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 Simple Trompe L'Oeil: 20 Stylish Projects Using Stencils and Faux Finishes

Trompe l'oeil paint effects are among the most stunning and effective decorative treatments for walls, furniture and objects. The daunting idea of creating such breathtaking effects however, can be easy with the wealth of simple techniques and ideas provided here.

Decorative artist Mary MacCarthy explains the necessary stenciling techniques:

  • tracing and cutting stencils
  • using templates
  • mixing paints and making glazes and varnishes
  • painting with stencils
  • using different brushstrokes to create shading and perspective
  • creating the basic shapes of vases, plates and panels.

Through a series of 20 projects, she shows how easy it is to create extraordinary visual effects by using templates and repeating patterns and motifs, rather than trying to paint freehand. Faux finishes are equally simple to create and the combinations of stonework or woodgrain with stenciled motifs are stunning. Using ragging, dragging, stippling, and more, Mary MacCarthy progresses from simple mural painting to wood marquetry.

There are step-by-step instructions and photographs for a Delft tile backsplash, an Etruscan firescreen, a bamboo-effect sidetable; a marbled fireplace, chinoiserie plates, an alphabet block headboard, a scagliola work inlaid tabletop, Dado panels, and a picket-fence frieze that would be perfect for a hall or sunroom.

Template designs are provided and all the projects are accompanied by illustrative photography, comprehensive step-by-step instructions, hints and style idea sidebars and material lists. Simple Trompe L'Oeil is as easy to use as it is beautiful and inspiring.

  Date Published 7/1/2001

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Rated By: Midwest Book Review
From: Oregon, WI
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Comments: Create over twenty designs using stencils and faux finishes
Create over twenty designs using stencils and faux finishes with the help of Simple Trompe L'Oeil, a guide which ranges from a stencilled curtain and a desk box to plates, chests and a key cupboard. The emphasis on step-by-step color photos and instruction and practical projects which go beyond decorative knickknacks makes for an important guide.