Image Transfer Technique Using Graphite Paper

It doesn't take long reading my blog to figure out how much I love adding graphics to my furniture makeovers. They add that extra touch to the right piece. I'm often asked how I create them and each time I have to rack my brain (which ain't what it used to be) to remember what project post(s) I included a tutorial.

Well, that ends today.

I thought it was about time I wrote specific, easy to follow tutorials on my favorite image transfer techniques so they would be easy for you to find when needed. I'm starting with my all-time favorite image transfer technique using graphite paper.

Graphite Paper Image Transfer Technique

While it may look daunting, I promise you it's actually very relaxing. I go into a zone, like a meditative state, sometimes for hours lost in the process. I have been known to completely lose track of time and forget to eat, which speaks volumes because this gal likes to eat.

Image Transfer Technique Using Graphite Paper


  1. Download or design your own digital graphics. My favorite source for graphics is The Graphics Fairy where you can find hundreds of free graphics. 
  2. Print the graphic to fit the piece you're working on.
  3. To enlarge a graphic for larger pieces, create poster-size printables in Block Poster. You choose the size and it prints on multiple pages that you tape together.
  4. Slip a sheet of graphite paper (or carbon paper) behind the graphic.
  5. Line up the graphic onto your furniture and hold in place with low tack painter's tape. 
  6. Trace the graphic with a pen, pressing firmly to get a good transfer. Use a colored pen to make it easier to see where you have traced to avoid missing spots.
  7. Remove the template and tracing paper.
  8. With a fine or extra fine paint pen or script liner art brush and acrylic craft paint or chalk paint, slowly and carefully paint over the traced graphics. If you're using a script liner brush, you may want to practice first but it does get easier with time. I've included some helpful tips below.
  9. Once the paint/ink is completely dry (read product label) apply a protective finish.

Here are some helpful tips when using a script liner brush...

    • Tip 1: Don't load too much paint on the brush.
    • Tip 2: Play with the pressure applied to the bristles. The lighter the pressure, the thinner the line.
    • Tip 3: Avoid lifting the brush until needing to load more paint. 
    • Tip 4: Rest your wrist for more control and to steady a shaky hand. 

In my Large DIY Plank Wood Clock post, is an example of an enlarged poster size printed graphic transfer using this technique. The clock face was printed on 8 sheets of paper, taped together and cut accordingly.

Graphite Image Transfer Technique Enlarged Graphic

Graphite Image Transfer Technique Tracing

Traced graphic Graphite Image Transfer Technique

Painted Graphic Graphite Image Transfer Technique

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.

Materials List

Digital Graphic
Bond Computer Paper
Low Tack Painter's Tape
Red Pen
Graphite Paper
Fine or Extra Fine Paint Pens For Wood
Artist's Brushes
Acrylic Craft Paint or Chalk Paint

Here are some furniture makeovers where I used the graphite paper image transfer technique. Press the links under each photo to visit the posts.

Graphite Paper Image Transfer Technique Stool

Graphite Paper Image Transfer Technique Table

Graphite Paper Image Transfer Technique Desk

Graphite Paper Image Transfer Technique Bench

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest for easy reference.

Image Transfer Technique Using Graphite Paper
If you have any questions about this graphite paper technique, please leave them in the comment section or drop me an email by pressing the "Contact Me" button at the top of the blog.

You will find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

Read More

12 Fun Mid-Century Modern Furniture Makeovers

There was a time not long ago when I rolled my eyes at the resurgence of Mid-Century Modern Furniture. I'm dating myself by saying this but been there - done that - wore the groovy t-shirt.

Then my daughter-in-law (as of yesterday) (more about that soon) asked me to refinish a Mid-Century Modern Dresser from her childhood followed by a couple of tiered tables.

...and I wanted more.

Thus began my quest for finding MCM furniture - the pieces that have seen their better days and that I'm not devaluing with a paintbrush. I've transformed many since that first dresser and thought it might be fun to share a curated round-up of 12 Mid-Century Modern Furniture Makeovers with you today.

12 Mid Century Modern Furniture Makeovers

12 Mid Century Modern Furniture Makeovers

We'll start where it all began with my daughter-in-law's childhood dresser. I do have to apologize for the poor quality photo. It was taken in the very early days of the blog before I had my big girl camera.

