© Stephie McCarthy

Tole Painting the Kitchen Door
with Embroidery Motifs

( or, how we hacked tole painting with a photo editing program )

by Stephie McCarthy

Toll Painted Door Stephie McCarthy

Renovating our 200 year old house is a lot of dirty, tedious work …
pulling down ceilings, mucking out barns … and we do mean "muck".
Now and then we do something frivolous just to keep spirits up.

Toll Painted Door Stephie McCarthy

That's why we "tole painted" this kitchen door, even though
the room inside looks like a garage instead of a kitchen.
One day it'll match the prettiness inside, or so we hope!

Closeup Toll Painted Door Stephie McCarthy

Our skills with a paint brush are NOT master-level … more like
faux-master level. But with a few painterly tricks and a
photo-editing program, we hacked this project. Here are
a few of the tricks we used!

Toll painting hack1 Stephie McCarthy

We started by give the door new chalky colors as a base.
Black is a great color to use behind tole painting, so we
used that where ever the art would be painted.

Embroidery Art from Pinterest

The plan was to use embroidery motifs for the designs rendered
in paint instead of thread. Embroidery motifs are simplistic but
fanciful. We found a ton of them on Pinterest

Now the trick was to transfer the motifs from the computer
to the black spaces on the door.

Toll painting hack2 Stephie McCarthy

We used Photoshop to make our patterns, and you can do the
same with any photo editing program. We started with a canvas
that was the exact dimensions of one of the panels: about
4" x 21" which we filled with a black background.

Pansy Motif Toll Painting Stephie McCarthy

Then we took screen captures of beautiful motifs like this pansy
above and fitted onto the black background, adding other flowers,
duplicating and flipping as needed to fill the space.
These do not need to be perfect because the art will be traced
onto your surface and hand-painted.

Toll painting hack4 Stephie McCarthy

We didn't want to waste a lot of ink printing out our
patterns, so we used "Invert" and "Desaturated" to make
the black and white pattern. You can make your
patterns anyway that works for you … remember, these
are only used for tracing .

Toll painting hack3 Stephie McCarthy

Photoshop let us print the patterns as "tiles" that we could tape together.
You could also used the BlockPosters.com site to make a pattern
larger than your printer can do in one print. Tape it together
then coat the back with light colored chalk or using tracing paper
to transfer the pattern to your project.

Toll painting hack5 Stephie McCarthy

Each of our patterns had some blue chalk on the back. After
taping the patterns in place, we traced the motifs onto the
door which left the design outlined in chalk, ready to paint!

Toll Painting tricks and tips

This trick will make your tole painting go much more smoothly
if your a beginning like us! Paint all your designs in white paint
first! Then let this dry before working in color on top!

Toll painting hack6 Stephie McCarthy

And boy oh boy, were we ready for color! To make a nice harmonious
job of your project, it's a good idea to use some of the same
colors over and over again to link everything together.

Toll painting hack7 Stephie McCarthy

But beyond that tip, what we recommend is playing with lots of
layers and colors and remember you can always erase with a
bit of flat black paint. We let our design dry then cleaned up
all the edges with black paint so everything looked nice and crisp.

Toll painting hack8 Stephie McCarthy

As you can see what out painting skills lack in perfection, we make
up for in enthusiasm!

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