November 28, 2020


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Decoupage (or découpage) is the technique of sticking to the surfaces of objects made of glass, wood, metal, plastic or ceramic, items of paper cut-outs to make the objects look like painting or inlay work after each layer of paper has been sealed with varnishes. Often multiple coats of varnish are used until the ‘stuck on’ appearance vanishes.

All that is needed is:

acrylic paint, PVA glue for sticking to chosen material (standard white glue can work if it is diluted with water), objects, motives from different materials, paper material, acrylic lacquer (to solidify the final effect), smoother (popsicle sticks work well), brayer (a specialized tool like a miniature rolling pin designed to help remove wrinkles, remove excess glue and smooth pictures), glue spreader (many things can be use for this – cotton swabs, paint brushes, sponges), cutting utensil (scissors, craft knife or razor blades), and finally rags, sponges, tissue paper to help wipe up glue and other clean up.

The most appropriate materials are:

traditional paper – there are many different kinds of its thickness but it is generally the most difficult material and decorating with it requires a lot of work and good manual skills; soft paper – thin paper reminding tissue paper or paper storage. Small ornaments can be glued without wetting. It is important not to stick it to dark surface – it will shine through; rice paper – very thin, but much stronger than tissue. It is easy in gluing and transparent. Rice paper is great for large surfaces because it does not rip up or crease. It does not have to be soaked; 3D paper- its weight is similar to traditional paper. Its advantage are ready motives and ornaments for space decoupage. Particular elements of the ornament lay on each other what gives the nub effect; lace.

Before you start with your decoupage project, you must choose your object. Any kind of surface is just fit for decoupage. Now decide if you will be using a picture, magazine or some wallpaper. Whatever you select, ensure that the quality is good, especially if it is a picture. You must scan it using good resolution.

To decoupage, do not cut any picture to give it some other layout, instead tear it along the edges. You can take art from magazines or books and can overlap other art to decoupage your picture. It’s advisable that before you actually paste the art, first put up the whole design and see if that suits your requirement. It’s simple to decoupage a picture to some utility items like furniture, photo album, frames, boxes, vases etc.

To get a smooth finish when pasting the art to any base and you don’t possess a brayer, use an air spray. To accomplish this all you will require is an air container. Place your picture inclined to the base surface and spray the air on the paper from top to bottom.

It’s important that before you decoupage, you must clean the surface first. Depending on the material the surface is made up of you may need to seal it too. You can clean the dirt on the surface using a cotton brush. At times the surface may require a coat of paint too. A craft knife or a pair of small scissors should be used to cut the minute portions of the pattern.

You may cut a piece from some magazine that has some text written on it. If you do not want this text to be visible, just put a layer of half gesso and half sealer, something like polyurethane, acrylic spray, etc.

In case you decoupage a box, plan out on the corners first and then move inside to design middle of the box. Also keep in mind that in case you use PVA glue on glass you must put in a droplet of glycerin into it. This would ensure that the glue does not dry up quickly.

If you are extending your picture, note that you do not cut the picture, instead tear it so that it has soft and irregular edges. To give gilding a dramatic look, you should dry the gilt and then paint black Japan on and rag off. Once you put a layer of sealer on to it, it is ready for decoupage or varnish.

In case you decoupage a box with fabric, you must keep the joint at the face of the box; because, as you would open the box, the front won’t be visible, thus the joint would be hidden and only the backside of the box would be seen. If you are not using any cardboard beneath the fabric layers, you must first stick the fabric pieces to the sides of the box and then paste some decorative laces or ribbons onto the top edge so that the unfinished side is not visible.

If you are using pictures for decoupage then you can use a colour photocopier to get the desired deep black picture. You would then notice a remarkable difference between how blacks of colour photocopier look and how the ones from a black and white photocopier look like. However, you must remember that before rushing to the photocopy store, do your calculations, i.e. how much is the image to be resized? Do you need to enlarge or reduce it? You may also just need the image to have the same size. You can actually use this technique to create symmetrical designs.

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