French Typography on a “Plain Jane” Table

French Typography Table Design

I know this sounds goofy but when we are out thrifting and I see a piece of furniture it “speaks” to me. Hmmm….I’m not crazy, really I’m not. The furniture presents itself in such a way that I can imagine a design on it. A lonely, broken down table might have the curves and ornamentation to suggest a lovely and evolved floral painting.

French Table Before

This table spoke to me and I listened.

I have many pieces in our stockpile that have spoken to me. I saw a table and chairs set that I thought would be excellent with large, oversized graphic flowers on it. It is sitting in the shed waiting for the creative couple negotiation when we discuss, thrash, pick and compromise until we have a color scheme, design and direction for the pieces. We don’t always end up following through on our original intentions, sometimes we totally change our minds, but we almost always have some idea of what me MIGHT do with a piece. So, if the furniture speaks to us and if the price is right we buy it. Well, almost always…

I honestly don’t know why I bought our feature piece for this post. I saw the piece at a yard sale and it said nothing to me. It’s lines were decent, it was basically sound although cosmetically rough, and the price was excellent but it was BLAH. BORING. UNINSPIRING. But, what the heck do I know. I bought it and it sat….and sat…..and sat…..for years. I just couldn’t get excited for it.

French Typography Table Before

French Typography Table Before 2

In the years that the table gathered dust in our shed, I evolved and my tastes changed. I became very interested in all things French including French typography. At that point I stumbled across a wonderful blog, The Graphics Fairy, which made my love of French Typography much easier. This wonderful blog has great downloadable French Typography (as well as many other types of wonderful graphics) that is excellent for furniture, pillows, vases, etc. You need to check it out. I decided I was going to do a series of furniture that featured a combination of my art skills and French Typography.

I needed a piece of furniture for my maiden voyage in to French Typography and had the perfect piece in mind but, darn it, Cathy had a different plan for that piece of furniture. We spat, quipped and blathered, both of us wanting to use this certain piece for our own plan. She won!


Keep posted for the future of this piece as it WON’T be a piece used with my Frenchy plans. Dang. But I promise you it is a great transformation,

So, back to the furniture pile. And there it was…my boring, bland, bluck table, there after all of these years. And guess what, IT SPOKE TO ME. Finally, after all of these years of silence it spoke to me, or I was ready to hear what it had to say. It said, a simple piece of furniture with clean lines will put the focus on the design and not on the furniture piece. This was exactly what I needed for my French Typography piece. So I uncovered it, dusted it, photographed it and designed for it.

Our design is a combination of French Typography and objects from Graphics Fairy which we resized and adjusted to fit our table.

French Typography Table Design

Usually I free hand my painting but with a piece like this, the lettering is all important and I wanted to make sure that the placement and shapes of the letters were dead on. So we created this design using Cathy’s techniques of creating lettering for an object.

I also added a scroll design of my own. Once again, I like to freehand scrolls but these scrolls were symmetrical so I needed to be super accurate so I pre drew the pattern.

French Typography Scrolls

I decided to base the table with a toned white knowing that I would further “age” the piece with some other forms of distressing. I also decided to paint the design in a mix of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna creating a lot of interest in the form of the crown and lettering with varying levels of transparency. This is where the painting skill is important. This design could also be based in solidly but it is much more interesting with the different transparencies. After the piece was painted I then decided to further distress with a dry brushing technique. This provided the perfect look.

French Typography Table 3

French Typography Table 5

French Typography Table 4

Now my boring, blah, blando table is one of my favorites. I just love it. The table is elegant, the design is lovely and it all works together. So, for whatever reason, I am so glad that we bought this table. I guess the moral of the story is, listen to your gut, even if your brain is silent…

Until next time,


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