Create a Shabby Chateau Finish

If you want to create a Shabby Chateau Finish, you now have an amazing set of tools at your beck and call…

Hello, Iron Orchid Design friends – Heather here, from Thicketworks. I’m excited to share this simple method to transform a shabby old accessory into a fabulous Shabby Chateau Treasure!

Shabby Chateau Finish | Thicketworks for IOD Decor

Every good story has to include a bit of drama…

Ours unfolds with this forlorn and woefully outdated little folding screen. She was dying a slow death in the depths of the local thrift store, abandoned and forgotten.

Surely, someone had loved her once…long ago, but those days were gone.

She caught my eye, though. I immediately saw past the mass-produced faux-folksy motifs…I saw her underlying structure, and knew that she was bursting with potential to become Fabulous!

Thrift Store Upcycle Item

Update October 2020: The products used in this tutorial are First Generation IOD, which means they’ve been discontinued. You can join our IOD First Gen Pop Up group on Facebook to try to purchase. Or, you can make something very similar using current products. Reach out to an approved IOD stockist and they will be able to suggest current moulds to make this project.

Click here to use our store locator to find a brick and mortar store near you or you can click here to find an online shop.


  • One abandoned accessory, suitable for an EXTREME make-over!
  • IOD moulds
  • IOD Air Dry Clay
  • Strong white glue (I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue)
  • DIY Chalky Paint (recipe HERE)
  • A heat tool
  • A scruffy paint brush or two
  • A flat, strong tool like a putty knife
  • A palette knife
  • Stencils
  • Joint compount
  • An emery board
  • Your favorite script stamps / ink
  • Black Craft Paint, and a small container to mix it in
  • A Spray Bottle of Water
  • Rags


I took her home with me, confident that together we could create a thing of beauty!

Using the Iron Orchid Designs First Gen Baroque Moulds, I quickly created a series of appliques that I adhered to the surface of each panel.

I work with the appliques while they are freshly moulded: no waiting for them to cure!

This allows me to make multiples very quickly, which suits my impatient nature…

IOD Moulds,mixed media,upcylced

Once the main motifs were in place, I was struck by how inappropriate the blocky / rectangular frame was.

Using just one half of the border mould below (Baroque 6), I quickly created narrow strips that helped to unify the design by altering that clumsy frame:

Use just part of a mould,IOD

In order to pull castings while the clay is still moist, I press the clay very firmly into the cavity, smooth the surface with my metal blade, and then ‘crack’ the seal between the clay and the mould, working my way around the perimeter:

IOD Moulds,technique

Once the seal is broken, flip the mould face down, and bend it back in a rolling motion, depositing the casting onto the work surface:

casting process,IOD Moulds

Add adhesive to the back of your casting, and place it on your project. Cut to fit.

trim castings,IOD Moulds

Allow the appliques to cure overnight before proceeding.

The next step is to create layers of texture that will further unify the ornate motifs with the plain substrate.

Stencils are a wonderful tool for this. The goal is to ‘confuse the eye’ by creating a complex surface that distracts the viewer from the plain boxy shape of the framework.

Here, I’m choosing to place these complex motifs along the surfaces of the frame:

stencil,IOD Decor Moulds

Create interest, and break up the surface by spreading Joint Compound through stencils wherever you choose:

joint compound,stencil,IOD Decor Moulds

shabby chateau finish,IOD Decor Moulds

Don’t neglect the edges:

texture,IOD Decor Moulds

Once you’ve completed stenciling, clean your tools right away!

clean your tools,IOD Decor Moulds

Allow the Joint Compound to dry.

The curing time will vary, depending on the temperature and humidity. This project took about an hour.

Once it is bone dry, a quick ‘sanding’ with an emery board will get rid of any rough edges.

Wipe away any dust, and coat the piece with your DIY Chalky Paint.

Use a stippling, rather than a stroking motion to create the most complete coverage:

stipple,DIY Chalk Paint,IOD Decor

Finally, we begin to get a glimpse of the final transformation:

base coat,IOD Decor

Use a heat tool to speed the drying process.

Once the paint is dry, add further interest with script stamps, randomly applied over the entire piece.

add stamped script,IOD Decor

Messy is fine. We just want another layer of history…

Dry the ink thoroughly with a heat tool before proceeding:

heat tool,IOD Decor

Create a ‘wash’ by thinning black craft paint with a bit of water.

