Tiddler and Fox News

Hand painted

  • I thought I would share a few simple tips to make sure your furniture painting project is as good as possible first time. I've had a bit of trial and error over the past couple of years that I've been painting furniture and each one was a chance to learn how to get the best distressing results depending on the finish I was after, so here goes:

    5 Top Tips for Distressing Painted Furniture by Tiddler & Fox

    1. Always clean the piece before you start. I use sugar soap for this, applied neat on a sponge and then I wipe down the piece of furniture throughly to remove all the grease, dirt and dust that gathers on vintage furniture - you'll be amazed at what comes off! This gives the best surface for paint to adhere to ensuring you get a good finish when painted.

    2. Use good quality brushes. I invested quite a bit in the best brushes you can buy for applying chalk paint and it paid off. I get a good finish first time and it makes the painting process quicker and easier and therefore much more fun!

    3. Let paint dry in room temperature. This way it won't dry too quickly or too slowly and the finish will be much more even.

    4. Depending on the type of distressed look you are after, there are various 'tools' you can use:

    Sandpaper block - easier to handle than a sheet of sandpaper, this is a good way to take off large areas of paint on say, edges, excellent for achieving that shabby chic look.

    Distressed painted chair

    hand painted distressed shabby chic table

    Wire wool - excellent for achieving a subtle and very naturally 'aged' look on furniture or as its also known, that chippy look.

    A wire brush - I read about this somewhere recently (sorry, I can't remember where!) but thought it a brilliant idea for achieving a naturally aged look too.

    A wet rag - I use this technique to take off chalk paint on ornate picture frames, such as the two shown below, or anywhere where you want to expose large areas of colour underneath. Don't wait for paint to dry for too long, it's best to use this technique when paint is only just dry, otherwise it's much harder to remove.

    Wet rag distressed hand painted picture frame

    Large Ornate White Painted Picture Frame

    As with all these, start with gentle pressure and built up areas of distressing to achieve the look you are after. Taken off too much? Just re-paint and start again.

    5. Finish your piece with a coat of wax. Depending on the finish you are after, use clear wax to bring out the colour of the exposed wood or base colour or coloured wax to really bring out the details on a piece. 

    I hope these tips are useful, let me know if you can add any more to my list in the comments!

    Until next time x

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  • 10 Best Paint Colours for Painted Furniture

    I know what colours I love when it comes to painting a piece of furniture, usually it's a neutral of some sort but I have experimented in the past with all sorts of colours, plus I've done commissions for others that have been brighter in hue that I would normally opt for! Yes I'm talking about you, grey and orange table for my nephews Star Wars themed play room! 

    10 Best Paint Colours for Painted Furniture by Tiddler & Fox

    As I mentioned in my last blog post (Why I love painted furniture - and you should too! - read that here) I find that furniture 'speaks' to me about what colours or finishes to use, but am I alone in this? I find it fascinating what colours do get used and the bravery of some up-cyclers when I'm immersed in Pinterest looking for inspiration.

    So, I thought it would be fun to do a round up of what I think are the 10 best colours for painted furniture.

    1.  White. Well, I would say this, as most of my pieces are in shades of white, but lets face it, white and all it's variations just goes with EVERYTHING! You can't go wrong and it never dates or goes out of fashion.

    2. Cream. Ditto to the above, cream is a classic shade to paint a piece of vintage furniture as the shapes just seem to lend themselves to this warmer tone.

    White Chest of Drawers

    3. Taupe. Ok, this is a generic term for pretty much any colour that you can't really describe! Greige, mushroom, French linen, cotton, white pepper, buff, beige, I could go on but you get the idea. Goes with all interior styles not just retro or vintage.

    Taupe and White Ercol Chairs

    4. Grey. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I LOVE grey. Clothes, paint colours, soft furnishings etc, I'm happy with grey. Again, its a timeless colour and fits in well with most interior schemes, be it contemporary or vintage.

