Have you ever wondered what to do with all of those leftover Christmas or birthday cards? What about wallpaper scraps, left over material and wrapping paper? These things usually end up in the recycling bin or put away in the loft ready for the day you need them. There is of course, a good chance that that day will never come. This is where the art of decoupage comes in. It is a great way to use up those bits and bobs and make something attractive and cheap for your home or as a gift.
Decoupage simply means applying cut-out patterns or even pressed flowers to household objects. It works well on storage boxes or furniture items. It can even be used to decorate a room by applying the cut-outs in a border pattern. Once the basic technique has been learned it is possible to achieve great results.
The first step is to assemble the patterns you wish to use. If you want a more professional look you may want to take advantage of one of the many websites which offer patterns. These are simply printed out and cut to size. You can photocopy the design as many times as needed to achieve a more uniform look. Otherwise you need to find designs. Pictures or patterns which complement each other in terms of design, shape and colour are best. Remember that you will be layering the cut-outs to achieve a 3D look so you need designs which work well next to each other.
- Ensure that your surface is clean and free from grease. Use a light sandpaper to sand the surface to give the cut-outs something to adhere to.
- Carefully cut out your patterns. Use a sharp craft knife on a flat surface to achieve a clean edge. Take your time to cut around the detail of the picture.
- Arrange the cut-outs to see how they will look once in place.
- Use a specialist decoupage glue and spread it on the surface and on the back of the picture.
- Apply to the surface and smooth out carefully. Take the time to ensure there are no wrinkles. Apply the pictures in layers until the surface is covered as you wish. Allow the glue to dry between layers.
- Use a damp cloth to remove any excess glue. The glue will dry clear, but the look of the picture may be affected if too much as applied.
- Once all of the layers are dry apply a decoupage medium over the top of the design. You can buy this in any craft store. Keep applying this until the cut-outs appear to sit into the surface. You will notice that the edges disappear.
Even if you are new to crafts, decoupage is one of those skills which is easy to master. The hardest part is deciding which pattern to use, but remembering that you can always scrape off the picture and start again make the process even easier. These few simple steps will mean that you have a home which is completely unique.