Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Kid's Table: Make it THE Place to Sit!

To escape the stigma of the "kid's table," I decided to decorate this scaled-down table and chairs to make it the special place to sit for the little ones.
I started with an unfinished wood, child-sized table and chairs. I bought them at JoAnn's and assembly was required. The good news, the entire set was less than $50.
I decided on a leafy jungle theme. I am somewhat artistic but this design was super easy.

I started with an idea sketched on the table with pencil. The design consisted of varying sizes and shapes of leaves in different shades of green. Acrylic craft paint works fine. I used brown and tan for the monkey (or humkey, as Jack calls it), yellow for the bananas and two shades of red for the flowers. I use paper plates to mix paint. I looked around online for cartoon images as inspiration for the monkey and bananas.

For a design like this, it's best to paint the back, dark color first. The only area I left unpainted was the monkey because I was afraid the dark green would show through the light tan. I painted the table top and chair backs and legs with two coats of dark green acrylic craft paint.

For the leaves, I found some leaf designs on the internet and printed them as large as I wanted.

I used chalk to coat the back of the leaf image then turned it over and traced the leaf. Repeat with various sizes and shapes of leaves. The chalk wipes right off the surface for easy clean-up.

To keep the design simple and graphic, each leaf was a solid color, no shading. Overlapping leaves enhances the design, just be sure the lowest paint level is completely dry before moving on. The uppermost layers were the lightest shades of green. I used small leaves scattered on the chairs.

Next, I painted the shapes for the monkey and the bananas. To define them, I sued a Sharpie market to outline the shapes. I messed up a few times and painted over until I had it how I wanted.

For the chair seats, I sketched a large hibiscus using a photo from the internet. Again, using paper plates for mixing, I used a bright red and shaded with a darker red. I drew the style with a Sharpie then added yellow paint for the pollen sacs. Don't worry, it looks great from a distance even if imperfect up close.

I found that using large scale elements, even on a kid-sized table, gives the coolest look.

Once all painting was complete and thoroughly dry, I applied three coats of water-based sealant. For the finishing touch, I cut a section of raffia grass skirt material and hot glued it to the underside of the table like a table skirt.
I admit, these elements are likely not found together in a jungle, but this table and chairs have become the hot seat when kids come to our house!

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