Facebook Live series Drawing on furniture
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Drawing on Furniture Free DIY Video Series

Grab coffee or wine & watch me do all the work, or…


…join in and PLAY!


Hey friends!  If you are curious about drawing for any reason or love art on furniture, you’ll want to check out the live video series I’m offering.

It begins this THURSDAY! 7.30PM EST

And I’m offering it at mates rates – FREE!!!

I’ll first introduce basic drawing. You can then either scribble away while we chat or if you would like to work on a similar project alongside, you can do that too.

Or you can take a deep sigh-break and do absolutely nothing except watch.

Just like TV.

Except there’s rarely anything worth watching on TV anyway – right?

I’m not sure how many weeks it will take to complete the elaborate design I’ve planned for this coffee table top. The weekly live will go for about 45 minutes to an hour.

I’ll also demonstrate how I use my own reference to create the design.

The design will be a beautiful seahorse and floral design.

It will be stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I were ever a sea creature, I’d love to be a seahorse. Wouldn’t you? They are so elegant and beautiful!

And so….

If you’re on Facebook, please let your friends know (share this post or on Facebook – or both!).

I’d love you to join me for a chat while I share this exciting new project with you in real time.

If you haven’t participated in a live video before – try mine!

I love the connection with people like you. It’s more personal than silly emails hey?


I hope to see you, pencil in hand and ready to learn or just watch.

Kayleen 🙂


Should you paint furniture or keep wood?

Should you paint furniture or keep wood?

Watch out for the wood gods.

This is a backstory or possibly a horror story, depending on how you look at it.
When I purchased the unique drinks table pictured above, the kind seller offered to drop it off at my home.  I’d purchased an antique Tudor style drinks trolley from her also.  As she arrived, we smiled and began our friendly banter.  But as I began wheeling my treasures into the studio and had barely made it past the front door, she let out a lo-o-o-o-ng sigh!
Seller: “You know, I spent hours stripping these trolleys of paint.  Would you believe, someone had painted them white!?  I couldn’t get all the paint out of this one so you’ll need to keep sanding to get all of it off. “
Me: AWQUARD x 1000,000,000,000,000!
My brain: What!?  Um, that’s why I bought them – to paint them! What will I say?  I can’t lie and didn’t want to break her heart!
I squirmed inside as a sympathetic gesture came across my face.  I can’t quite remember what I said, but the squirm was quite memorable.  I think I remember redirecting the conversation to how a ‘BAD’ paint job can wreck furniture.  I wasn’t going to do a BAD paint job – right?  Or maybe, I quickly ushered her out the door before she discovered my terrible sin!
I was delighted with how this turned out and hoping the original owner would be as happy if she saw it.  BUT, I am still too scared to tell her – just in case.
Should you paint furniture or keep wood?

Should you paint furniture or keep wood? Pictured above is the drink trolley – before and after.

Should you paint furniture or keep wood?

In a video, I warned my Facebook followers that I have certain STRONG opinions on some things. This is one of them and how I view this topic.

While I appreciate highly valuable antiques, in my world, damaged items like these are honored by giving them a makeover.  Often they are hiding in a hoard, a vacant room, a project someday pile or a dusty shed – UNUSED!  Once painted, they ALWAYS go onto being used and enjoyed by new owners.

Negative Nelly & The Wood Police.

My seller was a lovely lady.  However, I’ve come across passionate furniture wood police who HATE anyone painting furniture.  The attacks on social media can be quite aggressive at times.  I guess, to some, it is not unlike sacrificing ones first born to the paint gods. They must stab them with a paintbrush I imagine! 

Wooden furniture is created to serve us – not the other way around.  If you’re hanging onto Grans ugly dining set, wishing you could send it to the tip (but the family would be horrified) but if resurfaced creatively, you’d love it – that is madness!

I have but ONE life that very nearly ended over 10 years ago.  I’m still here and I am going to enjoy my furniture.  You have one life too!

If paint makes furniture look beautiful, suit OUR homes and gives US pleasure, then PAINT!  The value in life is rarely about money.  We need to give ourselves permission to enjoy OUR furniture because it belongs to US.  It doesn’t belong to Negative Nelly who wants to spank us with her keyboard for painting OUR possessions or of those of who we serve!  In the past, I’ve offered Negative Nelly the untouched furniture she was so concerned for.  She NEVER buys or saves it though.  Nor does she feed furniture artist’s families or decorate client’s home for them to enjoy THIER environment.

