Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Personalized Vintage Crate

A final picture of the finished vintage crate! 

A close-up of the graphic I chose and edited from The Graphics Fairy a great site full of amazing vintage and antique graphics.  You should check it out!  My tricks for creating a custom graphic:

1.  Find a fairly simple graphic (or a complex one, but be prepared to spend many hours tracing the pattern and filling it in!)

2. Add text using Microsoft Word (or other word processing program).  I used MS Word and put in text boxes with the personalized names (Shedden and Jones, as well as the '&' sign placed in the sheep).  I'm sure you could also use Photoshop or some such thing...I just don't have it!

 3.  Choose "Select All' in Word and then 'Copy'.  Open MS Paint (or other basic drawing program) and 'paste' the image into Paint.  'Save As' a JPEG or PNG file (this is the important part - you need to save the image as a JPEG or PNG file so that you can do step #4). 

4.  Go to Block Posters an amazing site that allows you to upload any picture file and create a 'poster' version spanning multiple pages.  This site is great for blowing up graphics you want to include on custom pieces of furniture (like chairs, tables, dressers, boxes etc).  I've even seen it used on textiles. 

I used 'liquid chalk' pens to write on chalk boards for our wedding.
5.  Print out your image (I used 2 pages, 'portrait' orientation) and then cut out around the image.  Usually I rub the back of my image with a graphite stick (available in most art stores for about $2-$5 and lasts forever!), but since I was working with a darker background, I used a chalk pen this time.  You can find chalk pens at arts & craft stores or order some off of Ebay (like I did). 

6.  Position your image on your piece of furniture etc. and then tape it, face up, so it doesn't move - I use green painter's tape because it comes off easily when I am finished. 

7.  Use a ballpoint pen or other stylus-type tool and trace over all parts of the graphic.  I like to do this in one sitting so that I don't make any mistakes or forget any areas.  I keep my graphic afterwards in case I need to use it for reference.

8.  When you are done tracing, remove the graphic and tape.  You will see an outline of your graphic (either in graphite/pencil or in white chalk).  You can now paint/draw over this with either a small paint brush, paint pen, or even permanent marker.  I like to use a variety of permanent markers because I can get them for cheap inexpensively at the Dollar Store!  Plus, it's a lot easier to use permanent markers than it is to use a paint brush - and I even have a good eye and steady hand!  I recommend using either paint or permanent markers.  No one will know (unless you tell them in a blog!) and it speeds up the process.

9.  If you want to achieve a more 'aged' look to your graphic, you can sand it with fine sandpaper once it has dried.  I did this with the shabby chic French coffee tables, to the right, and then dry brushed over them with some white paint as well.  Depending on where your graphic is, you may want to wax or polyurethane over the top to give some protection.  I didn't do this step on my vintage crate because it's a more rough-and-tumble piece.

10.  Clean up and admire your handiwork (and then brag about it on a blog!)  *final step is optional*


  1. is it the clean-up that's optional?? lol...I know, just the bragging.

  2. No, clean up is totally optional. I skip it all the time. ;) [Seriously]