As I've mentioned before, I (along with everyone else in the design world, it seems!) am in LOVE with the blue and white thing happening. I've been slowly collecting vases and plates and platters of all kinds, mostly from antique shops, Goodwill (if I'm lucky), and some online auction sites like Everything But the House. My hunting has taught me that the name for many of these pieces is Chinoiserie.
It also seems to me that as soon as you attach the word Chinoiserie (pronounced chi-noi-ser-ie) to anything, it automatically quadruples in price! Which is why my collecting has been very slow and strategic. I can't be giving my husband ulcers over this stuff. :)
For awhile now I've been searching for a small Chinoiserie lamp to fit a quirky spot in our house. Until I find the perfect one, I've been using a rather ugly little lamp that just irritates me every time I look at it. Does that ever happen to you? It's the perfect size and scale for the space but the more I stare at it, the uglier it gets! Here it is (sorry so blurry but you get the idea):
Then, suddenly...inspiration! While I'm waiting for the perfect antique yet inexpensive Chinoiserie blue and white lamp to fall into my lap (that happens, right?), why not use a few old and faithful friends to spruce up my existing lamp?
Are you with me?
So first I needed some scrapbook paper or gift wrap in a classic blue and white pattern. Easy, right? I trekked all over town and all over the internet. Nothing. Seriously, I just needed a few sheets of this stuff and I figured the design trend was so hot right now, it'd be a cinch! Nope.
Finally, I stumbled upon this adorable Chinoiserie pumpkin done by Susan from Between Naps on the Porch.
She made this cutie herself after seeing something similar in Country Living and wrote a fabulous tutorial here. And you know where she got her scrapbook paper? A photocopier. Seriously!
So here's the part that is just blowing my mind with the possibilities: a good color copier can print any pattern you want (assuming you're not pirating it of course). Just take yourself to Kinkos or FedEx or wherever, bring an inspiration piece to be copied, like a flat piece of fabric, pages from a book, or (in my case), email them a PDF of a design you like. Then here's the key: have them make a color photocopy using a digital laser printer (not ink jet, which I think is what most of us have in our basements!). A laser printer will make sure that the pretty colors on your paper won't run when you start working with the Mod Podge. Also, I found that a slightly heavier weight paper was more like the weight of scrapbook paper and was great to work with (my FedEx Office guy called it 32 lb. weight).
I was able to find some beautiful digital scrapbook paper from a shop on Etsy (link here if you'd like it for yourself!), and for less than $5 I got an instant download of six .jpg files. Six gorgeous Chinoiserie prints to choose from! I converted them to PDFs (although I think it would have been just as easy to print as .jpgs), emailed them to my local shop, hustled myself over to pick them up and within 20 minutes I had these in my hot little hands:
So now back to my lamp.
First I gave it a quick coat of paint so nothing would bleed through. White paint over the parts to be covered with the paper. Gold paint for the parts where I was going to put Rub-n-Buff.
Next I applied the Rub-n-Buff (in Grecian Gold) and cut my scrapbook paper to fit. I glued it on with a few layers of Mod Podge (under the paper and two layers on top). Then...patience while the whole thing dried.
Let me zoom in just a bit.
Even I, the Queen of Mod Podge, am surprised at how well this turned out! I hoped for something that would just look better than it did before (not hard to do). But I really think I'd be drawn to this lamp if I saw it in a shop today, not just because I rescued it from ugly!
Even getting up very close, the colors are crisp and clean. No bleeding at all. I'm telling you. Laser printer. A revelation.
Who am I kidding? This discovery doesn't mark the end of my Chinoiserie hunt. The thrill of the chase, right? Ha! But it's a fun and inexpensive way to copy a look that I know many of us love.
Have a great weekend!