A lovely spell of warm weather means we’ve been spending plenty of time in the garden – and there’s no better time to add a little cheer with some shabby chic and vintage touches. I started my shabby chic garden overhaul this year by giving the old sheds a few coats of Cuprinol’s Fresh Rosemary which looks so charming – definitely not the colour of any rosemary that I’ve seen though! I painted the doors and trims in Cuprinol white daisy for a fresh contrast. I’ve also painted all my wood borders and plant boxes in the same shade, and my new summer house has the same colour scheme – pics to follow!
Confession: The hanging basket is my mum’s work. I’m really not that good at gardening!
I have two favourite craft essentials for brightening up the shabby chic garden – the first being Inkjet Water Slide Decal Paper. If you’ve got an inkjet printer, you can create just about any design to put on anything.
You’ll see I’ve painted a lot of my boring terracotta plant pots white (some had 2 coats, others needed 3), roughed them up with sandpaper to give them a shabby chic look and applied a gorgeous designs from the Graphics Fairy. I really recommend getting the pots as clean as possible before you start painting – it makes a huge difference to the finish.
So how do you do the transfers? Once you’ve painted your pots:
- Buy a pack of Inkjet Water Slide Decal Paper
- Buy a can of Hycote Clear Lacquer
- Visit the gorgeous Graphics Fairy and choose a beautiful design in reverse.
- Print it onto your Inkjet Water Slide paper and wait for it to dry.
- Spray on an even coat of laquer and wait for it to dry. Do this again (you can use a hairdryer to speed up the process!)
- Once dry, cut around your image leaving a small border of about 5mm
- Soak the image in water for about 30 seconds to a minute then slide it onto your surface. I recommend starting one side and gently working across the image, smoothing as you go.
The trick is to make sure you don’t get any bubbles in your design. If you’re applying quite a large vintage label, I recommend cutting it into parts if it makes sense (i.e. cut between the rows of wording) rather than applying as one piece, as it’s really difficult to get a bubble free finish on the curved surface of a pot. Don’t worry if one of your letters cracks a bit or something’s not perfect. It adds to the vintage / shabby chic look.
Once everything’s dry, give it a few thin coats with the lacquer, allowing to dry in between.
The Lacquer is fantastic for making things waterproof for the garden. You’ll be surprised how much stuff you can buy for the garden that is not at all garden-proof and rusts within a month or two. Especially in Sainsburys.
I bought these butterflies from B & M – I’ve got quite a few around the garden. I think they were about £12. They’ve been coated with quite a few layers of laquer, and allowed to dry in between. The lacquer itself lifted some of the paint off, giving them a lovely aged shabby chic / vintage finish.
Another favourite craft accessory of mine is Hammerite smooth white spray paint. This is great for touching up grubby bits of garden metal but also for spraying over rusty metalwork for a clean finish. Just rub off any loose paint and give it as many coats as you need, allowing to dry in between. Here’s what I did with a very rusty plant stand:
Above: I’ve restored this plant stand with Hammerite smooth white spray paint.
Again, the stand wasn’t intended for outdoors but the Hammerite sees to that. The buckets and watering can have been coated with several thin coats of Hycote Clear Lacquer to make them waterproof. I hammered some holes in those little buckets for drainage before putting plants in them.
Be careful using spray paint – follow precautions as you musn’t inhale it.
Above: Scabiosa in pots from Heritage Garden Pottery (bought from the garden centre)
Have you completed any shabby chic garden projects? I’d love to hear your ideas!