So apologies to my seller but her efforts were not in vain.  Stripping the furniture made it easier to finish repairs and create a nice surface to paint on–at a price the customer could enjoy.  In the end, it cleared the seller’s space and blessed our family financially.  It also blessed the new owner with a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture to delight in.

I think that is a happy ending – don’t you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below and please share to reassure your painting friends of the great service they do – turning trash into treasure.

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Cute Illustrations after a business crash

Cute illustrations for a series of cute picture books!

There was an abrupt halt to my illustration career last year. It’s time to explain. The cute illustrations here came after a series of unhelpful events but I eventually got back up.

I have been posting painted furniture related stories instead of illustrations as a result. This is not to say I haven’t been illustrating this year. I have – HEAPS! But last year was a very different story and for a good reason. Read on…

Cute illustrations for I'm Shining with Light Series

The crash in my illustration business.

I want to be transparent with my followers so here is the backstory.

I had 12 months off illustrating children’s books in 2016. I decided to stop illustrating until the perfectly inspired project came along.  Unless published by a large publisher, it is terribly difficult to make ends meet as a children’s illustrator. Take a few hits and it can cancel you out altogether. Or it did me anyway.  I wanted to bless kids with my books but it became impossible to sustain after a series of unhelpful events and misplaced trust.

I was discouraged after a few things happened, but this was the final straw…

I had a surprising experience with an author who commissioned me for a project and never paid.  Everything was okay and he seems very excited and then suddenly cancelled!  I haven’t determined why and he wouldn’t say.  I imagined it was about money and perhaps his previous illustrator (who he didn’t want to use), charged less and he changed his mind. At this stage, it was easy enough to show her all my concepts to derive new illustrations from. I’m not sure if that happened but I have seen illustrations that suggest it could have. They are very close!

There was also a possibility it could have been a conversation we had over copyright.  Just before he cancelled I had tried to explain why I couldn’t copy his photo reference after discovering he didn’t own the photos.  They had been taken off the Internet and I couldn’t copy from them that closely.   It went against my integrity no matter how much he wanted me to and he wasn’t happy about that.  Instead, I offered to film character actions, using my son as a reference and sent him video stills similar to one of the poses.   In any case, well into the project, he cancelled out of the blue and informed me he didn’t owe me a cent for all my hours on this project.  A solicitor advised me to sue as the correspondence between us was sufficient proof, but later I felt God tell me to give the debt to him.   I agreed and then prayed for him.

I was shocked.  I had assumed his integrity because we were of the same faith and he certainly talked like he could be trusted assuring me the payments were coming and could I give him more time. In my mind, someone who talked like a Christian would NEVER do that to anyone- EVER! I wonder if he was accumulating the concepts with the intention to farm them out to someone else. Who knows but it made me feel sick!

So burned out from working around the clock for his super-tight deadline and all the pages of correspondence back and forth, I decided I was done working so hard and getting no time with family.  I was left with little funds in my business account to continue anyway and kicking myself I’d turned away other paying work for him.  But I knew that what the enemy steals must be paid back sevenfold. Not always the way you imagine, but somehow it would happen. I would not be left in this position if I gave it all to God.

I had to let it go but wisdom told me I needed 12 months off to shift focus for a while.  There were no funds to keep the associated children’s literacy membership going anymore anyway. There was no point and I didn’t feel God telling me to do anything other than the stop for a year. I didn’t say anything when my husband confirmed I should take a year off. He was furious with the dishonest and entitled attitude of my client.  He had no time with me in weeks due to the nominated deadline and then his wife wasn’t even reimbursed. So in 2016, there were more books or major illustration projects for this reason and others unfortunate challenges I didn’t expect either. In any case, I am back on the horse.

Paint after books then?

Not being one to sit completely still and watch Doctor Phil all day, I began refurbishing furniture to beautify our home instead.  I needed a positive creative focus.  The kids were old enough to have lighter coloured furniture, so I began with a dresser, turning it into a TV cabinet. After I created a hobby Facebook Page called Upcycled Beauty (now PLAYfessionalEDU) it snowballed from there!

Little did I know it would take off and turn into a little business and help us financially!  We had a tough financial year in 2015 to early 2016, but selling furniture makeovers helped us tremendously.  It even paid for a few date days too – whoot!

Artistically, I continued with my illustrated church notes, completed a few graphics jobs like logo design and scribbled in my sketchbooks. I barely touched my website and why the big gap in my blogging. I was too discouraged to do much more.

I did participate in the Memory Project.

