Tutorial: Hand-Painted Tribal Print Foot Stool


Yesterday I wrote about the inspiration behind the vintage foot stool that I painted with tribal patterns this weekend.  It all began with this beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder stool that I bought at a church rummage sale.


Once I had decided to go for the hand-painted tribal pattern, I headed to Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft with coupons in hand to pick up my supplies.  Because I wanted the pattern to look hand-drawn, I picked out some white Sharpie paint pens.  While in the craft paint aisle, the Martha Stewart Metallic Acrylic Craft Paint caught my eye.  What project couldn’t be improved by a little bling?  So I picked out a small bottle in gold.  (The ruler and craft paint brush are from my stash.)


To begin painting, I measured the height and width of one side of my stool.  I played around with these measurements until I came up with an arrangement that I liked.  I knew that I wanted to incorporate the stitching on the sides as part of the “pattern”, so I made sure to take that into account.  Once I had my spacing figured out, I used the ruler to draw lines on one side with the paint pen.


From that point, I just started drawing.  With each “row”, I doodled on a notebook to arrive at the design I wanted to use.  I then used my width measurements to decide how I wanted to space the pattern for each row.


As you can see from each of these photos, I made mistakes.  The beauty of this project, though, is that mistakes added to the hand-drawn look that I wanted to achieve.  Before you think “Yeah, right!”, let me assure you that I am usually a card-carrying color-between-the-lines kind of girl.  What was so awesome about this project, is that I was able to let my left brain and right brain play well together.  There was measuring and math, but there was also scribbling and oops, how do I fix that creative design.


Because I wanted the top of the stool to look good from any perspective, I decided to use a god eye pattern.  (Take that evil eye!)  After drawing the lines, I started to wonder what the stool would have looked like if I had drawn modern linear designs on each side instead.  That took about two seconds, and then I remember that I have plenty of mod going on in my living room.  What I need is more sexy 1970s ethnic texture.


 Happily, the paint from the paint pens dried quickly; it was dry to the touch within minutes.  With each row, I was careful not to paint more heavily in one area than another.  I wanted the paint to allow some of the background color through to provide shading.  At times, I would get a big dot of paint at the border of a row.  To resolve this issue, I would trace back over the entire line to give the row a clean edge.  Once the white paint was completely dry on each side, I went back over some select shapes with the metallic gold acrylic paint.  For the gold, I used a stiff brush with a straight edge, and I applied light coats.  Again, I wanted some of the white to show through the gold paint.


I did not apply a protective coating over the paint when I was finished.  I want the pattern to wear a little as I use it, to give it more texture.  If I get to the point where it is “worn” enough, I will investigate a clear coat that will protect the paint on the vinyl surface.  Any suggestions?


Here is the little guy in place in my living room.  I think of him as the Little Stool That Could.

Also, a note regarding the 365 Project.  When I decided to begin blogging as a product of participating in the 365 Project with Elsie from A Beautiful Mess, I decided to use Instagram as my sole source of photographs.  Some of you may have noticed that the photos in this post do not all use the same filter.  I posted many of these as part of my daily 365 Project snapshots, and I forgot from one day to the next which filter I used.  Next time I will remember to write down what I used, so that I can be more consistent.  Lesson learned.

Also, if you are visiting from The Inspiration Board link party spotlight~89~, the Brooklyn Berry Designs blog featureCreative Reader Projects No. 186Liz Marie Blog, Nest Design Studio, Give Me the Goods {features #4}Love It & List It {link party #9}, or Dandelion Wishes Wednesday #2, WELCOME!  I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

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46 thoughts on “Tutorial: Hand-Painted Tribal Print Foot Stool

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  5. Calli

    Wow this is a wonderful transformation! Your paint job is wonderful, I doubt I could get my lines as straight. Great job and thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. annumography Post author

      I’m thinking that I will post an update in a few months. Worst case scenario, if I don’t like the wear I can touch up the paint and the protect it with a clear coat. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Sherry

    WOW!!!!… Love your ability to see this stool with such a creative eye and totally transform it like magic.
    I’m so impressed and inspired now. My first time here and i’m definitely a follower now!.

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  13. Crystal @ 29 Rue House

    Hi Karen! I just stopped by from dwellinggawker and I LOVE what you did! At first I thought it was fabric and then I looked through your post! I’m so impressed your with your line drawing skills!!

    P.S. I just did a sharpie project too (on a rug) and I’m originally from Columbus, IN!

    1. annumography Post author

      Thanks Crystal! I love your rug…tried to post a comment, but I’m not sure I succeeded. It may be a problem on my end with blocked cookies too. Go Hoosiers!

    1. annumography Post author

      Thanks! Even though I finished this project a couple months ago, it is still one of my favorites. I use the stool every day, and the paint is holding up like a champ.

  14. Amber

    You are my pick for features this week! I am so in love with this little stool! Thank you so much for sharing with us at the Give Me The Goods Monday!!

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