If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m a big fan of all kinds of embellishments. But today I’m highlighting the one that can make you look like an artist – floral transfers for furniture.
I failed to get a before picture of this side table, but it’s part of a set with this buffet that is still in my unfinished inventory. So you can get an idea of what it looked like.
Here are the supplies I used.
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- Side table (thrifted)
- White Lightning
- Gray BOSS
- Mason Dixon Gray
- Used on the transfer: Driftwood, Plum Crazy, Aubergine & Collard Greens
- Buds & Branches transfer
- Black glaze
- Artist brushes
- Coffee Bean
- Voodoo Gel Stain in Tobacco Road
- Clear coat satin
- Gilding waxes in Zinc and Silver on hardware
If you want tons of information on Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this Comprehensive Guide post (newly updated for 2022), and you can download it free here by clicking the picture. I also have a free guide to painting your kitchen cabinets with Dixie Belle paint.
I began by cleaning the piece really well with White Lightning and rinsing it from any cleaning residue with clear water. The side table was in great shape and didn’t need any repairs, but I did want to prime because the lacquer on it was quite shiny and slippery. For this, I did one coat of gray BOSS.
Then I gave it 2 coats of Mason Dixon Gray. This color has a distincly lavendor undertone that I thought would pair well with the floral transfer. Then I waited 24 hours to let the paint dry thoroughly before adding my transfer.
Floral Transfers for Furniture
There are quite a few floral transfers for furniture on the market. I’ve used 3 different brands, and they all have their own unique strengths and challenges. I’d recommend choosing the design you like, and then learning how to work with that brand. If you can start with a small decor project first, that will help you get a feel for it.
The transfers I’ve worked with most are Dixie Belle. I thought it might be helpful to look at them all together to see which ones you like. Here is their selection of FLORALS at the time of publishing this post.
1.Cacti & Succulents
2.Cotton & Eucalyptus
3.Field of Flowers
6.Birds & Branches
7.Evergreen and Holly
13.Wildflowers & Butterflies
I’ll link the projects I’ve used these transfers on at the end of this post. Here’s what I’ve learned about Dixie Belle transfers after using them many times:
- apply them straight onto the paint without any top coat
- they are durable; you don’t have to worry about them being too fragile or breakable
- they transfer relatively easily; you won’t be rubbing forever
- some of them are designed as one big design to go across your whole piece, but others are smaller pieces you can put together however you’d like (Note: you can deconstruct the big ones as well)
- you can paint over them to cover imperfections, or fill in the black & white designs if desired; they should always be sealed with clear coat or wax
Applying a Transfer over Curves
This is the curviest surface I’ve ever decided to put a transfer on. I’m not going to sugar coat it; it was not for the faint of heart!
If you want absolute perfection, I’d suggest figuring out how to measure and pre-cut each section. For example, one section for the bottom of the drawer beneath the moulding, one section over the moulding, one section inside the moulding, etc. I did not pre-cut, so I did get some tears.
I removed both drawers and stood them up on the ground, so I could lay the transfer down over them exactly where I wanted it. I peeled back the white paper backing about an inch and started rubbing it on.
Then I did this again, inch by inch. If I was able to cut off any clear sheet or white paper backing as I went to make my job easier, I did so. It’s a slow process that requires a lot of patience. What you see on this piece took me a couple hours to do.
Inevitably, there were some issues with the transfer application, but I’m going to share how you can fix those.
Folds & Creases – First try to smooth it out. I find this is most effective with a piece of the plastic that the transfer comes on. It’s less likely to damage it than your finger or fingernail. Burnish (rub) the area with the plastic.
If your transfer folds over on itself and creates a bump that can’t be smoothed out, gently sand off the bump with a high grit sand paper. Then fix the design by hand painting.
Air Bubbles – You can pierce the air bubble with a small pin, and then burnish as described above.
Tears – Fix the design by hand painting. You don’t have to be an artist to do this! Choose paint colors that match or are similar; adjust the color as needed on the piece by blending in white, black or another color. That’s what I did on this piece – can you tell?
If it’s a big tear or area where the transfer wouldn’t rub on, cut out the size needed from another section of transfer and use it to cover the mistake or blank area. With random designs like florals, this is easy.
Using Black Glaze as a Lowlight
I could have stopped there with the paint and transfer, but I think the details are what separate pretty pieces from scroll-stopping gorgeous pieces. A one-color finish can be pretty, but when you have highlights and lowlights and dimension, hello gorgeous!
To get that color variation and dimension, I added black glaze. First, though, I added a coat of satin to protect the paint job. That way if my glaze got somewhere I didn’t want it, it would wipe off easily.
I brushed the glaze on in small sections using a small brush, and wiped it off with a shop towel. You can wipe off as much or as little as you want depending on the look you’re going for. I just wanted the black down in the crevices.
Once the glaze was dry, I added a second coat of Satin Clear Coat to the whole piece for the protection and sheen.
Coffee Bean Painted Top
The painted finish I added to the top is a favorite of mine, and it’s so simple. It consists of 2 coats of Coffee Bean, a dark brown paint. When that’s dry, I add a streaky coat of Tobacco Road Voodoo Gel Stain (which is water-based) over that using a chip brush.
It gives it a little variation, without trying to be a full-on faux wood look.
Lastly, I gave the original hardware a new look with Zinc and Silver gilding waxes. I brushed on the Zinc for full coverage, and then used my finger to hit the high points with Silver.
The new drop pulls in the top drawer were purchased at Hobby Lobby years ago, so I’m not sure if they still have them. If you enjoyed learning about floral furniture transfers, please Pin!
Here are those other floral transfer projects I promised you – feel free to check them out!