    Close up of grey barley twist leg table

    5. Black. I've found that my version of black (Autentico Nearly Black) has been very popular and with a few embellishments, it proves itself time and again, to be a very versatile colour. Again, it can fit beautifully into a modern scheme or look just as at home in a traditional room, with a hint of the oriental about it.

    Black painted Bedside Cabinet

    6. Blue. I love the darker shades of blue as well as the paler ones. The darker the colour, the more dramatic the piece of furniture can look, and with the right waxes and finishes, a simple piece can be transformed into something quite spectacular, such as this fab chest of drawers by The Olde French Door.

    Blue Chest of Drawers by The Old French Door

     7. Teal. Again, I've painted a few pieces in my own mix of teal and it definitely had its moment. A lovely shade for bedrooms and bathrooms and for spring and summer decorating. I love this chest of drawers by Obee Designs.

    Teal Chest by Obee Designs 

    8. Red. Has to be my second favourite colour (all my kitchen accessories are red, there is red in the bathroom.....) and just like dark blue paint colours, red can be a dramatic accent colour or used to make a piece really make a statement. Great use of a dark red by The Splattered Smock on this lovely dresser.

    Red Dresser by The Splattered Smock

    9. Green. Soooo many shades of green to choose from! Dark = dramatic, pale = soft and multifunction, emerald = fun. Depending on what shade of green you choose, a piece of furniture painted like this will certainly be memorable, like this soft green dresser by orphanswithmakeup.com.

    Green dresser by Orphanswithmakeup.com 

    10. Pink. Classic for girls bedrooms, feminine room schemes, excellent for lovers of shabby chic style bedrooms and bathrooms and popular for country cottage style too. Again, a myriad of shades to choose from. Go for dramatic dark pinks to make a statement or soft and almost neutral pale pinks to fit in anywhere, this is a fun and popular shade to go for.

    Pink Childs Chair

    So I hope that has given you some inspiration to try something that you normally wouldn't have thought about, I know that I'm now eyeing up a few pieces with different ideas!

    What's your favourite paint choice? Let me know in the comments.

    Until next time x

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  • Ten years ago, if anyone had told me that I would be trying to make a living from hand painted furniture, vintage style homewares and brocante objects, I definitely would have looked at them as if they were insane. But life changes, stuff happens, people leave, cats arrive and you fall out of love with your traditional career.  And then your hobby becomes your career and life changes again and you find yourself converting your bedroom into an office come store-room, come space for creating and painting.


    Each piece of vintage furniture or home accessory I paint is unique, and being painted in neutral colours such as white, cream or grey means it will find into any room scheme bed it country cottage style or a more contemporary interior.


    I have the best view from my desk, sheep in a paddock with the hills in the distance and Somerset has to be one of the best places to live and at last I'm settled and at home and with my love of vintage furniture, hand painted of course, I know where I am and where I'm going.

    Not that a love of vintage and hand painted furniture is a new thing but its certainly increasingly popular and every time I go to a flea market or brocante, the crowds get ever bigger and the markets more exciting with more and more unusual and unique finds.

    And that, for me is the pull. Each piece of vintage furniture or home accessory that I paint is unique, you won't find anything else like it, anywhere. It also feeds my desire to be greener and more eco friendly, by re-using and repurposing. In the past I was just as guilty as the next person in that I've been too quick to throw stuff out that still had plenty of life in it and just needed an update or should have been donated to charity or sold at a car boot and found a new home. Years later, I'm now at ninja-level charity donating and car booting!

    Once I've found a piece of furniture, I usually find that each one will 'talk' to me about how to upcycle it, what paint colours to use - or even to leave it as it is. The piece dictates the colours and finish and will therefore be unlike anything I will have done before - or that anyone else has done. Which I love; there are so many options to choose from depending on what you like.

    I don't necessarily go with interiors trends (but sometimes I do take a little inspiration!) but neutral colours such as cream, grey, black, taupe and white all fit into pretty much any room scheme, be it contemporary or shabby chic and will never go out of style.

