Art and Decoration for Town and country Homes

Redecorating Homes With Paint

DOROTHY G. BELL May 1 1924
Art and Decoration for Town and country Homes

Redecorating Homes With Paint

DOROTHY G. BELL May 1 1924

Redecorating Homes With Paint

Art and Decoration for Town and country Homes


WITH the advent of bright spring days, warm sunshine and long evenings, there comes to every housewife the urge to clean up, brush up, paint up — a craving to see things about her home bright and fresh and clean. After the long weary winter months the rooms have perhaps become drab and dull. And a cry for something new and different _goes forth from the family. It is not, however, every housewife who can afford to tear the house inside out, re-decorate and re-furnish from top to bottom simply to satisfy a craving for something new, but nevertheless in this modern day, it is not necessary for the occupants of any house to suffer from monotony.

With the intelligent use of paint and varnish materials on little things about the house, a wonderful opportunity exists to give the home a new pleasing, harmonious and distinctive atmosphere. There are always many articles which do not exactly correspond with the present or new scheme of decoration—a little out of date perhaps—and these may be refinished in appropriate modern effects by the use of a little common sense, mixed with a little good paint.

If one contemplates sprucing up the interior of the house with paint, it is a wise idea to begin with the walls and follow the method of decoration from them, for the walls must possess a certain amount of interest, or the room will appear bare whatever else is done.

In considering the degree of interest, the walls of a room should show that it is necessary to decide whether the walls function as a back ground, or whether they are to be a special feature of interest, and require coloring and designing accordingly. The size of the room decides for the decorator how fine or how coarse the effect of the wall treatment may be. The small room appears much smaller with large figures leaping out from every wall, while a large room appears larger and plainer if the texture applied to the wall is too fine or too close. Where furniture is to be placed directly against the wall, however, there should be no figuration on the wall that would destroy the outline or balance of the furniture.

Painting With a Sponge

DERHAPS one of the 'most effective wallpaint decorations is the stipple design. This is done by a foundation color over.which is printed a lace work pattern, produced by printing the stipple color on to the wall with a sponge.

The sponge is used very much in the manner of 'a rubber stamp and, like a stamp, will print whatever its printing surface happens to be. The bottom of the sponge is the surface to_ use for stippling, and it should be trimmed off by slicing with a knife. Before doing this, wash the sponge out carefully first and allow it to dry hard. It can then be cut very easily with a large knife. It is_ wise, just before using the, sponge for stippling, to wring it out after soaking it in clean water and then to use it slightly damp.

The foundation color should consist parts of fiat tone paint and mixing size—that is if the walls are new. Hard, smooth plaster requires about one-quarter to one-third part of mixing size. The first coat should be allowed to ary for twenty-four hours before a second coat is applied. As a rule two coats will ,e sufficient, but it is occasionally

necessary to supply a third coat in order to obtain a good solid covering. The stipple colors should be chosen carefully either to blend or contrast with the foundation paint. Then apply it with the sponge in the following manner:

Pour some of the stipple color out on a board and rub the bottom of the dampened sponge into this, seeing that the bottom of the sponge is thoroughly covered. Then tap on a dry paper until the sponge appears fairly moist. It is then ready to stipple on the wall. Having too much paint in the sponge will make a dauby print, while using the sponge too dry will produce an uneven print and one that is too light.

It is a wise precaution to practise daubing the sponge on a piece of board first, in order to decide upon the quantity of paint to use and the weight of the touch that will assure the best results. Where two or more stipple colors are to be used, stipple the first color over the entire" wall. Clean-out the sponge and stipple the second color directly over the

the decoration, and the pictures correspond with the furniture.

How to Enamel

CHAIRS permit of many pleasing methods of decoration, depending upon their style, the corresponding furnishings and the preference of the owner. For instance—chairs of the light, daintilyconstructed type may be finished in gold or aluminum, or in dainty pink, blue, grey or ivory enamel, to harmonize with the complete decoration. Large arm chairs and morris chairs, may be finished with different stains, while wicker chairs may be finished with enamel, varnish stain or clear varnish.

Probably in no other type of finishing is the importance of the preliminary coat and the preparation of the surface quite so apparent as in enamelled finish. In order to obtain a good result, the old finish must be removed with a paint remover, and the surface washed with benzine. The wood should then be

first. Some astonishingly artistic effects are to be obtained from this method.

Every decorated room should have some focal point of interest—some object or surface design in which the principal colors of the room are gathered together. One of the simplest methods of supplying this in -the average room which has relatively simple woodwork baseboard is the stencil border pattern. This is something quite unusual in the way of paint decoration, but is something which is quite easily done, by painting over a cut stencil pattern.

