Annita Emerson has been painting furniture for over 10 years. She is the owner and founder of Shabby Creek On Main (now Shabby Creek Off Main), a boutique store where she offers mindfully-curated, upcycled home décor in a variety of styles including cottage, French country, farmhouse and rustic. In 2020 she partnered with Junk2Gems to open Le Marche Emporium, a 12,000 square foot unique space which allows other creatives the opportunity to offer pop-up shops.
Keep reading to find out Annita's secret to standing out amongst the crowd when flipping furniture.
Decorating Painted Furniture with Transfers
Painting and flipping furniture is my passion. For me, painting furniture is therapeutic. It allows me quiet time to feed my artistic side, and as a bonus it also brings in a nice little profit.
The market for flipping furniture has always been competitive, but with the DIY revolution (and now COVID), the market has become even more competitive than before. So how can someone stand out in a sea of painted furniture?
One way is rub transfers (pictured above). Rub transfers come in a wide variety of designs. You just remove the design from its backing, carefully apply the transfer to your painted surface, and then seal your design. Rub transfers can create beautiful furniture but they are being used by more and more furniture flippers, and the only customization you can do is choosing the placement and paint color.
Customizing Painted Furniture with Stencils
So how do we differentiate ourselves at Shabby Creek from the sea of people who are all customizing their furniture using the same thing? Our secret sauce is creating furniture pieces that aren’t easily duplicated. Our furniture is completely customized and totally our own brainchild.
When I first thought about writing this blog post I have to admit I was a little nervous about giving away my coveted secret sauce. However, I quickly realized that sharing my secret technique could create a new market for furniture painters.
So here is my secret. I create custom silkscreen stencils using the Ikonart Custom Stencil Kit and then I use the custom stencils on my furniture, which makes each piece of furniture that I flip completely my own vision. I'm not limited with a pre-imaged stencil design that someone else has created. I can take my own designs and make them any size I like, then customize my furniture based on my theme. There is a silkscreen mesh embedded in the stencil film which holds all the details of my stencil in place, which means I can create stencils with a ton of fine details.
This hutch (pictured above) is the perfect example. I knew I wanted a farmhouse look so I painted the hutch with traditional whites and grays. I used Fusion Mineral Paint in Goddess Ashwagandha for the base and weathered wood stain for the accents. After I finished painting and staining I felt it looked a little flat, so I added the detailed farmhouse designs using three custom silkscreen stencils that I made using my Ikonart Kit. The added designs really turned the hutch into a statement piece.
Reusable Stencils for Wood, Glass, Fabric
But that’s not all folks! Once you’ve created your stencils for your piece of furniture you can then use those same stencils for pillows, tea towels or other home décor items. That’s right. You can use your stencils over and over again on wood, glass, fabric ... the sky is the limit. I used the same stencil from the hutch above to make these two tea towels (pictured above, right).
We have over 12,000 square feet of retail space to fill up each month so having this option to make reusable stencils has been a game changer for us. Ikonart Stencil Film and Ikonart Textile Film allow us to create additional items to sell beyond the furniture we refinish. The stencils only take around ten minutes to make. I just print my design using my inkjet printer (you can also use laser), expose my stencil film using the Ikonart exposure stand, and then washout the stencil film to reveal my design. The hardest part is waiting for them to thoroughly dry so I can use them!
How To Make A Profit Flipping Painted Furniture
The last thing I want to share is that your cost to do a piece of furniture like my hutch with a custom stencil is much lower than other options, like a transfer. Each screen cost me about $3 but because they are reusable the cost goes down to cents. The hutch was less than $30 for me to paint and stencil, and the cherry on top is it sold in less than two hours for a hefty profit.
If you're ready to get started creating your own unique furniture pieces, consider Ikonart Stencils. The cost to get started is really reasonable and the learning curve is nominal. They have a ton of video tutorials to get you started and they also have an amazing Ikonart support group on Facebook.
For inspiration on flipping furniture and customizing furniture with silkscreen stencils, follow Le Marche Emporium on Facebook and Instagram, or check out our tutorials on our Shabby Creek on Main Facebook page.
Le Marche Emporium