Sitting on our patio with a good book and a glass of wine while the kids are soaking up the last bit of sunshine of the day. Okay, who am I kidding? With kids around that picture changes quite drastically. But that was how I imagined my summer evenings. That was until I looked down at the begging-for-attention tabletop I was perching my elbows on. Then it hit me. I really did not enjoy spending time on our patio. It looked cold and uninviting. Nothing about our patio made me feel relaxed and conjured up the atmosphere that I so desperately was looking for. I decided that our patio was in dire need of a makeover. And starting off,we just had to fix up our wooden table. Please join me below as I walk you through the transformation of our table with this awesome hand painted DIY half mandala design.
I am ok with drawing, but really have limited skill in this department so I am sure you will also be able to do this as well. Initially I wanted to wait until I bought a stencil for this project, but decided that I will draw a half mandala free hand instead. And boy am I glad I did. And so will you,if you follow the easy steps below.
Supplies you will need:
A wooden table begging for a makeover
Sandpaper and sanding block
An electric sander
White water based paint ( I used acrylic pva)
Brushes in various sizes (crucial to have thin brushes)
Ruler and degree bow
Round items like plates, saucers etc to trace
Basic elements to draw your half mandala or your design that you have drawn beforehand
Where do you start?
With larger projects I often feel overwhelmed and then actually end up either not doing them or doing them halfway and never finishing them. But I have over the past year read quite a couple of articles about the importance of finishing what you started.
Step 1: Plan
With that said, first of all, plan. Planning removes a lot of the roadblocks that may cause you to give up halfway. Write down what you have in the house already and what you need to buy. Plan your general mandala design,even if it means flicking through some ideas on pinterest. But you should have some sort of an idea of what you will draw. Plan how big you want the mandala and what font you want to use in the middle for your family name. Practice the lettering on paper first if you have to. Make sure you have the right size paintbrushes. With detailed work like this it is crucial that you have thin brushes. I mean tiny. Let me repeat that. Make sure you have the right brushes! If you end up with thick lines in the mandala it is going to be a mess.
Be patient. Rome was not built in a day.
Step 2: Prepare the surface
Sand that baby.An electric sander is obviously the best tool for the job. We had to sand down the entire table and the bench that was attached to it as the entire set was completely worn and damaged when we moved house. It took us a good 2 days( with kids hanging around) to get the table to a point where we felt happy with the finish. I am sure without kids it would probably still take a good half a day.
Tip: Remember to wipe down the surface with a damp cloth a couple of times after sanding to clean off the sanding dust.
Step 3: Design and draw the half mandala
Move the table somewhere where you can sit comfortably and draw the mandala and where you can later paint in peace. Measure out roughly where the centre of the table is. You want you mandala’s centre to be here. Now using your round items like plates,start with the smallest one in the middle.
Leaving a clean band in the middle for the family name trace the edge of the one half of the circle using your pencil. Do this on both sides of the empty band you left in the middle. Take one bigger circle and do the same creating concentric circles as you go. End with the largest one on the outer edge. You should have 1 half on either side of the empty section in the middle.
Using your degree half circle, ruler and pencil measure off quadrants(45 degrees each) in each half circle. This would give you 8 sections to work on in total. Starting with one quadrant,draw your design one concentric quadrant at a time.
Make use of the basic shapes and elements of mandalas and combine them in different combinations until you get the style that you like.
For detailed steps to hand draw a mandala I found this cool tutorial by Easy DIY Crafts and Ideas.
Once you are happy with the design,rest and stand back. If you want to change something, this would be the right time to do it. Next draw in the family name in the font and size you want.
Tip: Use guidelines in the quadrants to keep spacing semi accurate and draw light guidelines for the family name to make sure the letters are equal in size and width.
Step 4: Paint your half mandala
Using thin brushes and white paint, trace over the pencil lines. Take your time as this is a process requiring patience. It took me 4 hours to complete painting the half mandala which I broke down into 2 hours a day for 2 days. Fill in your family name as you did the mandala. Leave to dry.
Tip: For larger parts of the drawing, apply 2 to 3 coats of paint. Also work from the inside out to avoid smudging the design as you go.
Step 5: Sand
Again? I hear a lot of you saying. Don’t worry. This is very light sanding with sand paper of about 100 grit. Sand over your half mandala and family name lightly to take off some of the paint. I love this weathered look.Hang on. Did I just sand down my entire weathered table,paint it and then sand it just to create a weathered look again?
You can also skip this step if you prefer the crisp look of the sharp edges. I find that the lightly sanded look also hides some of the imperfections of painting the half mandala by hand. Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth when done.
Tip: Wait till the paint is completely dry before sanding. As in, wait 4 hours dry.
Step 6: Seal
Using your larger brush, roller or spray varnish,seal the wood. Be generous in applying the varnish. And voila! You have a table that is utterly unique and stunning to look at for a fraction of the price of buying a stencil. Yes, it may take some more effort, but hey, the final product is worth it.
From spending zero hours on the patio, just by updating the table,we are already spending a lot more time there. We have added some fairy lights to the wooden patio awning and with just a couple of extra changes here and there still needed, this Summer will see us spending a lot more time outdoors with the kids. Who knows, maybe I can even find some time to read a book with a glass of wine in hand and watch the sun set with our kids’ laughter in the background. Hey come on, I can keep dreaming, can’t I?
If you have tried something like this and have some good tips for us, I would love to hear from you. If you love to try your hand at other DIY furniture projects, have a look at these cool and contemporary Industrial Pipe shelving.