By Sean Conway

The interesting pattern on the front of this dresser was created by using a corncob as a paint roller

The interesting pattern on the front of this dresser was created by using a corncob as a paint roller

I love the smell of fresh paint, and I love a freshly painted room, but I have never really liked painting projects. That changed, however, when I learned how to paint using an ear of corn.

That's right, an ear of corn. I know it sounds odd, but a recent guest on "Cultivating Life" taught me how the irregular patterns on an ear of corn can be used to turn an ordinary painting project into one that really stands out. The technique is virtually as old as civilization; since antiquity, artists and artisans have been inspired by the patterns of nature, and have used objects such as ferns, seed heads, feathers and fish to create beautiful decorative designs.

The process is simple and yields beautiful results. Here, corn is used to paint a piece of furniture, such as a dresser, but the same process can be applied on paper, using nontoxic paint, to create colorful wrapping paper. It's a great project to do with your children.

To get started, you will need two colors of interior latex paint that complement each other, and a piece of unfinished furniture. You will also need an ear of corn, a paintbrush, some scrap wood or paper, and some paper towels.

1.Begin by choosing which of the two paints you want to use as the base color. With the brush, paint the piece of unfinished furniture with base coat of interior latex paint. Set the piece aside to dry thoroughly. Wash your brush with warm water and dry it.

2. Next, shuck the ear of corn and remove all of the silk from the kernels. Brush the second paint color onto the ear of corn. Be sure to leave both ends of the ear free of paint. You will only need to coat the ear with paint from the brush once to thoroughly spread the paint. After the initial coating you will be rolling it in paint as you would with a roller -- which is why you will need to keep the ends of the ear free of paint.

3. After you have some paint on the ear, holding it by the ends, roll it on the scrap piece of wood or paper to get used to technique. Blot up any excess applied paint with a paper towel each time. Reapply paint to the ear of corn as needed and continue rolling. Practice a few times on the scrap wood or paper before moving to your project.

4. When the base coat is dry on your piece of furniture, roll cob with contrasting paint onto the dry paint surface. Do this in small sections to keep the paint application even. After each roll of ear, blot the applied wet paint with a paper towel to remove any excess. Let the paint dry for 24 hours.

You will be amazed at how much fun this project is, and while you are in the midst of it you'll completely forget that at the end you'll have a beautifully painted, unique piece of furniture.

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Home & Garden - Decorating with Nature: Corncob as Paint Roller