Projects & Improvements

This Martha Stewart-Approved DIY Uses Old Field Guides to Transform Furniture

published Mar 18, 2022
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There’s nothing a quick coat of paint can’t fix — that is, except for gouges, missing veneer, massive scrapes, etc. If paint isn’t going to cut it, then Martha Stewart has another DIY suggestion: use vintage field guide photos.

“Papering over problems isn’t exactly photo director Ryan Mesina’s (@mesiryan) style. But when he spotted a worse-for-wear 1930s mahogany wardrobe on the side of the road, he knew some découpage could disguise its scratches and pockmarks,” the official Martha Stewart Instagram post reads. 

The caption continues, “He pulled his favorite photographs from a 1921 horticultural guidebook, Wildflowers of New York, by Homer D. House, arranged them in a grid over the doors, and adhered them with Mod Podge. The result stores barware, and speaks volumes about Ryan’s love of gardening and unerring eye for upcycling potential.”

If you’re going to be using pages straight out of a book — check your local thrift stores for vintage botanical and horticulture books — then you can start the découpage process right away. But if you’re planning on printing images from the internet or from scanned images, then you’ll want to make sure you’re printing them using a laser printer so that the images won’t smudge when you apply the Mod Podge. 

To découpage, first, apply Mod Podge to your furniture’s clean surface, then lay your image flat. Then, spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over the face of your image to seal it into place. It’s a super simple way to give any old shelf, table, or wardrobe a facelift.Though découpage won’t cover up all the flaws that may come with vintage furniture, it will definitely give the piece a new life with a handmade, well-traveled, one-of-a-kind feel.