I've been in love with bold graphics for a long time, mostly because I'm a fan of vintage advertising. We're seeing more and more bold graphic design and typography taken from vintage advertising on walls, pillows, and other accessories in decorator magazines and of course, on blogs.
About a year ago I was lucky enough to find a grouping of small brass stencils that were used by companies to label their shipping crates. I'd estimate my stencils are about 100 years old, judging by the graphic style and condition of the brass. I found a second grouping for vegetable crates that looked newer, about 60-70 years old. I didn't have an exact plan for my stencils, but once I purchased them I had them on the back of my mind (which is a very busy place) for quite a while, waiting for inspiration to strike. And strike it did....
This is one of my favorite examples of creating something fresh from something old. With just a dab of paint, I transformed some old ironstone platters into bold graphic wall decor, made right here in the USA:
Even the stencil itself makes attractive wall art!
Ironstone platters like these are common and inexpensive. You should be able to find one for around $20 to $30. If willing to accept one with damage, you can get one much cheaper.
Just think how great you'll feel upcycling an old platter and giving it a second life!
You can pick up a package of cardboard letter stencils at a craft store or office supply store rather than searching all over for authentic vintage brass versions like mine, although sets of brass letter stencils pop up on eBay on a regular basis. You will also need a stippling brush and some enamel craft paint, which can be baked in the oven for more permanency or will cure over a period of weeks without baking. I used Gloss Enamels by DecoArt.
I think a plate or platter with one large letter would look cool, don't you?
Most of us know how to use a stencil, but it never hurts to review how to do it properly. That's why I'm going to refer you to eHow for their expert tutorial on how to use stencils if you need to brush up on your stenciling skills (that was an intended pun)!
There are other options available besides the sets of letters. At the craft stores I've seen fleur-de-lis, roses, and other pretty motifs. You could also try making your own stencil with an exacto knife and a sheet of plastic or cardboard. I know you can have custom stencils made by vendors on eBay and Etsy if you are so inclined.
This project is so easy, it's like falling off a log! I hope you can transform a plain plate or platter into a bold graphic statement piece. Maybe you can do it later today....