MCM Map Dresser Makeover

It had been painted multiple bright colors but needed an adult makeover for their new home. Using a paint sprayer and various milk paint colors, I was able to give the dresser a faux stained wood look.
Mid Century Modern Map Dresser Makeover

MCM Tiered Teal Table Makeover

This is one of the two tables my daughter-in-law had me refinish next. Both the tiered end table and matching coffee table were light blonde wood with shiny arborite tops. I painted them both her favorite teal color and gave the tops a modern faux tin patina.
Mid-Century Modern Faux Tin Table Makeover

MCM Nightstand Makeover

One of my favorite combinations, that works with both farmhouse or mid-century modern furniture is dark walnut stain paired with pure white chalk paint. I had a little fun with some flower power stencils while I was at it.
Mid-Century Modern Nightstand

MCM Cedar Chest Makeover

This makeover didn't go without a hitch. I was thrilled with the results after I finished the makeover but when I came back in the workshop the following morning, I had one hot mess on my hands.
Mid-Century Modern Cedar Chest Makeover

MCM China Cabinet

Prior to this makeover had anyone told me I'd fall in love with the color mint, I would've told them never in a million years. The siding on our house is mint and I absolutely hate it. Then a client asked me to paint a hutch she inherited from her parents in the color mint. I was a little worried about this one but couldn't have been more happy with the results, and so was she.
Mid-Century Modern Mint China Cabinet Makeover

MCM Headboard Bench

Another client asked me if I could look for a mid-century modern headboard with clean simple lines that could be turned into an entry bench with shoe storage. Well, we found the perfect headboard set and I share a tutorial on how we turned it into that fabulous entry bench.
Mid-Century Modern Headboard Bench With Shoe Storage

MCM Bookcase Funky Bar

This bookcase was in very rough shape when I got it but thankfully still had the original glass sliding doors. I turned it into a bright and funky bar and was so happy to see it go to a young couple who just finished renovating their first home. FYI, that chevron back is not paper!
Mid-Century Modern Bar Makeover

MCM Metal Nesting Tables

Speaking of bright colors, here's another throw back from the 60's. I had so much fun giving these rusty old metal nesting tables a fun beach vibe. If I was lucky enough to have a pool, these would've stayed with me.
Mid-Century Modern Metal Nesting Table Makeover

MCM Knitting Box Table

To be totally honest, I had no idea what this little table was used for when I got it. I imagined it would be perfect for storing needlework when not in use and kept near a chair facing the television. It wasn't until after I posted the makeover that a reader informed me that in fact, that was exactly what these tables were used for.
Mid-Century Modern Knitting Box Table Makeover

MCM Record Cabinet

This little cabinet was pretty ugly when I picked it up. It still had some of the original wood slats for holding record albums upright but most were missing. I gave it a fun makeover with the intention of it being used as a home office credenza or storage in a craft or children's playroom. The gentleman who purchased it was using it for his record album collection. Dang, should've kept those slats!
Mid-Century Modern Record Album Cabinet

MCM Legless Cabinet Makeover

When Mr. Frugalista brought home this ugly banged up cabinet that had no legs I thought, "what the heck am I suppose to do with this". Obviously, he had faith that I'd find the perfect use for it and now that little cabinet is a gorgeous nightstand in the master bedroom. You've got to see the before picture to truly appreciate the after.
Mid-Century Modern Legless Cabinet Makeover

MCM Office Armchairs

When we acquired a pair of office vintage teak armchairs I knew instantly that they would get a bright and bold flower power makeover. I was thrilled when I found the most fitting retro print at a local fabric store. These chairs went to a young couple who were sourcing modern furniture pieces for their first home. There's a funny story that came with these chairs.
Mid-Century Modern Danish Armchair Makeover

It was such fun curating this round-up of Mid-Century Modern Furniture makeovers and my hope is that it inspired you to breath new life into pieces you may already have stored in the garage or basement and re-love them into your living space.

My plan is to do many more MCM pieces and focus on larger dressers, sideboards, stereo cabinets, and hopefully, more flower power upholstered chairs too.

