Divine Decoupage

Use these step-by-step instructions to easily apply decoupage to your favorite surfaces and create one-of-a-kind crafts.

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Photo by Charles Brooks

Materials and Tools:

object or surface to decorate
decorative images or paper
white glue
sharp scissors or craft knife
brushes
acrylic varnish (polyurethane or Mod Podge)
small sponge

Optional:

paints, pastels, color pencils or India ink (for coloring black-and-white images)
gouache (to mix with last coat of varnish for a tinted finish)
aging varnish (to give an aged or crackled finish)
gilded powder (to mix with last coat of varnish for a metallic finish)
measuring tape
spray fixative (to prevent images from smearing if you've colored them)
steel wool (to reduce the shine of high-gloss polyurethane)
paste wax (to buff up the shine)

Steps:

1. Prepare the surface of the object, and decide what you want to decoupage onto the surface.

2. Use a photocopier to enlarge, reduce and/or copy images.

3. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut out the images.

4. Thin the white glue with a small amount of water. Apply glue to the back of the image with your fingers or a small brush.

5. Adhere the images to the object and let them dry.

6. Remove the excess adhesive with a damp sponge. Let dry.

7. Apply several coats of varnish. You can brush on polyurethane of Mod Podge or use spray-on polyurethane. Let dry between coats. If you don't like too much shine on your decoupage, use satin polyurethane and rough it up a bit with steel wool. To buff a finished surface, use a little paste wax.

Tips and More Ideas:

  • Use a sharp craft when cutting complex images such as birds and flowers.
  • Decoupaging glass votives with holiday tissue paper has long been an easy Christmas craft. Consider decoupaging fall votives, as well.
  • Stamps look great decoupaged onto small boxes. You can also use foreign money, or buy clip-art books, which are full of designs and images that are copyright-free.
  • Give dime-store mirrors a makeover with decoupaged paper and stickers.
  • Use silk and real leaves to create templates from which you can cut tissue-paper leaves. Layer the leaves for a great effect.
  • Cut images from colorful wrapping paper to dress up inexpensive wastebaskets.
  • Rescue an old coat rack from the trash. Paint it black, decorate it with designs from a clip-art book and varnish it. You're old coat rack can become a new mug holder in no time.

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