barb blairbefore & after basics

before and after basics: union jack is the new black

by Barb

I’ve been a Union Jack lover for a long time, and when I visited the markets this year, I saw it everywhere — from upholstered pieces to chairs and tableware. I knew I wanted to tackle it on a piece of furniture at some point, and while I am not the first one to paint it on furniture, I thought you all might like a little Before and After Basics tutorial on how to achieve this look yourselves! This is super fun to do, and I hope you all enjoy the process as much as I did! — Barb

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • long ruler
  • paint, three colors
  • piece of furniture with the base coat already applied
  • paintbrushes, small and large for detail
  • projector
  • transparency sheet
  • pencil
  • tape
  • sanding sponge
  • stain


1. Take all the hardware off your piece. Clean, sand and paint your piece in the base color. In my case, it was turquoise! If you need painting tips, you can freshen up with my painting furniture tutorial.

2. Once the base coat is nice and dry, set up the projector and get the picture exactly where you want it on the piece. This takes some adjusting, but work with it! For the transparency, just use transparency paper and make sure that it is printed on a laser printer. The first one we made was on an ink jet, and the ink turned into a mess!

3. Take a pencil and trace all the lines. This goes much faster than it looks and is a piece of cake.

4. Once your lines are traced (you may need to turn off the projector periodically to check), it is time for the fun part!

5. Start filling in those lines, guys! Now some of you could free-hand this entire thing and skip the projector part, but me . . . well, let’s just say I’m not used to having to paint inside the lines! This was a challenge for me but having small brushes, both flat and angled, helped a ton. I applied two coats of paint for each color to ensure the right amount of coverage.

6. When the lines were completely filled in and dry, I hand-sanded the entire piece for a nice aged/faded look.

7. After the sanding, I took Minwax Special Walnut Stain and went over the entire piece. This adds just the right amount of age and the perfect finishing detail. If you need help with staining, check out my staining tutorial for answers to any questions about using stain over paint. The piece will need a good 48 hours in a climate-controlled temp to lose the tacky feel.

When your piece is nice and dry, put the hardware back on and you are ready to rock and roll! Enjoy!

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