painted umbrella tent

This is our new tent, bought in early summer 2009. It is VERY spacious after the years in the little one-poled tent... Of course we want to paint it as well, this time with a nice gothic architectural style like you see on many painting of period tents. This is the template we chose from the artwork:

Chronik der Burgunderkriege Chronik der Burgunderkriege

decorated tents in the 'Chronik der Burgunderkriege'

We mainly wanted to use the pattern of the tent in the left picture. 'Mainly' because our tent has only one central pole so there will have to be some differences at the very top. Bad luck, just that picture was only in greyscale... But you can see from the picture on the right (click on it to get the full picture and resolution) that tents illustrated in that book were all shown either in blue or red and sometimes a combination of both. Very common on these pictures are the 'architectural' designs, check the arches and trefoil 'windows' looking like in gothic churches. Stitching or applying this amount of ornaments to something as big as a tent would be a pain, I reckon. For period flags, it is recognized that their motifs could be either stitched, applied or painted - with painting probably being the least expensive and time consuming option. Therefore it makes kind of sense, at least to me, that something as large as a tent could be painted also... Anyway it is the only practical option for us so the new one will be painted also :-)

Here is a sketch showing how we want the tent to look like once we're finished painting. We chose blue paint for our tent. The part below the umbrella structure is rather easy to adapt from the artwork. For the 'roof' of our tent we had to improvise a little bit, as our tent's panels become smaller toward the top... The very top of the tent will be decorated with a sun with long rays reaching down the sides of the tent (like on the umbrella type tent in the right picture above). In the illumination the sun is gilt, but we will have to settle for yellow paint for now...

Merlin tent

1st draft

July 2009: We were not quite sure what to do with that 'decorative band' just below the roof structure and as the tents I found in the artwork don't have it we decided to simply cut it off. We also did not like the flag (too big) so I made a smaller one from blue linen cloth. I want to do some embroidery on it eventually... When we started painting we did not have a good quality copy of the artwork we chose as our template. So we chose to paint the straight lines first and wonder about the inner patterns later! As the pictures below show we use masking tape (it worked for the small tent...) to make painting the long straight stripes easier.

painting Merlin painting Merlin painting Merlin

tent painting, July 2009

The first part of the painting process took quite some time (these projects always take more time than you think they will)... And I must confess I even sprained my ligaments in my left foot quite badly while painting (how that could happen is still a mystery to me). Now even after two month I still can't bend that foot to the full extent... Anyway, but painting tents is still worth it :-) The tent looks much enhanced with only around one quarter of the work finished:

Merlin in Münsingen Merlin roof design

2nd draft

September 05, 2009: Using the picture of the partly painted tent we updated our design sketch (see above). On the 'roof', we added an additional short panel above the last panel taken from the artwork, repeating the design of the short panel below. And we've finally continued painting the tent! Below you can see the progress we made on the roof. (We slighly deviated from the design again and did not divide the lower 'roof' panels... I think it will look better that way.)

painting Merlin's sun painting Merlin's sun

painting Merlin's sun

October 24, 2009: We've started painting the decorations of the completed panels the last few weeks. It was a lot of work, but much more fun than painting the straight lines had been... We tried to keep as close to the original (see above) as possible, but sometimes (especially with the roof panels and the small zig-zag panels) is was a lot of quesswork. For the zig-zag panels we decided to use the pattern from the long tent in the center of the right picture above, as that was clearly visible in the illumination. As well, we did not want coat of arms on Merlin's roof, but we might have some on the flag eventually. Unfortunately, we've still not completed the work, but we've made a lot of progress (and there are still a few winter month left):

painting Merlin painting Merlin painting Merlin
painting Merlin painting Merlin painting Merlin

painting the upper panels

April 18, 2010: Finally! We've finished painting Merlin :-) Here it is, completed:
(We're going to put the painted tent up for the first time the coming weekend - pictures will follow next week)

finished Merlin

Merlin completed!!!

April 27, 2010: As promised, here are some pictures of our freshly painted tent! It did draw a lot of attention :-)
Unfortunately, we noticed a little error we made while painting the tent... Here's a quiz! :-) can you find the mistake in the second picture? (Or spoil yourself the fun when looking at the solution...)

Merlin, Museeumsdorf Kürnbach Merlin, Museeumsdorf Kürnbach Merlin, inside Merlin, inside

painted tent