Most people have one in their home. A piece of furniture, a chest of drawers, a dining or side table, maybe even a headboard, that has seen better days. Yet it would still be quite serviceable because it has great lines, or provides great storage, but it really needs to be refinished before it could ever be presentable again.

You can always choose to paint wooden furniture, or re-varnish it, but if you are a little crafty and want to create something that is truly different then you could give decoupage a try.

Decoupage is a crafting technique that looks far more complicated than it really is and it actually makes a great project for an older child who wants to add a little something special to their room as well as for adults who want to beautify their space in general. Here’s a basic guide to how it’s done.

What You Will Need:

Pictures – Decoupage is essentially the art of creating a collage on physical items so you will need plenty of pictures. Pictures cut out of magazines work very well, as do things like wallpaper scraps, posters, photographs and even things like ribbon and sequins. The one thing you do not really want to use are prints from an inkjet printer, as the inks will likely run when the top coat is applied later on.

  • Decoupage Medium – Although you can buy specialist decoupage fixers you really do not need to. Slightly diluted white school glue works just fine and is much cheaper. Alternately you can opt for an all in one solution like Mod Podge.
  • Scissors and Tweezers – In addition to cutting out pictures you may also find that tweezers are big help when it comes to affixing small images.
  • Foam Brush – To smooth out the images once affixed
  • A Slightly Damp Cloth – To remove excess glue if you have to.
  • Clear Varnish – This is optional and you do have to use it carefully but it will create a longer lasting finish.

Decoupage Step by Step

  • Prepare your surface – Whatever you are going to decoupage needs to be clean, dust free and dry.
  • Create Your Layout – Cut out your pictures and create your layout on white of tissue paper before you begin gluing anything. Or if possible, place them onto the item itself.
  • Start Gluing – The decoupage medium – the glue – usually works best if you add it to the item being worked on rather than the picture itself. Work slowly and use your foam brush to smooth out wrinkles as you work. Wipe away any excess decoupage medium with your slightly damp cloth. Once every image is in place give it all a few hours to dry.
  • The Finish – In order for your work to be permanent, it has to be finished. You can either use more diluted glue or a varnish but work carefully and watch for new wrinkles. If they appear, smooth them out right away. After you are satisfied leave the item to dry for a few more hours before using it.

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