, With the repainting of the walls, the whole interior atmosphere has been changed. It will then be necessary to make the furniture harmonize with

given a thin coat of shellac, as any particle of stain remaining in the wood might come through any number of enamel coats, thus discoloring the finish. The enamel should be applied freely and, quickly— brushing with the grain of the wood. After that it should be brushed lightly across the grain of the wood as this will drag the color over any spot missed the first time, and also help to distribute the color evenly over the surface. If there is too much enamel, this will take up the surplus, which would otherwise result in what is known as “sagging.” Then the surface should be brushed again with the grain of the wood. Unless the enamel has been used too heavy in body, this process will produce the smoothest possible job.


To refinish woodwork and furniture, previously painted or varnished, there are two methods of procedure. The first is to clean j the surface and start over again.; the second is to cover the old finish with a solid color and to build the ' final color upon this.

There are many surfaces about ¡the house where either the condition or ¡.the quality of the wood will not permit .the use of a natural varnish . finish—an old time floor, for instance, badly marred and discolored, or perhaps previously,painted. Chairs, tables for the kitchen, breakfast room or verandah too, will not take, it, and old woodwork which needs brightening up. These surfaces may be treated with a stain and varnish effect.

There are two types of rubbed finishing —the dull, rubbed effect and the high polish. The first process uses powdered pumice stone and rubbing oil. The second process calls for the powdered purhice stone and water. To get the dull rubbed polish, the regular rubbing oil, such as supplied by any paint or hardware store, or any good sewing machine oil will do. The powdered pumice stone, or any other used, should be placed in any convenient open dish, so that the cloth moistened with oil may be dipped into it. A heavy piece of rubbing felt, one or two inches thick, should be the best and easiest to use, although a soft cloth, formed into a pad, will do for small jobs.

Usually it takes not more than approximately six or eight strokes over each portion of the surface, to cut the gloss and give a satisfactory dull finish. The rubbing should always be done with the grain of the wood. The surface should not be rubbed with too heavy a pressure as the pumice and oil naturally soften the varnish, and a too heavy pressure will cut right through.

When rubbing a table or a panel, it is always best to do the entire length in one stroke, as this will avoid any possibility of a patchy appearance.

It is possible for the amateur to secure a high polish on good pieces of furniture with a certain amount of success, but it is a risky undertaking and consequently should be done by a person who makes a specialty of such work.

There are three rules in successful painting: proper application; thorough mixing of the paint; and the right brushes. In order to mix the paint the package should first be shaken violently—then pour off into another pail at least two-thirds of the vehicle that has risen above the pigment. Then stir the pigment and remaining oil with a strong, smooth stick, and do this until the mass is smooth and entirely uniform throughout. Then return the surplus vehicle a little at a time until all has again been added, and pour it back and forth from one pail to another until it has become thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Paint should always be stirred to an even and creamy consistency immediately before and during application. Plenty of “elbow grease” should be used to brush the paint well into the pores of the wood and to spread it into a thin coat. It is better to have paint brushed out too thin than to apply thick, heavy coats which may look better temporarily, as the latter will not dry thoroughly and is likely to crack.

To ensure good results on new or very spongy surfaces, three coats should always be applied. Sufficient pure, raw linseed oil should be added to the first and second coats to fill the wood properly and

to leave enough oil to bind the pigments thoroughly. Some turpentine also should be added to the first and second coats, especially in the case of new surfaces which are hard and resinous. For old work previously painted, two coats should always be applied—three are better. On surfaces which are hard equal parts of turpentine and pure linseed oil should be used in reducing the paint to a thin consistency to secure penetration. A first coat should never be applied without some turpentine in it.

First Coat the Best

THE idea that any old paint will do for the first coat since it is covered over anyway is absolutely wrong—in fact just the opposite is true—the priming coat is the foundation which is applied directly to the wood and consequently is most important because the subsequent coats are dependent upon it.

Another important thing is to clean the surface thoroughly before starting any painting or varnishing. If this is not done, the quality of result will not be of the highest standard and peeling and cracking are apt to occur in a very short time.

Good brushes and the right kinds of brushes are very necessary for good results. A poor brush often spoils an otherwise good job, and it is practically impossible to avoid showing brush marks with a worn out or stiff, hard brush.

and also the lettered name on each Even the handle of the potato masher, the pancake turner and things of that sort were given a blue and black, which lent the kitchen a very artistic touch.

On the floor, which was made of oldfashioned wide oak boards, was a shiny bright coat of varnish, which seemed to put the finishing touch to the whole room.