“The Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, disasters, extreme poverty, neglect, and loss of parents.” ~ www.memoryproject.org

I’ll post on that later.


But then…

Cute Illustrations: When I'm Shining with JOY, PEACE, KINDNESS & LOVE picture books

These cute illustrations had to happen.

2017 things shifted – Yay!

I was feeling inspired to paint again, imagining elaborate paintings on furniture, when one day two lovely debut authors I knew, approached me about a series of picture books. Wendy Mason (a school teacher) and Lisa Maravelis (a Councillor) were working on a rhyming series called When I’m Shining with Light.  In one conversation I knew I was meant to be part of the journey. Admittedly, I was still nervous from my last experience though. Several months later and I can say it has been the BEST book project ever!  I have LOVED every illustration and these ladies have been a pure delight to work with. We have all been on the same page all the way through.

The cute illustrations reflect the freedom and confidence the authors have had in my part all throughout every book.  Not a stroke is laboured and every page has been fun!  They understood how I work creatively and enjoyed the process alongside me.  I was able to help with the text as it seemed to drop into our laps when we were together. We have become a solid team and good friends in the process.

These books are going to be incredibly special, speaking to children in so many constructive and delightful ways.  There are 10 in the series. We finished the first 4 (LOVE, PEACE, KINDNESS & JOY) this week ready for the printer. This is some of the images taken along the way.  I have enjoyed these characters more than I can tell you and haven’t tired of drawing them – thankfully –I still have 6 more to do!  Look out for publications, When I’m Shining with LOVE, PEACE, KINDNESS & JOY in the first quarter of 2018!

Out of the ashes!

Although I did a tremendous amount of work on the unpaid project, not all was lost.  I had a concept in that book I used for one of these.  I was particularly fond of a jumping castle scene I created so recycled it replacing the new characters in the setting.

An amazing thing that happened the night I gave the debt to God. An incredible story literally downloaded into my head within minutes of choosing forgiveness. The story came so quickly so I jotted it down onto a word document as fast as I could. I know it will be a book one day.  One that will speak to any child with a disability and thinks it is a weakness. It will help them see strength in their weakness instead. Not a bad trade hey? In fact, I felt God whisper to me…Now THAT is my book. Take that one instead. I have my hand on it.

AWESOME! I’ll be doing that one day!

As for the furniture, I’m building a teaching platform to share more and will do those elaborately painted pieces I have still in my overly inspired mind. I’ve got my creative mojo back people! Are you up for the ride with me?

Colouring Book Fans…

I haven’t forgotten you either. There is exciting news coming up for those who follow me for the colouring book information and goodies. Watch out for some new things for you!


Video Using Hemp Oil and more information

Using Hemp Oil

Using Help Oil.

This week, I recorded a Facebook Livecast on PLAYfessionalEDU, where I demonstrated using hemp oil and liquid umber wax in combination -video below. I also used gold gilding wax to create subtle accents on a set of bedside drawers. Following the video and into the next day I was getting a lot of messages asking questions and didn’t have time to answer them all.

It seemed sensible and helpful to answer them here. This will help I’m sure but if you have any more, post a comment below and I will edit the post to include your answers too when I can.

Hemp Oil Drying time:

Hemp oil is classified as a drying oil because of its ability to polymerize into a solid form. It will cure within the finished surface (wood or paint) and become strong once fully dried. It is humid here at the moment and my help oiled furniture is dying more slowly as a result. Drying time is approximately 2 weeks to 30 days, depending on room temperature and humidity. You can still use your finished furniture in the meantime, however, be sure it is oil free and protect it from water and excess wear and tear until curing time is complete.


Using Hemp Oil and applying it easily:

When using hemp oil, wipe generously but evenly with a dry cloth. Be sure to wipe off excess oil once it has soaked into your surface. I wiped my bedside tables over this morning to get the excess oil off and push the oil into any patches. Ensure you use lint-free cloths. Use a couple of coats if needed. You will have to judge the surface by how much it absorbs. Once it won’t soak up anymore it is done.
Brushes are not needed for oil unless it makes it easier to get into spots. Eg. I used a brush on the wood strapping on this sea chest I did to get into tight areas where the wood met the surface of the trunk.
Using Botanics Hemp Oil on a Sea ChestNatural finishes are so easy to apply and worth the patient effort, but not always convenient if you are in a hurry. For more information click the image below.



