How to Decoupage a Wood Chair

Learn how to update a plain wood chair with decorative paper, decoupage medium and a few basic craft tools. We chose a malachite marble pattern for a modern, elegant look.

Photo by: Bethany Nauert

Bethany Nauert

Materials Needed

  • chair
  • tack paper
  • decoupage medium
  • scissors
  • utility knife
  • sandpaper
  • paintbrush
  • painter's tape

It’s okay to admit it: sometimes it’s easier and more cost effective to buy furniture from the big-box stores. If you decide to go that route, however, there’s still no need to settle for the ordinary. A simple decoupage project can make any everyday seat into something truly special.

Gather Tools and Materials

To start, you’ll need your chair, scissors, utility knife, sandpaper, a paintbrush, painters’ tape and a decoupager’s best friend: Modge Podge. You’ll also need to select which sort of paper you’d like to use to transform your furniture. We used a marbled graphic print to add some texture and interest to a plain office chair.

Photo by: Bethany Nauert

Bethany Nauert

Prep Wood Surface

You’ll need to sand the chair with a fine-grit sandpaper before applying any Modge Podge. Store-bought furniture can sometimes have uneven and/or slippery varnishes – which will make decoupaging difficult. Scuff it up and smooth it out for an optimal decoupage surface. 

Photo by: Bethany Nauert

Bethany Nauert

Apply a Layer of Decoupage Medium

Apply a healthy, but not sloppy layer of Modge Podge. You do not want this layer to dry before you put paper on top of it, so use your best judgment. If the glue is starting to get tacky, pause and put some paper down and then continue the process.

Photo by: Bethany Nauert

Bethany Nauert

Lay Paper Down, Carefully

It’s very important that you lay your paper on in a straight line so that the pattern you’ve chosen will be highlighted correctly. Once it’s in place, press firmly and smooth the paper to get rid of any bumps or air pockets. 

Trim Edges

After waiting at least 10-20 minutes for the Modge Podge to set, use a pair of sharp scissors to remove any extra paper hanging over the edge of the chair. It’s often more effective to do this with a series of small cuts, rather than trying to run your scissors along the entire chair’s edge.

Photo by: Bethany Nauert

Bethany Nauert

Seal With a Top Coat

Lastly, you’ll want to apply the Modge Podge top coat. Modge Podge is a combination of glue and varnish, so this layer will both secure the paper to the chair and create a glossy finish to your piece. Again, you want to apply the Modge Podge generously and evenly. Allow 24 hours for it to dry. 

Photo by: Bethany Nauert

Bethany Nauert

Have a Seat

The finished effect is shiny, new, classy and custom. Your chair may have started in a factory, but it’s ended up in a loving home. So sit back, relax and enjoy your one-of-a-kind creation. You’ve earned it.

Photo by: Bethany Nauert

Bethany Nauert

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