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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Gingerbread Still Life

By Amanda Novaes

Gingerbread is one of my favorite characters of the Christmas season to get inspired. With this design, you can learn how to paint a simple and beautiful background. By learning this technique, you can create any furniture texture. This design works beautifully on a gift box or as ornaments.

*There is a link for a video for this project near the bottom of the page.

About Amanda:

Painting has always been a passion of mine and I learned early that art at any time in life, as a hobby or a career, can bring balance to the soul. By investing time in an unhurried learning process, in my own time, I have been able to enjoy every lesson, book, and research of art, learning that the variety of styles, materials, and techniques are available for experimentation. I have dedicated myself to painting for over 20 years, and my current passion is wildlife through hyperrealism. I use acrylic techniques on wood surfaces, watercolor, and colored pencil. On my website, you can find a lot of e-patterns.


Wood Surface 6in x 9,5in (15cm x 24cm)

Paints: Decoart Americana

Antique Green - DA147

Black Plum - DA172

Burnt Umber - DAO64

Charcoal Grey - DAO88

Desert Turquoise - DAO44

Fiery Red - DHS4

French Vanilla - DA184

Green Neon - DHS5

Grey Sky - DA111

Honey Brown - DA163

Lamp Black - DAO67

Light Buttermilk - DA164

Milk Chocolate - DA174

Olive Green - DAO56

Sable Brown - DAO61

Santa Red - DA170

Slate Grey - DAO68

Titanium White - DAO1

True Ochre - DA143

Mediums/ Decoart:

Americana acrylic sealer/finishers


*Robert Simmons

3/8, 1/4 Angle Sienna


4, 2, 1 Round – LaCorneille

18/0 script liner or 2 Ultra round - LaCorneille

3/8, 1/4 Crescent

1/2, 3/8 Maxine’s Mop

6, 8 Flat

*Royal & Langnickel

4 round bristle – 355-4

Miscellaneous Supplies

Masking tape or frog tape


Tracing Paper

Graphite Paper

Sponge (sponge.jpg)

Helpful Tip or Hint

The sponge is a perfect tool to add multiple textures to your surface quickly and easily. Using the wet on wet or dry technique.


Sand the wood surface and basecoat with Slate Grey color.


Background: Trace the table line on top of your surface and use the masking tape to cover this section. With a dry sponge (on the hard side) let's add some horizontal effects with 3 colors and drying between each layer. Grey Sky, Sable Brown, and Desert Turquoise. There is no right order. Feel free to create. After dry, shade around the table with Desert Turquoise. On the top section remove the masking tape and add glazing with Burnt Umber then shade on the table line with the same color. If it is necessary, you can sand it again. Now you can trace your pattern.

Table shadows: If you prefer to add the masking tape on napkins and tray fell free. Dry brush on corners with Burnt Umber then Soft Black.

Napkins: Basecoat is Grey Sky. Shade with Slate Grey then Charcoal Grey. Highlight with Titanium White by using a crescent brush then a glazing layer. With a liner brush add a Titanium White outline on each napkin sheet.

Tray: Basecoat is Grey Sky. Shade the bottom of the top angle with Slate Grey then Charcoal Grey. Shade the bottom of the front view of the tray with the same colors. With a round brush add a tray edge line with Titanium White. With a liner brush add an outline of the top angle with Charcoal Grey.

Gingerbread: Basecoat is Honey Brown. Usually to add a dough texture I prefer a Sea sponge, but this Gingerman is small and sponges can do a lot of mess, so let us try something different and more controlled. So, let's add the texture with a Mop Brush with a dry technique to load the brush and stippling strokes. Mix Honey Brown + French Vanilla gentle load the mop brush and dry it on a paper towel and start stippling on the cookies area. Repeat this process with Burnt Umber (to add some brown sugar crystals). Clean your mop brush immediately.

The noses are Santa Red shaded with Black Plum and Highlight is Fiery Red.

The eyes are Soft Black shaded with Lamp Black and Highlight is Titanium White.

The buttons are Olive Green shaded with Antique Green and Highlight is Green Neon.

The Icing is French Vanilla and the highlights are Light Buttermilk and Titanium White.

With all elements done let us shade, you can use an angle or a round brush. Imagine that the light is coming from the right, so we have the shadows on the left. The first shade color is Milk Chocolate and you need to shade all shapes and elements with this color (icing, nose, buttons, and nose). The second shade color is Burnt Umber so repeat the process. Shade with True Ochre only the side of the Gingerbread that touches the table. With Soft Black add an outline only on the shadow side of the elements by using a liner brush. Then add an outline to the cookie’s shapes. To emphasize the thickness of the dough, add a few lines without reaching the opposite edge.

Cup: Basecoat is Grey Sky. Shade with Slate Grey then Charcoal Grey. Highlight with Light Buttermilk then Titanium White by using a crescent brush. With a round brush add a Titanium White outline on the top edge. On the center of the light area add a Titanium White line. (cup, 2.png)

Crumbs: Using the same colors of the gingerbread repeat the process. Add the outline and the cast shadow with Soft Black.

Final touches: For the shadow of objects on the table, the first color is Burnt Umber then Soft Black.

For the cast shadows, with a round brush, add a diluted layer of Soft Black to project the shape on the table (Tray, around Gingerman, cup, and two flat cookies).

Add 3 little dots on each gingerbread near the eye with French Vanilla + Honey Brown.


Just add a layer of the Americana varnish spray.


Project Video - Step-by-step with Amanda.


Amanda's YouTube Channel

Pattern, line drawing, photos and video ©2020 Amanda Novaes

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