Painting seems to most housekeepers a messy job—but if it is gone about in the right way, it isn’t much worse than making a cake or a salad dressing. It is not necessary to do the work in a dusty wood-shed or a damp basement. Painting can be done wherever it is most handy.

To catch a possible drop, lay down a newspaper. Often newly-painted things stay sticky for a great length of time, but that is usually prevented by being

Brushes are made in many different sizes and shapes—flat, round, oval, square, rounded, pointed and chisel shapes—each has its purpose. In some brushes the bristles are set in glue, in some they are set in cement, and others in rubber. Glue set brushes should never be left standing in water, as this loosens the bristles. Cement set brushes should not be used in any finish that contains alcohol, such as shellac, as this will loosen the bristles, too.

Paint brushes should never be stood on end. When finished with for the day, they should be laid in a pail of water. When the work is completed, they should be cleaned thoroughly with-turpentine, benzine or gasoline. A varnish or enamel brush should never be cleaned in anything but turpentine and a shellac brush in any cleanser in alcohol. After the brushes have been well cleaned, they should be washed in soap and water and dried with a cloth.

There is no room in the house that responds as joyfully to a fresh coat of paint as the kitchen. The paint to go on the kitchen wall should always be a light, bright, cheery color. If this is done and the shelves, table, chairs, refrigerator and all the cans for holding rice, raisins, nuts, coffee, etc., are painted in some bright contrasting color, the kitchen will always carry a fresh happy atmosphere and it will naturally make the dull drudgery that is tobe done there, lighter and easier.

One of the neatest, prettiest kitchens I have ever been in was finished in a cheery yellow—that is the wall background was yellow, and the woodwork white enamel. The shelves, tables, chairs, etc., were also finished in white and the cans and racks were given two coats of blue-bird blue. To give contrast the tops of the cans were male black.

sure that all the grease is removed from the piece to be painted, by washing with ammonia water.

If paint gets on the windows when painting the sash, it is easily removed by using a little hot acid vinegar on it, or after it has dried it may be scraped oil with a safety-razor blade.

If the painter has made a mess of the job and spilled the paint on her rugs or clothing, the stain may be taken out with benzine, turpentine or gasoline. Saturate a cloth with whatever fluid is to be used and rub the spot hard. It is a good idea to put a piece of blotting-paper under the spot so that it will absorb the fluid and keep it from spreading. For very fine garments it is usually best to use alcohol. It is more difficult, of course, to remove paint after it has become dry. In this case the only hope is to use a paint or varnish remover guaranteed not to injure the clothing.

Housewives will find it a good plan to rub a little vaseline on the hands before beginning a paint job, for it will keep the paint from penetrating the skin. Paint on the hands can be removed by washing them first in turpentine and then in hot soap and water.

All high class interior painting work, fine pieces of furniture and other similar objects, should be painted by an experienced decorator or finisher, and all major outside painting jobs should undoubtedly be done by a practical painter who will bt able to achieve the best possible results However, in addition to the larger opera tion of painting and decorating, there an many opportunities in the home, transform dark corners into bright spots renew marred and scarred woodwork o furniture, refinish a worn floor, beautify an unsightly wall, repaint the pore! furniture, and the judicious use of a litt)

thought, k very little expense and a little paint will accomplish wonders in this direction.

Some Painting “Don’ts”

DON’T forget that “elbow grease" must be used to spread any paint out into thin coats and to brush it well into the pores of the wood.

Don’t leave paint uncovered over night. Don’t leave brushes in paint, stain or varnish.

Don’t thin paint or clean brushes near a flame.

Don’t fail to stir paint thoroughly. Don’t paint on a hot surface. In the Summer follow the shade and in the Spring and Fall follow the sun.

Don’t use cheap brushes.

Don’t use a new brush on a finishing coat. Break it in or\ the priming coat.

Don’t jam a brush into corners. It will spoil the brush.

Don’t put a bristle brush in lime or any compound containing lime.

Don’t use a paint brush as a duster.

Don’t keep brushes when not in use in a hot or dry place, as shrinkage of the block will cause the bristles to loosen and come out.

Don’t forget that varnish brushes should be cleaned with turpentine.

Don’t forget that shellac brushes should be cleaned with alcohol.

Don’t neglect to cover all knots or sappy places with shellac before starting to paint, or the resin from the wood will spoil the paint.

Don’t neglect to putty all nail holes and cracks after priming coat has been applied.

Don’t apply thick coats, especially the priming coats.

Don’t apply new paint over blistered paint without scraping or burning off the old finish.