    Each piece will have its own character and history too and then as an owner of vintage furniture you become part of its history. If you paint or up-cycle it, it gives it even more personality and it becomes something new all over again, fitting into any room with ease as you have given it a new lease of life.

    Whether its rustic style, a glossy finish, country cottage, or a bright colour you paint your furniture, you can make it anything you want it to be. What's not to love?!


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  • I wrote months ago about being in Mollys Den in West Bay, Dorset which has been great fun, and a huge learning curve too, so today I wanted to do a quick update on the new Den that opened last weekend in Salisbury, Wiltshire. 


    Tiddler & Fox in the new Mollys Den Salisbury

    Traders secured their spaces in the new Den back in the summer and after a period of time waiting for building works to be completed, we were able to get into the new warehouse to set up our spaces last week.

    Lucky for me, Luke had some time off to help me take down the furniture on tuesday, so off we went in a convoy of two cars stuffed full of my hand painted vintage furniture.  It took us quite a while to get it all in and then get it covered up whilst the work on the building was still going on around us (that's retail for you, fast paced and right down to the wire!). Luke was then treated to a pub lunch as a thank you, lucky boy!

    I then went back on the friday to finish off and take lots more lovely stock down with me including lots of new finds that I had hunted down recently, including vintage bottles, silver trays and enamel bowls.

    I love the atmosphere that the Dens create, especially when they are busy and buzzing with traders. We don't often get to meet as it's up to us how often we go to replace stock, tidy our areas etc, so meeting our 'neighbours' is a rare occurrence.

    However, as we were all there to finish off setting up, I got to meet my neighbours either side of me, and to have a good chat and exchange ideas. One thing I've been surprised about having gone into business, is just how supportive other people in business are. I guess we all know exactly what each other is talking about, we can share ideas and if we need to vent our frustration about something, we totally 'get' each other! 

    I am very excited to be a part of the expansion that Mollys Den is going through at the moment, with mini Dens popping up too, all with cafe's and there are plans for new Dens in the new year. More about that in 2017 (I can't tell you much more than that as basically I don't know much more than that!!)

    I love that vintage, handmade and artisan are all very much in vogue right now and have been for some time, I love re-using, re-purposing and loving items with a history, and so it seems do a lot more people in this world. not only do we get unique and one of a kind pieces in our home but we are doing our bit for the environment by re-using and recycling.

    So here is my new space in Mollys Den, Salisbury, all ready and waiting for lots of lovely customers! Let me know what you think in the comments (This image was posted on Instagram and already I've had interest in the painting from a follower in Hawaii.....yes you read that right!)

    Tiddler & Fox in Mollys Den Emporium Salisbury

    Mollys Den, Salisbury can be found opposite the 6th Form College in Tollgate Road, Salisbury SP1 2JG.

    For info on all the Dens, click here.

    Until next time x






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  • Its hectic upon hectic here at Tiddler & Fox HQ, after a 3 day shopping show at the weekend; one day to set up, 3 days selling with a late night on Sunday, it was straight into preparing to move into a new shopping emporium in Salisbury which opens this Saturday (find all the details at the end of this post) with stock to price and sort and then packed up and off we went today.

    Being a year old, happy birthday to me by Tiddler & Fox

    As is the norm in retail, everything was chaos when we got there but a happy atmosphere as all of us traders set about getting our areas looking lovely. Just a few finishing touches later this week and it's good to go. I'm really pleased and looking forward to another new challenge. (plus there will be T&F goodies in another emporium in January 2017 but more on that to come!)

    I will post in more detail next week when I have images to show you and the doors are open to shop, shop, shop. But its a great space and the cafe looks set to be awesome too, just bring me coffee and I'm happy.

    So on top of that I almost forgot yesterday that the business was one year old.

    Being a year old, happy birthday to me by Tiddler & Fox

    Amazing to forget but there is so much my tiny bear brain can take so it dawned on me mid afternoon and I posted to social media and had some lovely responses. So nice to have the support when its been a full-on, non-stop, mind blowing year of learning, growing, developing and changing but overall I have to admit that it's been pretty darn amazing. I'm really looking forward to everything the next year will bring....

