the wall is also engraved with a grid to simulate tiles.

The previous owner, who was an artist, put a lot of time, care and love into this place. This is not a small wall. All of this had to be mapped out in advance.

Hand-Painted-Tile-Effect-in-Mayan-Airbnb-San-Miguel-de-Allende.jpg

Here’s a glimpse of the circular staircase that leads to the second floor bedroom and then up to a rooftop terrace. You can see the theme of arch shapes in the house:

Master Bedroom The Mayan Airbnb in San Miguel de Allende

Okay, so let’s head back downstairs. I’ll show you the wall in the living room area. It’s not as decorative. It’s more metallic mottled brown. It’s an understated backdrop to a huge room. Here’s the view of the living room from the kitchen:

Living Room The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Another arch there! It’s all hand painted design around it in metallics.

This next photo gives you an idea of how the painted design wraps around the arch area.

Metallic Painted Walls Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

More from the living room:

Living-Room-2-The-Mayan-Airbnb-San-Miguel-de-Allende

Hand Painted Walls in The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

This post is getting long. But everywhere you turn in this place, there is an interesting scene. Next I’ll show you the kitchen ceiling. You want to see this! And then I’ll show you decorative details around the house.

The kitchen ceiling:

Kitchen Ceiling The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Yeah that’s the kitchen ceiling!

There’s a lot of cool lighting, ironwork, niches and other decorations. Entrance to the circular staircase/turret. Even the “stone” is handpainted detail. As you’ll see in photos below, there’s a lot of interesting things even within the staircase.

Circular Staircase Turret The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Tiny lit up niches in the wall light up the stair treads. And over these, there are metal pieces with shapes like butterflies.

Staircase Details The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

This is at the top of the staircase turret:

Top of Turret The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Lighting Painted Wall The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

I loved things like the hand at the end of the staircase railing. And, the dog paw print in some tiles!

Details The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

If you’re visiting San Miguel de Allende, check out The Mayan Airbnb. It has one bedroom, so it’s good for one couple, but it’s huge! And, there is another Airbnb on the same property just a few steps away. So two couples could rent both. Chandra, the owner and host, is delightful!

Location: It’s tucked off Orizaba road in the San Antonio neighborhood, southwest of Centro. It’s a pleasant 10-minute walk to the more heavily touristed areas.

Link: Airbnb Listing for The Mayan.