The Pros and Cons of liquid wax & Video Tutorial

The Pros and cons of liquid wax

One of my most favourite things to use on furniture is tinted liquid wax. The wax I use is L’essentiel Botanics Liquid Wax and is a recent discovery for me. I thought you would like me to share the pros and cons of liquid wax and the appropriate uses of this kind of wax. Specifically the tinted liquid wax.

I’ve almost finished my bottle and will definitely continue to use it again and again. I began experimenting with it on a sideboard and have since progressed to several other pieces. The latest project I used the liquid wax on was a pair of decorative bedside drawers almost completed. The drawer fronts look so beautiful! I’ll share them with you next week.

The advantages:

  • The Botanics liquid wax comes in clear, white, black and umber.
  • The tinted versions don’t stain too harshly. They are subtle, especially the white.
  • You do not need to use clear wax before applying the tinted waxes. This is usually done to protect the furniture from over staining.
  • You save time waxing once instead of prepping with clear first. (saving elbow grease!)
  • Liquid wax grips to the paint but has a longer open time.
  • The clear version can be tinted with other colours from the Botanics range of paint.
  • It goes a very long way so is economical to use.
  • It is very kind to your brushes and washes out without the need to use white spirits of mineral turpentine – just soapy water!
  • It brushes or wipes on like cream – so easy! No sore arms from harder waxing and brushing in.
  • You don’t need to wear gloves as there are no solvents in the product.
  • It looks umber is the perfect brown in one coat!

When I refer to open time this is what I mean. Often when applying products that give your furniture or craft project an aged antique look the products stain quickly and soak in unevenly unless wiped back quickly. Instead of feeling like you are riding a racehorse to the end of the waxing, you can relax and enjoy the process instead. In fact one more point to add…

  • It smells nice!

That was the pros for liquid wax. Now the Cons

The disadvantages:

  • Liquid wax takes a bit longer to harden than solvent-based waxes. You can usually handle it soon after applying but allow 2 weeks to properly set.
  • It may not soak into home-made chalk paints if you use paints that are too plastic-like. (too satin or glossy) Botanics paints are recommended but it is likely okay with most branded chalk paints too. It needs a flat surface to work best.

I did a Live video while applying the umber wax to a sofa. You can watch the video on YouTube below




VIDEO: Choosing Matte, Satin or Glossy paints and finishes

Facebook Live: Choosing Matte, Satin or Glossy paints and finishes

In one of this week’s Facebook live video explained different paint sheen levels and how they affect the surfaces of furniture. The paint and finish references weren’t brand specific so great information that applies to any brands in general.  I addressed what sealer to use on what piece of furniture and talked about the pros and cons of wax versus clear sealers.

A free printable was include. You can download the printable HERE

Want a text before I do a Facebook Live?


Technology is so stinkin cool! I’m squealing with excitement at my new bot! Friends this is so much FUN!

I now have a cute new messenger Bot. I called her Angel. She will be able to broadcast my live events to give you the heads-up before I go on. I’m gob-smacked at nifty technological gadgets like this one.

When you message my PlayfessionalEDU page on Facebook with the word “Angel’ you’ll find my cute Angel bot talking back to you! You can tell even her what you want to see in the videos and it comes back to me. How fun is that!?

Go give her a spin now! Just type the word ‘Angel” and press send and see what happens. She’ll let you know when I go live so you can jump on with me.

Specialty paint finishes Upcycled Beauty

My Top Specialty Paint Finishes #1

Specialty Paint Finishes #1:

L’essentiel European Style Shimmer High Gloss Top Coat

I promised my Facebook followers on PlafessionalEDU to post on a product I love and use including specialty paint finishes. This is the first as promised…

By now you may have realised I love shine and bling. While I don’t like furniture to be garish or over stated, I do love the prestige of metallic finishes and a little shimmer and shine. For this reason, I’ve become rather attracted to a product called European Style Shimmer High Gloss Top Coat. This product looks like mother-of-pearl paint, but without the colours of mother-of-pearl. I would best describe it as a semitransparent white glittery coating which dries quickly and is a hard top sealer.

Specialty paint finishes Shimmer Top Coat

I use this specialty paint finish more like a glaze than an overall top coat but intend to do a piece of furniture with this on the whole surface in time. It pretty much turns any light colour into a glittery metallic-like finish.  I have discovered that sponging or rolling and sponging it on a surface will create a frosted effect. This is what I recently used on some side tables I did in Grey Goose and White Clay. The White Clay was dry-brushed on sections over the blue and sponged in other places before the topcoat was applied. Then I dabbed it with a damp cloth to create this effect.