    Now it's less than a month to Christmas I hope everyone is starting to feel festive, I have another 6 markets to go, with a full weekend this weekend in Sherborne (all the details are on the Craft and Vintage fairs page) and I'm really enjoying meeting such lovely customers and getting great feedback, makes all this hard work and endless thinking worth it.

    So it's just a short post this week as my to-do list is packed full and there simply isn't enough coffee to keep me awake at the moment but here's to a great year for Tiddler & Fox with many more to come, thank you for reading and happy birthday to me!



    The new Mollys Den in Salisbury can be found opposite the 6th Form college in Tollgate Road. Opening day is Saturday 3rd December at 10am and there will be live music, fizz and nibbles! (115 Tollgate Road, Salisbury, SP1 2JG) www.mollys-den.co.uk

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  • Each year I have weird and wonderful ideas on how to wrap my Christmas presents, thinking how the recipient would like to see their gift under the tree, what could I add to the wrapping to make it extra special and add to the sense of anticipation on opening....and every year I end up buying nice wrapping paper and tying a simple ribbon on it!


    Vintage Inspired Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas by Tiddler & Fox


    Despite all my best intentions, they seem to look the same each year.  I always re-use last years Christmas cards as tags, doing my bit for recycling, I only use the best cards as labels but this year I have vowed to do something different.

    So, still not quite able to go as far as some (see my Pinterest Board for some simple ideas and some amazing ones too!), I will probably wrap presents something like this:


     Vintage Inspired Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas


    I love the simplicity of brown paper and the fact you can then add anything you like to the parcel to make it special. Here I've used different ribbons and twine to add texture and colour, fake flowers and of course, my hand painted Christmas hearts. Lovely wooden hearts that have a gorgeous rose image on one side and is blank on the other, perfect for writing messages.


    Christmas Gift wrapping Ideas by Tiddler & Fox 


    I've sold quite a few already and all my lovely customers have said what a great idea it is to use such pretty tags, which then serve as an extra gift as they can be used afterwards. I love that idea...that you can add a special something cheaply and easily but one that can be treasured.

    You can use anything you like to embellish gifts, I simply used ribbon I already had that isn't necessarily festive but can still look lovely, plus the fake flowers and pale rose heart aren't immediately Christmassy but I hope you agree that it makes the present look very special indeed and perfect for a vintage look to your gifts.


    Vintage Inspired Christmas Gift Wrapping with Hand painted Hearts


    Tying baubles, greenery, berries or pine cones onto a gift is also a simple but effective idea and you can raid your decorations box for old decorations to use in a creative way or simply cut evergreen branches from your garden, nothing needs to cost a fortune. I also love the idea of adding sweets or candy canes to the wrapping, an edible present wrapping?! Yes please!

    Doilies, lace, scraps of fabric, ribbon, twine, buttons, feathers, glitter, mini bells, photos; they can all be used to dramatic effect but are cheap and easy to source and brings back the idea of making do with what we already have and re-using and re-purposing. 

    Sometimes too, all you need is a colour theme, say grey and gold or red and green to bring a sense of coordination to your tree once all the gifts are under it. It could be the paper or simply a huge bow or thick ribbon that adds the colour, like this simple but stunning idea:




    As mentioned above, I have put together a Pinterest board for more ideas, like the idea of simple ribbons but also colour combos and much more. 


    Grey and Gold Christmas Gift Wrapping


    I also love the ritual of sitting down to wrap the presents. I usually wait until I have everything and then make a very special afternoon of it.

    On goes the film; Muppet Christmas Carol, the fire is lit and there will probably be plenty of Christmas cake or stollen and Baileys coffee, it all helps me get in the festive mood and makes something that could be a bit tedious, a really enjoyable time and I think more love and attention goes into the wrapping which will be obvious to the recipient. 

    Let me know how you get on this year and how you make the occasion of wrapping that tiny bit more special and enjoyable.

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