Travel-Inspired Home Decor
This easy image transfer technique will help bring your world travels home with you. No matter where you are, you can bring those precious memories with you.
Amy Howard created the Amy Howard at Home furniture paint line more than 30 years ago after an awe-inspiring work trip to the bodegas in Italy. She loved the old look that allowed the furniture to stay true and finished. It was there that she learned the art of painting furniture and copying images onto her pieces. Each person working on the piece of furniture had an important job to do. She took this thinking back with her as she created her own line of furniture paint.
Now, she travels all over the world looking for the perfect piece, she can restore and keep the essence of the piece.
So many people ask us how to choose color, technique or theme inspiration. We found inspiration from Amy Howard’s story on using colors and themes from the places and cultures we find most beautiful.
We can copy colors, themes, art, architecture and so many other elements. When planning your vacations, you make sure you add street shops and other authentic, handmade vendors. If you’re not sure what to do with a particular piece, ask yourself where it came from, what its original use was, and what significance it had to the culture. That will give you a better idea of where to put it in your home. You could always have a shelf or display shelf to collect your knick-knacks all together.
To tie everything together with our easy image transfer technique, we collected other resources to help you bring your travels home with you.
Architecture plays a huge part in cultural influences. Take note of the different furniture styles in your favorite vacation places, then buy or make furniture to bring that style home. Like Amy Howard was inspired by the Paris Flea Market, you can use paint to look like the pieces of other cultures.
You can also repurpose different travel-themed objects, such as this vintage suitcase table.
If you have extra maps or post cards from your travels, you can decoupage your old furniture to give it a new look.
Fabric is often an expensive way to add color and pattern to a room. Skip the touristy t-shirt and find fabric representing the area that can be used on pillows, wall-art, or a throw. Most countries have fabric patterns, embroideries or techniques unique to the culture or patterns that tel their story. These are perfect to bring home without taking up too much extra space in your suitcase.
Here are some great tips to decorate your home with fabrics.
If you need help coming up with uses for the fabrics you found on your travels, check out the basics of decorator fabrics.
There are many reasons to use natural materials in your design. These products are less products, making them better for you, and if used responsibly, better for the environment. Beware of laws surrounding the destination and make sure you don’t take anything you’re not supposed to.
Using natural materials such as rope, rocks or natural grass to weave is a popular, timeless look. Look for these natural materials to use for rugs, fill bowls or vases, or even wall prints. You can also decoupage pressed leaves and flowers onto lamp shades, bases, wooden boxes or any other firm surface. Here are some of our other favorite ways to use natural materials in our home decor.
Whether you’ve been to a destination or not, it’s easy for cultures to influence your home decor with color. Changing a room’s color drastically changes how you feel in that room, so what better way to reminisce about your travels than using color as inspiration.
Picking a new color can be overwhelming so check out this resource for picking the perfect paint color. You can use other colors, patterns and textures to complete the look of your room.
Easy Image Transfer Technique
Of course art is another easy way to bring other cultural elements home with you. When you find those elements you love, Copy Cat is a great way to bring them home. We created this free Travel-inspired printable packet, but you can also use maps or post cards from your favorite places for this image transfer technique.
- Ink-jet-printed picture on a piece of 60 lb paper
- Amy Howard at Home Copycat
- Amy Howard Dark Antique Wax
- Amy Howard Light Antique Wax
- Amy Howard Dust of Ages
- Sponge Brush
- T-shirt rag
- Plastic putty knife
- Optional- Gilding Size and Imitation Gold Leaf
Directions for Image Transfer Technique
Step One: Print Images
Create and print images. Once the images are transferred, they are reversed. If there is text on the image, this especially needs to be reversed. On our Travel-inspired printable packet, we have reversed all the images for you.
Step Two: Apply Amy Howard Copycat
Pour Amy Howard Copycat into a small cup. Using a sponge brush, generously apply Copycat to the canvas or the surface you want to apply the image to. Generously apply Copycat to the printed side of the image.
Step Three: Set Image
Apply the pictures face down on the canvas or surface you wish to apply the image to. Using a plastic putty knife, evenly burnish the paper onto the canvas’ surface to secure adhesion. Allow to dry for at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours). The longer the dry time, the more clearly your image will appear on the canvas.
Step Four: Remove Excess Paper
Using a circular motion, rub the a damp lint free rag over the entire area, starting from the outside. The image will stay, as the paper is rubbed away. Allow it to dry for about 30 minutes. Once it’s dry, you can remove any remaining paper surround the edge of your surface.
Step Five: Apply Gilding Size and Imitation Gold Leaf
Take the gilding size and cover the area you’d like to finish. Once the gilding size is dry lay down your gold leaf. If the size is still wet it will not dry under the leaf and the leaf will come off. It doesn’t have to be perfect because you’ll brush off any imperfections. Lay down as many leaves as you need to cover the design area. Once the gold leaf is laid out, swiftly move the brush back and forth in a crisscross pattern and remove any extra, unattached gold leaf. You can learn more about how to apply gold leaf here.
Step Six: Apply Wax
You can stop here, if you’re happy with the look of your image or you can add the waxes for a more vintage look.
Add wax to your brush, then offload the excess wax onto a piece of cardboard to avoid getting chunks of wax onto your piece. Swiftly move your brush over your piece covering it 100 percent. Allow the wax to come to tack, or you can no longer feel the wax move when it’s touched. Should take 15-25 minutes depending how heavy the wax was applied.
Use a separate brush to apply the Amy Howard Dark Wax. Again, it’s important to offload the brush, before brushing it onto your image. Use the same swift, feathering motion and lightly antique piece around the edges or where there would be more natural wear. Don’t cover more than 20 percent of the piece. It is important not to have 100% coverage.
Step Seven: Apply Dust of Ages
Liberally apply Amy Howard Dust of Ages with a clean brush. Let the dust sit for about 10 minutes, and then buff your piece using a lint-free rag using a hit-drag motion. Any excess Dust can be used again.
Step Eight: Enjoy!
You now have the resource to transfer any image to nearly any surface. We tried this image transfer technique on canvas, cloth, wood, glass and plastic. We hope you enjoyed this image transfer technique and we can’t wait to see what you do with it. Send us pictures of your Amy Howard Copycat project and we’ll add them to our Bragging Rights page!
For more travel related posts, check out these other bloggers!
6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Vacation– Ever Change Productions
Discover Oklahoma Road Trips– Little Sprouts Learning
Don’t forget to pin this perfect image technique for later!