Style and size differences add to the charm of blanket chests. There are not as many blanket chest furniture pieces that are the same as other types of furniture. Even if two hope chests are similar in size and shape, it is very easy to customize a wooden chest to make it a personalized piece of furniture. Some people add carved designs which can be very elaborate with flowers and vines, while others may just carve a beautiful border edging and inscribe the names of the receiving party and the date of presentation. A great option is to have a wood artisan help you create a design for your blanket chest and do all of the carving work for you. You could, of course, do the wood carving yourself given the right knowledge, wood working tools and skill.
Painted designs are another favorite way to customize blanket chests. Hex designs are a charming and nostalgic addition to hope chests. These beautiful designs of German origin are easily recognized favorites. They are brightly colored usually depicting the tree of life, flowing vines, hearts, and birds along with the circular motifs. All of the colors and each particular design contain meaning so it would be a fun project to create a design for your blanket chest that would have special meaning for you and your family. Hex designs were created originally to bring good luck to the owner of any object they were placed upon.
Hand painted designs are wonderful and a very steady hand is needed to create the best results. If you are not very secure about that method, you can also use stencils to achieve beautiful results of which you can be proud. Libraries are a great place to find books which contain design styles. You may even have books in your own home that contain designs which would work very well for a hope chest. Possibly, your family may have a family crest which would give your hope chest a very personal touch.
To make stencils for your blanket chest, first copy the design you would like through trace paper that is transparent enough to see the design easily. You would then cut out the design with a razor knife being very careful to stay right on the line that you traced. Make sure to place a piece of card board under the trace paper. This helps out in two ways. First, it keeps you from cutting into your work surface, like a kitchen table, that is better off without extra damage. Second, it allows you to get a better cut with the razor knife since it can dig in below the paper line.
The next step would be to transfer this design onto paper which is stiff enough to not warp when receiving paint. Poster board is a good choice since it has a semi-slick surface. Of course, using this method to paint your blanket chest, you may have to carefully use a flat blade razor to remove any excessive paint that may flow under your stencil. This excessive paint problem will probably happen if you are applying the paint too thick or you are allowing the paint brush bristles to go under the stencil while you are painting.
The other method to use a stencil is to once again use heavy gage paper to create your design. Cut the design out with a very sharp razor tool, making sure to stay exactly on the design line for a crisp edge. Use a no.2 pencil to exactly draw your design onto your blanket chest so that the edges can be clearly seen. You would then apply the paint with a fine tipped paint brush which is meant to be used with the type of paint you are applying. All hardware stores and art supply stores have personnel that are very knowledgeable about paint products and will be able to help you choose the right type of paint and brushes for your project.
Have fun designing the perfect blanket chest for your family. The best style and size for your customized blanket chest is at Blanket Chest Heirlooms.com which offers handcrafted hope chests by wood workers who take pride in creating finely made furniture.