A Pocketful of Tips and Techniques on How to Decoupage

How to Decoupage
For those of you new to the world of decoupaging, here are some simple instructions on mastering the art and creating interesting craft items. Use this art as a creative outlet, and come up with some brilliant finished products.
Decoupage is an ancient craft that is practiced to this day. What decoupage enthusiasts describe as an addiction may be new to you, but you must understand that it is a very inexpensive yet creatively satisfying method of creating unique items. In essence, by decoupaging, you can probably transform an old shoe box into a wonderful gift box, or add character to a boring wooden chair that is lying in your room. Decoupage is simply the art of putting together images from various sources by pasting them on a surface to make the final object look like it has been hand painted. Here, we give you simple instructions on decoupaging, so that you too can engage in this wonderful craft and create some great objects, which you can use to beautify your home, or give away as gifts.

Decoupage Instructions

First keep in mind that you need to think out of the box to decoupage. You may refer to several resources for different decoupage ideas, but keep your mind open to any idea that may suddenly click. Whatever you may want to decoupage for, create an item that will in effect look like a masterpiece. As you start with simple projects, move on to ideas that are new, unique, and do justice to your creative abilities. With all this in mind, here are the materials required to create a decoupaged item.

Materials Required
There are innumerable variants that can make for materials required for decoupage. However, there are some basics that you need irrespective of what you want to decoupage.
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Lint free dust cloth/Sponge
  • Rubbing alcohol (to clean glass surfaces)
  • Water based paints (for the base)
  • Rust proof paint (for metallic surfaces)
  • Craft scissors/Craft knife
  • Paint brushes (premium quality that do not shed)
  • Decoupage material (images from newspapers, magazines, catalogs, gift wrapping paper, comic strips, postcards, wallpaper, photographs, paper napkins, etc.)
  • Embellishments (beads, sequins, shells, ribbons, lace, buttons)
  • Glue sealant
  • Decoupage glue
  • Final sealant (depending on the decoupaged surface)
Armed with the materials, you may now go about learning the steps to decoupage any item.

Step 1: Decide the Decoupage Surface
Any surface can be easily decoupaged. While the most popular surface is wood, even items made of clay, paper, metal, or glass may be decoupaged. What you need to know is that the material should be completely smooth. So the steps to begin preparing the decoupage surface will go in this manner.
  • If you would like to decoupage on wood, use a fine grit sandpaper to make the object completely smooth, and then use a lint free dust cloth to get rid of any remnants. Even a clay base can be evened out in this manner.
  • Depending on whether you would like to decoupage the entire surface or just a portion, you may paint the surface to give it a base that matches the theme of what you intend to create. A wood stain or a few thin coats of paint on any other surface will suffice. Make sure you paint the surface evenly. If you are using a metal base, use a paint that is rust resistant before you paint the surface for the base.
Step 2: Decide on the Decoupage Theme
You can actually come up with a thousand decoupage ideas by thinking creatively, and deciding what you really want. The kind of theme you decide on also depends on the place where you will keep the decoupaged object. For instance, if it is a wooden screen you want to decoupage, its style will be dependent on the room you place it in. So consider the kind of theme you want to utilize to decoupage the object.

Step 3: Prepare the Decoupage Material
Once you have decided what you want to decoupage and how you want to do it, it's time to start preparing all the items that will go into creating your masterpiece.
  • Start collecting images that you want to use for the decoupage. Scout through magazines, newspapers, catalogs, gift wrapping paper, napkins, old photographs (of which the lower layer will have to be neatly removed), and any other sources you may find.
  • Consider materials for embellishments such as those mentioned above, and any other craft items that enhance the final product.
  • Cut the images out with a craft scissor or a craft blade. Use an outward angle while cutting so that the image has a beveled look.
Step 4: Put it All Together
The process of decoupaging is usually done by use of specific decoupage glue. There are numerous varieties available outside with instructions how to use them. The best brand is Mod Podge glue that is a chosen favorite among all decoupage enthusiasts. The process of putting together the final product will be carried out in the following manner.
  • It is a good idea to apply a coat of glue sealant on the surface before you start your decoupage project. Again, Mod Podge is the most preferred variety for this step.
  • Decide how you want to place the images on the surface. You may want to overlap images too if you wish to cover up the entire surface.
  • To apply the glue, use a thin, flat brush. First dip the brush in water, and then in the glue. Apply the glue on the image starting at the center, brushing outward. Ensure you apply a thin coat that does not spread out when you apply the image on the surface.
  • Paste the image on the surface in the desired manner. Use a brush to flatten the image completely, to get rid of any air bubbles below the surface. If any excess glue seeps out, use a clean cloth or a sponge to wipe it away immediately. Cover the entire surface in this manner.
Step 5: Finishing Touch
After you have finished pasting all the material on the surface, give it time to dry off thoroughly. After doing so, you will be required to seal it using a sealant, in order to protect the surface from any damage. While you may use lacquer or varnish for decoupage furniture, you may use readily available decoupage glaze available in stores for any other material. Not only does this process protect the decoupaged item from damage, it gives the final product the appearance of a hand painted product rather than something that was created by pasting together images from different sources. Craft experts suggest that several coats of such a glaze will be required to make the decoupaged object look authentic. After the sealant has dried, you may go ahead and add the enhancements and embellishments. You may also use metallic pens to outline any areas on the object if you wish to.

Hopefully the aforementioned tips on decoupaging have helped you understand the process and all that goes into it. Since it is an inexpensive process, you can create a lot of craft items and even gifts for your loved ones. Have fun engaging in this highly creative process, and come up with some great masterpieces.
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