Painted Marquetry

By  Susan Abdella 

  • Painted Marquetry
  • Fig. 1
  • Step 2
  • Step Photo 3
  • Step Photo 4


  • Jansen Art Traditions Acrylics: Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Carbon Black, Yellow Oxide
  • Brushes: Jansen Art Traditions: Short Liner, Series JAB17, #1 or JAB18, #2; Round, Series JAB03, #3; Filbert, Series JAB24, #6 or JAB25, #8
  • Brushes: Loew-Cornell: Maxine’s Oval Mop Goat Hair, Series 270, 1/4”
  • Brushes: Selection of your favorite painting brushes: Angular, 1/4” or 3/4”; Large wash brush
  • Jansen Art Traditions Mediums: Glazing Medium; Extender & Blending Medium; Satin
  • Green painter’s tape, 1/2”-wide
  • Cell Phone/iPod Charging Station

Pattern - Painted Marquetry

  • Preparation
  • 1. Note: The wood color itself becomes the highlight. It is important the wood is light in color; avoid dark woods with heavy grains. However, you do want a wood pattern, which will be evident through the transparent colors.
  • 2. Use 220 grit sand paper to sand surface; wipe dust. Apply one coat of equal mix of Glazing Medium + water to entire piece. Apply second coat of same mix to cut edges only. Sand again and wipe dust.
  • 3. Print out pattern. Lightly transfer basic details, omitting "accessory" strokes (filler leaves and vines), using dark graphite; reverse drawer and corner patterns. Take care to avoid dark lines as they may be difficult to remove. See Fig. 1. Apply tape 1/4" from edges of sides and top panel; stretch tape to conform to curves. Secure and burnish edges well.
  • Artist's Tip
  • 1. For each step, except when painting background, apply a thin coat of Extender to surface; use paper towel to remove excess. (Note: It is important to apply a thin layer to avoid paint from bleeding. Should this happen, blot area with clean paper towel and continue.) Use hair dryer to force dry. Apply paint transparently: dress brush with Extender; pick up small amount of paint on side of brush and stroke several times on palette to blend; wipe brush, come back to mix, and side-load brush with color. If transparent paint extends beyond pattern lines, it is no problem as it will be covered with Black. Use small mop, if desired, to soften color. Use brush you feel comfortable with. Repeat steps as desired or needed.
  • Step 1
  • 1. Fig. 1. Side-load Burnt Sienna; apply to darkest areas of flowers and leaves leaving natural wood or highlight areas free of color. Force dry. Remove graphite lines with eraser.

    Fig. 1
  • Step 2
  • 1. Fig. 2. Use finger to rub Extender on cut edges of surface only. Use liner and Carbon Black to line along outside of flowers and leaves. Paint background areas Carbon Black; do not use Extender on surface and do not paint cut edges. (Note: Pick up Extender on brush to facilitate paint flow if it feels as though paint may be drying; always palette blend to mix Extender with paint.) Use round brush around flowers and leaves and larger brush for larger areas. Repeat process.

    Fig. 2
  • Step 3
  • 1. Fig. 3. Use mix of Burnt Sienna + tch. of Burnt Umber to darken shaded areas in same manner as Step 1. Force dry. Remove tape. Apply one coat of equal mix of Glaze Medium + water to entire piece.

    Fig. 3
  • Step 4
  • 1. Transfer pattern details. Use liner and mix of Yellow Oxide + Burnt Sienna to add all "accessory" strokes. Dot some stamen Carbon Black and others Yellow Oxide.

    Fig. 4
  • Step 5
  • 1. Stain cut edges of surface and borders on sides and top panel. Apply thin coat Extender to exposed wood areas avoiding painted areas. Use larger filbert and mix of Yellow Oxide + Burnt Sienna (2:1) and loosen with Extender; apply mix to exposed areas (avoiding painted areas) in haphazard manner. Use dry crumpled paper towel to blot here and there; use mop to soften if needed. Force dry. Repeat process using Burnt Umber.
  • Finishing
  • 1. Apply two to three varnish coats.