Simple Green: Decoupage as Reuse

Simple Green: Decoupage as Reuse

Amber Byfield
Dec 11, 2008

12_11_08_decoupage.jpgGrowing up, we became familiar with the word decoupage at a very early age. Our mother was always working on some new project--usually vintage Christmas or Valentine's Day cards found at the thrift shop, cut into small elements and glued ever so carefully onto a wooden box, with layers upon layers of varnish. She encouraged us to make our own, too, giving us heart-shaped boxes and the freedom to select from her rejected scraps.

Today, we use decoupage in a similar way; we've updated this tried and true art form to fit in our home decor. It's a great way to use up magazine and newspapers, and create original art for your nest. Jump below for some ideas and tips.

• Decorate clear or frosted glass candle holders. This is great for votives, store-bought candles, and tealight holders. Newspaper is fairly transparent while magazines are rather opaque. Mix and match or keep it clean.

• Decoupage a scrap piece of wood, then hang it on a wall or set it on a shelf. This creates an original artwork that everyone will comment on.

• Layer a keepsake box that sits out on a shelf. Or get super-crafty and decoupage gift boxes. That way, they double as decor after serving their original gift-giving purpose.

• Dress up the front of a journal or scrapbook with very personal scraps from letters, photos, or handwritten notes. You could even incorporate flat items, such as ribbons, stamps, or coins.

• Take a cue from This Young House and tile a tray with mini-biz cards or other items (maybe some snowflakes in layers? Feeling festive yet?). They use a clear resin available at most craft stores, which gives the tray a high gloss and makes the items look like they're way down under a layer of glass.

• Get super-sized and decoupage a piece of furniture (like a coffee table top) or accent a piece with panels. Or even a wall.

The possibilities are endless! Just a few tips before you begin....

We like to use Mod Podge as a paintable craft glue. There are matte and gloss versions of it, and we water it down just a tad so that it goes on a little easier. However, watch that your items don't get too saturated. If you're wanting to decoupage something flimsy (a holiday card, for instance), be sure to use as few layers of glue or varnish as possible--the more saturated you make the paper, the more it will curl up at the corners. And, be sure that your coat is very smooth. Otherwise you'll be able to see the brush marks.

Experiment, and share your ideas and tips with us.

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