Paint a messy layer of this wash along the upper edge of the piece:

paint wash,IOD Decor

While the paint is still wet, spritz it with water, and allow the pigment to run down the face of the piece.

wash application,IOD Decor

Use a damp rag to wipe back the color of the glaze, allowing it to gather in the nooks and crannies of your design.

wipe back,IOD Decor

Continue adding the wash of paint, and wiping back over the whole piece.

Soften the look by scumbling the surface of the wash with a dry, scruffy brush:

scumbling,IOD Decor
Don’t neglect the edges:

IOD Decor,repurpose

Once dry, add a second wash of pigment at the upper edge of the piece, and blend it into the surface using the same techniques:

second wash,IOD Decor

This second wash will result in much greater depth of color:

second wash,IOD Decor,tutorial

IOD Decor,tutorial,wash technique

Now, use a dry brush technique to add subtle touches of DIY Chalky Paint to the raised surfaces of the appliques and stenciled motifs.

Wipe most of the pigment off of the brush, then lightly stroke the bristles along the uppermost areas of the raised motifs.

dry brush,IOD Decor

To my eye, this is when the magic really happens. All the layers we’ve created now pay-off with this final, soft highlighting:

dry brushing result,IOD Decor

Add a few subtle drips, here and there:

shabby chateau finish,IOD Decor

Viola! You have created a gorgeously aged, Shabby Chateau Finish where once kitsch reigned supreme.

I chose this project knowing that IOD Decor Moulds would provide the basis for an unbelievable transformation

I hope you agree that these tools make the impossible – possible!

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit IOD today!

It’s been an honor and a pleasure to share my love of these tools with you.

Now, my splendid little folding screen provides the perfect place to drape my ‘jewels’…

IOD Decor,shabby chateau finish technique

What do you have that can be transformed?

For more tutorials and techniques, stop by Thicketworks and poke around – the door is always open!

If you enjoyed this tutorial on how to makeover thrift store home decor using IOD products, then check out these projects:

How to Make Cheap Tile Look Expensive

How to DIY Your Formica Countertops into Beautiful Carrara

DIY Vintage Flow Blue Pot from Terra Cotta

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  1. Peg Lessard on April 7, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Spectacular!! You are such an inspiration! Thanks! Peg

    • Anonymous on August 13, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      Beautiful, you inspire me. Very good, and you explain perfectly. Give us ideas. Than you very much to share with us your art.

      • IOD Customer Service IOD Customer Service on August 20, 2019 at 3:18 pm

        Thank you for the kind words! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch all of Sally and Josie’s how-to and project videos! Happy creating 🙂

    • Adriana lira on April 20, 2021 at 6:52 pm

      Estou encantada com o seu amor pela arte .. você me inspira profundamente a amar ainda mais .. Deus te abençoe pelo seu dom

      • IOD Customer Service IOD Customer Service on April 26, 2021 at 1:29 pm

        Thank you so much for your kind comment, Adriana! Happy Creating ❤️❤️

  2. Sharon L on April 28, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I always learn so much from you, Heather!!!

  3. Denise Sullivan on April 29, 2016 at 7:08 am

    This turned out so fantastically Thanks for the step by step tutorial You make it look really easy!

    • Sally Griswold Sally Griswold on May 2, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Heather is great at tutorials. Teaching is definitely one of her gifts!

  4. Ilana Polakiewicz on April 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Fantastic result. Thank you for sharing. xx Ilana

  5. Diane Guerrero on December 20, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    I’m so happy to find your post by accident. I recently bought my first iron orchid mold and am so looking forward to get going. But when looking for compounds they’re all recipes for paper mache and mixtures of this and that, leaving me with that this ‘isn’t feeling like so much fun anymore’. So what I’m getting from your tutorial is all i have to deal with is the joint compound?? And by coincidence I’m also working on a screen, only full size. Thank you for all your very useful info. Diane

  6. Diane Bauerlien on January 3, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    All I can say is WOW! One of the best rags to riches transformations I’ve see.

  7. […] Create a Shabby Chateau Finish […]

  8. […] Learn how to transform your old home decor accessories with a Shabby Chateau Finish […]

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