Project:  Violet Window Box

Violet Window Box

Created by Sue Pruett, MDA

Sue Pruett has been teaching art and painting for over 37 years. What started as a hobby in 1977 has evolved into a full time career as owner of an art store, author of several “how to” painting books, muralist, and one of five founders of Art Apprentice Online (AAO), the first online art school of its kind, which currently offers more than 100 online painting courses. Along the way, Pruett earned the title of Master Decorative Artist (MDA) in 1996 and now serves as one of the judges for the MDA certification program.

Pruett’s design for Helping Artists uses DecoArt® Traditions™ to produce a colorful window box turned indoor planter that’s sure to bring springtime into any room.

DecoArt supplies

DecoArt® Traditions™

  • DAT12 Yellow Oxide
  • DAT17 Medium Green
  • DAT18 Chrome Green Hue
  • DAT27 Sapphire Blue
  • DAT31 Dioxazine Purple
  • DAT32 Red Violet
  • DAT34 Light Violet
  • DAT36 Warm White
  • DAT40 Medium Grey Value 6
  • DAT42 Carbon Black
  • DAT50 True Gold

Traditions™ Mediums

  • DATM01 Glazing Medium
  • DATM02 Extender & Blending Medium
  • DATM03 Multi-Surface Sealer
  • DATM04 Satin Varnish

DecoArt Traditions™ Brushes

  • TB11 3/0 Liner
  • TB21 3 Round
  • TB33 8 Flat
  • TB34 10 Flat
  • TB38 1.0” Flat
  • TB101 0 Mini Mop

Additional supplies


  • Wooden window box


  • Waxed palette paper
  • White graphite paper
  • Metal palette knife
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Very fine sandpaper
  • Wet palette container
  • Water basin
  • Paper towels
  • Spray mister with water
  • Transparent tape (preferably 3-M)
  • T-square ruler
  • Hairdryer with low-temp setting


  1. If using wood surface, sand well with fine sand paper. Apply Traditions Multi-Surface Sealer to entire surface and let dry.
  2. After surface dries, if wood grain has risen, lightly sand again.
  3. Use large brush to basecoat wood using thin application of Medium Green + Carbon Black 1-1; let dry and apply again.
  4. If distressed look is desired, sand edges.
  5. Use white graphite paper to transfer center rectangle. (Check alignment with T-square ruler.)
  6. Basecoat entire surface with mix of equal parts of Dioxazine Purple + Medium Grey Value 6 + Carbon Black. Let dry.
  7. After surface dries, sand again to give it aged look.
  8. Transfer flowers and leaves to surface using white graphite paper.
  9. Squeeze paints onto wet paper towel or wet palette container with moistened paper towel to keep paints moist. Occasionally mist paints with water to keep them moist.
  10. Use No. 8 or No. 10 flat brush to basecoat leaves with 1:1 mix of Chrome Green Hue + Medium Green. Basecoat violets Light Violet.
  11. Dry well with hair dryer.
  12. Moisten surface with thin application of Traditions Extender & Blending Medium; brush back and forth to distribute.
  13. Use No. 8 flat brush to pick up side-load of Light Violet + Warm White. Apply on petal edges to separate petals. (Refer to pattern diagram.)
  14. Use No. 8 flat brush to apply 2:1 brush-mix of Medium Green + Yellow Oxide to outer edges of leaves. (Refer to pattern diagram.) Soften transition line where light area and basecoat meet using 0 mini mop brush.
  15. Use 3/0 liner brush to brush-mix Medium Green + touch of Yellow Oxide and apply leaf veins.
  16. Dry well with hair dryer.
  17. Moisten surface with thin application of Extender & Blending Medium; brush back and forth to distribute.
  18. Use No. 8 or No. 10 flat brush side-loaded with Medium Green + dot of Carbon Black to darken underneath violets, stretching paint towards middle of leaf. (This will darken veins where they go under violets.)
  19. Side-load tints of Sapphire Blue on leaf edges. (Refer to photo for placement.)
  20. Shade violets with side-load of Light Violet + Red Violet. (This dark will be coming from center of flower out and to separate petals; refer to pattern diagram and photo.)
  21. Moisten surface with thin application of Extender & Blending Medium; brush back and forth to distribute.
  22. Pyramid smaller areas of darker and lighter values on leaves using Medium Green + Carbon Black for darker, and Medium Green + Yellow Oxide + Warm White for smaller, lighter areas. (Refer to Helpful Hint #3 below.)
  23. Pyramid smaller areas of darker and lighter values on violets using Red Violet + Dioxazine Purple for darker value, and Light Violet + Warm White for lighter value.
  24. Dot flower centers with multiple dots of Yellow Oxide.
  25. Dry well with hair dryer.
  26. Transfer on “Violets” lettering.
  27. Use tip of No. 3 round brush to stroke on lettering first with Light Violet, making it thick enough to add lighter values.
  28. Apply line of Carbon Black to right side of lettering, and True Gold on top left side of letters.
  29. Add line of True Gold to top and bottom edge of rectangle.
  30. Dry well with hair dryer.
  31. Apply one coat of Glazing Medium to entire surface. Let dry.
  32. Apply two coats of Satin Varnish.

Helpful Hints

  1. Traditions Extender & Blending Medium is used to extend open time of paint. Apply small amount to area; brush back and forth to activate. (You can also use it in brush instead of water.)
  2. Side-loading brush (to shade and highlight): In this process, one side of brush will have paint on it and one side will be clean with middle being transition area. Moisten flat brush with water or Extender & Blending Medium and blot on paper towel. Pick up some paint on outside edge of brush. Blend back and forth within small area on palette to blend color into middle area of brush.
  3. Layering and pyramiding colors: This process builds values on top of another to create form. Each time additional light or dark color is added, center new value within smaller area of previous layer, thus building to pyramid effect of layered values.


Click on the pattern below to view it full-size for printing.