Got Those Painted and Stained Presents Done!

I found this blog post a while back on Domestic Imperfection and loved the way the painted pattern came out after the stain.

"Painted & Stained Presents After 1" - McKinney, Texas
I have been looking for a chance to do this on something and I finally found it.
"Painted & Stained Presents Before 2" - McKinney, Texas
I got a wooden H for my friend Mary and a cross for my friend Becca and decided to give this a try.  First I sanded both of the pieces and wiped them down.
"Painted & Stained Presents During 1" - McKinney, Texas
I then used several stencils to paint patterns on each piece in white.  I am not good with stencils, never have been, don't know why I thought this time would be different, so I am not really the person to take stencil advice from.  Theoretically you should be able to hold or lightly adhere the stencil to your surface, paint in thin layers, pull up the stencil and magically have a crisp pattern.  I generally, this time included, end up with some bleeding under the stencil.  I think I put too much paint on my brush.  In this situation a little bleeding is ok with me because it works with the rustic look.  Hopefully you guys are more talented with your stencils and I'll just keep working on it.  (Please excuse the yellow tint in the two during photographs, I was working inside at night.)
"Painted & Stained Presents During 2" - McKinney, Texas
After the white paint dried I rubbed a nice layer of stain over each piece.  I made sure to wipe the extra paint off of the stencil pattern, so the patterns ended up with some stain on them, but create a distinct patter against the darker stained wood.
"Painted & Stained Presents After 1" - McKinney, Texas
The H is made of plywood and I didn't think the stained layers would be a nice look on the sides, so I painted all of the edges in this fun bright blue that I have.  I'm going to sit with it for a day or two and decide if I like the blue or want to cover the edges with a ribbon or something else.
"Painted & Stained Presents" - McKinney, Texas
I still have some finishing to do: Becca's cross will be getting several small roses made in Mexico out of metal and Mary's H will be getting a nice ribbon hanger.

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