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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Jungle Love Dresser

Look at this absolutely gorgeous Jungle Love Dresser!

Sometimes I am just flabbergasted at the creations that come out of me! Like......where did this EVEN come from? This Jungle Love Dresser is a whimsical masterpiece!

What I do know is I am...

  1. a leopard print fanatic!

  2. drawn to ALL retro jungle-inspired wallpaper

  3. in LOVE with this piece of furniture!

This is a multi-faceted project with many techniques involved such as:

  1. how to build a raised stencil

  2. how to lock in underlayers using clay paint

  3. how to apply gold leaf

  4. how to hand draw designs

  5. how to paint your hand-drawn designs

  6. how to use doodle art to make your hand-painted designs pop

  7. how to use dark wax to shade over clay paint

  8. how to top coat and seal your work

If you prefer to read about this beaut, read on! But I know some of you LOVE watching on YouTube!

Check out this week's video here.

Now, let's dive into some of the techniques I used for the Jungle Love Dresser!

Tracey's Fancy showcasing plain dresser to be used for Jungle Love Dresser

Building your stencil:

First, choose what stencil you'd like to use. For this Dresser, I am using the Dixie Belle Safari stencil which has four animal prints in one. I, of course, chose leopard.

Showing DB Safari stencil for Jungle Love Dresser

Showing off DB Mud used to create leopard spots texture on front of Jungle Love Dresser

DB Mud applied with palette knife for texture on dresser

Removing safari stencil to show textured design on Jungle Love Dresser

Then, choose what medium you'd like to build with. I use Dixie Belle Mud which comes in three colors. I used black here; however, it doesn't really matter if you are planning to paint over it anyway.

You can apply your Mud with your fingers, a spatula, or a palette knife. Apply it to whatever thickness you prefer scraping off all excess.

Lift stencil straight up and allow Mud to dry.

I opt to "seal" my Mud with a clear top coat before painting to lock in the shape I have created. Apply top coat and let it dry before painting.

Locking in the under-layer:

I choose to do this for this dresser, but it is not always necessary.

If I plan to use several coats and wet distress OR I want to deepen or richen my color, a dark black under-layer is perfect!

Paint the under-layer and allow it to dry.

Use Top Coat Flat to lock in the under-layer and let dry.

Move forward with your project.

In this case, I painted over the raised stencil with Terra Onyx and locked it in with a flat top coat.

Once it was dry, I painted the top and front in a blend of Terra Galaxy, Malachite, Lani's Lagoon, and Blue Agave before using Pistachio for highlights.

Using pistachio for highlights on Jungle Love Dresser

Blending pistachio paint to add highlights

The sides of the dresser are painted in a blend of Terra Marigold, Bougainvillea, and Moonbeam.

side painting of Jungle Love Dresser with Terra clay paints
Blending paints on side of dresser for backsplash of color

How to apply gold leaf:

I applied gold leaf adhesive with a small brush to the leopard pattern.

I do this by placing the stencil back over the leopard spots and applying the adhesive to the exposed raised spot.

Tracey's Fancy applying gold leaf to leopard spots

Patting gold leaf into adhesive for spots

Using a brush to remove loose gold leaf from dresser

Allow this to set and become tacky for a minimum of 30 minutes before applying the gold sheets.

Apply the gold sheets, press in place, and use a soft brush to brush away any leafing that has not adhered.

This leaves gold leaf ONLY on the spots!

I used the same steps to apply adhesive to the handles. Wait 30 minutes, then apply sheets and brush away!

Applying leaf to dresser handles of texture

This does need to be sealed in place and this will be done when I top coat the entire dresser in the end.

How to hand-draw designs:


You just have to "get over yourself" and go for it!

If your drawings are funky, just refer to them as abstract!!!! LOLOL!

I usually google images and piece them together for a design.

Because this is a Jungle dresser, I googled "jungle leaves" and just looked at them on my phone while drawing!

Draw with chalk! You can wipe it away so easily until you get it how you want it!

I do have a tip for "How to Draw art on projects" but that is another day/another blog!

For now, just go for it!!!

How to PAINT your designs:


Choose a color palette that you like, or look up "color palettes" online - Google "beach color palette" or "desert color palette" - and it will show you exactly what colors work together! Then look through your stash of paints and find similar colors.

Scoop small amounts of paint onto a plate so they are readily available to dip into, and have MANY art brushes near you to choose from! Then, just start painting!!!

Now it's time to add detail with Doodles!

Once my design is fully painted and dry, I like to accent it with doodle art details using either white or black oil-based pens!



However, it is best to top coat your art FIRST. It makes it much easier to glide that pen across a top-coated surface vs. dragging it across a clay or chalk-painted surface. Plus, the clay and chalk paints will clog your pen!

So top coat first, then very freely use your oil-based pen to make whimsical, non-perfect squiggly outlines!!

I love this look as it keeps your work from being too "serious" and makes it more playful (which of COURSE I prefer!)

This oil-based paint will cure and does not need to be top coated.

Using dark wax over clay paint:

Unfortunately, I failed to get videos or photos of this technique but I want to mention it with an important tip for you.

Truth be told, I love to use brown and black wax on my projects but I like for it to be subtle.

One way I do this is I apply my dark waxes AFTER I have used my top coat and sealed the entire project!

This keeps the dark wax from being overly absorbed by the dry clay paint!

So once this piece was top coated, I used brown wax on both sides over the jungle leaves. I especially focused on the corners and edges. It gives it a deeper rich color and allows the center of each side to appear more "lit up" since I did not dark wax the centers.

I work the wax in as much as possible leaving very little if any, excess.

This wax will cure on its own as does not need to be top coated.

Top Coating your Terra Clay Paint and gold leafed projects:

My favorite product for top coating and sealing my clay projects is Gator Hide.

I apply a single coat with a synthetic brush and a light hand moving very slowly in one direction.

You can watch the paint "drink" the Gator Hide and light back up with color!

Do not overwork your Gator Hide. Just lay in down in single rows and let dry.

Once dry, if you see any areas you may have missed, add your second coat to those areas.

I also applied the Gator Hide over the gold handles (and all other gold-leafed areas) and it did not dull the gold-leafed brilliance at all!

This leaves a gorgeous sheen and gives so much life to the paint colors AND incredible protection!!!

Look how this Jungle Love Dresser came together!

And that is that!!!!!!


I realize this is a lot of information!

I hope you are feeling inspired to try at least one of these steps. Or maybe even ALL of them!

I think a project similar to this would make an incredibly valuable course, and I likely will be offering one in the near future! Sign up for the waitlist for all future courses/events here.

Like this project? Here are some more WILD ones!

Products used:

Want more fancy furniture & design?

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