I would so appreciate it if you shared this curated roundup with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.
12 Fun Mid-Century Modern Furniture Makeovers

Read More

Coastal Picture Frame Serving Tray

You can never have enough trays around the house, right?  Perfect for corralling interesting objects on tabletops and dressers. They're especially handy during the summer months to carry food and drink outdoors during family BBQ's. Today I'm sharing an easy way to repurpose an old picture frame into a picture frame serving tray.  This one said to heck with winter and went to the beach!

Coastal Picture Frame Serving Tray

A few years ago I made a fun chalkboard menu to hang on our DIY Outdoor Bar|Potting Bench. We used it for a couple of summers and then I forgot to store it in the shed one winter and this happened...

Picture Frame Serving Tray Before

The challenge this month for our Thrifty Chicks group is to repurpose a Frame. I have a lot of interesting frames kicking around that I've picked up here and there over the years but nothing jumped out at me from the pile.

When reaching to get something from a shelf in the workshop my eye caught a glimpse of the battered and now very dusty chalkboard menu. What I instantly saw wasn't a warped and weathered chalkboard but a wooden serving tray to use during the summer. Now all I need is a pool or better yet, a beach.

Picture Frame Serving Tray

Before I get into the details of how I turned the battered chalkboard menu into a picture frame tray, I should tell you a little about the Thrifty Chicks group. On the second Wednesday of every month, my creative junk loving friends and I come together to transform, upcycle or repurpose a junk find based on a theme. As I mentioned above, this month the theme is repurposing a frame.

Thrifty Chicks Monthly Themed Blog Hop

Coastal Picture Frame Serving Tray

DIY Picture Frame Serving Tray

I've included a Materials list towards the bottom of this post for your convenience.

Picture Frame Prep

Inspired by the chipping paint, I decided to work with it by removing the loose paint with 150 grit sandpaper and seal the remaining paint with a stain blocker/sealer that I had on hand.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Old Chippy Paint Sealed

Dry Brush Paint Technique

Not wanting to cover the sage green and primer red chippy paint colors, I applied light layers of mineral chalk paint using a dry brush paint technique.

To do this start with the darkest color, Peacock blue, and dip just the tips of an inexpensive chip brush into the paint and dab the excess onto a paper towel, so very little paint is left on the brush. Using long brush strokes with very little pressure on the brush,  let the paint hit the frame where it may. If you get too much paint in spots, wipe it off with a damp cloth.

After the first layer dries (mere minutes), repeat the above process with the next darker color, The Gulf and then the lightest color, Sea Glass. You can see in the photo below the original chippy paint with the added layers gives the frame a rustic and textured patina.

But we're not finished with the layers just yet...

Picture Frame Serving Tray Dry Brushed Paint Layers

Layers Of Glaze

To protect the frame and add more aging, apply two layers of colored glaze.

Glaze Tip: My preference when using glaze is to dip the chip brush in water first and remove the excess water onto a paper towel so the brush is damp but not soaked. 

Dip the tips of the brush into the dark Van Dyke Brown glaze, a little goes a long way, and apply it the same way you did the paint, letting it rest in all the dips and valleys of the frame. Wipe the excess with a paper towel or cloth. Next, apply the second Whitewash glaze in the same manner.

Pine Wainscot Tray Base

Knotty pine beaded wainscot from Home Depot is used to make the base of the tray. It adds a nice slat look to the tray and it's easy to cut.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Pine Wainscot

Cut the pieces to fit either vertically or horizontally on the tray using a miter saw. If power tools aren't your thing, you can cut them with an inexpensive miter box and hand saw (I've included a link in the materials list). I cut mine vertically and lucky for me, four full pieces fit the length of the tray perfectly without having to trim the boards.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Cut Pine Slats

Paint the slats before installation using the same Peacock, The Gulf, and Sea Glass paint colors (as pictured below). Add light layers of the Van Dyke Brown and Whitewash glaze once the paint is dry.

On the underside, the slats are all painted in the color Sea Glass, also with both colors of glaze.

Once dry, apply a thin bead of No More Nails Glue onto the tongues of each wood slat and glue them all together. They bond within minutes with this amazing glue.

