"Tole Painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture. Typical tole painted metal objects include utensils, coffee pots, and similar household items. Wooden objects for tole painting include tables, chairs, and chests, including hope chests, toyboxes and jewelry boxes.
Tole Painting began in 18th century New England, and was also extensively carried on among German immigrants in Pennsylvania. A separate, related tradition occurs among Scandinavian countries and immigrants, including Norwegians, Danes and Swedes. German tole painting may concentrate more on metal and tin objects, while Scandinavian tole painters may concentrate more on wooden objects and furniture. Patterns in the two traditions vary slightly as well.
Modern tole painting typically uses inexpensive, long-lasting and sturdy acrylic paints. Good quality wooden work is sealed, primed and sanded before the decorative paint is applied.
The most beloved family objects tend to be high quality utensils or furniture, painted freehand with favorite patterns, colors or flowers, humorous themes, family in-jokes, or illustrations of favorite or family stories. The perceived value of a tolled utensil increases with its quality as a utensil, the quality of the art, and the personalization, the story, of the work.
An advantage of tole painting as a craft is that a bad painting can be sanded off and repainted. One of the signs of such repaintings is a black-backgrounded tole-painted object. Very often such objects are repainted, especially if the furniture or utensil is valuable and the painter is inexperienced."