Web Design, Murals, Fine Art, Faux Finishing

Cabinet Faux Finish (trompe loeil)

Cabinet Faux Finish (trompe loeil)

Cabinet faux finished furniture update.
Distressed wood is faux finished. There is no molding on this furniture piece. It is a flat and hand-painted Trompe loeil.

As you all know my favorite kind of faux finish and art is Trompe leoil and I will always jump at the chance of painting with this technique no matter how challenging the design. This particular design came pretty easily to me is that I have studied most of this in school during my drafting and blue printmaking days.

Part of my perspective education was taught during my younger days in school and although I had a natural knack for it I was using it ever since I could hold a pencil for some reason. It was one of the first things I learned very quickly about in art classes as I just never knew what it was called. The importance of one point, two-point, atmospheric perspective, and many more became more evident in my drafting classes. It’s a real shame that they have taken these kinds of “shop classes” out of many of the school systems today.

When I was attending school it was mandatory that at least one shop class was to be taken whether it be auto mechanics, woodshop, auto body, metals, and the list went on and on. The belief was that not everyone was going to make it to college and a more hands-on type of trades had to be taught to balance the need for this type of education because not everyone has the desire to become doctors, lawyers, accountants, and so on.

Trompe Loeil Foil Here

Cabinet Trompe Loeil (front)

I can’t recall exactly but I was first introduced to my woodshop teacher Mr. Zander when I was 10 or 11 years old. A rough WWll veteran who drove an old Rambler and scared the hell out of everyone at first impression, but in reality was actually a very giving person when it came to teaching and making sure you learned and understood what it was that he was teaching. What most students heard about this teacher was that he was like a drill Sargent and very outspoken in his classroom and just a mean old bastard. The phrase as students we heard a lot of coming out of his classroom was “You stinking Knot heads!” which was a notable trademark of his class. He uses to call me his favorite knot head and of course, I wore that like it was a badge of courage while all the other kids laughed at me. Yes again, I was thought of as that weird kid with the long hair. What the other kids didn’t know was him and I had an understanding, that if I made it through the first semester without cutting my fingers off he would give me an A+. (Piece a cake)

I designed and built my very first piece of furniture (a gun cabinet) for my grandfather and the words still ring in my head today of what Mr. Zander repeated every day over and over,

“We build furniture, not birdhouses you stinking knot heads!”

Cabinet Trompe Loeil (FR)

We did everything in his class from start to finish including the original sketch, layout, and design (drafting). Making the blueprints to build our piece of furniture right down to the “turning of the wood” (with wood lathes)

As years moved on then of course so did I but I never forgot what I had learned from one of my favorite teachers would stay with me my whole life but it has.

Oh yeah and like a man of his word he gave me an A+ for not hacking my fingers off just like he said he would, but he also gave me something else that I didn’t expect. He gave me an award for the best in design and quality of finish and he says to me with a wink, “Now look here Mr. Morehead I’m not giving this to you because I like you, that would simply be out of character for me and people would think I was getting soft in my old age, but I am giving this to you because I think you deserve it.”

What Mr. Zander had taught me I still use today and although he appeared as the rough military World War Two hero that he was still one of the kindest giving back to the community type of person you would ever want to meet who would jump up to the plate whenever the call was needed.

 Coming from a hard-working blue-collar family I soaked up every ounce of education that was offered to me through school until I finally had to go to work at 16, and I am still that way today. It was having teachers like Mr. Zander in our school system that taught and supported the arts and quality craftsmanship that has resulted in many who have run his gauntlet the kind of people that they are today.

But Wait There’s More! (Geez I sound like a commercial)

If you look closer at the center panel the faux finish appears to be a gold leaf type of finish which of course it is not. It is actually a foil faux finish which I had made a video and instructional DVD out of, In fact, the full-length instructional can be bought that tells you how I did the whole cabinet faux finish complete with the hand-painted Trompe loeil and the steps of the crackle. Here’s another link to the foil application which is on my

How to Faux Previews Page

Cabinet Trompe Loeil (end)

Of course, I am not 16 any longer but I do crave knowledge and learning and at this point in my life, I find myself teaching more and more of what I have learned over the last 35 years. I use to have an open studio where I did do a little teaching but I closed it down when the economy told me I had to. I just didn’t have enough time to keep up with my commissions, marketing, networking, murals and fine art painting and general day to day living so I decided to close that studio down and surely wished I hadn’t have done that now, but hey with the upswing in the economy I am considering giving it another go

Hand Painted Furniture

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11 thoughts on “Cabinet Faux Finish (trompe loeil)”

    • Thanks a bunch John for the comment. It even looks more impressive in person as it pulls you over to touch it. I have seen people drawn to it from across the cabinets shops show room. I think this may be the reason the owner took it from the shop because it was getting more attention than what he was trying to sell. It really sucked because I did this for promotional value and not monetary. Yeah in other words it was a freebie lol

    • Hi Tee Jay, Thanks for the comment. Sure makes it worth the efforts that I go through to complete these kind of small projects. I try to be as unique as possible to make them as much of a one of a kind pieces. I really like your work as well and can tell that you do the same thing, this is what separates us from everyone else which is important when working for the private clients that most creatives do.

  1. The chest is beautiful! I have an oak early 20th century one drawer dresser with oval mirror and would love to do such a finish. How can I learn?? You are indeed an artist.
    Linda in OK

    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks for the comment you left on my blog, its greatly appreciated. You asked about how you to accomplish the cabinet finish that you comments on. I have an instructional DVD on the complete step by step which I have a preview video on my “How to Faux Previews” page. There are several techniques involved on this one project that you can actually use as individual finishes for other things as well. There are several video previews of different techniques just scroll down to the one called “Trompe Loeil Foil” and it will show the foil application


      Once again thanks for stopping by

    • Thanks for the comment, I get emails from people who have a hard time believing that there is no moldings on the cabinet and its all paint, lol. I took a look at your website and it looks like you have a good web designer.

    • Thank You, This is one of my favorite finishes to do but I guess all of them would be my favorite being that I don’t really get tried of any of them, I just keep wanting more, I guess that’s why I always have something new and a little different from the norm

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