Once the glue is completely dry, apply two thin coats of water repellent polyacrylic so there is no need to worry about spills on the tray. My favorite go-to water repellent polyacrylic is Gator Hide by Dixie Belle Paint Company.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Painted Slats

Tray Base Installation

Apply a bead of No More Nails glue along the underside of the frame.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Base Glue

Insert the slat base and add heavy weights to hold it down while the glue sets.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Slat Bottom Glued

Here is a close up of what they look like installed. Yup, that's a real seahorse my husband brought back from Hawaii 40 years ago.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Painted Slat Top

Sisal Rope Handles

Determine where the rope handles will go on each side of the frame. Find the center and measure two inches on either side and mark the spots. Repeat on the other side of the tray. With a drill and a 1/16" drill bit, drill a pilot hole on each mark.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Rope Handle Pilot Holes

Determine the thickness of the sisal twine rope and drill a hole approximately the same size (my drill bit is 5/16").

Picture Frame Serving Tray Rope Handle Holes

Thread the sisal rope through from the top and knot it on the underside. Create a handle approximately 7-inches long, thread it through the hole and tie in a knot. Repeat for the opposite side.

Picture Frame Serving Tray Sisal Rope Handles

As promised, here are the materials used to make this coastal picture frame serving tray.

Coastal Picture Frame Serving Tray Materials

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.

Materials List

Picture Frame
Knotty Pine Beaded Wainscot (3 1/16" wide slats)
LePage No More Nails Glue
Americana Stain Blocker|Sealer
Dixie Belle Mineral Chalk Paint in the colors Sea Glass, The Gulf, and Peacock
Dixie Belle Whitewash and Van Dyke Brown Glaze
Dixie Belle Gator Hide
Sisal Jute Rope

Tool List

Miter Saw or Miter Box and Saw Set
Pilot Hole 1/16" and 5/16" Drill Bits

Easy DIY Picture Frame Serving Tray

My hope is that I've inspired you to take a second look down the picture frame aisle at your local thrift store to give a picture frame serving tray a try. As I mentioned earlier, if power tools are not your thing, you can cut the wood slats with an inexpensive miter box and saw set. No hammer and nails required in the making of this serving tray.

Here is another Picture Frame Transformed Into A Tray that I made a few years ago. I kept the glass on the frame and added pretty paper underneath.

If you enjoyed this project please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.
Coastal Picture Frame Serving Tray Before and After

Please join me in visiting my friend's blogs to see what they did with these frames...
Thrifty Chicks Group Frame Challenge Before Photos
Update A Frame For Valentine's Day by Shoppe No. 5
Picture Frame Coastal Serving Tray (that's me)
A Frame Transformation + Vintage Button Valentine by Adirondack Girl At Heart
Upcycled Valentine Picture Frame by Little Vintage Cottage
Sheet Metal Frame by Lora B. Create & Ponder

You will find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

Read More

Talk Of The Town Party 110

Hey, there my sweet friends who come here each week to party with us! I'm going to be MIA from the party for the next three weeks as I take a break to attend my son's wedding. I'll be back partying with you again on March 13th but in the meantime, please visit one of our lovely hosts to link up your latest projects and/or recipes. 

I'll still be picking a DIY and Recipe favorite from this week's party for the hosts to share next week. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us this week. See you on March 13th! 

Welcome back to Talk of the Town!

Talk of the Town link party

First, let's take a look at what you may have missed from your party hosts!

Last Week At My Repurposed Life ToTT 110

Here's what we're talking about from last week's party!

Cherry Bars - Cravings Of A Lunatic

Modern Farmhouse Picture Frame - Salvage Sister & Mister
Strawberry Hand Pies - Cookie Dough And Oven Mitt
Now, it's your turn!
PLEASE NOTE – There are now *2* separate link ups; the first is for DIY/Vintage/Repurposed links and the second for recipes. Thank you!
By linking up at Talk of the Town, you agree that your photos may be used to promote the party, or in other round-ups.
***Please keep in mind that linking up with stock photography or using photos without express permission by the photo owner is not allowed. Links of stock photography or photos that are not owned by you will be removed without notification.***
TotT Something to talk about DIY|Vintage|Repurposed Links

Recipe Links

Read More