Specialty paint finishes Upcycled Beauty

It is really beautiful over whites. I use it on this bed head with great effect. While the bed head was beautiful painted, the shimmer topcoat took it to a whole new level. I gave it a generous brush over sections of the headboard. It has been used sparingly on other pieces of furniture to create a slight sheen. This can be done by dry brushing over the painted surface or the high spots of embossed surfaces or applique’s.

Specialty paint finishes Upcycled Beauty Specialty paint finishes Upcycled Beauty

I have used it with great effect over white or light coloured paints. It looks like a Pearl over white and almost silver over a grey.  I’ve yet to use it on dark colours that would imagine it to be used sparingly as to avoid looking cloudy over darks.

The L’essentiel European Style Shimmer High Gloss Top Coat comes in a generous 500ml bottle which goes a long way. If you would like some, go to my shop link, order today and I’ll post you some pronto! It is one of my secret ingredients that’s not so secret now!

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A furniture painter’s worst fear. Please no not again!

What is a furniture painter’s worst fear?

Have you ever invested your heart and soul into a creative piece, built something or written something beautiful and then as soon as it is complete and perfect –something terrible happens to your perfect creation? This has to be a furniture painter’s worst fear surely? It is no longer finished or complete. You need to fix it right? Not doing something about it would my furniture painter’s worst fear too.

As a furniture painter it is heart wrenching is to put your whole heart and a bucket of time into a beautiful piece only to watch it be damaged–before it even has a life! At times I really struggle to watch clients pickup their furniture. I know it is now their my a few second ago they where my babies-right. This has happened a few times to me and is horrifying to watch unfold. I am confident that if you paint furniture for other people it will happen to you too.

Once one of my over zealous clients threw the large item into a van on top of a shelf. It was forced in and a side piece came off it. On closer inspection it looked like it had never been glued properly in the first place so was an easy fix. None the less, I felt ill watching the big push!

furniture painter's worst fear

The second one was very recent. Another client had a few people helping to take home this beautiful blue boy. I think there was a bit of coordination challenges and I feared for its life watching it leave m,y driveway. Sure enough, shortly after it arrived home, I received a phone call from a distressed client, telling me her new baby had been damaged. My reaction? You guessed it… pleeeeeeeeeeze noooooooooooo!

This week I had to try and rescue it. It had some nasty gouges in the side. The challenge was that I had used a special mix of paint colour and wondered if I could match it perfectly. I prayed, held my breath, mustered up some faith and marched into my clients home pit-bull determined to finish with success.

I’m sure it would be a scary thing to tackle for most furniture painters. If you are one of them, I have good news. I created this video a a super quick tutorial for you. Or maybe you know a painter this would help. Please share it if you do! It might help them sweat less when it happens to them. Please share in any groups that may benefit too.

The biggest furniture painter’s fear tuned into yet more experience – and a video to boot!

The video speaks for itself and my client commented on my Facebook page, Upcycled Beauty this.

“Baby doing well thanks to furniture doctor Kayleen West. And a much relieved blue boy mum ?”




Stained and Painted Design Table Top & Video Interview

Stained & Painted Design Table Top.

I recently delivered another piece of furniture to my client, June. I wanted to share her stained and painted design table top and chairs with everyone. She kindly agreed to a Facebook Live video in her home – Yay!

The video below is the recorded live. It features the bespoke dining set I created for her. I hand stained and painted a floral design on top to compliment the fabric design on the chairs.

It was a bit of a nightmare at first. The seller said she was in great nick but this old girl was very neglected. Her springs were sticking through the padding and the strapping drooped. In fact, she had strapping over strapping. A former attempt to repair drooping seats I assume. What a mess – so many staples!

I rebuilt the seats completely; replacing the springs with high density foam and wadding. My husband pulled out most of the staple – THANK GOODNESS! That is not my favourite job – no sir-ere!

The dining table top wasn’t the most perfect dining table top either. It had a few small imperfection. This make it a perfect candidate for a stained and painted design.

stained painted design table top Upcycled Beauty

The beginning of the painted and stained design. The fine lines are pencil marks as I paint not scratches.

In our interview June shares why she chose painted furniture over antique wood. I’m glass she did. We both agree that the dining set much better now. No more boring brown stain. Now we can celebrate the lovely grain in the table top, but with a unique design as well. It was a pleasure to create this dining set for June and her family. May they enjoy their one of a kind pieces for many years to come.

Thank you June for being my very first Facebook Live interview!

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